Tuesday, 3 March 2009

SKIFFLE GROUPS AND PING PONG!

After we left St Paul’s Road (see ‘Back to my childhood home’) Mrs ‘S’ the mother of Joyce, who rented the top floor flat with her husband Wally (see ‘A Move – But Not too Far’), moved into our original rooms, with her younger daughter Pat. St. Paul’s Road now housed Mum, Dad, brothers Doug and Bill, and the four girls on the ground and basement floors. Mrs S and Pat had our old flat, and Joyce and Wally still lived on the top floor.
Doug and Pat started dating and they finally became engaged and subsequently married.
From the outset of their relationship we became a regular foursome. Doug and I had always been very close to each other and, as Pat was roughly the same age as me, we all became very good friends, spending most of our spare time together.
In 1957 we formed a skiffle group and jazz group and, night after night, well into the wee small hours, we would make our own music recording it on to a Grundig reel-to-reel tape-recorder. Doug played a guitar and banjo and home made drums. Arthur played guitar and piano, and I played guitar, and Pat and I sang.
At one point, Dougie took up amateur photography, so we had a spate of taking black-and-white photographs of anything and everything, doing our own developing and printing in a makeshift dark room under the stairs.
This is one of the posh ones he took of me! Next we became very keen on table tennis. As we never had any money, it was decided that we make our own table. Arthur and Dougie also made the bats. They were a trifle heavy, but manageable! Why we never bought proper ones I don’t know, but it was fun, and we held tournaments in mum’s front room.
That year, Doug and Pat joined us on holiday in Dorset. They weren’t yet married. We had such a crazy, happy holiday. Our chalet stood on the bank of a river and Arthur and Doug did silly things like staging water pistol fights, and building a raft with a sail that sank immediately!
We walked across the fields at midnight, and came home to our chalet with our shoes and legs covered in snails, slugs and bugs!
One afternoon Pat’s deckchair collapsed while she was lounging in it. The whole thing folded up with her body on top, and her fingers trapped in the mechanism. We all thought for one horrible moment that she’s severed them and were frightened to look! However, they were still attached, so we rushed her to the doctor’s and spent a worrying hour at the surgery, Pat spent a few painful days with her hand in a sling.
After that, all went well until Rusty (our dog) was savaged by the swans that used to swim along the edge of the river in our front garden begging for pieces of bread. He was so scared; he leapt into the air, pulling his head completely out of his collar. Apart from the loss of dignity, he was otherwise unharmed! Doug and Pat duly became a married couple and rented a flat at Finsbury Park. This was good news because they now lived a lot closer to us and we could spend more time together. Their landlord lived in the flat below them and always banged on the ceiling if we made a noise, which we frequently did! More of that later.

11 comments:

Beetle said...

Grand old times :O) Even though I was quite young then, I remember playing the saucepans in a skiffle group with Doug!

Croom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Croom said...

Grand old times indeed Beetle, I also remember Patsy and Doug, Leeta and Arthur singing. I remember that Pat hated Green sleeves and Doug used to sing a few bars to tease her sometimes.

Do you remember that swim suit Doug made for Pat with the ‘falsy’sponge cups? The sponge cups filled with water making them very heavy causing them to hang to her belly as she stepped from the sea, poor Pat. Was this on one of your holidays Leeta?

The photo of you is beautiful Leeta. More please.

granny grimble said...

BEETLE

Weren't they just! I had a big flame coloured glitter 'Colorama' guitar, and played it until 'heavy with child' I couldn't get near enough to the frets and strings! After becoming a Mum there never seemed enough time to indulge again.

CROOM
We've still got a couple of those recordings somewhere. Cringe, Cringe!
No Pat never took home made falsies on our holiday. Trust Doug!

Swubird said...

Granny:

How beautiful you are in that picture. You look just like a movie star. It reminds me of when I was young too. We were also real close to another couple named Betty and Bob and we went everywhere together.

The four of us went camping a lot, and we even went camping in Death Valley. Can you imagine how hot it was? But we had great fun. And tt one point, we considered renting a house together. It would have saved us a lot of money. But then something came up and we each bought separate places.

I also took up photography and decided that I would record our lives for the future. So I took hundreds of pictures - documenting everything we did and all the places we went together. Then we divided up the pictures so we would both have a permanent record. It was the best thing I ever did.

That was forty years ago.

Now imagine my sadness when I received a letter announcing the death of my old friend Bob, and my surprise when I saw that it had been printed on one of my photos of him. It brought me to tears.

Thank you for sharing yet another interesting story in the continuing saga of Granny Grimble.

Happy trails.

Jay said...

Gosh ... you were having so much fun when I was only four! LOL!

I used to go to Finsbury Park with my doll's pram on sunny weekends. Also to Clissold Park and Hampstead Heath. Funny how we were in the same area - but of course you grown-up young things would have had nothing to do with a grubby little girl in NHS glasses and pigtails, now would you? ;)

granny grimble said...

SWUBIRD
Thank you for that lovely compliment. We all had such fun in our youth didn't we? It didn't seen necessary to have lots of money to have fun. How sad that you lost a life long friend. Had it been long since you last met?
What a good idea to record your march through time in photo mode. You must have so many albums. Or are they all in boxes waiting to be mounted! I have about twenty A4 ring binders full of family photos, to say nothing of the hundreds on my computer. None as spectacuar as camping in Death Valley though!

granny grimble said...

JAY
How strange that we frequented the same places in out yester-years. I played, courted and took my children to play in Finsbury Park. Clissold Park was near to my O.H's home so we also spent lots of our courting time there. My son took his first steps by the paddling pool in Clissold Park. I was proposed to on Hampstead Heath! I wonder if our paths ever crossed? I bet you looked cute with glasses and pigtails. :0)

weechuff said...

What lovely memories. How lovely it would be to go back in time for a while, where everything was so uncomplicated:0)

granny grimble said...

WEECHUFF

Oh How I wish! Perhaps that's what Heaven is like eh?

Sandi McBride said...

Do you have any of the tapes left? I'd love to hear your musical endeavours! I love these posts...
Sandi