Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Recalling Childhood Memories...

I do not have much of a memory at all of  childhood. But here is listing of what I recall excluding the actual recall of being born, or reborn into the world physically which appears on another post on this blog site for anyone who is interested.

i)... Playing in a sandpit, and finding small plastic toys........ This must have been a nursery school of sorts. I believe someone called Dr Ruby had a connection with it, and probably informed mater that I was mentally retarded....which might explain everything!! Lol!

ii)... Waking up in the morning full of energy, and "bounce." I then left my room, and went to my parents bedroom whereupon I was nearly shot down by a plastic missile from a large toy gun from the bed. This was about Xmas time 1966, or thereabouts. I do not know why I should remember this! My pater was laughing hysterically at the time....

iii) ...Again filled with energy I awaited my mater to enter my bedroom to help me learn to read with a Janet and John book...

iv) ...I seem to recall crawling about, and lacking in confidence to actually stand up and move...I was a late developer as my mater would say.

v) .....At a special Dr Who Fair around 1965 I saw a dalek on a stage shoot in and out of its corner with great speed towards me. It was quite frightening...along with the Cybermen, et al.

vi)....I recall once going haywire as a child in Edinburgh Gardens which was next to where I lived in Windsor. It is a sort of a higher middle class housing estate. I had a mad temper tantrum, and suddenly, had a "fit" in which I started to tear flowers up from the communal garden. I could remember some resident shouting from the window to "Stop! Stop! Stop" what I was doing. I then desisted...

vii)....Saw the original showing with pater of 2001 film in London, but found it dead boring...and still do as an adult. I also went to the Fulmer Film Society and recalled notably seeing some of the original James Bond films before they were actually released to public starring  Sean Connery ofcourse.

viii) ....I remember many occasions looking after mater's shopping as she went around "for hours" browsing around clothes shops, and the like.

The Disappeared Family "Archives."

The family "archives" seem to have long disappeared. I used to have albums for photos, and postcards. They cannot be traced. Then  there are the old home cine films which have disappeared even though they were put together onto a cd to make for ease of viewing. This too seems to have vanished into thin air. What I am left with essentially are memories.

On the cd of the old home cine films I recall basically the following.

i) Having ice cream in Savill Gardens as a child

ii) Images of a place called the Villa outside Oswestry. One movie clip involves my grandmother appearing, and then disappearing outside her her old "Victorian" home. A simple camera trick.

iii) Some stop gap animation involving Action Men on a Spanish beach

iv) Making "rude" gestures outside a Sunday School in Langley as a youngster!

v) Recorded travelling from a Sunday School in Windsor to my home in which I filmed the road trip next to my pater who ofcourse was driving. The weather was also a spot gloomy at the time....

vi) Driving a child's silver racing car in Langley. It used rigorous peddle power to get around at speed.

vii) A clip of Ivan "the Terrible "(my Burmese cat) moving absent mindedly along the top of the brick wall in Windsor, and then suddenly falling off!

viii) Being in the paddling pool playing with a tiny green reproduction of  an "aircraft" from Thunderbirds the famous puppet show. The actual toy originated from a cereal pack.

There may have been other things of note which I cannot recall.

My photo albums had a number of stills. These included (apart from holiday postcards) images of me...

a)....dressed as a King brandishing a huge reproduction sword of  the Spanish King Leon for a Medieval Fair. It was extremely heavy for a 15 year old let along an adult!! People in the past must have been very strong..

b) clothed in a bright purple suit with both hands on my lapels as if I were a politician about to make a speech! My trousers had flares which was common in the 1970s. This photo was taken in  the walled patio of my Windsor home, and included images of my grandparents on pater's side.

c)...there were many photos of Spain, Germany, France, et cetera...but they are no more sadly..

Anyway, enough of nostalgia for now.

The Tesco Set

Tescos is a massive well-known superstore business. In Slough it exists as a huge "warehouse" on "stilts". I try to avoid it when necessary because the amount of goods on offer is so overwhelming, and it is not always easy to find specific items. However, they do sell things at discount, and that is helpful on the pocket.

Anyway, before the "warehouse" on "stilts" was built there was a much smaller Tescos, and I used to be a part of what might be called the Tesco Set which took place in the café !! This  was a simple informal meeting of friends  back in the 1990s. One them was an Italian who used "to hold Court". We shall call him Fabio. He had a background in  catering. He also seemed to be  a bit of a sexual fantasist as well. He used come up with all sorts of stories.

His late wife was skilled in clerical work, and used to work from home to help in the production of photo fit  images of suspects. This was undertaken on the behalf of the local Slough constabulary. She also had direct access to the Police National Computer, or the PNC the codes to which she had to change each day.

Polish Les, and Chris used to be part of the Tesco Set. Both characters appear on this blog elsewhere. Another individual was the man of many names. This was the "name" of someone who called himself Ali, and was a bit on the dodgy side. But he did not mind me teasing him. He knew Fabio pretty well. One thing I recall about Ali was his collection of colourful crystals which he had found in Pakistan. They were amazing, and I suggested that one could create a business out of them.

Anyhow, to return to Fabio. He had a son whom he had much admiration for, and was doing very well in the computer business. We shall call him David. He used to work for Norman Foster (a famous "eccentric" architect)  and then into computing. He set up a project which as far as I know is still running. It notably attracted serious attention from no less a person than Bill Gates.

Thomas Friedlander (a real name) was my old American Jewish friend of many years, and would come and visit. He actually termed the café meetings as the Tesco Set! Tom as he liked to be called rather than Thomas had a wonderful cultured English accent which was a little snooty. I did not mind this as I was somewhat like that myself!! He was educated essentially in the UK at Lancing, and the University of York where he studied philosophy of all things. He was very interested in the theatre, and appeared as an extra in a number of films, and tv programmes.

Visually Tom was short, and of slight built. Visage-wise he reminded me of the self-portrait of Leonardo  Da Vinci with his famous flowing hair, and beard. I have enjoyed his company for many years. As he says he is boring which he is unfortunately true....but he is does it with a certain charm which can be peculiarly enticing. In other words, he has an air of the "Je ne sais quoi" about his person.  He also has a  set routine, and can be found in the early evening at Starbucks sitting in the corner, or near it staring "thoughtfully" into space with a large cup of tea, or coffee....which he only really touches when it gets cold!! In other words, a bit of an eccentric in many respects, but a very pleasant one.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

The "Great" and the "Good".....

From 1977 to 1990 I lived in Stoke Poges in Park Road where some of the big houses exist. A well-known family who used to live there were the Ramsays. Their son Alasdair by chance used to go to the same school as me...the Tutorials. His  brothers though were doing very well in life. One of them was a doctor, and the other a merchant banker who was for a while married to an actress Fiona Gray.  Mrs Lillian Ramsay who headed the family did a lot of charity work. But she tended to be somewhat arrogant, and I found her difficult to get on with.

Apart from the Ramsays I had a connection with the vicar Reverend Cyril Harris whose vicarage was nearby. He was an affable sort of person, and bit on the trendy side. He had a large family of  grown up children*. He was also an author of s short book on the poet Thomas Gray who wrote the Elegy in a Churchyard, and is buried at Stoke Poges Church. Incidently, the wonderful Gardens of Rememberance can be found nearby.

I met quite a large number of wealthy people in Stoke Poges, and its  environs (eg. Gerrard Cross, Beaconsfield, Fulmer, Farnham Common). I will give reference to a few here. I came to know number of them via my gardening activities. They were usually women who in the main looked after their husbands, or partner's property. One such person I knew for years was Mrs Hall. After I did a stint of gardening I would enter her kitchen for tea, or coffee  plus some toast, and jam. I always felt relaxed with her. She was a creative woman by nature. She had two children who were grown up. Her husband owned a superstore in Burnham, and I  recalled him complaining that his cashiers would always  try to steal money from him!

There is one story I recall about Mrs Hall. In the garden a certain friendly robin would often, or not appear to her again, and again, and stand on her hand, and/or on the grass. Then, one night she had a dream of the robin in black, and white. The following day she went into the garden.... and found the robin dead on the lawn.

She also said something which was a bit amusing. She claimed that she knew a author who was writing a book entitled Park Road (along which I lived in Stoke Poges) . It  though was supposed to be a "fictional" work but the characters in it were "thinly" disguised, and a certain amount of "libellous" material was involved in connection with them. On finding  out about this, certain residents in Park Road got wind of it, and it was never published ....!  So, much for the "great" and in "good" in this case. Ofcourse, no one is above suspicion of any form of "criminality" irrespective of whether they are rich, or poor. This is why I do not take people too seriously....

Anyhow, the other ladies I knew who treated me well were Mrs Griffiths (whose husband was in the dairy business), Kathie Webber cookery expert, and author, Mrs Pollard  of Gerrards Cross...etc.

Another individual I recall lived close to me at the corner of Park Road. She was Pat Wraight. She was interested in a book/novel I had been writing about metaphysics, and the afterlife. I was 17 at the time. She was also a writer of sorts. Anyway, I visited her, and it turned out she was an Evangelical Christian but she was very polite! She also seemed to have a "problem" with a well-known healer in the Spiritualist tradition called Harry Edwards. She also mentioned something about her daughter as  being a presenter on some Christian radio.

In 1987 I worked as a gardener for a while at Spirit Records based in Fulmer. However, I did not like the Findons particularly who ran the place. I am glad I left. But Miss Lewis who was the housekeeper was interesting as she was a Spiritualist. She was also impressed by Sathya Sai Baba the so-called "man of miracles".

* One person who visited  the vicar's offspring was Bill Reddings who I met only once. He was an Oxford graduate, and was an expert on Communism, and Marx. When I met him I found him to be "too brainy" and "too intense" for my liking. He went to American to teach for a while, but tragically died young in a airplane crash in around 1993. I remember seeing a pic of him in a well-known national  newspaper with his mortarboard, and gown on graduation day in Oxford. Sad.

Some notes

Kathie Webber wrote a number of books, and articles (especially in TV Times)

An obit on Lilian Ramsay

Some religious books by Pat Wraight

PS. One person I worked for had a "carer" who claimed that she used to work for the Koestlers, and was the person who raised the alarm of the their double suicides. Arthur Koestler was a well-known writer

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You are going to die...and "Near-Death Experiences"!

At Serena Hall in Slough I was talking to a friend who was sitting on the other table next to mine. He also had next to him an elderly  woman called Pam (not her real name). I think she just finished her coffee. Anyway, I looked to my right,  and I saw her face up under the other table. Her face was frozen with fear, and shock. Her eyes wide open...and not blinking at all.. I knew she had "gone." However, at hospital she was physically still alive, but her brain was dead. Her daughters decided to turn off the life support, and her funeral was arranged.

Death can come to us at any time. We are only here for a short time. So, we need to do what we want do in our limited lifespan, or at least do as much as possible. Like many other people I have also had  what might be termed "Near-Death Experiences" in which I nearly died "by accident." I thought I would just list my key experiences.

I have also deliberately left out a certain one(s) which was very disturbing. I may, or may not decide to publish anything about it at some future date................

1) As a babe I was swept away from a beach, and would have not survived if no one had rescued me. I have no memory of this per se. But once I had a dream of "peacefully" floating in the sea...

2) In 1980, or thereabouts I was in a bookshop in Kensington High Street, London. I suddenly became aware of my heart beating furiously. I had never experienced this before, and I thought I was going to die. An ambulance was called, and was taken to hospital, and the health scare later  disappeared..

3) Back in the early 1970s I was at Staines swimming pool, and someone without thinking dived in. Unfortunately, I was underwater at the same spot, and was nearly knocked unconscious. Indeed, I could feel myself sinking, and sinking, and loosing conciousness....but my determination won over, and headed quickly upwards to the surface desparately getting my breath back again.

4) Once a nail entered my foot whilst doing some work somewhere. I had to quickly go to hospital as the resulting wound was swelling. Very painful. However, I received the relevant injection of medicine, and everything went back to normal....

5) I was nearly killed by a white van in Burnham as I crossed a road. I spun around like a top and fell backwards. The van had  run over my feet, and pulled virtually all the muscles. Thus, walking was extremely painful. I did not seek medical  attention, and the pain disappeared after a number of days.

6) For a number of years I have had coughing fits (and summer flus)which have since subsided (touchwood!). I remember when I was in the old Slough Library I was on the public computer. I suddenly had an extreme coughing fit, and I stood up only to "comically" collapse onto the floor after hitting the side of table which made me briefly unconscious. When I became aware I was surprised to see a whole load of people surrounding me wondering what the matter was!!

7) When I was working for Sir Micheal Shersby in his garden I was stung by some insect on the jaw...which suddenly swelled, and swelled into a ugly lump! Fortunately, the right medicine came to the rescue..but the pain was excruciating...

8) Perhaps the most painful experience so far was when I was sitting in the old Slough bus station and I felt immense pain in the upper torso of my body. It was as if all my rib muscles had been pulled...I was in tears. It lasted for about half an hour, and went..thank God!

So, there we are !!



Wednesday, 30 May 2018


In around 1979 I started work. In those days it was generally easy to get jobs unlike now in the UK. Let us go down memory lane. The following I present are my key employments plus some minor ones..

i) Dannimac Shop Assistant.

This appointment was quite interesting at first. But ofcourse after a time it soon got dull. The job I had was at Suters which was a large store in Slough. Here, I advised ladies about clothing notably coats, and dresses. Naturally enough, I had to deal with money whenever anything was bought. I was trained by a certain Mrs Woodcock who was quite pleasant, but after six months or so I left.

ii) Department  of Health, and Social Security, or the Old DHSS (now notably known as the Jobcentre)

This employment involved right at the start with the signing of the Official Secrets Act. Several "top" civil servants in suits witnessed this. The job itself sometimes involved writing out benefit giros, and a certain degree of filing was involved. Moreover, I would act as the "messenger boy" by taking case files to certain departments of the DHSS. Ofcourse, computers as we know them now did not exist. I was there for about six months...

iii)  Sony

Sony was on the Bath Road which goes through the trading estate of Slough itself. This was possibly my most pleasant job. Like the above it was in essence a clerical employment in which filing, and being contacted by customers was the norm. There was also something akin to what might be termed primitive "computer" screens on which the part numbers of various mechanical parts could be sourced.

One pleasant experience of it was seeing a Japanese man who seemed to come from the shop floor with his overall. He asked me how I was getting on at Sony. I said things seemed to be alright. I noted his name badge....Mr. Honda. After talking with him I asked the office manager whether this was the real Mr Honda. He confirmed that it was.

I have done any number of jobs. I worked in a solicitor's assistant in Harris the carpet operative at a silk screen printer in Alpha Street Slough.....sold Kleeneze items door to door....learned something (!)about castors at Flexello.....and so on.

Right at the start of this brief "article" I mentioned how easy it was to get a decent job in the past......but now things are so different. One can apply for literally hundreds upon hundreds of jobs and get the usual automated message from employers that they have a massive volume of people applying for the same job, and only those who are shortlisted by them would be contacted for an interview... in say a few days, or even weeks...and ofcourse, nothing happens except dead silence. I remember someone telling me that there was a job for a receptionist, and over one thousand people applied for it! 

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Recalling Two Wonderful Relatives

My late grandparents on my pater's side lived in King's Road, Slough. I liked them very much, and I do not think I ever had a cross word with them at all. They were a happy couple. They moved from Sudborne Road in London in the early 1960s if I  recall correctly.

My grandmother (Helene) was a lover of classical music, and enjoyed playing cards, and other homely entertainments such as Majong, Bagatelle, and Monopoly. She was directly related to a once powerful family known as Ritterhsausen meaning the House of the Knight which has its own coat-of-arms plus motto....Iron Will! Her pater was Baron Von Rittershausen,*and he like her was an Austrian. For whatever reasons, due to Communism, or probably more likely the rise of Nazism, he, and his family fled to England. He  was probably the Rittershausen who was  the head of the Austrian Railways in the past. He was among other things a world chess champion, and the authorities at one point "hauled him" in for questioning on suspicion of being a spy. The reason being that apart from being an "alien" he was often sending, and receiving chess moves (or secret codes to the enemy?) to various people around the world via the mail. The internet ofcourse did not exist in the 1930s. Anyway, nothing untowards came of it. Tragically though, he had an accident in London with a tram in which he lost both of his legs. Because of this he  could not appear in public as he was ashamed of being in a wheelchair. This is the story I heard from my grandmother.

My grandfather (George Searle) was a Londoner, and commercial artist and later on a policeman and guide to the Houses of Parliament. Behind his home in King's Road, he had a workshop where he had any number of interesting things connected with art, and craftsmanship. He was clearly gifted, and could have gone far. He always loved to tinker with things. During the London Blitz he was an air warden, but had to be "hospitalised" for shell shock, a most unpleasant experience. He later became a policeman, and just after the War he was instrumental  in overpowering, and arresting a man who murdered a policeman. This was big news. The police in those days were generally treated with the highest respect, and murder of one their kind was one of the worst offences possible. Anyway, he was awarded a highly esteemed medal for bravery, and his picture, or rather pictures of him appeared in national newspapers of the time. One of them shows him in uniform directing children crossing a road. He had numerous interests, one of which was Esperanto, or all things!

Every time  I visited my grandfather he was always smoking his pipe. He hardly talked at all unless approached ofcourse. Sadly, he died at home from stomach cancer probably due to his smoking. My grandmother lived into her late 90s until she was struck by a stroke. What was so amazing about her is that she used to eat all sorts of unhealthy food (eg. too much sugar, too much salt, fatty products,etc), and yet lived to such an advanced age. Admitedly, she did have angina now, and again, and was fairly big

Anyway, she is in a better world than this one along with my grandfather. They were the "perfect"couple. This also reminds me of a rather touching story. After he died she woke up in the night, and found him "alive" next to her bed, but as a young man. He uttered the words "I love you" and as that happened she felt incredibly peaceful, and happy....

My grandparents home in King's Road with the blue door. Outwardly the house has hardly changed at all since the time they lived there.,-0.6005879,3a,75y,108.23h,85.61t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1syi9RFB4t7-BwhIMHH8xi9Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Apparently, there is an odd Jewish connection with the Rittershausens

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Recalling Childhood Memories...

I do not have much of a memory at all of  childhood. But here is listing of what I recall excluding the actual recall of being born, or re...