I thought I would have a little look at some of the sections of the Roy Harper Masterpiece ‘One Of Those Days In England’. There is so much in it. It’s worthy of a bit of close inspection.
Roy was born in 1941 and his earliest memory is of being held in his Dad’s arms and seeing the horizon glowing bright red with fire from the city of Liverpool being bombed in the war – or was it Manchester?
These were days before television and colour photography. The front room was a place that was kept for Sunday best – always neatly arranged and polished. All the ornaments dusted. There was pride in that room. People kept up standards. They did not have much but it was always immaculate. In the corner would be the big old wooden radio – the wireless. Life was prim and proper. The shelves housed the photos of family and treasured ornaments. There would be studio photos of people dressed up in their best suits and flouncy dresses. Having a photo was an event. The centre of the room was the coal fire and hearth. There would have been a sofa and armchair. The family gathered around the fire.
The newspapers should the queues of people waiting for essentials. This was after the war. People were incredibly poor. There was rationing of most food and sweets. All the men wore the same suits and the women long dresses and hats. The kids wore shorts and dresses. They looked thin, gaunt and hungry. Every street had a pub and a corner shop and the corner shop sold everything. Kids would be sent off to buy anything Mum was running short of.
Stanley Matthews was the fabled right winger for Blackpool and England. He played into his fifties. Probably one of the greatest footballers ever.
All the trains were Steam Trains – Puffing Billies. They would roar along belching out steam and smoke. As a kid I was allowed on the footplate to stoke the furnace with coal and pull the whistle as we went past my house. Health and Safety hadn’t been invented.
All the old money has gone – ten bob notes, the crowns, half crowns, florins. shillings, three-pennies, two-pennies, pennies, halfpennies and farthings – along with all the old slang for it – half a nicker, a bob, tuppence, ha’penny, two bob.
Dad worked usually six days a week while Mum looked after the house and cooked and washed. On Sunday it was Sunday roast. She’d pack him off to the pub for a pint or two while she cooked the beef joint with roast potatoes and two veg.
Sunday afternoon was dozing in the armchair, reading the paper and mowing the lawn. The kids would play in the street – skipping ropes, tops, hand-made carts, hop-scotch, cricket, football, flicksies – flicking cigarette cards against a wall, conkers, jacks, statues, kingy (involved having a ball thrown at you), hide and seek, block 9hide and seek with a base). Tom Tiddler’s Ground.
There were few cars and life followed a routine.
it is strange to think that the things we lived through are now history. The view people have from the future is nothing like the reality.
‘Slowly slipping into history feel us go
With these times another age could never know
See the photos black and white and quaintly dressed
Stood in queues of people smiling, sorely pressed.
Your silent room is the collection of your ways
Every shelf is built of all those different days
And those much younger cannot understand by half
The wireless living room, the faces ’round the hearth.
The ration books and Matthews out there on the wing
The corner shop that sold us almost everything
The farthing in the change, the sirens and the planes
Puffing billies, shunting eras down the lane, down the lane.
You know we’ll soon be gone from here, year upon light year
We’ll take the stories with us there, the memories are dear.
One of those days in England, mum was rustling up the grub
And dad was off out propping up the pub
One of those days in England that you just could not forget
From the mists of secret morning to the golden red sunset.
And though the time fast slips away, it’s long enough to laugh and play
Around the fireside making hay, dreaming of tomorrow, oh you know there’s no today.’
This version starts slowly but develops nicely.
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In the UK you might like to browse through on my link below: For overseas visitors please refer to your local Amazon. You’ll find me there.
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Here’s a few selected titles:
- The Blues Muse – the story of Rock music through the eyes of the man with no name who was there through it all.
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1. Ebola in the Garden of Eden – a tale of overpopulation, government intrigue and a disaster that almost wipes out mankind, warmed by the humanity of children.
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1. Anthropocene Apocalypse – a detailed memoir of the destruction taking place all over the globe with views on how to deal with it.
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