Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

This picture of an area in the High Street, Glasgow was taken by the famous photographer Thomas Annan circa 1870


For a number of years now Jean and I have visited our doctor’s surgery to have the anti-flu injection, and one afternoon last week we had this done.

This time however we were asked if we would like to take a memory test. Like most folk of our age there are occasions when we forget someone’s name or when our memory plays tricks on us. So having agreed to the test, we were directed to another part of the surgery.

We were seen separately and asked at the start to memorise an address which we had to recall later. The questions were simple, such as - in which year did the Second World War begin, what’s your age, what’s the name of the Queen, etc. We were also asked to count down backwards from 20. We passed of course and came away pleased with ourselves.

However, later on at home, when we were discussing the test, we found that neither of us could remember all the questions we had been asked!!!!


This Serenade by the Dutch composer Jonny Heykens (1884-1945) was popular in the 1930s. In 1943 a Japanese radio station broadcasting to their armed forces made it their signature tune, and after the war it was adopted as the theme tune of Japanese railways.


The picture below will be familiar to older folks. I remember that the character Shock-headed Peter appeared in an old Chatterbox Annual that had belonged to one of my father’s siblings.
Created by Heinrich Hoffman, Der Struwwelpeter consisted of ten German stories, each with a moral.

See Slovenly Peter! Here he stands,
With his dirty hair and hands.
See! his nails are never cut;
They are grimed as black as soot;
No water for many weeks,
Has been near his cheeks;
And the sloven, I declare,
Not once this year has combed his hair!
Anything to me is sweeter
Than to see shock-headed Peter.  (Tr. Anon)



My mother born in 1896 was the eldest in her family and next to her was George. On leaving school he became a clerk in a local iron foundry. He fought in the trenches in the First World War. As a result of being wounded, he lost the complete use of an arm. He became a Baptist minister and some time later Secretary of the Baptist Union in Scotland.

I remember that occasionally he would visit his parents on a Saturday afternoon, when we were there. He and Grandpa would sit having serious discussions about church affairs. One name kept cropping in their talk, as in “according to Spurgeon” and “Spurgeon says.”

Many years later I discovered that they were referring to Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a famous 19th century Baptist preacher and writer.


My new site begins on Saturday 31st October with “A Hallowe’en Story” and will feature a different tale every week.


This video from the British Film Institute shows Tower Bridge road market, London in 1931. There’s no sound track.


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