It is always good to know that you or something that you do is appreciated by others. I often wonder when writing these blog posts if they will be of interest to anyone else and if other people will enjoy reading what I have to say or looking at my pictures.
It brings me great pride and a sense of achievement to read the very encouraging comments from some of my blog visitors and fellow twitterers, and now I have had passed to me by Tim Worth The Great Read Award which I accept very graciously. The challenge that comes with this reward is to share ten things about yourself.
After thinking long and hard about this, I decided to share with you ten memories of my childhood. In fact ten memories from the years before I reached the age of ten.
1) One of my earliest memories is of my first day at school. I see myself in a long sterile highly polished corridor full of sterile strangers and I am crying my eyes out. I continued to cry so much that they fetched my elder sister from another class to sit with me. Unfortunately she could not sit with me in school for the next 10 years. I guess from that day onwards, I learnt to be on my own.
2) Having no bathroom and the toilet being a small brick building in the yard. Toilet paper was squares of newspaper hanging on a hook. Luxury toilet paper was in the form of the tissue that was used to wrap apples and could occasionally be obtained from the greengrocers. We would sometimes have a bought Izal toilet roll, that hard shiny, slippery stuff, but only when we were flush. (pun very much intended).
3) A coal fire, this being the only form of heating in the entire house. During winter we went to bed in freezing cold bedrooms, dressed in thick fleece pyjamas and woolly socks. We had rubber water bottles to warm the beds before we got in.
4) Having the Fire Brigade come to the house to put out the fire that was roaring high up inside the chimney. I was rather miffed that I was made to go to Mrs Roberts' next door and could only watch by craning my neck over the hedge.
5) A small black and white television with one channel that broadcast for just a few hours each day. I remember watching The Woodentops, Muffin the Mule and Andy Pandy. The TV stood on top of a wooden cupboard that my Dad made. It took about 5 minutes to warm up before the picture appeared, I liked to look through all the little ventilation slots at the back to see the glowing valves inside.
6) Steam trains, dirty, stinking, smelly but fascinating and the main Crewe to Derby railway line ran behind our house where I grew up. Also close to us were the coal sidings where coal from some of the Staffordshire pits was transferred onto the main line coal trucks. The trains would wait at the points behind our house, fill with water there and wait for the signal to join the main line. For some reason, many trains missed or passed over the points and crashed into the buffers or even the bridge. This of course caused great excitement for us kids especially after dark when I would go with my dad collecting buckets of coal that had been shed from the wagons.
7) Waking up on Christmas morning to find a stocking at the foot of my bed containing an apple, an orange, nuts, sweets, a bag of marbles and a few other small toys.
8) The first egg laid by the chickens that we had raised from chicks. My dad built a wooden chicken coop for them to live in and they "free ranged" all over the garden. We ate the eggs that were wonderful and fresh with golden yolks and tasted superb. We later ate the chickens.
9) Going fishing for the first time with my dad. I thought it was brilliant to be in the countryside, in a field on the bankside of a canal, with a rod made from bamboo canes. We (or more probably dad with me watching) caught two fish which we took home in a bucket. Next morning I discovered the fish were floating upside down, stiff, slightly curved, and very very dead.
10) Going fishing again, in another field, by a different canal, then running like hell as my dad noticed the bull charging towards us from the other side of the field. This showed me that grown-ups do sometimes make mistakes and that there are some things (as dad pointed out) that you do not tell to your mother.
So there we are, ten of my early childhood memories. I would now like to pass on the great Read Award to the other side of the Atlantic, to Dawn, Jeff and Ballie who are travelling around the USA in a motorhome. It's Dawns Bloggy Blog - please take a look.