Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A crowd, a host

To borrow from Wordsworth "I saw a crowd, a host ..........of people"

I was in my early twenties and hadn't seen a crowd like this before. I had seen crowds, of course, London rush hour, football matches and even from in a CND march, but they were moving crowds. This one was standing still and I didn't know what was going on.
This was a Monday and I was on my way to work at the GPO in the City of London from where I lived in Downham, just over ten miles.  I cycled everyday and never had a problem but that day I was completely baulked. Cycling in London back in in the 1950s was not as dangerous as it is today, a lot less traffic then but there was a special hazard of the tramlines which are not there anymore.
I discovered that the reason for the crown  was the Lord Mayors Show and the way to work was completely blocked.  I might just as well have been on the other side of the river as the other side of this mass of people just waiting to see a  hangover from medieval times. But of course a free show always attracts crowds.
The show was always held on the 9th November in those days no matter what day of the week it was and at the time I remember thinking it should have been held on the fifth! They have a bit more sense about it now and it always held on a Saturday, probably because when they changed it people still worked a five day week!
No matter which diversion I tried, down towards Cannon Street, up every side street but was still blocked.   I was still stuck until the parade had left the Guildhall area and some of the barriers had been removed so that I could get through.
Even without the bike I would still not been able to get through.  Have you ever tried to push your way through to the front of a crowd? Over an hour late for work, stopped two hours pay which I could ill afford still being on the lowest pay in the place.
I was never greatly enamoured of pageantry and stuff associated with the aristocracy and the upper classes before, but this confirmed an innate antipathy.  Almost joined the Communist Party!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

First bath for forty years

Went on holiday recently and the bathroom had no shower so I had my first bath for about forty years.
Had forgotten how relaxing it can be wallowing in a tub full of warm water.  But getting in was not easy I hadn't worked out the logistics of sitting down in the bath when my knees refuse to bend sufficiently, however I managed it without creating a tidal wave.

Getting out again also required a great deal of thinking about before it was achieved.  I managed eventually.  Yes it was nice, but I don't think I will do it again.

Difficult to remember when baths transitioned into showering.

There were no showers when I was young and when we were evacuees during the war there were often no  baths either so it was off to the public baths. Slipper baths they were called then and I have no idea why. The towels supplied at the public baths were called huckaback, I have no idea about that either but I do know that they were linen, a bit like a tea towel with no drying capacity so you often walked home almost as wet as when you had got out of the bath.

We had no bath in our first home when we were married so it was like going back to childhood days and the slipper baths. They were still using huckabacks so we took our own towels.