Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Two Wapping Gardens

There are two gardens in Wapping in London's East End which were not there when I was a boy before WW2.

The Rose Garden is alongside Vancouver House on Green Bank.  Before the war it was a derelict yard full of rubble and surrounded by a brick wall and cast iron gates.  The security of course was not sufficient to deter small boys who regarded brick walls and gates as a challenge rather than a deterrent.   Even the warnings of our parents about the enormous rats which were supposed to inhabit the rubble kept us out.  A clip round the ear from a parent rarely materialised as we were safe out

before father came home from work.Image result for wapping rose garden

Of course there was the playground just across the road but swings and the roundabout and so on supervised by a dragon playground lady were no competition in terms of adventure.

The Waterside gardens on Wapping High Street are opposite the end of what is now called Reardon's Path but which used to be Dundee Street. This area was open storage for the huge rolls of newsprint which used to be offloaded there before being carted up to Fleet Street where most of the national daily newspapers were printed.

More water in number three

Back when the average home did not have a built in bathroom,which is a lot less than a century ago, for having a bath there was a few options.  A strip wash in the kitchen, a tin bath in front of the fire in the living room or a visit to the municipal baths.

Most towns had what were called slipper baths, often in the same building as the swimming pool.  The cost of the bath included the use of a towel and as much hot water as you liked, except the water was controlled from outside the cubicle.

We lived in a relatively modern block of flats in Wapping built between the wars, which had a bathroom so naturally that was all I knew and assumed that everyone had a bath.  When the war came and we were evacuated to Brighton, we were billeted with a family who did not have a bath so we had to go to the public baths.

Every Saturday morning off we went and it was an occasion not just for getting clean but for having a laugh as well. The baths in Brighton was quite a jolly friendly place and it didn't take long to learn the rules.  You paid for the bath, were given a towel and told which cubicle to go to.  The bath already had water in it but if it wasn't to your liking then you could call out to the attendant "More hot water in "Number three please" and the attendant would turn the tap on the outside of the cubicle for a while.  Of course if your mate was in Cubicle four then for a laugh you could call out "more hot water in cubicle four please"  Cant remember why we though that was funny!!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

The guardian and observer

I stopped buying the Guardian and the Observer a while ago. I don't fit their reader demographic in anyway that makes any sense to me.  Despite their green credentials, they are still wasting acres of paper on full page adverts and celebrity photographs.

The ads are not for me, supposing I could afford it or even wanted to ride a bike I wouldn't spend two thousand pounds on buying one, nor would I spend one hundreds a fifty quid on a jumper or over four hundred on an overcoat.  And then they have got the nerve to print hand-wringing articles about the disparity of wealth in the country!

By the time I had cast aside the sports , travel and foodie pages there is not much left for me to read.  OK the news pages contain more background information than the other papers, but there is a lot of stuff that doesn't appeal to me.  

The magazines are full of overpriced clothes worn for the most part by models who also don't read the foodie pages either.  And what's with all those girls standing around with their toes pointing inwards ?  Was there an outbreak of rickets 20 years ago that didn't get reported?

The only regular columns I read was Katherine Whitehorn and Clive James  who are both older than me and still makes sense.   When these stopped being regulars, then I gave up.

I can't go back to the News Chronicle, the Daily Herald or Reynolds News and these days I only understand every third and fifth word in the  New Statesman.  So it will have to be the Beano instead