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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Just an old pensioners opinion about the Granville


 

One of my memories of the Granville of which there are many from a time long passed.

Just one night accompanying the ghosts in the hole and rubble left that it must retain, along with the many that preceded my time there, from the Victorians and their elegance when it was first opened, right up to the soldiers convalescing from terrible wounds of the First World War of which my Grandfather was one, I imagine him lying in a bed in that vast area with the sun shining through those large windows composing a love letter to Grandma.
My time was different; my time was full of wonder, of love, and hope for the future, something that can’t be erased with a bulldozer.

A night long ago:
When she laughed and you were fortunate enough to be looking into her eyes the world around where ever you were had a glow of life that can’t be explained, it was beautiful to see the very slight smile she nearly always had, burst into laughter that would fill a room, everyone would stop and stare as they were enveloped in the joy she radiated around them. There was no holding back the smile she seemed to force on you from her jubilance at life all around her.
There was no need for make-up to enhance the beauty that confronted you; a pure porcelain skin without a blemish of any kind surrounded those eyes that were of the deepest clear blue that anyone of her contemporises would die for. Her hair, once quite long had been cut and waved, immaculately styled; it made her appear all grown up, and I sometimes thought if we hadn’t spent all of our young years together a second glance in my direction would have been a privilege and way, way out of my league. 
To walk across those maple floorboards with her on your arm would surround you and anyone close in a cocoon of warmth that would emanate a friendship from them, to just be close to a vision that nobody would ever think of spoiling.
The evening that I am remembering hadn’t been an exception, we were making our way back to the settee in the corner of the ballroom together, I had been playing for a wedding party and all of the boys in our little band were packing up, eager to sleep off the beverages that they had been plied with during the course of the night. My eyes began to close as we snuggled down to rest and to recount the magical night we had enjoyed, my eyes closed and I began to dream a lovely dream as her perfume once again filled the air around me.

She had sat by my side on the piano stool nearly all night, unashamedly, it gave me comfort I can’t explain knowing all she seemed to want, was to be close to me. This beautiful creature that everyone admired, seemed to have an invisible notice pinned to her back;

‘ I’m Al’s ‘Don’t touch’! Don’t even think about it!’

The scent from her hair occasionally rising to reach me I had purposely arranged some of the music to not only give me a rest on the keyboard but to enable us to do what we were born to do; To dance, to hold her in my arms and live our dream, that night the dress that she had worn only a couple of times she had secretly smuggled upstairs without me knowing, and when she walked down the stairs, the gasps from the bar made me turn to see the vision I have described, her arms stretched across the hotel foyer to me, but for a brief moment I was rooted to the stool I was sitting on, she laughed out loud to my reaction and did a twirl in the doorway, “Surprise”! !  She called.

Surprise? You’re kidding me! I was physically trembling . . . .!

The melodies of the fifties were romantic, the music of the big bands that played on the sea front in Ramsgate, and all the many dance halls in the town were always packed with young people of our age dancing the night away. It was an exciting time; the world we lived in was changing, the very air we breathed was filled with music, the juke box’s played one kind, the big bands played another, the smell of coffee from coffee bars and café’s filled the air in the town, all of which made us feel alive. 

That night I had my life spread out before me in a dream as we cuddled on the settee, a resolve to live my life to the full, every minute being precious was not to be wasted, I think I have kept that promise I made to myself all those years ago. There are many things wrong with the world and it is easy to criticise, we all have an opinion of what’s right and what’s wrong. But I cherish the memories that this life has given me, opening my eyes each day to the wonder of it all.

I have learnt one thing over the years, and that is to embrace the new as well as the old, my memories of the beautiful town I grew up in cannot be erased from my memory, there has always been greed and jealousy in all of our make up whoever you are and I dare anyone to deny that fact if they were perfectly honest.
Reading the comments on Michaels Blog about the Granville, each one representing some form of truth of some kind or another, but come on, anything would be better than the hole that has been there for so long. If what I read is true, and a British company has purchased it, this surely is great news! Give the youngsters a chance with some greatly sort after work for their idle hands. We don’t appreciate the beauty of what they propose, many of us harking back to the good ol’ days and I’m no exception, I’d love to see it all reverted back to how I remember it, the opulence of the interior took your breath away, the luxury that lots of money makes of a building has long past, so if the proposals and plans they have put forward pays its way bringing in much needed revenue to the town from the rates, so be it, anything so long as it meets with standards that we have fought for over the years.

I look at the docklands in London, and then across to the Houses of Parliament an iconic symbol of our city. What they have done for the Olympics, rejuvenating an area that has given work and housing and leisure to thousands who needed and prayed each day for a turn in their fortune, just to live and work, all they wanted was to have the opportunity to pay their way in life, not much to ask, it has, without doubt been achieved.

I don’t appreciate the architecture, but there is no denying it is all for the better, if some of the critics had seen the Granville after the war years and what a sorry state it was in after being ravaged in those terrible times, I’m sure they would think twice before voicing an opinion on the state it is in now. That glorious building still stands overlooking the channel, be it flats, offices or leisure facilities it will always be a treasure of heritage Ramsgate should be proud of.   
 
Thanks for stopping by.   

The Fingerplate (First stage)

 
The Clamping bar and the four tapped holes to accomadate it.
 
 
 
In position. (sorry, the camera was a bit squiffy)
 

Mark out and drill the three holes after cleaning up the base plate. Decide what the thread will be for the centre. Contrary to what I said yesterday, we found in the scrap box a short length of 8mm studding, ideal, so the centre hole was drilled and tapped accordingly. 2” or 2 ½” of studding was cleaned up for the centre post.
It took quite a while to mill the base flat and square, but after a couple of cups of tea and taking it in turns on the small milling machine it all looked shiny and ready for the next step.
When I made mine, because I suppose it wasn’t on the old drawing I had found, there wasn’t any thought of the clamping bar on the base. Over the years I had found this to be an essential part of my old fingerplate. So the underside of the base had to have four tapped holes to accommodate the clamping bar. You probably ask ‘why four’?
The reason being your little tool can then be clamped in the vice at any orientation, so this was the next step.
The clamping bar is just a ¾ x ¾ inch piece of stuff 2 ½” long with two holes drilled to accommodate the appropriate bolts you have chosen to use. (I think it is quite obvious what I mean from the picture.) Make sure these tapped holes are as accurate as you can get, this is very important, there is nothing more frustrating when you want to clamp your fingerplate in the vice than a bent bolt through misalignment of the holes.
Anyway, dinnertime, a good mornings work, tomorrow the 'V' groove and side grasping and clamping grooves to be milled. 
 
Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A very Handy Friend in the Workshop

The Base
 
 
 
 

A machinist’s friend in the workshop

A friend has asked me to help him make a Fingerplate like mine, so I have decided to Blog the how’s and why’s as we proceed, I hope you find it interesting.
*********************
 A few months ago I had the need for a fingerplate, I searched high and low and was completely confused, I had one somewhere. Then it dawned on me, I must have left it at work when I retired. (I won’t repeat my language) it would no doubt have found its way into a toolbox somewhere and be treasured for another fifty odd years by some lucky machinist who couldn’t believe his or her luck.
As many of you would know, not a cheap item to purchase these days, and probably made in one of the far eastern countries where the quality seems to be the last thing on the manufacturers mind, if you can find one for sale that is. Over the years I have found it invaluable on many an occasion, holding the little intricate pieces that needed drilling or milling. Anyway a must have item in any workshop of merit, the situation needed to be rectified, and I certainly was not about to purchase one, you all know my philosophy; Don’t buy it if you can make it yourself!
What is a fingerplate? It is a flat vice, handy on the bench, the surface plate, the milling machine and the drill press, I have also found it very useful clamped in the bench vice for small filing jobbies. You know as well as I do you must clamp the job, or in this case the fingerplate, against rotation when drilling. If you attach a rule to it and stand it on end on the surface plate, ideal for marking your work.
So, searching through all my old engineering mags for three or four nights I found a drawing from 1947 that looked ideal and set to work adjusting some of the measurements, sorry they are in imperial, but I still can’t get used to metric, it is what I was brought up with, and that is still how the little grey cells function.
During these next few days I will take you through the procedure I followed, hoping it all makes some kind of sense. I will leave you today with the drawing for the base for study.
 
Thanks for stopping by.     
 
 

Monday, 28 January 2013

Thought Provoking Pictures from Ramsgate


Listening last night to the lovely Stephanie Detry playing the beautiful piece ‘Ballade pour Adeline’ an instrumental piece for piano composed in 1976 by Paul de Senneville and Olivier Toussaint the piece is a tribute to Paul’s newborn daughter, Adeline.
Now I presume 37 years old I wonder how she feels listening to this tribute to her birth. An unbelievable melody of the marvel of parenthood, looking down into a crib, seeing his new born child, the inspiration that bursts from every bar of this piece of music represents everything I treasure in life.
The music my parents encouraged me to listen to when I was young has given me the inspiration over the years in many of my endeavours, my Gran explaining the finer points of composition and arranging, enabling an understanding that has been the foundation of everything I hold dear in this life.
Many times remembering how I used to sit in the shelter up on the cliff top in Ramsgate opposite the Granville studying the finer points of theory. The seat was, even in those days, worn and weather beaten. The paintwork over the years covering and obscuring the beautiful Victorian cast iron patterns around the fringe of the roof.
Seeing those shelters now through the photographs sent to me by Robert and Jan Holden of the Ramsgate Society and the photo’s posted by Michael yesterday, the arrangements and compositions emanating from those days as I sat there, bring back so many memories of my home town. Thank you.

Back soon, take care.

 

Sunday, 27 January 2013

A Bit of Nostalgia


A little trip down memory lane.

Being an old softy these days, I was reminded of the times back in the fifties when we used to go dancing. My wife and I took to the floor in the sweetheart waltz last week, its about my limit these days, the ol’ legs aren’t what they used to be. I came home and tried to remember the names of some of us that had so much fun back then.
Can anyone in Thanet inform me of the fate of Kenilworth Hall in, I think, Wilson Road off Grange Road?
In the fifties it was a dancing school run by Eustace Bowman and Phyllis Hayes. There must be many still around that remember those times, we all are reminded of what happened to the Granville Ballroom, the rubble still there after many years since its demolition. There is little hope that the new owner will rebuild that one to its former glory.
Lets see how I get on with names; these are just a few of whom I remember, anyone knowing the where about of any of them I’d love to hear from you.
Email:        alanturtle@homecall.co.uk     or   Gmail:     tomboy1942@gmail.com

Kenneth and Antoinette:
Margaret (Thornton) and Wendy (I think Jones):
Jacqueline (cant’ remember her surname it was I think Wake or Wate) and Janet Dugdale:
Adrienne Bourne and Glenda Tedder:
Anthony Ashby and Lynne Thomas ( I always fancied Lynne, she was gorgeous.):

And then there was our lot:

Pat and Peter (Reynolds and Dawes respectively):
Barry Blackman and Avril Hubbard
Me, and of course there was my Janet (Birch), lovely Janet, where are you my pet?

Please forgive me if I have spelt any of your names wrong.
How did I do? And they say my memory is going.
We all move on in life, and it is only recently we have started sequence dancing on a Tuesday afternoon, bringing back memories of those times so long ago now.
Workshop next week.
Been given a project that I am looking forward to completing.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Bribery to sit still


I’ve ‘sassed’ it Michael, I know how you do it, . . . an inducement to sit still!
It was pouring with rain, blowing a gale and the café was full, nowhere to sit. A thick mist hung over wet coats and umbrellas that were draped all over the place. Shopping bags littered the floor and every table had sorry looking individuals with their cold hands wrapped around piping hot mugs of varied beverages that were being provided by an overworked young lady at the counter.
I had ‘Blossom’ with me thank goodness; believe me when I tell you she can charm her way out of any situation, and in no time at all there were two seats made vacant for us at a table in the corner by the radiator, perfect! To catch our breath from the weather and to get a little circulation going again.
Opposite us sat a young mother trying to cheer her little one up, the child obviously didn’t want to be there, a blackcurrant juice with a straw in front of her hadn’t been touched and her mother you could see was getting slightly concerned she would embarrass her by causing a scene in that crowded café.
I looked at that little face, if only I could capture that young look of distain on paper. I bent over to her so she could hear me and asked;
“If I buy you a nice big cream cake would you sit still while I draw you?”
She didn’t answer, but a little sparkle twinkled in her eye’s and there was a faint nod, her mother said it would be alright and my Sue and her started chatting away as if they had known each other all their lives, like the fairer sex do.
Picking her up to view the array of cakes on the counter her attitude changed dramatically, of course she picked the biggest one and we made our way back to the table.
That little girl sat there motionless, staring me in the face as if her life depended on it. Her little eye’s never moved as I attempted to capture the expression of innocent curiosity she was showing at the man drawing her picture, he had bought her a cream cake, making a dreary afternoon for her a little more memorable than if she had been made to just sit there with a cold blackcurrant juice she obviously didn’t want.
The young lady behind the counter made a copy of what I had drawn, handing it to the little one, her mother immediately took it from her, rolling it up and carefully putting it with her shopping. She never looked back at me but holding her mothers hand as she went out the door, looking up to her I heard her say;
“Can we put it on the side board with the other pictures Mummy?”
I think her mother said something like “To right we will, after daddy has put it in a frame for you.”
 
Recognition at last!
 
Thanks for stopping by.

Update on Drawings of the week today




TOP:  The finished cart from a couple of days ago that you have asked me to post.
 
Either the Gate is too large or the water-but is too small, I can't quite make my mind up which it is, thats why I didn't post it when I considered it finished.
 
*****************
BOTTOM:  The farm cottages I have made an effort to paint. As you can see, not one of my strong points, but I enjoyed doing it.
 
A watercolour wash, but I always seem to go overboard with the depth of colour, never knowing when to stop, not reflecting the scene now as I sketched it, although the sun was shining it was very cold. It now looks like a spring day.
Never mind I'll put it away in the folder.
 
***************** 
 
Thanks for stopping by.
 
 
 
 
 
 

Friday, 25 January 2013

Answer to a few questions


I use a soft 2B pencil and what I call a ‘smudger’ Lynne, which is a very tightly rolled up paper pencil, sharpened to a point. They can be purchased quite cheaply in any good art supplies shop if you still have one in Ramsgate.
Sometimes sketching just an outline very lightly of what I see, and then taking it home to finish it, enabling a bit more care in the detail.
Michael is a lot cleverer than I am with his art, describing the colours, paper and brushes he uses, and like you, I admire his choice of subjects. I only wish there was more on his ‘Blog’ of the art in the town and his efforts.
I have been asked if the cart in the last sketch is for sale, it is in the back garden of a friend who also, like myself, does a bit of woodturning and he still uses it to collect the logs for our little hobby. Yes, I have finished the sketch, but found quite a few things wrong with the proportions, i.e. the gate is too large, or the water-but too small which is why I never posted it, however, as you are not the only one to ask, I will post it tomorrow.
Thank you for your email, and I wish you well in your new hobby, keep it up, you will find it very rewarding.
Thanks again for your interest,
Regards
Alan.

A Sketch a Day rests the Heart from Play ! ! !

 
 
A bit of sketching today instead of all this writing, I have been given instructions to colour it. (I’m thinking about it, perhaps just tints of watercolour hear and there, we’ll see.)
Love the countryside of this beautiful Island we live in, even when its raining or snowing, still thankfully open spaces to sit and sketch, listening to the birds singing their hearts out in the trees. A few sandwiches and a flask of tea on a sunny day tucked away in a little corner of Dorset and I’m ‘Happy as Larry’ as they say.
This little sketch took me all day, and I am quite pleased with the result. A few mistakes perhaps from those of you that are in the know, but it’s all about the enjoyment of creating something to take home.
Half a dozen cottages in the middle of nowhere that are attached to a small community of farmers down hear in Dorset; beautiful, peaceful, I’m sure as well, very productive.
 
Thanks for stopping by. 

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Smile, this really did happen.


                                                                                                           

I love doughnut's  
 
The Bakery down my old school road, (Church Rd.,) now that is a memory that will stay with me all my life, and every time I have passed an establishment wafting out that unmistakable odor that promises such gastronomic delights, even though I have to watch my weight these days, it reminds me of that terrifying day so many years ago,……………  I try not to smile, but normally without much success. I could have been no more than eleven or twelve, my first or second year in the big school, anyway a good half-century ago, and I still relish those freshly baked goodies.
While you were in assembly, you could isolate all the chaps who had just thrown on their clothes, and dashed straight off to school. Not because they were disheveled, which of cause they were, we were boys, but because they were at the point of collapse. Many ended up in matron's room. It didn't seem to register with her that the wind was blowing straight up church road and into an assembly of starving, bleary eyed growing boys. 

Role call:

First lesson, Math’s, with Mr. Taylor, ( "Spud" to us lot.)  Not a popular teacher by any accounts to most of the boys in the school. But to me he had been very kind, if it hadn’t been for Mr. Taylor, I wouldn’t have been attending that school, but that is another story.
While you were not concentrating on the theories of Pythagoras, you were suffering torture, utter torture, especially if you hadn't risen from the deep slumber that morning in time to shovel in some breakfast of some kind.
Anyway lets go back a bit to the day before that fateful event.
Outside the Bakery every morning, was a large wooden tray, full to the brim with cream cakes, currant bun's and doughnut's, and they were labeled second's! How on earth can you get a second's doughnut? That is what it said on the sign, written on a piece of cardboard pinned to the tray that was stained all over in red raspberry jam, real jam, even after all the cakes had disappeared that piece of cardboard looked inviting.  At the end of this tray, wriggling its way right down the road nearly to ‘Pigs Alley’, there streamed each morning what seamed an endless queue of expectant starving, unruly individuals, hoping their turn would come before the school bell would tare them away, and subject them to a day of self-denial.
It was time for a different strategy in the way things were done.
So, the bright boy's thought up a game plan that was to take place the following morning, before the multitude's arrived. I don't know who had the bright idea to elect a bulk buyer, and I'm sure it has gone down in school history that any one individual would be trusted with so many pennies and three-penny pieces, but I was elected. I suppose it's my one claim to fame in school annals, there's certainly no academic achievement on record to my knowledge.
I was chosen because my paper-round took me past this gastronomic paradise every morning quite early, and I was looked upon as someone who wouldn't dare do anything else with the money, being smaller than the rest of them. 
I duly arrived at the appointed place of business the following morning, gave the man who seemed to be in charge my order, and waited with a small amount of trepidation the outcome. He disappeared, only to return moments later with a large, brown, paper bag, which he placed all of my order in, with, what now seemed a strange knowing smile all over his face.

The transaction was completed.

9.30 am.

Maths!
 Mr. Taylor, or “ Spud  " to us. I wonder where that comes from? Such an endearing nick name.
"Please pass your homework to the front."
Terror!
Sweat! .......the feeling of nauseating emptiness, did he really command such terror.?
You have never seen the like from so many prospective Prime ministers, or road sweepers.
In the playground before the bell, when I had shared out the spoils, from the collection at the bakery an hour earlier, loads of doughnut's, out of one paper bag. I ask you where does one put them? In your satchel of course.
What’s in your satchel?  Marbles, fag-cards jam doughnut's? ..............Your homework!
The collection of papers, and exercise books handed in that day, seemed to represent a class of orphan's, who's entire family had been brutally butchered the previous evening.
In fact your carefully laid out math's of the night before was nothing short of a bloody sticky mess.
Of course the collection monitor was the one that had come in late, and was not in the share out, and was insanely jealous of all the jam that was being wasted on the collection of motley papers he was now in possession of, I can’t remember his name. I mean, as a grown-up, you can understand the poor chap's dilemma, does he lick his fingers, and congratulate himself on his luck, or.......Please Sir!!!!
Too late. 
***************   

What happened after that I could only repeat the horror stories that echo round the school to this very day, of Spud Taylor's math class of  '55...........Gruesome!
I can't give it to you first hand you see, being timid to this day, and my parents brought me up not to exaggerate although like all of us you do, don’t you? But believe me please this was no exaggeration.......... ask anyone,
Me.?
Well for once in my life I was fortunate, lucky,
Perhaps you might even say jammy! ! ... (sorry about that) but mine were in the paper bag you see.
My homework was perhaps not 10 out of 10, it never was, but it escaped the ravenous sticky fingers that seemed to have caught all the others totally by surprise in their eagerness to consume their morning breakfast, and one thing about “Spud Taylor” was he was fair, very fair, ................
Funny thing is my recollection of the following days is a bit vague, weather I was brain damaged from relief, terror, or a severe beating from the others I can’t quite remember, all I know is, it has left a memory associated with the smell of real doughnut's that has brought a smile to my face on many an occasion since.
…………………………………..
 
Catch you later folks,
Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

A Terrible Day in the archives of my memory


 

A recollection I have of when I was very young is holding my Grandma’s hand very tightly one day back in 1948, (I was six years old) walking by her side for miles, my little legs aching as we neared home. She smelt of petrol and smoke and her face was all sooty and so was mine, we all must have looked in a sorry state. Dad and Sis were a long way in front of us. She bent down in front of me as we were about to cross the road at Northwood and asked me if I would like an ice-cream, and of course I said “yes please” because I remember waiting at the zebra crossing to cross the road to the Post Office and looking up at her lovely face, a tear was running down her cheek creating a line on her skin. That image has stayed with me my whole life, seeing my lovely Gran that we all worshiped, so upset, to think of her now as I remember that day, brings a lump to my throat. 

Digging deep into my memory-hard-drive muddled up in the little grey cells that are left, I remember pushing in front of a crowd of people with Grandma’ holding on tightly to my hand. We sat down on the grass after ducking under a rope to get a better view of the spectacle of aeroplanes flying very close to where we were. The roar of the engines to one so young made my little heart I remember, pound in my chest.

There was a thump in the ground under my tummy as I lay there stretched out on the grass, the earth seemed to move, looking up I lost sight of Grandma’ (she must have been only a few inches away from me) but all I remember was a blackness that engulfed me and a hand was banging my head repeatedly. (I know now my hair was on fire)

Many would know the tragedy of that day, all I know is if we hadn’t pushed to the front and sat on the grass I wouldn’t be here today, because three people that I pushed my way passed to the front were sadly killed. The black smoke choking our lungs, the flames so hot, so close to us, must have evoked a fear in Gran’ that can’t be imagined. She never let go of my hand, never turned to run from that terror, but hung on to me for dear life until the danger subsided, finding her way through all the carnage to the safety of the road and finding Dad and Sis.

We had been to the Air Show at Manston and a plane had crashed very close to where we sat on the grass. I remember vividly the heat from it all, the black smoke rising high into the air with flames getting very close to us. A lot of people were killed that day, and it wasn’t until later on in life that I realised the enormity of what I had witnessed, and the closeness we had come to us all suffering the same fate. Dad and Gran decided to abandon the outing and get home as soon as we could, but the queues for the busses evidently were enormous, so we walked, all the way from Manston to home in Pysons road, a very long way for my little legs at the time.

A stalwart of the family, she always carried herself with pride and a stiff upper lip, she had taken on the responsibility of my safety that afternoon never for one moment contemplating moving from my side, but the further away from that disaster we walked, with home in her sites, the emotion was finally showing on her lovely face; we had made it home, our cloths and my hair not quite the Sunday best look we had set out with in the morning, but safe. The gratitude for the survival of this individual that has so many years later been able to write this account, is a sorrow that I never can remember thanking her, but as age has crept up on me, the magnitude and courage of what she did that afternoon is a lasting memory of love for that dear lady who was my Gran.

 

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Another Little Story


Another short story from my teenage years in Ramsgate, that everybody seems to be taking a great interest in. Thank you all for the lovely emails.
I have had a wonderful life and these are just a few of the memories I have of home.
This next one is not in any way meant to be a criticism, because reading the Thanet Blog’s and Web pages there are many in the town who are doing their utmost to preserve the Heritage, give their time and effort to upkeep and repair the damage that time has inflicted on our beautiful town.
This is written how I remember it happening one sunny afternoon, the profound effect it had on me cannot be expressed or calculated, because it made me realise the cost paid by many of our ancestors who have made possible the security we take for granted.

An Unlikely Companion

(In Ellington Park)

‘A J loves A M’
     ‘Always’
       1875

Reverently tracing his small finger round the engraving on the trunk of the colossus that had stood silent witness to his devotion, the mighty chestnut had grown, cherishing its mission to preserve for all time a promise. It seemed part of a religious emblem, so old, time had gnarled the bark through winters and summers turning the letters into an inscription of beauty so hallowed by so many who had sat under its mighty branches over the seven decades that had passed. A statement that hadn’t altered over the years could never be misconstrued to mean anything other than what was intended. Always!
I sat there on the Victorian bench in the sunshine and had been admiring the excellent arrangement of floral fauna spread out in front of me in full bloom, I remember feeling a little melancholy and sorry for myself, for once I was all alone.  A gentleman immaculately dressed in tweeds and cravat, so erect in his stance, so proud and fine but seeming of a great age caught my attention; once again as if his senses commanded it he reached out his hand and gently caressed the bark of the huge chestnut tree, an action that in any other circumstance would have caused me to smile if it hadn’t been so respectfully done by someone so mature.
He turned and saw me watching, and I noticed he had, if not a sad appearance, a distant longing on his weathered face; he just nodded to me “May I sit with you?” he asked. “Of course you may” I replied and moved up on the bench to make room for him. His appearance and manner with which he carried himself made me emulate his speech as best as I knew how, resulting in my answer. Like all youngsters in their early ‘teens my command of English left a lot to be desired, the gentleman, when he sat next to me not only commanded my behaviour in a manner my parents no doubt would approve of, but I found I had straightened my shoulders to replicate his.
The music coming from the bandstand a short distance away, and the main reason for my presence that afternoon as I sat there in the sunshine, had obviously caught the gentleman’s attention, we both sat there listening in silence together, no more than a foot apart from each other. The harmonies of the brass ensemble floated across the balmy air sending shivers of ecstasy through my young body, the pure pitch perfect notes of a horn floated on the air, resonating and echoing around the park to reach me and my unlikely companion.
Turning to remark on the particular piece that had just been so excellently performed, I was taken a little aback at seeing tears falling from the gentleman’s eyes, unashamed at his unmanly emotion and without any effort to conceal them. Taking out the hankie that, for people that do not know me, my mother ‘bless her’ always insisted I carry, I handed the precisely folded and ironed cotton kerchief to him.
With a hand that was imperceptibly shaking, my companion nodded his thanks and took it from me. No words were necessary to spoil the moment for him, be it sadness or sorrow, joy or happiness to cause the sentiment; those moments are personal, very precious to oneself, rarely do you want to share with anyone a memory of joy, a moment of sadness in those circumstances, this I felt was one of those times and instinctively I seemed to know it was sadness for this grand old gentleman.
Sitting there that afternoon in complete silence for long periods, my thoughts of the music in my heart as well as the soft melodies coming from the bandstand I longed for the companionship of my soul mate to share my joy, her absence from my side so rare I cannot remember why I was on my own, but my solitude began to depress me to such an extent I felt like joining the gentleman in his sorrowful appearance.
“You are judicious and sensitive young man, which defies your age.” He eventually said, breaking the silence between us. “May I ask how old you are?”
“Fourteen next birthday Sir” I thought that sounded better than thirteen and would put me in a better light.
“And do you like this music they are playing this afternoon?”
“ I love the classics, but any music really, ‘Big Band’ ‘Brass’ ‘Dance Music’”
He fell silent again as both of us were lost in another world listening to the next part of the afternoon program coming from the bandstand. 
My thoughts I have realised over the years take unexpected diversions, wandering off sometimes in a fanciful direction. The reader of this account would probably refer to it as daydreaming, but in my long life I have deduced it to be more of an inquisitive nature as I try to envisage the circumstances which has caused an event.
Looking again at the inscription so beautifully preserved on the majestic trunk, which it was now part of, I marvelled at the dexterity of the human hand that inscribed the perfectly formed characters. The tree had taken the wilful damage inflicted on its young trunk all those years ago, nursed its wound to form for all time a thing of beauty for countless occupants of the seat which my companion and I presided on. 
Trying to look upon the lady inscribed that the promise had been made to. Her Victorian dress I had only read about in novels of ‘Hardy’ and ‘Dickens’ at school, to be honest I hadn’t paid that much of a particular notice, so my vision that afternoon would have been a poor description of a typical Victorian young lady. Never the less I elaborated on her beauty, did they really have a chaperon to accompany them wherever they went, I’d read somewhere they did, how awful I pondered, imagining someone at my side making sure I behaved in a gentlemanly manner, not touching, not holding her tiny hand, not being close in any way with my constant companion of that time.
The dress I envisaged her wearing, perhaps sitting on the same seat I occupied all those years ago of delicate muslin, a light and flighty fabric with hand woven lace round her neck and sleeves, perhaps a straw woven hat that encompassed a ribbon of pink falling over the sides onto her beautifully styled hair, keeping the sun from tanning her face. Perhaps a parasol I thought, elegant in its fine feminine construction of more lace and frills, this held above her head by a gloved hand casting a shadow over a gorgeous young face adding an air of mystery to her appearance.
Then again it could have been winter time, this was a little bit more difficult to imagine, but a vision of tiny flakes of snow falling on a fur covered cloak encompassing her lovely frame, cheeks flushed with the cold wind blowing across the Park looking up into the eyes of her dear love, Always!. . . Forever! . . . to my last breath, had they been alone, was there no one to witness that promise?
I turned again to see my companion staring at me; he had the palest of blue eyes that were emphasised by white eyebrows, and clean-shaven, many lines of age, slightly regal if there is such a thing. He was smiling at me, not laughing or mocking, but the faintest of curiosity was showing on his appearance,
“You were far away from this place young man, were you not?” he asked.
I thought for a while, wondering how to answer without showing my bad manners to such a well appointed gent’
“No Sir, I was right here, on this very spot, but envisaging what happened that day back in 1875”
He just sat there looking at me for a long while after I had replied to his question, so much so that I began to feel a little uncomfortable at his gaze.
“And what did you see on that day may I ask?”
I nervously began to convey my thoughts of how I imagined the young lady sitting on the bench we were both occupying. The dress she was wearing, her hat, and the parasol that I thought she might have carried to keep the sun off her lovely face.
As I carried on, seeing he was taking great interest in my description, my confidence grew, describing her beauty and fine airs of the period, my enthusiasm continued to grow. Elaborating on my previous thoughts I continued for a good while, surprising myself at how well I had described the event.
I contemplated a little, “I wonder if she had a chaperon.” looking at him for an answer, “I wonder, such an unfair custom don’t you think Sir?”
He didn’t offer an opinion, just enquired if I had a young lady friend I was fond of.
“I do, Sir, and I am missing her very much on this glorious afternoon, we are both so very fond of music, I know she will be sorry to have missed this concert.”
On that point a long period of silence between us commenced, I could tell he was retracing his years, remembering perhaps, I thought, all the good times in his life. I began to realise I was sitting next to the person responsible for the legend on the tree.
I waited for quite a while before plucking up courage to ask,

“Was she very beautiful Sir?”

There was another long silence, as he seemed to drift back in time, he wiped his eyes again with my hankie, folded it neatly and handed it back to me.
“Yes young man, she was very beautiful, and you described her dress on that day so well.” he replied.
After another period of silence, as the musicians were packing up for the afternoon he accounted in a few short words his life to me

“Serving under Hicks in Egypt, for long periods we were separated, each time I returned to these shores she was waiting on the quay to welcome me home, every time an arrangement was made to marry, I was called to arms in another campaign. The long years passed, with only one blessing, although many times in the thick of a conflict I was mercifully saved from any injury, but such terrible sights did I see, each time seeming to be more terrible than the last.”
“On returning home in 1889 I took to my bed with a fever that lasted an age, nursing me through many sleepless nights I gradually recovered, with loving care, attentive to every one of my needs she stayed by my side. My love for her knew no bounds as the weeks turned into months, I couldn’t bare to let her out of my sight, and the thought of serving abroad again without her with me, brought on nightmares of great proportions.”
“We married in St. George’s church in 1890. That same year I had her by my side as we set sail to India, at long last we had managed to complete our teenage love, we were both of us thirty-three years old, mid life in those days, but our adventure lasted another sixty glorious years.”

He stood up to leave, and turned to face me, “It was blue.” He said, “the ribbon was blue, and no, she didn’t have a chaperon.”

……………………………………………………..

Returning six decades later to remember that afternoon, to sit on the seat and admire the legend on the trunk of that tree, I was so saddened to find all traces of it had been removed. The seat was no longer there, the flowers and balustrades had gone and been replaced by iron railings, the bandstand was falling apart and the echoes of the music we all loved haunted that park. A little bit of history and the promise he had made could not be seen by the descendants of that fine old gentleman, who served his country for so many years, it had all disappeared forever. Perhaps though, this account would be cherished by his descendents still living in the town, and the lifetime of service he gave for his country still echoing to the sound of the trees left in the park on a sunny afternoon. The haunting sound of the music coming from the bandstand as the kind hearts of the Friends of Ellington Park try to refurbish such a beautiful monument is being watched over by all those who have passed and are resting from a lifetime of service for their country that we all love so much.

……………………………………………………

Thanks for stopping by.

A Little Sketch in the warmth today.


 
It’s bitter down here in Hampshire, went outside to clear the car of snow, it was frozen solid, so I cleared a bit until my hands set like concrete and I was a feared they would break off if I did any more, so I gave up and came in. My lovely wife made me a steaming mug of tea to bring the circulation back but even that went cold, after the few minutes with my hands wrapped round it, so I ‘Nuked’ it as the children would say, what ever did we do without the microwave?

I settled down in the warmth of my little room, put some light classics on the DVD in the computer and took out my pencils and paper to do a bit of sketching. After about half an hour my eyes started to close, listening to the lifeblood of my existence, warm and cosy, doing what I had always in the past dreamed of doing in the busy life I have had, at long last my retirement has been the peace I had hoped it would be, doing the things that give me so much enjoyment.

Another little story has come to mind that you all seem to be enjoying, going from the very kind emails I have received, so I will endeavour to complete it tonight and post it tomorrow if I finish it. In the meantime the unfinished efforts of today that needs a bit more time, I don’t know where it is because its just out of that furry muddle up in the recesses of the few grey cells left.


Thanks for dropping by. 

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Camp Week in the Late Forties

 
I wonder what they would say today, the health and safety guys and gals would probably have a fit, and the local constabulary would have a field day running out of their little forms summoning all our mums and dads to court. Then there are the child welfare people, oh dear . . . . . panic! ! !
I don’t know about vehicles, never been one to differentiate one from another, mind you, I couldn’t do without one; I’d have to walk or catch the bus. Where I live there is a bus every twelve hours and they stop running at ten o’clock. . .(think about that one as I carry on), but it is the truth. The funny thing is if I had a bus pass I can only use it after nine o’clock in the morning and before five in the evening, the only bus that stops at the top of the road arrives at eight forty five so I would have to pay. Being a pensioner on a flat pension I would have to give up eating or something even more important because it is cheaper to get a taxi if you share it with someone!
Anyway look at the picture, a couple of dozen young lads sitting on their kit bags on the back of a lorry ready for a journey to their yearly camp at Seasalter from St Marks Church in Pysons road. I was seven, and I had a broken arm in a sling, that’s before we started off on a journey all the way along the Thanet Way, no seat belts, actually no seats. The wind in our hair singing all the way, great fun, we all had the time of our young lives. Mind you, I don’t think that lorry would exceed 30mph flat out, and I vaguely remember having to stop to let a heard of cows cross the road presumably for milking.
Each night we had a bonfire that lit up the night sky and probably could be seen back in Ramsgate. We all had a knife, some small, some of the bigger boys had big ones that we were taught how to sharpen, this was essential because the stick that was used to skew the potatoes that had to be cooked in the embers of the bonfire had to have a point, sharpened of course with those precious knives.
No one that I can remember was ever stupid enough to use them only for the purpose of wood craft, when we went fishing how on earth could you gut your catch and cook it if you didn’t have a knife. There was rough and tumbles and disagreements, we were boys, but I’m sure the thought would never enter our heads to pull a knife in anger; you used your fists to clout someone, and there was plenty of that as you can imagine.
Thanks for dropping by.
 

Saturday, 19 January 2013

A Little Story Today

Looking out the window, once again reminded me of home, so a little story began instead of venturing out into the cold. I hope it is not too long for you, . . . . enjoy.
 
Snow and a Christmas of long, long ago.

It had come to his notice recently, that over the past few years, supposedly to make things interesting for his grandchildren, and more to the point, to hold their attention, he had been elaborating and embellishing the memories in his stories that he had been telling them. It didn’t matter really at first, but more and more their interest in his past was influencing the manner in which they saw things around them, he had also been told their school work reflected a lot of what had been included in his little ‘yarns’ at bedtime.
“How do you remember Christmas Granddad, did it always snow when you were a boy, like the pictures on the Christmas cards?”
His young granddaughter was quizzically looking at one of the cards and starring at the picture. She reached up and took it off the sideboard, her little face looked up from the card and across to the patio that was all lit up with fairy lights through the French windows of the lounge. It was a mild December evening, no wind or rain, and definitely not cold enough for snow.
She looked back down again at the card in her little hand, a carriage in the foreground with furrows in the snow behind it that the wheels had made. Carol singers gathered round a street lamp singing their hearts out, a typical Christmas scene you find on many a card representing the time of year, everything covered in snow.
She stared at his rugged old face for a minute, then asked him for another story before she had to go to bed, you could tell she was getting eager about the prospect of opening the presents stacked up on the floor in front of her in a few days time, sleep would not come easy for her with all the excitement she was trying to contain.
Previously asking what she wanted Father Christmas to bring her and leave in her stocking, the reply, with a little bit of distain on her face at the thought that one so old should still believe in some imaginary character with a red suit on, and should be coming down a chimney;
“Granddad, don’t be silly!”
There wasn’t a fireplace in the lounge where they sat, a feeling of melancholy and sadness brought a lump to his throat. Looking across from the armchair his eyes fell on the plastic imitation of the Christmas tree covered in baubles that he knew cost his daughter a small fortune.
Two of the items on this little treasure’s list consisted of an ipad, and new laptop. Then if mummy could afford it, a games consol, whatever that was.
He took a small sip of the brandy his daughter had given him and carefully placed it back on the little side table by the armchair, happy that it had in some small way relieved him from the feeling of what had been lost over time, and realised, not for the first time how lucky he was to have such beautiful memories of this period from his young life.
Patting his lap for her to join him, she snuggled down into his frail old arms, so many times in the past her favourite spot when he called to see them. 
The smell of freshly baked mince pies and sausage rolls wafted into the lounge from the kitchen where his daughter was busy preparing for the coming festive celebrations, juices of anticipation flooded his mouth to support the brandy as he took another sip.
“Yes it was nearly always snowing at Christmas time;” he started off by telling her. 
Pulling the blanket round her little shoulders that had been put there to keep him warm, he carried on, his mind going back to his childhood as if it was only yesterday, remembering his own mothers cooking on those occasions.
…………………………………………………
 Tiny crystal flakes floating down so majestically and settling on the shoulders of his girlfriends camel coat collar and shoulders, glistening underneath the gas street light that was hissing above their heads, each silent floating flake sparkling as the beautiful melody of ‘The First Nowell’ drifted out from St.Georges Church close by. Standing there in ‘Wellies’ and thick coats they both listened to that beautiful melody filling the night air. The snow gently falling was settling on the ground to quite a depth, creating a soft crisp crunch from their footsteps. Her little hand, covered in a pink woollen mitten snuggled into his pocket where his cold hand was, the warmth from those tiny fingers as they encircled his, gave him a comfort knowing it wasn’t just a meaningless gesture, but was also giving her an assurance of belonging as well. Both of them had been so lonely, so isolated with few friends because of their passion in the past before meeting each other, which is another story.
Standing there taking in the beauty of their surroundings, dwarfed by that magnificent church, knowing now the majesty of Christmas that rose up inside each of their hearts; the realisation of the meaning to what the season was all about engulfed them with a warmth that neither of them had known before. The love of music overwhelming both their untarnished hearts, two small children who had experienced at such an early age so much joy at what they had found in each others company.
Watching the headstones being covered so silently, sparkling in their new winter coat, they both looked up at what was in front of them on the Church notice board as the snow created a Christmas card view of the massive entrance behind the railings. He read out loud the two words that were printed diagonally in large type across the flyer behind the glass with what was obviously a thrill in his voice, he couldn’t help himself, his words caught in his throat with the excitement he was feeling, he pronounced the two words; ‘The Messiah’ that wonderful music was being performed the coming weekend here in the church they felt was their own. Both of them attended the school a few yards away, wearing with pride the uniform that pronounced to the world of their status in the town where they lived.
Turning her head to look up at him a couple of large crystal flakes of snow fell on her face and quickly melted away through the warmth of her skin running into her eyes, quickly blinking them away that same excitement that he felt, beamed across her face with the prospect of listening to the voices so fresh in her memory of their night in London a couple of weeks before; she whispered, so not to disturb the beautiful silent winter evening that held that melody in the air coming from the church, “Can we go Al’, can we go?”
How lucky he thought, finding someone to share the thrill of the music that was forever present in his heart, he just couldn’t understand why his school friends and also the grownups around him didn’t feel the same. The emotions that he had when hearing and listening to any great work of the masters of his universe cast him aside in the past to a lonely existence, isolating him from the norm, until he was fortunate enough to meet his ever present companion. Sharing their enthusiasm with a relish of life itself, and it set them apart from everyone, but it didn’t matter any more, they had each other.
The following week, there were two small children sitting in the pews at the back of a crowded church, everywhere covered in holly and pine branches smelling of Christmas. No plastic ornaments or garish decorations, just holly and candles that smelt of wax and pine needles. A single voice echoed around that vast area reaching the belfry up above and falling to prime their ears to start the evening with ‘Oh Come All Yee Faithful.’ It was pitch perfect in its clarity; there wasn’t any accompaniment to that beautiful voice, every word as clear as the church bells that had finished their calling a few minutes before.
Sitting on the wooden pews that were hard and not very comfortable, but as the glorious singing began of at least a hundred voices it seemed to fill that church to the rafters, all thoughts of discomfort were lost to both of them. Their young hearts, fit to burst with the music of Handel ‘Unto Us a Child Is Born’
They were not on their own, everyone around them had tears of utter exhilaration. The love of his life gripped his arm so tightly as each climax tried to seemingly split the very core of her being. For two hours they sat on the edge of that pew getting more and more exhausted with the majesty of it all, and then in silence walking out into the cold winter night, snow falling hard to a peace on earth that to this day is a memory of lasting joy for him.

Turning the corner at the Odeon Cinema into King Street the wind and ice struck them both like a thousand needles, and looking up at the snow still falling and a biting wind now in their faces, they ran across the road to shelter for a while and catch their breathe in Olby’s entrance and listened to a ‘sing song’ that was going on in the ‘York Arms’ a few doors up the road. Little fairy lights adorned each shop window with wreaths of holly hanging from each door. The Salvation Army band could be heard playing somewhere in the background probably in the town square as they once again set off on their way towards The Plains of Waterloo. They stopped again and sheltered in Firrels the jewellers and opticians, and he remembered the scent from the florist on the corner even though the door was closed and pavement empty of all the flowers that usually covered that corner of King Street. Crossing back over the road, braving the blizzard they eventually turned the corner huddled up close to each other nearly colliding with a small crowd who were all bunched up around a brazier trying to keep warm, they made room for them so they stayed a while, listening once again to the sound of Christmas as they sang carols by the fire in their woolly hats and scarves. Buying a bag of hot chestnuts from the vendor for a few pence they both wrapped their hands round the brown paper bag to warm them, eventually pulling themselves away from the warmth of the fire to carry on with their journey home. The delicious contents of the bag added to their joy as they climbed that steep hill to its summit, peeling the last one, they both giggled and shared it, making each bite smaller than the last to prolong the disappointment they had all gone. He remembered wrapping one end of his red and navy school scarf around her neck to protect her from the cold wind as they braced themselves for the last part of their journey and what they knew would be the worst of the weather, turning into Wellington Crescent on the cliff top. The welcoming sight of the porch light shining on the virgin snow, now quite deep outside her home loomed up in front of them. Opening the door for her, the warm air engulfed them; wrapping a blanket of comfort around two tiny figures in the porch-way. They had once again enjoyed an evening of music so dear to each of them; filling their very souls with a sound that could not, nor ever, leave them. This, along with a lot more of its kind is how he remembered Christmas.

Each window crystallised with ice making a perfect star in the centre, tiny white frosted fingers reaching the extremities of each pane creating a kaleidoscope of the scene outside. One corner of each pane oddly collecting the snow as it fell silently from the pitch-black sky, millions upon millions of small flakes falling in slow motion to join the carpet of the pure white blanket that covered everything in sight, such beauty in the nature of it, so hard to describe or replicate. The light from the porch was shining like a thousand candles illuminating a small area; behind it pitch black nothingness, no sound, and no movement until a small block fell from the roof with the very faintest thud sending myriads of small flakes in all directions only to settle again, disappearing into the blanket of soft white virgin snow.
Standing in the window watching, both of them lost in the wonder of nature being created before their very eyes, so beautiful, everything was so peaceful, the evening they had shared had been so perfect, the little lights on the Christmas tree by their side added to the reflections in the window and each crystal of ice reflected a rainbow of colours adding to the magic of the scene.
Her mum lit the candles on the sideboard and piano and turned off the main light, the fire crackled in the grate giving everything in the room a warm glow making their cheeks and hands come back to life giving both of them, standing close together the memory of the music still fresh in their minds, a feeling of the love of life they both shared.
Remembering it now, so vividly, he can still smell that room of real pine needles, of scented candle wax, and the Yew logs burning in the fireplace. That ever-present perfume she used to put on, drifting up towards him as they stood there, her little hand, so gentle, finding his. When she had taken her coat off he remembers the lace from her blouse falling over her shoulders and how he rearranged it, those big blue eyes looking up at him as he smoothed that very feminine lace around her shoulders, so fine and delicate.   
There were no presents, no paper chains, just he remembers, a little nativity scene on the table by the Christmas tree. Sitting in front of the fire on the floor cross-legged cracking nuts and drinking a punch her mum made up for them, as it went down making him warm inside, there was no need for expensive presents, no need for garish decorations to fill that big room, the warmth of the fire and snug feeling of Christmas with the snow falling outside was enough for him to remember every detail sixty years on.
He finally had to tog up again to make his way home, it was Christmas eve, he wanted to be with his little brother and sisters and the drifting snow outside wasn’t at all a deterrent to make that journey. Remembering that small delicate lovely figure of a girl standing in the window as he turned to wave goodbye, snow falling very heavily around him with a good two to three mile walk ahead of him, the smile on her face as she raised her arm was enough to keep him warm inside for the whole journey home. No one passed him that night, the soft snow crunching under his feet with every step, it was not an effort, in fact he found it raised his spirits even further with the memory of the music still ringing in his ears.

An evening to remember, a Christmas to remember, a joy to his heart that is still there sixty years on as he sometimes listens to the music of Handel with a tear or two. Although it has been broken in a couple of places over the years, the fitness of his youth has kept that ticker of his going for him to cherish those early days and stood him in good stead with just a few hiccups.
He sat there in the armchair with his young granddaughter on his lap who was by now fast asleep, remembering;

Stretched out on his bed with his brother, eating the large orange that they always found in their pillowcase at the bottom of the beds, the chocolate father Christmas that was a big attraction before Christmas breakfast of ‘ham off the bone’ (not the plastic stuff you buy in the supermarkets these days), and there were large runny eggs with big yellow yokes that they dipped home made bread soldiers in . . . . and butter! ! Such a treat, so much joy in remembering a time of year with the small things that made it so special, sad really, that the youngsters of today would take it all as a matter of course.
His family had been so rich in the love of life they shared with each other, his brother and sisters meant so much to him and the fun they shared at that time has lasted their whole life.
He looked up at the wall in his daughter’s lounge and studied the television covering well over half of one side in front of him and remembered the twelve-inch screen they had sat and watched the Coronation on all those years ago, how marvellous they all thought at the time. But at Christmas, there was each other, and their entertainment was gathering round the piano singing carols, or sitting in a huddle round a big fire in the grate eating fruit and cracking nuts and playing games.
He lifted with ease the young life off his lap; her little head snuggled into his neck in a sleepy stupor and closed her eyes again. Her little hand gripped hold of his shirt collar pulling herself closer into him, and her other arm hung onto the blanket that he had wrapped around her before, keeping her warm. Studying her face as he walked across the room, wondering if she would remember her Christmas’s with so much enjoyment, climbing the stairs with her in his arms, a sadness all of a sudden came over him, a cloud of despair seemed to tarnish the taste of the brandy he had just finished drinking, if only he could show her what they had, just to wrap in a small parcel that love they felt, and put it with her other parcels awaiting her under the tree. It was a strange feeling of helplessness of what she was missing, and that material world that was in store for her, and what he hoped would be a long life in front of her.
Gently laying her in bed and tucking her up for the night, his veined old hand stroked the hair out of her eyes, standing there for a while looking down at the perfection lying so peacefully in front of him, don’t we all wonder at the beauty of life we create, watching each day our children and grandchildren grow, marvelling at this miracle of the life we bring into being. He turned to see his daughter standing in the doorway; a little tear fell off her chin that had run down her cheek as she held out her arms to me;
“I know Pop’, I know, but she is happy I’m sure, and she loves your little stories, like we all did, such a long time ago now. Come and have another drink and don’t be sad, she is such a happy little soul, it’s Christmas!”
Going back down the stairs, she linked his arm and turned to face him;
“Who was the little sweet-heart you just mentioned, was it mum . . . . .?”
He shook his head, once again remembering all they had given each other;
“Someone I have beautiful memories of,” he softly whispered, a distant calm look of peace crossed his face, in that brief moment he was young again, turning towards his daughter with a little smile;
“Sadly lost over time my dear, but never ever, ever forgotten.”

 …………………………………………………..

 

Thursday, 17 January 2013

A bit more done in the workshop

Back of draw front
 
Front of draw front
 
Turned blank ready to reduce the tennon to about 1/8 of an inch

There won’t be a post tomorrow, we are off to Sandown for the craft show, weather permitting, all the way up the M3 – M25, and down the A3, looks pretty bad on the weather forecast but we are keeping our fingers crossed.

So, I spent the morning in the workshop after making the bread, putting the dinner on and clearing up. I retrieved a draw front from an old chest-of-draws that I dismantled last summer, ¾ of an inch thick and 7 inches wide x 4 foot long, solid oak, they don’t make furniture like that anymore.

If you are out and about, trawl the charity shops, there are enough of them around in the high streets these days, so browse around while the misses is doing her thing, it’s surprising what you can find for a few pounds, furniture wise.

Two solid beach stools from the 1950’s with one and a half inch square legs £1 each last week, they would make lovely handles for those chisels that were picked up for a song at the garage sale, not bad when you consider I would have had to pay around the region of £20, plus postage for the same amount of wood ‘on line’ and nine times out of ten its not been properly seasoned.

Anyway the base for the bowl that I started making, cut a good six inches off the draw front, cleaned up and turned to the exact circumference of the inside (about an 1/8 of an inch in depth) of the segmented circle, turn over on the face plate and clean up the other side.

I’ll do a bit more at the weekend, going shopping this afternoon, crossed the burgers off the shopping list though, make do with a bit of mince and make my own, you just never know these days with all the pretty pictures on the box in the freezer’s of the supermarkets.
 
Thanks for dropping by
Back at the weekend.