Sunday, 7 April 2013

A voice from the past

I must apologise for not posting more entries to this blog, but not long after I started this blog I had a small stroke and lost the use of my left hand and wrist for a few hours. It was a surreal experience because I felt no pain. I just had a wrist and hand I could do nothing with. Luckily, I am able to write again, but my grip is weaker than it was and I am now on medication, but other things have taken priority and I am only posting this short entry now because my blog was found by another former Swinderby Road resident, the same age as myself, who I remembered, and we have since exchanged a few emails. This alone has made starting the blog worthwhile.

It made me realise that I have only have a few photographs of me with one other child, who lived on Swinderby Road at the same time as me. The photos below show me with Eileen Matthews who lived next door at no.34. She was three weeks younger than me and we were friends until we went to work and our lives went off in different directions. We both went to Barham and Alperton schools.

I cannot remember the name of Eileen's cat. Our cat was called 'Tibby' and was a gentle tom,  although I do remember seeing him battered and scarred after a few cat fights and his diet was scraps. There was no such thing as cat food. That was something I only discovered in the sixties, when my wife and I were given a tortise-shell cat we called 'Tina'.

We're sitting on an old sink and there's another one to the back of us, along with old pipes and galvanised sheeting. The back garden at Swinderby Road was a junk yard and going through some old family photographs, I came across a photograph from the 1920s, also taken in the back garden at 36 Swinderby Road:

It shows, from left to right, my Uncle Smiler; Uncle Frank, an older girl I have no name for; Uncle Dave and my mother, Betty. All those I know are Howards. My Uncle Frank is the only one still alive, so I am sending him a copy in the hope that he can name the 'mystery' girl for me.

The window you can just see on the left edge of the photograph is the outside toilet. Its floor was bricks on earth and lime washed walls and newspaper pieces on hooks. There was an inside toilet too.

My visit to Brent Archives to go through the electoral rolls for Swinderby Road have been on hold, but I'm hoping now to pay them a visit in late-May / early-June.

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