Thursday, 17 May 2018

A "Romance" in the Library

For many years, I have known an Indian woman who has what she calls a "condition" which is associated with "learning difficulties", or rather more precisely autism. I will refer to her as MJi.

I originally met her at the Indian Temple in Keel Drive Slough. It was there she admitted that other people thought she was "mad". One reason this may be so is that she tends to excitedly jabber away rather loudly (which can irritate people in the vicinity) and repeat herself at times which seems to be a common symptom of autism.

I always feel sorry when I see her...notably in the library! MJi seems to regard me as her brother, and revealed very sadly that her family have "disowned" her. And yet she comes across as a happy intelligent little thing with her childlike charm, and smile. Unfortunately, her glasses make her eyes look bigger than they are, and this makes her look a bit wild, or "mad". She used to have long black hair which reached nearly down to the ground to a point..I always found that very charming from behind as she walked in her green coat  in Slough High  Street. But her social worker thought otherwise, and had it cut. She also had a problem with head lice..

 She informed me that she used to do something which was socially unacceptable, and indeed, lead to an eviction from her flat. I am not going to say what as I feel this is only right. But it is something which is still common in India. It is not something criminal per se...but rather a minor civil "offence".

Another dimension to her which fits in with the profile of autism is her love of  routine. I have tried in vain to break her routine....and attempted to get her to live a more normal, and flexible existence...but no chance.

Another strange thing is that if she is talking intently with me, and a friend sits nearby in the library (notably ofcourse!) she would just rudely ignore him, or her as if they did not exist. Indeed, a Jewish friend told me that MJi or the "little mouse" as he calls her was with him on a computer course. She would all the while just ignore him as if he was not there.

In spite of what has just been said I did fall in love with her. She seemed such a very human person in spite of her "condition," and I cannot help feeling  protective towards her. She is more of a sister to me than anything else. I prefer it that way because I would not be able live with someone like that. This is something she would intelligently understand.


A Case of Mistaken Identity

The following happened a long while ago. I was told that someone in Peascod Street Windsor  used to whistle "tunes". Apparently, he looked very much like myself, and was "blind". So, I decided to go, and see him...and I did but though his appearance was similar to mine his "musical" whistling (which I am well-known for in Slough) was appalling at the time I heard it. It had no rhyme, or rhythm.

Anyway, later in the early evening I was near Windsor Bridge, and I was met by a group of young "rowdies" (probably drunk) who shouted that I was the whistler in Peascod Street, and they realized now that I was not actually blind!! They then threw a few coppers at me, and became increasingly aggressive, and nasty...I insisted vainly that I was not the same person they saw earlier on...Fortunately, things did not degenerate into a physical assault, and I managed somehow to get away from them.

Several years forward...I was just leaving the old Slough Library whistling away, and a woman came up to me. She thanked me for me whistling a certain choral tune in Windsor as it gave her great comfort on the day she went to her father's funeral. I informed her that I was not the same person she had seen, but someone who "looked" like me.

Ofcourse, this all shows how this example of mistaken identity can easily occur. It can have potentially serious consequences  if someone innocent for example is accused of some serious crime(s) and if it becomes more, and more public it can have great reputational damage, and loose friends.

The Oxford Experience

Whilst I stayed in Slough my parents lived in Oxford, or rather just on the "outskirts". Initially, pater had left Stoke Poges in 1990 because he was expecting to work with a business partner in a disused marmalade factory...of all places. But as soon as he, and mater got to Oxford the proposal fell through. Anyway, they had bought a bungalow on Cumnor Hill which apparently is popular for bird watchers...!

From 1990 to 2005 I used to visit my parents up "north".  At first, I found Oxford rather overwhelming to put it mildly. But over the years I got to like it. I visited my parent generally during the Christmas Holidays which were very pleasant, and this sometimes involved visits from a few friends in the area. Another reason I went there was during the periods when  my parents were on holiday, and thus needed someone to keep an eye on things. My duty then was among other things notably to look after the pedigree Burmese cats..!! They were fun to play with...

My parents home on Cumnor Hill was also filled with antiques of one sort, or another. My mater was keen on them, and used to sell them on stalls at fairs now, and again. She was also unbeatable at scrabble, but towards the end of her life she became increasing withdrawn from the world.

There is just one "tale" I would like to add. When I  was staying at the bungalow I was looking through some old books. I then felt something inside the cover of one of them. It turned out to be a £50 note! I also discovered more, and more of them in the other books...! This is not something that happens everyday...

Oxford around the turn of the 20th Century

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Bedsitter Land

In 1990 I left the Orchard a big house in Park Road, Stoke Poges. I was also given by my parents the old large Renault Estate car which served me well...until an unfortunate accident occurred in Windsor. I was now for the first time in my life set "adrift" so to  speak as I  no longer lived in my parents' home (ie. the Orchard which had been sold as they moved to Oxford).

I managed to find a room...a very large one in Farnham Common. I was starting to set up work as a jobbing gardener. Later, I decided to find new digs in Slough which was in King Edward's Street in Chalvey in Slough. But I was not there long, and went elsewhere again very, very briefly as the following reveals...


I rang up a woman and was invited to see her room for rent in the Wexham part of Slough. This I did. She seemed very pleasant...and I accepted the room on the spot. I paid my deposit, and then, she sat on my bed, and told me she was in her forties, and Welsh, and wanted to marry me! This sudden proposal took me aback. I said to her that I did not know her. I only regarded her as my landlord, or rather landlady...The following day I left without any kind of physical contact of the "base" kind.

The Zimbabwean Girls

Soon after the above occurred I found a new room...a very small one, and very cheap. The property itself belonged to a Pakistani taxi-man. There was also a  Zimbabwean girl called Zara (not her real name ofcourse) who also rented a room. She was charming, and highly intelligent...a quality I find most attractive, and desirable in the female sex. Anyway, she intended to become a lawyer, and was studying at the time. She also had a black friend Tina.  This lady was also attractive, and by mistake I said she was a  black beauty!! I forgot this was the title of a famous book called Black Beauty (about a horse!) which she later discovered, and scolded me for...!

The Bahraini Family

For many months the house in which I lived in as a tenant was "invaded" by a Bahraini family. I found them utterly charming, and got on very well with them. The head of family would sometimes dress in the traditional Arabic garb including the famous headdress. He was called Muhammad, and he was very rotund...He was staying in Britain because his son had to receive specialist treatment at Wexham Hospital for serious burns..These burns were the outcome of a serious accident with a barbecue in Bahrain.

File:Carl Spitzweg - Der arme Poet (Neue Pinakothek).jpg

The Huguenot Connection

My mater claimed Huguenot ancestry. She, and along with pater (plus myself) used to go a Society in London dedicated to research into this subject. This involved a dinner, and a "lecture" by some academic on some aspect of the Huguenots. This took place in a vaulted underground chamber if my memory serves me right.

I once recall my mater claiming that she heard through the grapevine that her ancestors were notably two Huguenot brothers who fell out over religion, and each went their own way. The profits from their business went to chancery, and were referred to as the Poynton Millions. Unfortunately, no record of such a fortune exists ....

Famous massacre of the Huguenots in Paris

The Wraysbury Excavations

Wraysbury is a town in Berkshire. In the seventies it was a place I used to go to. It had an archaeological site in the field behind the local church. It was seen as a mixed site in which artifacts from all periods of history emerged (eg. prehistoric flints, saxon and medieval potsherds etc). There were two, or more trenches in which one was taught the basics of excavating using a trowel. Work here was done by volunteers, and ofcourse, I was one them.

Victor Marchant was the site director with a great experience in practical archaeology. He was a tall affable thin man.  Quite often during my work there I found pieces of animal bone. But Victor though was more keen on finding human ones!! As for the animal bones, and notably potsherds I used to take them home to be cleaned, and marked in white paint indicating where they had been found.

One of the things I learnt in Wraysbury was the construction of a grid diagram. This was a pen and paper job in which I managed to trace the "primitive" foundations of a Anglo-Saxon building(s).

It was around this time that I was a member of Young Rescue (now renamed) which was a "club" for budding archaeologists. It produced a "magazine" now, and again which was crude by today's standards in that it was simply a collection of photocopied typescripts of articles. In 1975 I contributed one such article which included line drawings, or rather sketches.

.Wraysbury St Andrew's.JPG
St Andrew's Church behind which the 
excavations took place in the field

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Spotting Famous People...

As with most other people,  I have over the years seen a number of famous people, and I include the key ones here.

Roger Moore

I saw this famed actor at a fete in a noted Windsor girls school. I was hoping to get his autograph! When Moore completed his "speech" he opened the fete, and the school girls started rushing towards him this insane melee I attempted foolishly to get his signature, and ofcourse ended up with a squiggle!

Ian Mc Caskill

He was a well-known tv weather forecaster. When I was in a book shop in snobby old Gerrards Cross (Gerrards X) I raised my head above a pile of publications. As I did so I saw a another face opposite me grinning from ear to ear with glasses on. I recognized him instantly...I was tempted to ask him what the weather would be like today...!!?

George Cole

He was a well-known English actor. I saw him sitting against the brick wall that divided a funeral home, and St Mary's Church in Slough. He was absorbed in animated conversation with someone unknown. I had hoped to engage with him, but I did not disrupt the proceedings. George Cole was doing a scene for the noted Minder television series if I recall correctly. I always admired his manner, and panche as the "dodgy" businessman on that programme...

Kevin Connelly

This noted hairy, and bearded comedian used to live in Windsor. I used to see him there sometimes in the High Street usually near a bustop! I used to smile at him in silent recognition, and he too smiled back. I never exchanged polite words with him. (surprisingly short bio)

Martin Lewis

He is a noted newsreader, and I saw him at Paddington Station. I did try to talk to him but it did not work out...Famous people must get irritated with members of the public trying to attract their attention. But there you are.....that is the price of fame...

At present, I cannot recall anyone else who I  have seen who might be deemed well-known (apart from the Queen of England!). I just did the above piece for a bit of "trivia"...RS

Sir Roger Moore 3.jpg

A "Romance" in the Library

For many years, I have known an Indian woman who has what she calls a "condition" which is associated with "learning diffic...