Miscellaneous Memories & Random Reminiscences

Unrelated memories from my childhood and teens, London life and various holidays.

Mid 1960’s : visiting Harper’s electrical shop just off Portobello Market with my mother to purchase a new light bulb when out of habit she requested both the wattage and voltage. The shop assistant, in her thirties, was a little snooty and dismissed the request with “There’s no need to mention the voltage as they’re all 240V now.” The owner of the shop, however, merely smiled at my mother, for being the same age as her he knew full well that it was only relatively recently that the standardisation had occurred, and it wasn’t unusual for a house to have three different voltages, with different kinds of plugs (small round pin, large round pin, and large rectangular pin).

Late August 1968 : on holiday in Chichester, sitting in the TV lounge of the Dolphin & Anchor hotel prior to dinner (a stunning old building next to the beautiful cathedral), watching grainy B&W news footage of Soviet tanks invading Czechoslovakia; had I also watched the (Hergé’s adventures of) Tin-Tin cartoon beforehand, or was that another memory from the same hotel but conflated in time?

30 January 1965 : with my parents visiting a friend of my father’s, a retired school-mistress living in East London, sitting in the dimly-lit lounge whose door was kept free from draughts by a thick rug hanging from an overhead rail, watching Churchill’s funeral barge coming down the Thames.

Late 1960s : awakening in a room so cold that my breath was visible, and there was ice on the inside of the windows, rising about 15cm from the bottom of the frame and being up to 4mm thick .