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Author Topic: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond  (Read 42621 times)

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Minsterboy

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #135 on: June 19, 2014, 22:09:40 »
A great read busyglen.

If only people today could be so grateful for small mercies and things instead of expecting so much for nothing. I also recall using some pretty rank items of second hand furniture when I first got married.

Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #134 on: June 19, 2014, 19:19:43 »
Life carried on as usual, and although we had talked about getting married and buying a house, our wages were such that we couldn't really afford it.  One day PJ met me from work, and said that he had first refusal of a house that had been repossessed.  It was in a bit of a state, and needed new floors, and complete re plastering in one room. It would be a lot of work, but he had been given confirmation that he could have a small mortgage.  We decided to go for it, and spent the next couple of weeks cleaning the place and putting carpet in the dining room and bedroom. Plus begging and rescuing an old cooker and fridge.  We also bought a bed and a table and chairs before the money ran out.   We managed to get a mortgage, which was 3 per week!  We decided that we would get married within the month, so set about organising that as well.  We hired the Ex-Servicemen's Club for the wedding breakfast.  The cake cost 3 guineas.  I went with my sister and niece to London to buy my wedding dress, which cost 10 guineas.  I had decided on a slim fitting one, but as we went through the rails, I spotted one with a crinoline skirt.  It was in the sale, as it was the end of a line, but the others persuaded me to try it on.  The face peering out at me when I looked in the mirror, totally amazed me.   I looked like a princess, (or so they told me) and it fitted like a glove, so I came home feeling on top of the world.  We found a lovely dress for my niece which suited her, so that was one less thing to worry about. By the time we had counted all the family that was going to be invited, with a few friends, we had got up to 100 people, and I began to worry.  However, I was assured that everything would be ok.  We thought about going to Blackpool for our honeymoon, but as we didn't have a car, we weren't sure about that, until Mr.G (who had retired) told me that we could borrow his car as he was no longer working.  PJ had a licence as he drove his father's car occasionally, and Mr. G's car was `any driver' so it was agreed. Looking back, I am sure quite a few people thought that we `had' to get married, as it was arranged so quickly, but we needed to pool our money in order to buy the house, and it was the `push' that we both needed.

The night before, I invited several of my girl friends, and female relatives to the house for drinks and nibbles.  All of the wedding gifts had been laid out on the front bedroom floor, which had no carpet, only white paper, and  everyone went up to have a look. We still didn't have a stair carpet, but that would come a bit later. The front room was bare boards and rendered walls which showed that hardly any cement had been used and sand kept falling off if the wall was touched.  Such a lot of work to do!!

The day dawned and my cousin helped me with my hair as I decided to do it myself.  It was a hot day, and PJ sent for his suit which was packed in a case.  He was aiming to wear his uniform, but he felt it would be too hot.  We had an Armstrong Sidley car from Hogbens, and although we only had to go a short distance (as we were going to Trinity Church) which was only a couple of hundred yards from our house, I felt quite excited.  When I walked in on my elder brother's arm, followed by the bridesmaids, I was surprised to see so many people there.  I knew we had about 100 guests, but there were a lot more than that. Afterwards we drove round to the Club for the Wedding Breakfast, and found the tables and chairs filling the hall.  Afterwards the hall was cleared and there was a band for dancing.  After about an hour, we left and went to my house to get changed and to pick up our cases.

We drove to Mr. G's house and swapped cars, and then started our drive to Blackpool.  We were staying in London overnight and hadn't booked anywhere, but knew of a road where there were quite a few boarding houses.  We finally found a room and were told that we must be out by 7.00am, and there was no breakfast!  It was so noisy...the toilet was down the hall, and someone kept crying, and another sounded drunk!  In the end we got up and left about 4.00am.  We made our way to the A1 and stopped at the service station for breakfast, and then climbed back in the car and had a sleep. Feeling a bit better, we then ploughed on to Blackpool and found a room, and again fell asleep on the bed, fully clothed.  We managed to wake in time for the evening meal and we were starving! The next day was hot and sunny, and we walked along the sands and found a deckchair to collapse into, and observe all that was going on around us.  We found that there was a good film on, and decided to go that evening.  We walked to Stanley Park Gardens, and had a peach and an ice cream.  They were the best I could ever remember tasting!

 The next day we decided to go to the Lake District, and set off in the car looking forward to the trip and possibly staying overnight.  When we got to Bowness, we decided to have a trip on the lake but by the time we stopped at one of the stages to have a cup of tea, it started to rain quite hard.  So... we decided to go back and pick the car up, and make our way back to Blackpool.  When we got there the sun was shining again!  We booked into another small hotel for the night, and went out that night to see the lights.  There were hundreds of people walking along the front and also in lots of coaches. The next day we packed and made our way across the country towards Wales to stay a couple of days with family.  The journey was quite good although the roads were busy, but we had a couple of stops in transport cafes.  We duly arrived, and had a meal with the family and then collapsed into bed.  We had a couple of good days there and then had to return home. We couldn't believe how quickly the time had flown.  We took the car back to Mr G and he wanted to know how the journey had gone, and we were pleased to say that all was well........apart from the fact that the boot had a dent in the middle of the back where a young lad in a sports car had braked too slowly and hit us up the back!  We offered to pay for the damage, but he was insistent that it wasn't a problem and he would sort it!  And so we started our first night in our own home.
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #133 on: May 21, 2014, 20:05:31 »
Time passed and I was kept busy at work.  The staff was growing and the Boss had acquired another building next door.  Mr. G had left and I was asked to carry on in his place, with the help of another employee.  We got on well together and coped with all of the book-keeping and daily banking, together with the addition of managing the stationery, and ordering etc.  It definitely was a full time job.

During this time I had been seeing PJ on and off and at one point I cooled it as I felt I was getting too fond of him, but didn't feel that he felt the same.  He was a bit shy, but we got on well together most of the time, but I didn't want to get in too deep, and then find out that it wasn't going anywhere.  After a bit of a break, he knocked the door one day, and came in and asked if I would like to go to Wales to see his brother with his parents.  I said ok, providing it was alright with them.  He hadn't asked them and got a rollicking when he said I would be going.  I found out later, that his mother had said it would be ok, providing he was serious and not messing me about. From then on things only got better!

As time went by, I began to go to various events that PJ had to attend as he was an officer in a local boys' organisation.  He grew up spending most of his spare time, teaching and training them to become (hopefully) better citizens, in much the same way he had he had been taught.  He was very strict, but at the end of some sessions, he would have a `free for all' where the young lads could let their hair down and try to wrestle him to the ground.  From this, they learnt that although he was strict and demanded their best attention, he was approachable if they had any problems or needed help.  On one particular `open evening' I happened to hear a parent thank him for what he had done for his son.  He replied that he hadn't done anything specific, it was all down to the lad himself.  When he gave an order, it was obeyed without question, and if the lad had a problem, he would ask.  The parent said that he had previously been unable to get him to listen, and the more he shouted at him, the worse he became. But recently he found that he was able to talk to him normally and the tantrums had disappeared. I was quite chuffed for PJ as it proved that all of his hard work and discipline was reaping rewards.  Some boys joined, stayed for a month or so and then left, but there was always a regular group that stayed and then in turn, took exams and moved up the ladder to become instructors.  I began to travel with PJ to the various places where there were competitions and also met many of his friends, and this was to form a way of life for many years.

Meanwhile, my Grandfather was getting older, but was still able to walk short distances, and he used to go with my mother to Bingo at the Argosy once a week.  He had a lovely laugh, and always a twinkle in his eye, when he said something funny.  He smoked a pipe and it wasn't unpleasant, even though everything in the room smelt of it. If PJ happened to call in, he would knock on the door to his room and spend some time with him, and they had many a laugh together. We fell into a pattern of work, and on Saturday evenings, we would go to the Ex-Servicemens' Club where we met up with several people we knew and had a drink and a dance.  I was not a drinker ... the odd Babycham was enough and would last me the evening.  One evening as we were about to leave, (it was drinking up time) a friend bought me a drink which I didn't want, but in the end I drank it.  It was an Atom Bomb, (I think they called it) which was Brandy and Babycham.  I sipped it and then when it was closing time, I took a swallow.....bad mistake!  Once I got outside in the fresh air, I was really dizzy, and kept laughing.  PJ later told me that I kept walking with one foot in the gutter and one on the pavement, and insisted that I did it that way.  When we got to my house, we went in and my mother always left a flask of tea and a couple of cakes on the table.  Apparently, I took my shoes off and stuffed them under the bottom of the upright piano (which is not very deep), insisting that that was where I wanted them. We had a cake and some tea, and then PJ said goodnight, gent that he was!  When I got up in the morning, I couldn't find my shoes anywhere, and later PJ told me where they were!  I said that I would never make that mistake again, and really meant it....but of course, I did slip up again on one other occasion!  There was a promotion at the VC Club one evening for the drink `Calypso' so we went with several friends, and it happened to be PJ's birthday.  We were given a free glass of Sherry, which I sipped, and later another friend gave me a Brandy and lemonade.  We were then given a free glass of Calypso, which I vaguely remember drinking.  Then some dancing started up with the Calypso dancers, doing a limbo dance under the pole.  People were invited to have a go, and I said no when pressed.  I did have a vague feeling that I was standing in the line at some point, but can't remember going under the pole, although I was told that I had.  I then remember sitting on a chair, leaning against PJ who was standing behind, when the band struck up `Happy Birthday'.  They called him out onto the floor, and then I thought he was back, so leant back onto his stomach.  A little while later, PJ came back and spoke to me, and I suddenly realised that I wasn't leaning on him at all!!  Luckily it was another friend of ours, and he laughed and said I looked so peaceful, he didn't want to disturb me!!  I had my leg pulled for quite a few weeks afterwards, but I don't think I ever got into that state again! 
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #132 on: April 21, 2014, 16:15:58 »
Returning to the Solicitors era, life continued as before, but at home we were experiencing problems.  My Grandfather had been living in a caravan on the grounds of my mother's sister's small holding on the outskirts of Maidstone, but she became ill and died in hospital of cancer.  This meant that the house and grounds were being sold, and my Grandfather would not be able to stay where he was.  Therefore, it was decided by my parents, that he would come and live with us.  They turned the front sitting-room into a bed sitting room for him and he was able to wash in the kitchen, as he couldn't climb upstairs to the bathroom.  He was a lovely man, and in his 90s, and I would often go and sit and chat to him when I had a bit of free time.  He had a lovely sense of humour and would often make me laugh with a wicked gleam in his eye. Later he was to become quite fond of PJ who would sit and chat to him for ages.  We all settled down quite well to this addition, apart from my father who was going through a bit of a bad patch at that time.

Because of his previous illness, the addition of my Grandfather to the family brought back old feelings and he struggled to maintain some sort of normality. Unbeknown to us at this time, he was also suffering from cancer.  Sometimes I would see him walking past the office from the window, and now and again he would stop and rub his back as if it hurt.  I mentioned this to my mother and she had a word with him, and persuaded him to go to the Doctors.  After quite a few tests, it was discovered that he had cancer of the kidneys, and that there was no cure.  He was given pain killers, and used to sit in his chair by the fire and mostly sleep.  The Doctor used to come every few days and check his medication (this was in the '60s) and he would mostly sleep all the time.  Eventually, the Doctor said he was going to order an ambulance to take him in to hospital, as he needed specialist care and at this time he was hardly talking.  I went with my mother in the ambulance, and we waited until he was taken on to the Ward. That was the last time I saw him, although my mother went a couple of times with my elder brother who had a car. About a week later, I was in bed with a sickness bug, when a secretary came from the office to say that my father was failing fast and could my mother get there.  She called my brother from work, and off they went.  About half an hour later, the secretary came back to say that he had passed away and that they would have been too late. Before my mother had returned my younger brothers had disposed of the chair that Dad had been sitting in, so that it would not be staring Mum in the face when she walked in the door. That was the first time that I had encountered a death in the family.  My Grandmother had died when I was six, and lived in Deal so I hardly saw her, and later my Aunt Dorothy, (my mother's sister) died in Maidstone and again we hardly saw her as we didn't travel a lot.  This was also the first time that I had been to a funeral which was at Vinters Park Crematorium.
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #131 on: April 19, 2014, 19:23:09 »
I didn't mean to imply you were a goodie goodie!

You're telling the story perfectly - I was replying to minsterboy really  :)

Sorry John38, minsterboy was correct, I was referring to him.

Thanks for your support, I'm glad you are enjoying it, as am I in writing it. :)
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Minsterboy

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #130 on: April 19, 2014, 17:33:20 »
Don't take offence John, busyglen will be referring to me.

Carry on as you are busyglen, it's still immensely enjoyable.

John38

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #129 on: April 19, 2014, 16:40:52 »
I didn't mean to imply you were a goodie goodie!

You're telling the story perfectly - I was replying to minsterboy really  :)

Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #128 on: April 19, 2014, 15:40:51 »
I suppose I do come over as a sort of `goodie, goodie,' but remember that whilst this story is true, it's possible that I may not   want to reveal all depending where I go with the story...or seeing as it is mostly writing itself, `where it decides' to take me! :)
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #127 on: April 19, 2014, 15:31:03 »

Was the cobblers opposite Lanes Dennis Smith's place, or hadn't he begun there then. I recall the old Hippodrome building was also still there as well, my father took me to a circus type show in there once when I was a kid and alongside Lanes would of been the Rio, a lovely cinema inside that an uncle of mine was manager of at one time.
Yes it was Dennis Smith there at that time, and the Hippodrome and Rio.  Although I have a feeling that the Rio may have been an Electronic Company by then.
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

Minsterboy

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #126 on: April 19, 2014, 11:01:20 »
No doubt one of Sheppey's original Teddy Boys then John. What a fantastic place Sheerness and Sheppey was for entertainment in those days! I remember it well. 

John38

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #125 on: April 19, 2014, 08:09:58 »
What a difference to me...remembering that I got married in 1959 ...we had a fantastic time as youths in Sheerness.

I don't know how many girlfriends I had between 15 and 21.

 There was the Co-op, Labour and County Youth clubs. Dances at the VC, Wheatsheaf, Conservative Club, Minster Workingman's Club ...the 'Tanner Hop' in the Borough Hall, Queenborough, not to mention Leysdown. Then there was the Cellar Club, Bishop's Milk Bar. Three cinemas, two live theatres, a Fairground with skating rink. Not to mention the beach with all the girls from London (nobody went abroad in those days). Two massive swimming pools, tennis courts, putting greens, the Judo Club, Sheppey Athletic Club, Sheppey United FC.

Sheerness was  a great place for growing up in those early days of Rock 'n Roll ........ yes I had a thoroughly misspent youth, luckily!

Minsterboy

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #124 on: April 19, 2014, 06:40:20 »
Gawd busyglen, you certainly remind us of the age of innocence that it was back then - no first date until 21 and youth clubs! I was four years behind you but still never had my first girlfriend until I was nearer 18 and the height of the weekend might be a dance at the Labour Hall, but then bang - the Beatles, the Stones and Swinging 60's all came in with a rush. Boy, did things and experiences then change overnight and did we have a fantastic, hedonistic life for a few years, or at least, most of us did.

Was the cobblers opposite Lanes Dennis Smith's place, or hadn't he begun there then. I recall the old Hippodrome building was also still there as well, my father took me to a circus type show in there once when I was a kid and alongside Lanes would of been the Rio, a lovely cinema inside that an uncle of mine was manager of at one time.

Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #123 on: April 18, 2014, 18:56:07 »
Going back a bit before, I actually left Lanes, I quite often used to see the young man who lived near me and came to my birthday party, in passing, and we would say hello.  He used to cycle around, and I came to notice that most days he would park his cycle outside the shoe repairers opposite, when he left work.  I was able to look across the road through the door, from a vantage point behind a display cabinet in Lanes. When I left work, he would pass me and say hello.  Later he gained some confidence and would stop and walk along with me to the gate near our house, and then cycle to the gate at the other end where he lived.  One day I was on a short holiday break, and had been to see my girlfriend, and when I walked in the gate at the end, the young man was just going home from work.  I said hello, and he stopped and asked if I would like to go to London the next day to see the Radio Show?  I said that I was sorry but I was going on a coach trip with my girlfriend.  He said never mind, and I realised he probably thought that I didn't want to go out with him, so I replied that it was a shame as I would have liked to have gone. He brightened up a bit and asked if I would be free the day after, and when I replied that I was, he beamed.  He confirmed that he would pick the tickets up from Barons Electricals in the Broadway, who was a friend of the family, and call for me in time to go and catch the train to London.  It was the first time I had been on a date with a boy (actually it should be young man as we were both twenty-one at this point) although I was used to being in a mixed crowd with some of my other friends that went to the youth club, and other young men.  Plus having three brothers I was used to their ways. We caught the train to Sittingbourne and then changed to the one to Victoria.  I seem to remember that we talked non-stop, although I couldn't have said what we talked about!  We enjoyed the show, and then went and had something to eat, and caught the train back home. When he left me at the front door, I said that I had really enjoyed it and rather nervously he replied that perhaps we could do something like that again.  Not pushing it, I said that I would like that, and he left.  I knew he was nervous, as indeed so was I, so I was content for nature to take its course.

Still at Lanes during this time, I can remember that (PJ as I will call him) asked me if I would like to go to a wedding of a friend of his at Rainham on the following Saturday.  I still had to work Saturday mornings at this time, so I went to ask Mr. Lane if I could have the morning off to go to a wedding.  He replied that he was going to be away also, but after a couple of minutes, he replied that a wedding was more important, so I had better go!  I think we caught the train, and got to the Church on time, but after sitting there for over half-an-hour, everyone was getting fidgety.  All of a sudden, the music started and the bride and groom entered. There was an apology for the late start, due to the original Vicar not having turned up, and the one taking the Service confessed that this was the first wedding that he had officiated at.  All went well, until he gave his sermon.... the theme was `Worshipping' and being one of our `overseas' vicars, he had a sing-song voice.  At one point he started to talk about the `Television' and he raised his voice and said `You will not worship the television'. One of the young lads in front of us started to laugh, which caused several people to have a fit of coughing, as they tried not to laugh. PJ and I also had our faces buried in our handkerchiefs trying not to laugh.  I felt so sorry for the bride and groom, as the whole thing seemed to be a complete disaster, but later at the reception the happy couple said that at least they would never forget the sermon.....every time they looked at the TV, it would bring a smile!
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

John38

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #122 on: April 17, 2014, 13:46:19 »
That's what happens when the 'pen takes over,' busyglen, it seems to write on its own and leaves you just have to think.

Offline busyglen

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Re: From the Pigeon Loft and beyond
« Reply #121 on: April 17, 2014, 11:19:03 »
Thank you John38 and Kyn for your kind words.  :)  I was beginning to bore myself, so thought it was a bit heavy!  Strangely I have no set plan, of what I am going to say, it just pops into my head, and when I read it back to check for errors, I can't believe that I've used some of the words, or where they have come from. Strange!
A smile is a curve that straightens things out.

 

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