Hungry

Hungry an hour earlier, because the clocks went back. It’s 4pm but it feels like 5pm. My stomach remembers the ‘real’ time. Eventually things will settle down, but then in four months time when the clocks ‘spring’ forward, I will be hungry an hour later! I’ve never suffered from jet lag, but it must be ten times worse. I remember as a child that when the clocks changed in the summer I could not sleep, because it was still sunny! I used to sit on the windowledge and read my book behind the curtains until the sun set.

Gemini

Half of me was wrenched away

Just six weeks ago, today

Now you’re gone through that door

And I will see your face no more,

We weren’t close, but still I knew

My life and yours, linked as two

Souls that shared a single birth

Both of us, a childhoods hearth.

Still I think you will call me up

We’ll talk a while over a cup

Or two of tea, and a scone

But really I know you’re gone.

I can’t forget, but I will begin

To think you’re in the sky, a star, my twin.

Red

Red is the colour I loved as a child. Not pink. I had to have a bright red polkadot dress. I remember seeing a red setting sun for the first time when I was small. I liked red sweets, though I don’t remember the flavour. Red roses were beautiful, and red toffee apples were tasty.

Even now I like wearing red, but I’m a bit more adventurous, liking deep reds and maroons and bright reds. I still don’t like pink though.

Sundays were always boring…

Sitting around being bored. Shops shut, nowhere to go. Listening to the radio, parents doing the washing in a boiler and a spin drier in the kitchen. Steam coming up and then patterns in the water as the spindryer vibrated the bowl that caught the water. No fridge, just a cold pantry, food was usually bacon and eggs for breakfast and tinned peaches and evaporated milk with sliced bread and butter at teatime. It was always the same. Things did change, life got more interesting, but only when my parents got transport, which was two small motorbikes. Memories are strange, they suddenly appear, then what do you do.

Sixty years

There is an anniversary this year, the sixtieth year of Dr Who. I can remember hiding behind the settee when I was a child when I saw the monsters on TV in the programme. Not only Daleks were frightening. Cybermen and Autons too. The Doctor would always be caught in a cliffhanger situation at the end of an episode. In the next one he would solve the problem and rescue people on the planets he had landed on. In those days stories lasted four or five weeks. After a hiatus of a few years when the series seemed to have stopped for good it came back in the form of a film starring Paul McGann. Followed by a resurrected Christopher Eccleston in a brand new series. I know they are planning a spectacular story for the sixtieth story. I hope it lives up to expectations. I’m still a fan.

Horse Chestnut

Horse Chestnut leaf today. On a sapling. The leaves are larger than a man’s hand, deeply segmented and split into seven sections. The tree will grow very large and when it starts to flower it will grow large white flowering bracts. Then in the autumn it develops nuts called Conkers. These are encased in a spikey shell that you have to peel off. This is the thing that children make holes through and then use to play the game conkers. Basically each person has one of them. They drill or pierce the nut with a skewer fron the top to the base. It is then threaded onto a string. Two children / people stand opposite each other. One holds up their conker and swings it at the other one. If it hits it can either knock the other conker or split it. If it doesn’t break the other person takes a turn. The conker is called a “one-er” if it survives. Each time it doesn’t break the number goes up, so “two-er” and so on. Some people bake conkers or soak them in vinegar to strengthen them.

So basically when you hear about a game of conkers that’s what it is. The trouble comes when you try and get them off the trees. We have a row of them on the main road. Children throw sticks and stones up at the branches to get them down which can be a hazard if you walk or drive underneath them.

Four eyes

When I was little I used to get called ‘four eyes’ because I was wearing glasses. It was hurtful and upsetting but I don’t think I really understood why other children were calling me that. It didn’t help having an unusual name. Kids would shout names at me like ‘blueband’ (a name of a margarine). I realise now I was being bullied. I was only about seven or eight and I hated it.

The Cavern and the Beatles

When the Beatles were famous I was a child. By the time they split up I was still not very old. One of my earliest memories was hearing them on the radio. ‘Help’, Love me do’, ‘Yesterday’, I can still remember a lot of the words and tunes and I really feel nostalgic when I hear their songs.

I was a bit older when I heard of the Cavern Club in Liverpool, Merseyside. I never went there but cavern came up as a word prompt for a friend and suddenly I remembered where I’d heard the word. So I looked it up on the Internet (where I got the photo). The original club opened in 1957 as a jazz club. They didn’t like rock and roll but when it was taken over the Beatles started to play there in 1961 (they were previously known as the Quarrymen). Apparently they played there over 270 times. The club itself was a cellar with a curved arched ceiling. It closed in 1973 and was demolished so a railway line could be laid. The Cavern club did reopen but I’m not sure if it still is open.

How lucky

How lucky to have glasses, to be able to see. I didn’t always wear glasses. My poor eyesight was only picked up in eye screening at school. I don’t remember things being blurred or hard to see. Did I sit at the front of the class? I don’t know. I remember my first glasses. They had beautiful blue frames. I learnt to be patient as the optician looked into the back of my eyes. Shining a light so I could see the blood vessels reflected somehow onto my retinas.

Rugby ball shaped eyes were the diagnosis. Short sighted. Suddenly I could see the world clearly. I felt freed from a struggle I did not know I had been going through. I only realised how bad my eyesight was when I learnt to swim. I couldn’t wear my glasses in the swimming pool and I could not recognise my friends unless they came close.

Now I understand why I got lost on a beach a few years before! I could not see my family when I wandered off. And why I got lost on a caravan site. I could not see the numbers on the vans…. Yes I am lucky. I wish others could be too…