February 27, 2004

Neil's Birthday

Forty Years Ago

It was Neil’s birthday yesterday. No we did not forget, but honoured his desire for that day to be totally private. If you read his webpage you will note his comment that he never works on his birthday and so Nina and I left him to his own devices during the day but invited him over for dinner in order that he did not have to cook for himself. I'm sorry about the picture Neil, but I thought that some of your readers might like it.

I do not argue with his philosophy about making the day different from the other 365 days in the year (any other year 364) and so say to him today “Enjoy the beginning of your 43rd year”.

Neil, I promise that every year from now on I will be one day late in the mind of everyone else in the family, but will send you a welcome message on the first day of your following year. GO FOR IT, SON!

Posted by jeff at 10:50 AM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2004

Dinky Cars & Dinky Kids

I was reading an article in one of those weekend glossy magazines about the hobbies of children. The writer was commenting on the fact that he had developed various complexes throughout his life due to the attitude of his parents with regard to those hobbies.

It made me wonder if I had suffered similar fates over the years. After all, why should I be different to a gifted magazine writer? Oh, how I flatter myself. It must be borne in mind that I was a young, impressionable child during the war and we had to find hobbies that cost very little. The first that I recall was the collection of shrapnel acquired over the years ranging from pieces of incendiary bomb to parts of V1 “Buzz Bombs”. We were the envy of all our friends if we managed to find a piece of metal that was still warm. I suppose that hobby should have given me a complex about war; well it did. I don’t want any part of it.

Dinky toys came into my life in the latter part of 1945. They were not generally available during the war, but my cousin and I were the recipients of a rumour that a certain shop at Whipps Cross had Dinky cars at 2/6d each. For the younger readers who may get hold of this publication, that is 12½p. If I recall correctly that represented more that 2 week’s pocket money! We could not wait to get to the Aladdin’s Cave of a shop to find out if the story was true. Yes it was. We saw boxes of American cars – Buick, Cadillac, Pontiac etc. in bright reds and greens complete with real rubber tyres. English models did not arrive until later. We used the thin oil from the family Singer Sewing Machine to oil the axles to make them run much smoother. We looked after those cars with the sort of love that our fathers looked after the real cars they bought on return from active service.

Three of my Favourites
1945 London Taxi - 1938 GPO Van - 1937 Humber Sedan

I had finally found a real hobby that lasted longer than any others that I subsequently took up. I kept most of my Dinky cars and, together with some later Corgi toys that were Neil’s, we put some of them on display in a netsuke cabinet which remained on a wall until very recently. My complex I now realise was that I should forever remain a boy at heart whilst the cabinet remained on the wall. My beloved cars were there for all to see and I could relate the story of their purchase to anyone who would listen. But it was not to be a dream lasting forever. Nina decided that she had had enough of them. Oh, how many men have had their dreams shattered by the whim of a woman! The cabinet could remain on the wall no longer and the youthful look that used to view my cars with love has given way to a sad old face that can only contemplate a memory.

Posted by jeff at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2004


We have just returned from a weekend in Yorkshire and have to say that we have probably experienced as varied a clutch of weather conditions as could be expected!
It has included rain, sleet, snow, high winds and even brilliant sunshine – What more could one want?

We had a delightful day on Saturday meeting my cousin Marian who was our bridesmaid over 45 years ago. I will not say how old she was then, as chivalry dictates that I must preserve the mystery of a lady’s age. Here are two pictures of the Bride and her Bridesmaid spanning that period.
Marian & Nina - Vintage 2004

And Again - 1958!

It was also great meeting Keith again and Marian’s daughter Jo and her partner, Richard. We were certainly entertained with real Yorkshire hospitality.

Today I was judging Cairns at the Sporting Terrier of Yorkshire Open Show, and once again the hospitality was superb. How warm these northern people are.
I was lucky enough to have over 20 dogs in 5 classes. Best of Breed went to Sue Braybrook’s Cloverbook Here to Stay and RBOB to Linda Firth’s Cairngold Cedar. Best Puppy was Miss Shearsmith’s Cloverbrook Double Six at Eborvale.
L to R - BOB, RBOB and BP

Posted by jeff at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)