Topic categories:

Our Kaga

You need to be signed in to respond to this topic

First pagePrevious page

Displaying 616 to 621 of 621 posts

Page 42 of 42

1 2 3 4 5 .... 10 .... 15 .... 20 .... 25 .... 30 .... 35 .. 38 39 40 41 42
No actionNo action
621 posts:
Order:    

Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
All posts by this member
Thread starter
616 of 621  Wed 14th Aug 2019 1:04pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3067

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
All posts by this member
Thread starter
617 of 621  Wed 21st Aug 2019 6:01pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3067

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
All posts by this member
Thread starter
618 of 621  Fri 30th Aug 2019 6:34pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3067

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
All posts by this member
Thread starter
619 of 621  Mon 9th Sep 2019 2:16pm  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3067

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
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
All posts by this member
Thread starter
620 of 621  Thu 3rd Oct 2019 11:57am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3067

I look at these old photos with a lot of emotional feeling of bygone days. It was a lovely summer morning in 1955 when I entered the casino cafe at 8.30am. There was a blonde sitting on a stool - she turned her head as I stepped inside. She had seen me enter through the mirror on the wall. She gave me a great big smile and said "Kaga" as I stopped in my tracks and said "Rose". We spent a full minute eyeing each other from head to toe, and almost together we said "Gosh, you have changed", then we both laughed. It had been six long years since we had first met in the casino. I sat on the empty stool next to her and ordered a lemon tea, she asked "Do you still see Ron?" I asked "Did Norma go to New Zealand?" I took a pill from my pocket. She frowned. "Just an asprin I have along coach journey." "Oh". "I'm off to Ascot, it's going to be a long tiring day." I glanced at her hand, she saw me. “No, I'm not married, I came off a two year engagement a few weeks ago. And you?” I shook my head. She drank the last dregs of her coffee, looked at her watch. “Damn, I have to go to work". We stood up and left the cafe. She looked at me. I said "I will be in here at 7.30 tonight, are you free?" "Yes", she said with a laugh, and skipped up the Precinct. Sitting on the coach I smiled and let my mind go back six years. 1949, I sat drinking tea in that Casino cafe when a guy walked in with an arm in a sling, and sat on the stool next to me. We took an instant like to each other. I glanced at his arm. "Rugger?" I asked. "No, cycle, I fell off my bike." His name was Ron, we talked and laughed for over half an hour or so, then two girls came in. Well, we all got talking. One was Rose, the other Norma, and for a few months we were a foursome. The two girls went to Paignton for a holiday, Ron followed them, sent me a telegram asking could I join them, so I did. The hotel was packed but they had an old converted railway carriage as two separate rooms with bunk beds. The two girls were 'nice' girls but on the last night we got some wine and beer and all got drunk. Next morning we woke to find we were in different cabins and no one could remember anything, and that spoilt the friendship. I never saw either again, they never came in the casino. The following year Ron and I went to the same hotel, had a great time. A few months later Ron disappeared, then turned up a couple of years later in the basin on a converted narrow boat with wife and baby, and looking for divorce and sale of the boat. I spent a few days as a guest on the boat. One morning a guy walked over to the boat and asked me questions about it. We talked for about an hour. I knew the guy by sight, he was horse trainer, owner and gambler, but he also had a plumbing wholesaler's in the canal house in the basin. Ascot was an array of splendour, women in beautiful clothes, men in top hats, the coloured silks of the jockeys, and everyone put the war and misery out of mind. Around the second race I felt a hand on my shoulder - it was Arthur, the Coventry trainer, in top hat and a huge pair of bins on his shoulder. He whispered a horse's name. "It will win", then he walked on and joined a group of people. I won a sum of money. At 7.30 I met Rose in the Casino. I said "Let's go for a drink and celebrate". She laughed, "I've heard you say that before". (ouch). "No, can't we get some beer and go somewhere comfy?" "You mean like my place?" She gave me a great big smile.
Our Kaga
Kaga simpson
Peacehaven, East Sussex
All posts by this member
Thread starter
621 of 621  Sat 5th Oct 2019 10:42am  
Member: Joined Sep 2014  Total posts:3067

On post 606 I posted about Charlie being conned at the races. Now, this con-man had a lot of rumours about him. I have just read a book that tells me he is the one and same man I intervened on with Charlie, and he turns out to be the father of John Le Carre, the great spy author. But the story of his 'old man' to me could have made a better story than all his spy books. There was a jewel thief in Brighton, 1950s (I think I posted about), and they have similar backgrounds with the law around Europe around the same time. I ran against one, but helped the other. Small world.
Our Kaga

You need to be signed in to respond to this topic

First pagePrevious page

Displaying 616 to 621 of 621 posts

Page 42 of 42

1 2 3 4 5 .... 10 .... 15 .... 20 .... 25 .... 30 .... 35 .. 38 39 40 41 42
No actionNo action

Previous (older) topic

Canals around Coventry
|

Next (newer) topic

Computer hints and tips
View similar topics in the Coventry People category
 
Home | Forum index | Forum stats | Forum help | Log out | About me | My music
Top of the page
HTML5
1,684,555

Website & counter by Rob Orland © 2019

Load time: 117ms