Swept Off My Feet.

I grew up in the gentle world of feet and inches.

Of gallons of petrol , pints of milk and even smaller bottles at playtime in school.

A time of tables …  times tables and blackboards and chalk.  And marks out of 10 !

Of pounds, shillings and pence …. that made sense.     And didn’t change.


Occasional post cards and letters in the post.  And maybe a heart-sinking telegram.

But no junk mail or Email …. and certainly no instagram.

The  news in newspapers on the doorstep at 7am.

Then later on TV at six o’clock on the BBC.   But not 24/ 7 rolling repeats.


How things have changed?

But curiously we still have miles to go  ?


In my playing rugby days there were just fifteen of us …. no substitutes.

No yellow cards for ten minutes on the touch line, when you were injured you went off and stayed off.

A referee with a whistle whose word was the law by what he saw.

No action replays, no video delays   ….. just get on with it.


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9 Responses to Swept Off My Feet.

  1. Poetry
    Good morning 12 April 2020 this Easter Sunday, I have my best frock on, my parasol, and I wish to enter the ‘EASTER Parade’?
    Dear John has metaphorically shot me in the foot! He has produce some sense, and a lot of prose to digest, and enjoy, my mind in social isolation is running away with itself, more is the problem?
    I note John mentions 15 men true and blue, and then the drifts to yesteryear, and no repeats or playbacks in real life: However in memory he has a few thoughts? That’s where one may be able to tickle JOHN’s tummy and raise that occasional smirk or smile.
    I am not sure if John is acting as a referee blowing that occasional wind into his whistle, so we can all hear it, and play fair by the rules?
    The stanza,s and rhyming lines are far more delicate than I can concoct, or dream up? I am a mere heathen in the world of literature, and do not wish to comment as-John is a poet and does not know it!-
    The enticing part of the prose is the invoking of a past memory or two for me personally.
    I go back to my ‘scouting days’, and obtaining that odd badge or two. For the Second and fist class awards, one had to do a days hike,or a hike and night camp! In the Leeds area we had the yorkshire dales, the nearest to my home was Wharfedale, and with it a ‘scouting song’: We belonged to the AIREDALE District of scouting, and we had our own song within the district- It was a cannibalised version of the ‘AUSSIE Song’ Waltzing Matilda, and the bilabong was the River washburn, and the policeman, was the district scout commissioner, if ever he was present at a campfire the song was sung with ‘gusto’.
    In my self/social isolation, I look out of my flat window at the local roadside green, and our retirement village flower beds and note that most of the spring flowers have gone, [snow drops- crocuses], and now the Daffodil’s are passed their best: However I am taken back to class 3a in my local school, and that english lesson, were we were introduced to Wadsworth and his poem with the opening line;’I wandered lonely as a cloud, and all at once I saw a host, a crowd of golden daffodils’ or words to that effect,? I smile gentle to myself, and admire gods world, and the next group of flowers, hedgerow primroses, the dandy-loin in all its glory, the daisy, tulips and the cherry and may blossom, and the the rose, all though that flower is sharing my world of self isolation right now {MOLLY}. However I must not forget the meadow flowers of beauty such as the cornflower, and in my thoughts the ‘Forget me Not or is it Knot, that friendship that bonds us all together.
    Am I swept off my feet??? The answer is yes! Life is wonderful, please do not buckle in silence in this period of enforced self isolation. Please do communicate, even if you have to take your ‘draws off’ and use them as semaphore signals. Regards, all the best.xx

  2. Mondays
    It is in fact a Monday to day? That is what my self isolation minds eye has turned too: Not the fact that is Easter Monday, and that maybe I should be enjoying a day out and about with loved ones, never mind! I will console myself with a ‘shaggy dog story, seamans yarn, a tall story’ about my young life when I was 6/7 years old, living with mum and dad and my grand parents.
    Are you sitting comfortably, I am with my maternal grand parents in East Sheen/London. My grandparents had fled Burma, and settled in their family flat in Sheen. Great Grandma was still alive and well, and lived also in the same flat. One day great grannie and great Aunt daisy took myself and gloria my sister for a day out at London ZOO,great. Mum stayed at the flat, looking after our younger sister, and dad was looking for employment mid 1949, in England after working for the Control Commission in Germany, stationed in Hamburg.{which is where we as a family had returned to England from]. As I say on a Monday Grandpa had the task of taking the family laundry literally across the road to the chinese laundry, to be returned cleaned and ironed the next day. Grandpa then would sit Gloria and I at the table, and tell us a rhyme! { He had put on each index finger nail a paper stamp} Grandpa would start!
    His hands behind his head, and recite:-
    “ Two litte dick birds sat on a wall, one called Peter {From Behind his head LHS=bring down his left hand, and have a clenched hand on the table, with the stamp on the index finger in full view-PETER}, then , one called Paul,[and down would come his right hand with the clenched fist and on the stamp on the index finger-Paul]”.
    He would then flutter the index fingers and ask us who was Peter, who was Paul? Then Grandpa would recite “Fly away peter fly away paul, taking the hands one at a time behind his head in the right order! Then grandpa would ask us where was Peter?” we would eagerly say behind the left hand side of his head, and point, most excitedly, Grandpa would then lower the left hand to the table, and let us see! But alas Peter had gone!!!! {Grandpa still had his clenched fist, but over his index finger nail-( hiding the stamp was his fore finger, we as 5 and 6 year olds were amazed, and at first mystified??) Then Grandpa would return his left hand to the back of his head, and ask us “ where was Paul?” the same actions and words were repeated for the right hand.!!
    Then Grandpa would again chime up “ Come back Peter” and his left hand would be slapped on the table in clenched fist style, with the index finger nail and stamp fully visible {Peter} we as kids were ‘gobsmacked’, then Grandpa would say “Come back Paul” and again his right hand , clenched fist would be slapped on the table, with the index finger and stamp to see {Paul}. Grandpa would then ask us to repeat after him “ Two little dickie birds sat on a wall, One called Peter { raise his left hand and one called Paul, raise his right hand]”— The end.

  3. Amonday
    Above is a tail from 1949, during this period we as a family also stayed with my Paternal Grandfather in Crosby Liverpool 22. Grandpa was an old seadog, a Captain {RNR} but with the White Star Line, sailing in his time between Liverpool, and North America, and Australia and New Zealand.His cadet ship was with Alfred Holts {Blue Funnel} and his qualifying sea time as a navigator was completed under sail. Now my ‘tall story’
    If one rose before 0800 hours on a Monday morning, one had cert things to witness and abide by!
    At first light, clean out the back room fire, Sieve the ashes-put the coal/unburnt to one side, then dust down the fireplace, tie yesterdays newspaper { Broadsheet} into single sheet knots, place in the fire grate-maybe 6 Knots of paper, then place kindling (twigs) over the paper, and then place sticks of wood over the paper, and finally top of with the fresh and sieved coal. Stand Back and admire!!!
    Then a match was struck and the fire lit at 07.00 to heat the back boiler water heater. The damper was pulled out to get a maximum draught,
    At 07.55 the BBC Home service and the shipping forecast-Mersey, Humber, dogger, german bight, faroes, heligoland, and the rest, Grandpa expected church silence as if it were pray time at church. The the BBC 0800 News broadcast, here one could comment, nut not engage in conversation. This was all in the back room.
    Then there was breakfast, at the table and eat like Christian’s with plates forks, knives, and jam spoons, and a butter knife for the toast, and off course the proverbial porridge. Then after breakfast wash up the pots in the kitchen: In the scullery was a different tale! Here the Home help was working hard. Preparing [remember it is Monday] the dolly tub, filling it with buckets of hot water [half full] putting soda soap, and washing powder into the tub, then the whites, followed by the dolly stool, and then the hardwork, stirring the whole mash of water and clothes up, with the dolly stool, and then with the rubbing/scrubbing board hand rubbing the items of washing to remove the stains and blemishes, then out of the dolly tub to soak in the sink , add bleach maybe?, and then to rinse in clean water, in the second scullery sink, and finally through the mangle, may be twice-I was allowed here to try and wind the mangle/handle, it took some strength. The whole procedure was repeated for the coloured wash, and then delicates, such as woollens where washed by hand in the sinks, after the main wash. The washing was then hung outside on the garden washing lines, or in the overhead drying frames in the scullery.
    Then the dolly tub had to emptied-by buckets, the mangle pushed back to the side of the scullery, and the floor mopped. Then all the ironing was done on another day ‘Phew’? thank goodness. Time for a cuppa, and BBC Radio Mrs Dales Diary, and the adventures of ‘captain=the cat’
    That was a typical Monday Morning at Grandpa ‘Panda’s. Great memories, but some hard work for the home help.

  4. Gotcha!!!
    It is Tuesday 14th April, am. I am drifting and dreaming! What are you doing???
    Now then, Sir Nigel Gresley, YORKSHIRE, Cock of the North, St Peter’s School York, Glen Garry, The Bramham Moor, 50B, and then, Queen Elizabeth, Duchess of Montrose, Seaforth Highlander, The GREEN Howards, and then the codes 0-4-0, 2-6-2, or 0-6-0, or 4-6-0, all bound up and underlined by Ian Allen? I am a nerd! Today, in my dreams I am on a grass bank train spotting at Appley Bridge LMS, or at Horsforth LNER, or maybe a Leeds City Station, or Doncaster, with my Ian Allen Book underling the steam engines of the day. A ‘named ‘ was a true Capture, an ordinary number was a ‘class result’ but not to be patted on the back for!
    Living in the West Riding I never was able to appreciate the GWR with its ‘Kings and Castles’ or the SR and the ‘Battle of Britain Class, or Schools Class.
    There were then the British Rail standard engines, the same wheel formations 4-6-2, 2-6-4, or the freight engines 2-10-0, or t 2-8-0, Again they had namers amongst them, The Clan line engines, or Black Prince, and Tornado among them these were Mixer Frieght/passenger service engines.
    What is missing at this time are the early BO=BO’s/ CO=CO’s [040=040,or 060=060] known more commonly as a ‘Deltic, for instance or Napier’- the early main line diesel/electric passenger and freight engines.
    This was all in my youth at the age of 12/15. The last tribute or one of the last tributes paid by a British Steam Locomotive was in 30 January 1965; Heading the funeral train from Oxford to Waterloo of Sir Winston Churchill, headed by the steam passenger engine number 34051 (4-6-2)_ named Winston Churchill of the SR [ Southern Region]. A day to remember and nostalgia.
    The numbers represent the wheel arrangements, and an engine shed code in Leeds.
    A report by a train spotting nerd! Help? Please? What next?

  5. Yep!
    Hello! Good morning! I am in self isolation once more, contemplating my navel, and picking the spots on my face!!
    I am but an Englishman: A northern Lad living in the south { Northamptonshire/Bucks}, and I just wonder where my Northern Easter Holiday has gone? For Instance in the south the holiday commences on Maunday Thursday=No Queenie making a gift of money this year, then Good Friday, and Easter Monday! For the working public in the south. In contrast in the north you have to work in the Leeds/Bradford Area on GOOD FRIDAY, But then the Holidays are MONDAY and TUESDAY. However with this social isolation, we are are locked away in our own living quarters, and one has had to admire the sunshine from a distance, and then dream or imagine, what we could have done with our friends and family, at the seaside, in the countryside, or at a public gathering such as a pop concert, or the local band playing in the park bandstands. I have missed my ice cream, the paddle in the sea and the sand between my toes, and that upturned bucket making a sand pie or castle. Dream on Macduff!
    If I dream of my home district as a child, I think of the car manufacturer, Jowetts of Bradford, with their two saloons- the ‘Javelin’ and the ‘Jupiter’, quite a vision from our family Ford Prefect [DAN498], but this girl took all the family on our days out to Scarborough or Bridlington, or nearer home Bolton Abbey, and the ‘Strid’ riverside walk. Reliability over good looks,as Dad was a commercial traveller in Bitumens, and had quite an area of coverage, geographically on the eastern side of England.
    To keep us warm, there was ‘WENDY WOOLS and ROBIN WOOLS, who manufactured, spun and wove some fine knitting wools, that Mum enjoyed making into jumpers for all the family. Another sentimental memory.

  6. Just a word, while in ‘self isolation’! I long to hear all those accents and nuance’s by the various residents of Lovat Fields- Hello Me Duck, Good morning Love, How are you doing bonnie lad? Hello Hinney, and then some droll from the east end or the old kent road, get up those apples and pears, plus some northern heathen remark from a Glaswegian, or a tyke, mancurian, or liverpudlian, not for getting Nottingham/Sheffield and Liecester and brum,. It is all in the way the greeting or well wish is pronounce, never mind looking at the grimace or smile on the face of the speaker.
    It would be great to hear the cacophony of all thses sounds once again, with a hug, handshake, and maybe for the few a kiss -‘duckie’.
    Now go away it is breakfast time, and please not in front of the children???? Chow!!!

  7. As I look out this morning towards the Willen Park from my balcony window, drinking in the sunshine and listening to the joyous dawn chorus of the local song birds, Wrens, Tits, chaffinches, robins, and the occasional magpie call. Some of our neighbours have a bird box, which now is inhabited by Tits and has some 6/8 eggs laid inside, and watching on the as installed ‘magic eye’camera, for the first fledgling to hatch! It is all exciting. During early / Mid March at dusk, there was a sight to behold-The starlings would flock to the trees in the park, than along would come hawks, and the starlings would take flight on mass and create some wonderful patterns in the sky, as if they were a flock, making many great patterns in the sky until dark [Some 20 minutes} The patterns woven in flight were breathtaking and full of movement..
    As I stand outside on the balcony, my mind is drifting to my bedroom window in Leeds.
    Here on a clear spring morning I could see to the right in the distance Otlley Chevin, a wonderfull place to walk, and look both down and up the Wharfe Valley. Then straight ahead was Baildon Moor, and the Pub Dick Hudson, the end of a pleasant stroll from Ilkley., over the moor tops.
    To the left was Bradford and the many woollen mills, wahing/spinning and weaving wool products.
    A Dream too far in my distant past. It is amazing to me how a joyous image in the morning can trigger all the memories of a past life?

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