Easter 1971

The Green Bottle, Knottingley. (c) Betty Longbottom, Creative Commons

My generation was nothing like as open with our parents as our children are with us. I never told my parents I went in pubs. Not even when old enough. The police told them. It was Easter Sunday, 11th April, 1971.  (Read full post on Blogger…)


Lonely Brown Hair


Was it for that wild man of the mountains look, the Chris Bonington, or that you were too lazy to get shaved in the morning?

Then came the snow: the unwanted single white ones, thicker and longer, waving out from the middle, to be summarily snipped out with the pointy scissors from the dissecting kit you nicked from school.

Later, there were more, too many more, giving that distinguished, salt and pepper, silver fox look, or so you liked to think. It was a glorious dappled thing, turning gradually, except for a couple of mucky patches near your ears.

Now it’s complete. Except, just now and again, just here and there, a few solitary warm brown strands poke out, fuelling vanity, cruelly taunting you about what it used to look like all over.

Does Chris Bonington get them too?

See earlier post about Sir Chris Bonington (on Blogger)

George Gibbard Jackson


Amongst my dad’s childhood books are two volumes in matching red bindings: The Splendid Book of Aeroplanes and The Splendid Book of Steamships by G. Gibbard Jackson…

The Splendid Book of Aeroplanes is indeed a splendid book, packed with splendid tales, from the pioneers of flight right up to the nineteen-thirties… Until I read it, I had never heard of Mrs. Victor Bruce who made the first flight from London to Tokyo in 1930; a riveting story of forced landings, sheltering with desert tribesmen on the shores of the Persian Gulf, and contracting malaria in the Mekong jungle…

Who was this prolific author who few today will have heard of? …  (read full post on Blogger…)


Castleford, Yorkshire: Church Street at end of Bradley Avenue, early 1970s

Conversations can be disturbing. They come back to trouble you decades later, especially when they involve some element of social awkwardness, which in my case is quite a lot of conversations.

I was once invited to an end-of-term gathering at a professor’s house where everyone and everything exuded an air of intellectual wealth and entitlement. I tried to look comfortable in such surroundings… (read full post on blogger…)



The well-turned-out chap on the left is my great uncle Bill. I never met him. He died in his early thirties a decade before I was born. He is pictured with his friend, Jack, neat in a bow tie. They were inseparable. They had this postcard made of themselves together. They look like a nineteen-thirties American songwriting duo: Rogers and Hart or Gershwin and Gershwin, perhaps.

For some years, Jack lived with Bill and his parents. Jack was undoubtedly the liveliest of the pair, and Bill, rather his sidekick… (read full post on Blogger…)