Saturday, 16 August 2008



There were many wonderful advantages to be had living with Aunty and Uncle. One was that they seemed to be quite rich, and another was that they lived at South Shore, Blackpool. When we were young children living in pre-war London, the seaside was, at most, a very occasional day trip provided by the Sunday school or the Girl’s Brigade, of which I was a member!
Looking back at my time spent in Blackpool, I can see that we were very spoiled, and Aunty and Uncle didn’t do our parents any favours regarding our upbringing. Aunty would send me across the road to get lamb’s kidneys for her two precious Pekinese dogs Ming and Chang. She would give me the money for the errand in one hand and into the other would press two shillings (twenty-four pennies) to ‘buy some sweeties’.
Back at home with my Mummy and Daddy; one penny was the most I was ever given at any time, bearing in mind that with one penny I could purchase four sweets at a farthing each. You can see how I very soon got used to a new way of life that included sweets and toys every day.
Aunty had a nephew, Lennie, who lived in Bolton. He, too came to stay with us in Blackpool, and was probably about thirteen or fourteen years old, very good looking, and I adored him. We went everywhere together, the three of us, Lennie, Dougie, and I. Some days we played in the sand dunes or under the pier. Others were spent in the Pleasure Gardens, joining in the merriment of the Laughing Sailor in the glass case, or trying to win a china doll in a crinoline.
Lennie told us that if you set alight the stems from smoker’s pipes, they burned very fiercely and gave off a very peculiar smell. We found that these were sold in the Woolworth’s Store at the base of the Blackpool Tower. We often frequented Woolworth’s where we would buy four or five of these brown, bakelite stems, stuff them into our pockets, and hurry to the cavernous spaces beneath the pier. There we would build miniature ‘native type’ fires with them and set them alight. I can’t imagine what the attraction was. It now seems a pretty boring thing to do, considering all the other marvellous things around us!
Of course ‘little brother’ was only a spectator at these events; we knew better than to let him play with fire. To give Len his due, I don’t remember him ever letting me touch the fire, or the matches, and I suppose, compared to us, he was very grown up.
Time passed from autumn into winter, from sunshine and sea to sandstorms and snow, but it was all tremendous fun.

To be continued…


weechuff said...

Oooh! Hurry up with the next instalment please! Have you any idea if Lennie is still alive?

Babs (Beetle) said...

This is so exciting. I am so enjoying reading it :O)

granny grimble said...


I often wonder if he is, but he would be so old now. I did meet up with him in London when I was about 14. We met on a platform at Charing Cross station when he was passing through on his way back to Italy and his regiment. We kissed and swore to look at the moon at the same time each night. so romantic Aaaah!

Babs (beetle)

I'm so happy that you are enjoying it. I must say I too am enjoying revisiting it!

Jeanette Spain said...

That was good reading, you must be enjoying revisiting the past, more please.
Leanette Spain

Croom said...

Oh Leeta, I am so glad to get a computer back just to read these lovely blogs. It sounds like it straight out of a film!

One of us must do a family tree one day. I know you started one, did you finish it? It was probably the Chapman family as much as the Leach and Fordham. I would love to do just our Mum and Dads family one day.


Sindie said...

Oooo ha ha ha! I bet you only enjoyed the fires because Lennie made them!Can you imagine anyone letting such young children run riot these days, especially by the sea?

granny grimble said...


I believe there is a family tree in my book. Have a look.

We never ever felt threatened or in danger! I suppose we could have drowned or been kidnapped. Certainly wouldn't have let mine wander around like that!