Friday, 18 February 2011

THE END by A.A.Milne

This is the fourth or fifth time I've had a go at this post so I hope it goes well this time!!!

I was driving home from somewhere or other and this poem popped into my mind so I decided to illustrate it as best I could.

When I was One,

I had just begun.

We lived in Winchester Street in London at the time and I'm in my pram on the pavement. Needless to say I don't remember this at all! The railings in the background have 'spear points' on the top, not favoured by architectural salvors or maybe they're illegal nowadays.


When I was Two

I was nearly new.
Once a year my Dad would hire a car and we'd 'do' all the relatives in one go - they lived a long way from London - all the way to Woking and Bracknell. This is taken at the cottage in Bracknell where an elderly couple lived. I know now they were my maternal great-aunt and her husband. My strongest memories (the only memories, actually and from years later) were that the toilet was outside and didn't flush. When I queried this I was told that men came to clean it out so I guess it was a privy. There was a piano in a front room where the curtains were drawn to keep sun off the furniture and left a green underwater light. The garden had a rose arch but that's all that stuck in my 8 year old mind. I wonder if it's still there?


When I was Three,

I was hardly Me.

Good old hand knitted cardis. Once a year we had a week's holiday 'at the seaside' though I have no recollection of how we got there. Perhaps it was by coach? My Dad isn't in these photos but my Gran, who lived with us, is in most of them. This was on the front in Margate - with Dreamland still there to be visited and rides on the scenic railway and merrygorounds and ice cream. The book is called, 'Cherry the Boot Boy'... The pushchair did service for many years, too.


When I was Four,

I was not much more.

Mum's favoured hair style for me - a 'horse's tail' which I was stuck with for years. No plaits for me though I managed those by the end of the war. This is Southend pier, which means we went north of the Thames, into foreign country... South Londoners went south - to Brighton, Margate, Ramsgate, Broadstairs. I wonder why we managed to infiltrate Southend??? Looks like typical English summer weather, too.


When I was Five,

I was just alive.
Heavens! No horse's tail! This is a studio photo, probably Jerome's, as they seemed to have the most studios at this time - I'm still a couple of weeks away from being 5. Nowadays I'd look at the material and think it would be ideal for patchwork.

But now I'm Six, I'm as clever as clever.

So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

Guess which is me. The other children are in summer dresses, and what do I have on? A jersey, naturally. I can't make out what I'm holding, it doesn't ring any bells at all. My friends lived close by and we all went to the same LCC school - which is in the background. The infants had a sleep in the afternoons which seemed very odd to me, I wasn't tired. The playground was on the opposite side of the road and Mum would bring me a cup of cocoa at playtime when the weather was cold...we lived in flats a few hundred yards away. Apart from the afternoon sleep all the memories I have of school are washing out paste jars used for painting, and the headmistress, Miss Vincent, slapping a 'naughty boy's' hand, her charm bracelet rattling and clattering. Mum kept sheets of sums, cut out paper d'oyleys and all my letters sent home when I was evacuated in 1939.

I was evacuated to Brighton with the school and this is on the seafront in November 1939 when I'm 7. Another jersey and the usual pleated gymslip and, I would think, the sort of plaited cord which tied round your waist.


Having bored everyone with that here's a spoof on the poem above from a book by Christopher Mayhew called 'Now we are Sixty (and a bit)'.


At sixty-one

I had too much sun.

At sixty-two

I had dreadful flu.

At sixty-three

I couldn't pee.

At sixty-four

I felt really poor.

At sixty-five

I took a dive.

But at sixty-six, to be perfectly frank,

I'm as fit and as strong as a Sherman tank.

That's all Folks.

(You have to be of 'a certain age' to recognise the sign-off line!)


Bernard said...

Not bored at all Sylve, Truly interesting.
You are lucky to have a photo for each year. All I have are ones for each month from 0 till 1 year old, then a gap, then a few holidays with no dates. I could guess I expect.
I am still sorting all my photos out and could try something similar. :O
"Sherman Tank" is rhyming slang for "Yank" is it not?
My family bought me that book when I was 60! Rotters!

Sylve said...

I'd love to see your photos on your blog, I find family photos interesting from a social history and - dare I say class - point of view. Pleased you weren't bored, at least. Don't knock your family, at least they remembered your 'decade' birthday.
Don't know about the rhyming slang but sounds reasonable.

Kath said...

I think it was Septic tank/Yank.
Nice post Silve, weren't you a pretty little thing?

Bernard said...

Kath may be right. :)
during the war years, not many British girls wanted it known they been seen kissing a 'septic tank'! :D

Sylve said...

Kath, haven't changed much, have I? (Joke!)

marigold jam said...

Lovely post Sylve. Lots of memories there! I am glad that in the poem 66 is fit as a tank but what happens next I wonder?!!


crafty cat corner said...

What a great post. I was only thinking the other day about the comfy prams that we used to use.
I hate to see the tots crammed into these triangular things.

Sylve said...

Hallo ladies!
The tank develops faults, Marigold Jam, but manages to continue, just needs a helping hand now and again plus some TLC!
Hi Crafty Cat, Our prams were solid, weren't they? Today's prams seem so bulky for what they are.

dutch duo said...

weren't you a cutie mother!!