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Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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616 of 619  Wed 14th Aug 2019 1:04pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3006

During that time the factories came in, and the women lost their little business of weaving - the spinning wheel, the small looms, the ribbons all now lay idle in my aunt’s and grandma’s spare rooms. The war left us in poverty. 1926, the miners refused to accept reduced wages. All unions called a strike, all services were at a standstill - no papers, no milk, no bread, no nothing. The military escorted food supplies to hospitals. The Craven Colliery in Coventry closed, disruption at other collieries. People unemployed on a large scale, the dole queues stretched for 300/400 yards, 3/4 deep, the money inadequate. Real poverty - bread and jam was all they could afford, patched clothes and hand-me-downs. Humiliating and degrading for a number of years, grown men made idle. There was no way parents could afford for us kids to go to a better school, except the farmer, the publican and businessmen. We gleaned, we scrapped, we scrumped, we fought over paper rounds, we made do, until factories got larger and employment came back. For a few years things got better, then, blackout and rationing. 'Oh my!’
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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617 of 619  Wed 21st Aug 2019 6:01pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3006

The 1950's and almost every town in Europe was rebuilding, and nearly every person was trying to enjoy themselves, after a brutal war. I was chatting to a girl at Joe Robinson’s gym in Trafalgar Square. Joe had just made the film 'A Kid for Two Farthings' along side Diana Dors. Later he would fight James Bond in 'Diamonds are Forever'. London was awash with young girls trying to get into films, it was known as the time of the casting couch season. They usually came from poor backgrounds in the provinces trying to make good. The next night we took in one of Brian Rix's farces in Whitehall, On the Saturday morning she introduced me to Beryl Brydon, the jazz singer. We interrupted her painting a few things in her kitchen. We went back on the Sunday to paint them, but again visitors arrived - Beryl Davis and several other singers. They talked. Apparently, during the war there had been a very heavy spell of fighting between the Brits and a crack German Panzer group for some hours. Both sides were on their last legs - there was a lull, and a few minutes later a lone trumpet started to play 'Oh Johnny Oh Johnny' and the Brits started to sing. He then played 'Lil Marlene' and the Germans were singing. The trumpeter was no other than Humphrey Lyttelton. They also talked about the Café de Paris where a band played jazz and blues, until a German bomb scored a direct hit, killing most of the band. There was a lot more to this story but I cut it brief.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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618 of 619  Fri 30th Aug 2019 6:34pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3006

Giant silver clouds fly above, whipped by the wind, a contest between sun and shadow. At the cafe a small triumph - no queue. I ask for four bacon butties to take away. The woman glanced at my backpack - her face clouded over. She asked "Are you catching the ferry?” "Yep, but don't worry, they’re for the other side. The French maybe the best chefs in the world but they can't make bacon butties”. She grins. On board the boat I sit by a central stanchion, take a coiling toggle rope from my backpack and wait for the boat to fill up. People come on deck, stand by the rail - the crew cast off. A middle aged couple, a daughter about fifteen and a lad about twelve - the boy comes near. I wink, he puts his tongue out, the girl comes across to drag him to the rail - I wink and she goes bright red, but smiles. The boat now starts to hit the swell and roll, the crowd flock downstairs. The family pass by me, the girl and boy at the rear. The girl glances towards me, I beckon her closer. "Don't eat or drink, it's going to get rough". She shrugs her shoulders, walks down the steps. The boy stops, goes to kick my rope just as a wave catches us and dumps him on the deck, the white foaming spray shoots up and over the rail, half drowning the little sod. I run the rope around the stanchion and the steps rail a number of times, tie it like a half hammock, place my backpack across it, taking the bacon rolls out, and sit in semi-comfort. It isn’t long before I hear the people being sick - some come on deck, stand by the rail and have it blown back in their face. Then the young girl comes onto the deck, amazed at my hammock. I move, gesture for her to sit beside me. She is practically on my lap - she had not drunk and her parents had and are now paying the price. The boat rolls, the toggle rope holds firm and swings with the boat. When the ferry nears the harbour I undo the rope - apart from damp from the spray neither of us are affected by the sea. I put the rope in my backpack. Most of the people have been ill - how they would drive after that I have no idea. The crew would really have to hose it down with a peg on their nose.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
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619 of 619  Mon 9th Sep 2019 2:16pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3006

I leapt on to the Riviera train, willing hands haul me aboard across suitcases, bags. The door bangs to and the train is jam-packed, departs. I wriggle into the corridor. Two Americans block the way. I sigh. I'm about to spend the next ten hours on this journey. I swear. Rain streaks the windows. A yank asks, "Are you down to see the race?” I shook my head, have no idea what he is talking about. "The motor race, gonna be a humdinger", taking a swig of beer from a bottle. The suburbs of Paris glide by, slowly over broken bridges, past torn buildings, then the train picks up speed, an avenue of pines and roadway alongside for miles, a tunnel flashes by, then it's gone. The yanks are getting noisy. I take a paper out of my backpack, place it on the floor, and slide down, cat nap. I wake feeling sticky and warm. It’s June, big creamy clouds riding through the sky, the air fresher. The yanks copied me, now asleep. The hours slip by. I have decided I will leave the uncomfortable train at Lyon, what was one extra day? The scenery changes, we are in the mountains draped with clouds. The yanks wake, start drinking. The train charges into an endless tunnel, a young woman tries to get by the yanks to the door. They try to fondle her as she sqeezes by. I pick up my backpack, stand right in the face of the nearest yank and say "Cut it out, you will never see the race if she reports you. The police will take you off the train, put you in a cell and throw away the key. This is not America". I watch the guy think about it. They let her pass, and I follow her off the train. As we step off, she turns and says thank you in broken English, then hurries on, but stops again. She turns round, glances at my backpack, frowns and asks, "Are you looking for somewhere?” "Yes.” “Hotel, Pension?” I shrug. "There’s a small one, not expensive". I nod, I follow her. We chat, she directs me to a small hotel. I thank her and she strolls on. A small comfortable room overlooking the river that sweeps down the valley between the mountains. I stop for three nights, it was one of the loveliest cities that I ever visited. The race had a massive pile up, it was 1952.
Our Kaga

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