Thursday, 31 May 2018
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 was the Ramsays. Their son Al 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 close 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, or a cake. 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, shoulder, and/or on the grass. Then, one night she had a dream of the robin...and the following day she found it 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. 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.
Kathie Webber wrote a number of books, and articles (especially in TV Times)
An obit on Lilian Ramsay
Some religious books by Pat Wraight
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 by 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.
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...
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 office....shop assistant in Harris the carpet shop...an 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!
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. His pater was apparently the head of the Austrian Railways. He himself though 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.
Apparently, there is an odd Jewish connection with the Rittershausens
Saturday, 26 May 2018
I was visiting Kings Langley in Hertfordshire selling tickets for a charity. For some reason, or other I entered a local pub...and there was barely a sound. Customers were simply staring at a huge screen which showed one of the twin towers/skyscrapers on fire in New York. The word LIVE could be seen at the corner of screen. Then, I saw a passenger aircraft appear and hit into the other skyscraper. I was stunned..everyone was. It was so surreal, and bizarre. However, as the day progressed the full horror of it all was becoming more apparent, and people including myself watched through a shop window with tv screens. It was unbelievable.....what we were seeing..
Friday, 25 May 2018
Back in the early 1960s, and to the start of 1970s I had a number of long journeys in my parent's Daimler to a place outside of the farming town of Oswestry in Shropshire. This so-called place to be more precise was really a large run-down "Victorian" house set out in the countryside. It was known as the Villa, and was essentially a farm in its hay day.
My mater's mater lived there with her cats whose names she would shout out in the mornings to call them in for feeding! She was an elderly pleasant woman, but she seemed to be always dressed in old clothes of the 1920s, and 30s! Maybe this reminded her of "happier" days of the past. Her late husband was a farmer who mater referred to as the "Old Chap". He originally wanted a son to look after the farm but instead he had her, and no further offspring.
I met a number of farming folk especially Welsh ones. They seemed to be very kind, and generous, and lived a simple kind of existence. Unfortunately though I found such folk dull, and uninteresting. They seemed to continually talk about the most banal things especially marriages, funerals, and the "endless" rainy weather!
Anyway, to return to the Villa per se. It's interior was somewhat dusty, dilapidated, and "arcane" in appearance. It was a cold, dank place with its stone floors. I never really liked the place, and usually stayed there for several days.
I also recall something which might be "supernatural" in character, and my mater reported the same thing. Quite often during the early morning one could hear chairs move "by themselves" around on the stone floor of the main living room. There could be a perfectly rational reason for this, but I cannot say.
Thursday, 24 May 2018
Over the years I have met many people but I can only count three who in my opinion were really interesting as individuals. For me, such a person has to be knowledgeable in virtually everything, and above all they have to have an enthusiasm for sharing it. In other words, they have to be akin to a polymath......
He was a good example of what I am on about. He always seemed to know everything about anything. He also expressed this enthusiastically. He was a real character. He was a professional free lance writer, and he had written and published an endless number of articles on all kinds of subjects. The last time I saw him was in Slough High Street. He was going to do a book on psychic healers, and was undertaking interviews with them.
He used to visit Serena Hall virtually everday. We had loads, and loads of conversation on politics, history, science, music, and God knows what else. Always refreshing to find someone like that. A real pleasure, and inspiration.
Les was a Polish man. He looked a bit like Catweazle in the famous televisions series. He was a bit of an eccentric, and as such I got on very well with him. I drew his attention to a fascinating book called the The Jesus Mysteries by Tim Freke, and Peter Gandy. This was a scholarly tome on the "real" origins of Christianity (and nothing to do with idiot conspiracy theories). We had many informed chats about it...Ofourse, we discussed many other things as well.
Les used to live in Langley. His house was like a "bombsite". It looked as if it were going to collapse but this never occured. He used to wear a coat...but nothing else underneath! As such he became a target for young children who would throw stones at him... notably at night when he was returning home from Tescos. On these occasions, my friend Chris would usually accompany him.
He came to England during the war after fleeing from the Nazis. He believed that they killed his brother, and had forced him to help them develop an alternative fuel for tanks.
In the UK though he settled in Langley before the key estates were built. His wife was a Social Creditor..much to my amazement (ie. a member of Social Credit a monetary reform "movement" which is virtually non-existent in the UK). He was an engineer of sorts on the trading estate. He had a sharp intellectual mind, and died if I recall rightly around the start of the 21st Century.
Apart the three above I came across someone who has Asperger's Syndrome. He seemed to know quite a bit about Ancient History most of which I already knew. Unfortunately, his delivery was deadpan, and he was unable to show real enthusiasm per se. However, he has changed a bit in this respect. But my estimation of him has gone down somewhat...by his own admission that he is a member of the Jehovahs'sWitness!!
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