Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Nice walk the other day along the River Weaver from behind the Memorial Hall to Hunts Locks. I can't belive it's taken us so long to do this walk after 12 years of living in Northwich. Really quite an attractive part of town which is ignored by most of the population. When we first came to see the area we went to a Water Festival on the river which was quite exciting with artists doing performances and duck races etc. but that sadly was a "one off" event that was never repeated for some reason.
Hopefully the new Northwich rejuvination programme or "vision", whatever they are calling it these days, will focus on the river and not spoil it with car parks and huge supermarkets as threatened before. Town planners and councils have a nasty habit of messing things up.
This was then and now is 24th August. Just back from Chester. A nice morning despite the traffic chaos due to roadworks by the Park & Ride. Got a nice old Victorian Inventions book with tons of old illustrations to make good use of. We had a copy somewhere so this is a spare. Had some veg. sausage rolls from the Pound Bakery outside the cathedral in the sun. Curious jazz duo by the market cross . Good keyboards but trumpet player was pretty awful. Thankfully the town cryer and his mini-me came over at 12 and stopped them making a racket for a while. Well, they just made another kind of racket with the bell and loud voice and the awful jokes. Then posing in the stocks with tourists. I'd left my camera at home for a change so you'll have to use your imaginations.
Sunday, August 07, 2011
I must at least write a short bit about our wonderful holiday in Norway. We have stayed there before ofcourse with out dear friend Esther and her family. This time it was slightly soured by the terrible bomb and murders but despite this we found the Norwegians full of good heart as always. We took part in a candlelit march for the victims in Hamar on our third day there. Some very moving speeches and songs although we didnt understand the words the emotions were deeply felt.
We went to the cabin on the fourth day which is up by the Swedish border by lake Osen. A very beautiful tranquil place we went once before in 2005 and always wanted to go back too. There was no running water which was tricky but Esther had filled lots of drums and bottles at the local pump so we used that. The wet wipes came in handy too!
Archie took lots of nice photos and managed to get close ups of the freindly weasel and wood vole down by the lake side. Went for walks and had some interesting meals. I cooked the first one - pasta and tomato sauce and warm crusty bread in the mall electric oven. We used paper plates and cups to eliminate a lot of washing up.
Delicious breakfasts of local produce - brown cheese and jam, fish paste and a caramel spread called Pana I think.
On the Saturday we went to the local fair and junk market in the village across the lake. Lots of nick nacks and ornaments to sort through in the old community hall. Also a nearby craft fair by the two churches. One was very old and contained a beautiful hand painted and carved wooden alterpeice. Had a home made waffles with jam and sour cream bought from a stall outside and sat in the sun whilst jangling horses and carts went by giving rides around the village. We went back the following day too to catch the end of the sale - all you could stuff into a plastic bag for 100 krona ( about 10 english pounds ) Esther manages to get 90 candles , a cheese holder, ornaments, comics and tons of other stuff into her bag without it bursting! Also went to the nearby beach . Archie and the kids braved the cold waters. I stayed under an umbrella as I'd got a bit of sun burn and looked as red as beetroot!
Nice to get back to Hamar and have showers after three days at the cabin. We needed them!
Thursday, August 04, 2011
Sad news from my sister Barb yesterday about the death of my last Auntie , Olwen. I wrote about her in this blog in 2008 so will add it here. In the photo above she is on the left in 1947 after just coming out of the WRENS probably. That's my Mum in the middle, expecting me. My Auntie Iris is on the right. Photo taken probably in the garden in Highbury North London where my parents lived in digs just after the war for a short time.
"It will take me ages to find the very small photo I have of my Auntie Olwen so here's one of WRENS scrubbing the sides of a boat during the war. Not sure if Auntie "O" used to do such things but she did get rowed round Grimsby harbour by a sailor boyfriend she said- the nearest she got to any ships whilst she was in the navy during the war. She was just on the phone to me and it's hard to get a word in when she gets going - all about her childhood and the war etc. I expect I'll be like that when I'm 85 or whatever age she is.
She also told me about when my mother carried her into the Broadway cinema in Pitsea as "babes in arms" got in free. She was 7 at the time! My mother who must have been about 9 or 10 had some cheek! She spent the three pence entry money she saved on sweets. Olwen confessed it was very embarressing when the usherette came round and shone her torch on her and she had to pretend to be very tiny.
She also told me about Pitsea at length- a bigger place than it is now - having been swallowed up by Basildon New Town which did not exist in the '30's. They used to live in a bungalow down by the Station Hotel, opposite the market. I explained that the market has been gone many years. She seemed incredulous - "What, Pitsea market gone?!" Yes, and the cinema is now a Bingo Hall and has been for 25 years or more. "Never!"
Pitsea school is still standing and was "new" in the 30's she said- she remembers the teachers quite well- the four masters and the one lady teacher Mrs. Peace. I said I remembered only one teacher as her name was Mrs. Ramsbottom which always stuck in my mind and the howls of laughter from my mother whenever I told her what Mrs. Ramsbottom had been up to that day. I only went to Piteas school for a year back in the mid 50's , before the new Greenstead School was built in Basildon, just down the road. You had to walk miles down a concrete path , through fields and old bungalows to get to Pitsea school. As a five or six year old it was common to send children on their own to school in those days. With my satchel heavy with Shipham's bloater paste sandwiches ( if we were lucky!) or jam if things were a bit tight that week.
Auntie "O" also told me that she left school at 13 and worked in a shop in Southend for a while and then in Grays at the State cinema as an usherette. then she joined the WRENS ( Woman's Royal Navy Service ) . Or did she go to Grimsby to work in a rope making factory? Yes, that's it. She was told she could avoid being called up to fight if she worked in a factory doing essential "war work". But then joined the WRENS as she fancied the uniform and the sailors! "