Saturday 27 February 2021

Saturday Story

I hope you're excited to find out what letter my stories are based on this week?

It's T.  T for television, technology, truth, treasure, thoughts, talent, travel, teaching, time.

The last 70 years has seen amazing leaps in technology.  Some forms have come and gone in that time.

As a child in the 1950s, the radio is one the main form of technology, with the fledgling BBC television just becoming popular.   My parents bought me a radio when I was about 7 years old.  Some of their friends thought it was wrong to buy it for me. But I loved Saturday nights when I went to bed and listened to Variety Playhouse and then Saturday  Night Theatre.  I'm pretty sure I must have fallen asleep during the latter as it didn't end until 10pm.

In the daytime there was Workers Playtime and  of course Listen with Mother.  Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin!  And on Saturday mornings there was 'Uncle Mac' introducing children's favourites.  Who can forget Max Bygraves singing 'You're a pink toothbrush'. Or other records including The Laughing Policeman?  Or Nellie the Elephant?  Or The Teddy Bears Picnic? But my favourite was How much is that doggy in the window?

Sundays were favourite listening to the radio as a family.  There was Two-way Family Favourites, The Goons, Round the Horne and The Navy Lark.  Quite often on a Sunday afternoon my Dad would take Mum and I on a mystery trip.  This involve him driving us around the country lanes of Warwickshire and Worcestershire and listening to Sing Something Simple on the radio.  We used to call it Sing something Sinful.  There were always Fox's Glacier Mints and it seemed like every week we ended up at Tardebigge.  We probably didn't!  However on the day Roger and I got engaged we went for a walk and guess where we went!  Yep! The canal locks at Tardebigge.

I went off to college in 1967 which co-incided with the BBC changing the Light Programme and the Home Service for Radio 1, 2, 3, & 4.  And now there's Radio 5 Live, 6 and 6 Xtra.  The first song on Radio 1 was Flowers in the Rain.


Now I hardly listen to the radio.  Just Classic FM when I'm in the car.  And I haven't been in my car much the last 12 months!

As I said the television was just becoming popular in the 1950s.  The televising of the Queen's Coronation in 1953 caused a rise in purchases.  The screen was tiny, the box was big and the pictures were in black & white.   As a child I watched Andy Pandy, Muffin the Mule and Bill and Ben.

And there was Billy Cotton's Bandshow - which had moved from the radio to television in 1956.

I don't remember when we got a television that received ITV.  The channel started in 1955 but we certainly didn't get it early on.   I remember going on holiday with my parents and my cousin Hilary, who sang me the adverts that she had seen.  In particular the Esso Sign means Happy Motoring.  I don't ever remember seeing it so I was quite surprised when I watched it on YouTube this week.

One thing that came, went and is now returning are vinyl records.  My cousin had a Dansette record player in the early 1960s. It played records at different speeds: 78, 45 and 33rpm.  We must have had something to play records on at home because I remember buying my very first record in 1961: Are you sure?  The Allisons came second in the Eurovision Song Contest with this.


There were reel-to-reel tape machines, and then tape cassettes and the inevitable trying to record the top 40 from Radio Caroline on a Sunday night!

I remember in my late teens being taken to visit the computer room at a local insurance office.  It took up almost a whole floor of the building with all its metal cabinets and whirring bits!  It had less power and memory than a current smart phone.

I saw one of the first mobile phones in the early 1970s.  It was about the size of a housebrick and the guy was carry the battery with it.  That was about the size of a car battery.  Maybe it was a car battery!

The BBC Acorn computer was introduced into British schools in the early 1980s.  In my last full time teaching job I was responsible for the computers in the Junior school I worked in.  I got lots of training.  And fortunately when I was a Girl Guide (see last Saturday's post) I was taught how to type.  Who would have thought that back then that our smart phones would be pocket sized and be so powerful?

I've only scratched the surface of all the technological changes that have happened during my lifetime.  I haven't even mention video and PVRs!

What memories do you have?

Thanks for joining me today

Tuesday 23 February 2021


Recently we were watching a fairly mundane travel documentary about a train journey in Bavaria.  It started in Augsburg and I felt that we had been there.  When I looked on this blog I couldn't find a post about the visit although there is this post with three photos.  I looked on my computer and behold there are lots of photos.  Be prepared for some armchair travelling.  It's really the only kind these days!!!

I hope you enjoyed our look around Augsburg today.  Thanks for joining me.

Saturday 20 February 2021

Saturday Story

What letter story will I tell today?  A, P & V are done, so that leaves another 23 letters to choose from!

Queen's Guide presentation.  How about the glasses!

Let's look at Q today.  What Q words can you think of?  Questions, quotes, qualifications, Queen, the Queen, Queen's Guide, qualities, quality time, Quality Street, quarantine, queue, quilt, quinquennial.

Isn't quinquennial a beautiful word?  I found it in the dictionary.  I didn't know there was such a word.  Apparently it means recurring every five years.   The only example I can find is from the Fixed Term Parliamentary Act in the UK that says that there should be a general election every 5 years.  Unless of course they call another one in between.   Sorry!  Off down a rabbit hole.  That's what comes of reading the dictionary!

Let's go back to my list and find some relevant stories.

I have lots of qualifications.  A teaching certificate, a B.A.(Hons) and a Masters degree (M.Ed). Sad to say that the degrees were about proving that I was capabale of getting them.  My grammar school teachers had said I wasn't good enough to go to University.  They also said that I shouldn't apply to a London Teacher Training College.  However I did ignore the last piece of advice and went to Southlands College in Wimbledon, London.  But after leaving college I got it into my head that I needed to prove myself.  This was before people talked about being 'enough' but I expect it is the same thing.  I did my first degree part time with the Open University and my masters part-time at Warwick University.  However I never told the school what I had done so I'm not sure what it proved and to whom.

Standing on a manhole cover to stop my heels sinking into the grass!

I also got photography qualifications and creative embroidery qualifications.  And at one point took the Mensa exam. And got in!

The day I received the letter telling me I had completed my masters degree my dad asked me when I was going to start my Ph.D.   And I took up the challenge and looked into doing a Ph.D in children's literature at Worcester University.   And then I came to my senses!

I didn't need to prove myself.  I didn't need more qualifications.  What I needed was just to be me.

But it's hard when you've always been performance driven.  I try now to be a 'being' not a 'doing'!

I expect there are other Q stories but I'll leave you with a quote from Charles Schultz:

'Don't worry about the world coming to an end today.  It's already tomorrow in Australia.'

Thanks for joining me today

Tuesday 16 February 2021

Quirky Still LIfe

The theme for photography group this month was Quirky Still Life.  The Duck family feature heavily!

Watching a fish dish being cooked!

Other still life contributions!

Thanks for joining me today

Saturday 13 February 2021

Saturday Story

We've visited 'A' and 'P' so far.  As tomorrow is Valentine's Day I thought we would look at V stories.

Of course, the obvious V is Venice.  If you put Venice into the search box to the right of this post, lots of posts will come up. Several pieces of my textile work is inspired by Venice.

V is for voice.  There are several posts here about finding my voice, including the previous post this week.

V is for values.  Mary wrote about Personal Values and I used that as the inspiration behind this page in my 2021 Word of the Year journal.

So what other things beginning with V feature in my story?

From the age of 8 to 18 I lived in a house in Verstone Croft.  At some point in our life there we had central heating fitted!  My parents moved from there when I had left for college.  They sold it to a cousin of my mother.  The next time we visited we weren't allowed to walk on the lawn.  Isn't it funny the things you remember?

Next V:  I drive a Vauxhall Astra.  This is third or fourth one, I think.  I wrote one off on a drive home from Pembrokeshire in the early hours of the morning.  I was the only person on the road and as I came out of the tunnel at Monmouth I hit the barrier at the side of the road and did a spectacular drive with two wheels going along the top of the barrier at an angle to the road.  Just like the stuntmen do it in the films!  And fortunately when I got to the end of the barrier the car landed the right way up!  I can't find the original pictures but here are the pages from my Learn Something New journal.

I think I came off lightly, with just a bruised arm.  The car didn't fare so well.

V is for Victory. 
Did you know that my name, Bernice, comes from Berenike which means Bringer of Victory. It's also where Nike, the footwear company, gets its name from. Valerie Sjodin made this piece of artwork for me.

At the beginning I said I had chosen V for today's Saturday story as tomorrow is Valentine's day.  So I will finish with a photo of part of the card I am giving Roger tomorrow.  I chose it so I can cut it up and put it in my journal!!!!  The theme for February in Valerie's Plan With Me is hearts.

Thanks for joining me today.

Tuesday 9 February 2021

Turquoise, copper and orange!

I was rootling about in the loft, looking for the missing grey hat for Paddington!  I didn't find the hat.  However I did find the workbook I did for one of my pieces for the City & Guilds Creative Embroidery course I took in 1997.

I thought it was in 2005 but I found my certificates and it was way back in the last century! 

And guess what!?! Back then I was already working in shades of turquoise, copper and orange.


In fact I don't know why I needed to find that workbook to confirm my preferred colour scheme considering I have these two pieces hanging on the wall!

I needed this reminder!  It's okay to work in these colours. This is my style/voice!  Perhaps I should listen to myself more!!!!!

Thanks for joining me today

Saturday 6 February 2021

Saturday Story

I bet you were expecting stories about things beginning with B today.  Certainly I was.

And then all the things in my head were about P.  In particular Paddington.

In 1967 I took myself to London to my college interview. I had never been to London and had no idea how the Underground worked! Back then parents didn't take you to see your college choices.

At this point you might be saying what has that got to do with Paddington.  Back then, the trainline from Birmingham via Leamington arrived into Paddington Station.  Now it arrives into Marylebone.  My parents moved from Birmingham to Stratford upon Avon whilst I was in my first year at college so I frequently travelled from Leamington to Paddington.  Or Paddington to Leamington.  Quite often phoning up to ask if they would send me the money for the ticket!

The year I went to college, the government of the day decided that they needed to increase the numbers at Teacher Training Colleges.  My college decided that instead of us having rooms of our own, there would be 3 rooms for 4 people.  Two of us shared a bedroom each and then 4 people shared a study room in between the shared rooms.

As an only child I had always had a bedroom of my own.  The only time I shared a bedroom with anyone was Christmas and on holiday when my cousin and I fairly frequently shared the bed as well.  Fortunately I got on really well with my roommate and we are still friends today.

In our study room, I remember reading bedtime stories to my fellow trainees.  I read them some of the Paddington Bear books!

Nearly 20 years later, Paddington Bear cropped up again.  Roger's boss bought a large replica as a present when Andy was born.  I don't think he ever played with it.  We seem to have lost his grey hat and luggage label!

This bear is modelled on the books whilst modern bears are modelled on the films.

This year Paddington has reappearedin my life.  UNICEF has set up a project where in return for your donation you can nominate a child or family to receive a regular postcard from Paddington.  Each postcard tells about a different area in the world where UNICEF is working and what it's like to be child in that country. Fortunately the scheme is available in Australia so I was able to sign up for the Hopper Minis to receive postcards.

The introductory pack included some stickers, a travel journal and the map they're looking at with their dad.

and a postcard from London

The other major 'P' in my life has been Pembrokeshire.  In my teens we had a towing caravan.  We had holidays all over the UK, but Pembrokeshire was my parents' favourite.  We first stayed in Wiseman's Bridge which is near Tenby, but then they discovered the area north of the River Cleddau.

Eventually they decided to give up the caravan and bought a holiday home in Nolton Haven.  When Dad retired they sold the holiday home and bought a permanent home which they extended and renovated.  The garden was fantastic - there was a stream that went from their garden along the boundary of the neighbour and onto the beach.  Andy spent weeks staying with Grandma & Grandpa, playing in the garden and on the beach.

Sadly this glorious garden got too much for them and they bought a sensible bungalow in Simpson's Cross, about 3 miles inland.  My mother died in 2007 and when my Dad died in 2013, we put the bungalow up for sale.  It took well over a year to sell.  We left the property for the last time on July 6th 2014 and we haven't been back to visit the area since.  Although we did drive through Pembrokeshire to get to the Irish Ferry at Pembroke Dock in 2019.

We had visited every Easter holiday, Spring Bank Holiday week, two weeks in August and again at Christmas for so many years that I didn't want to go back again.  There's so much more of the UK, Europe and the World to visit!  But maybe if the Hopper Juniors and Minis ever come to visit the UK, we'll make a pilgrimage with them to show our grandchildren where their parents got engaged.

Thanks for joining me today.

PS: Who knows what the next story letter will be!!

Tuesday 2 February 2021

The Return

At my church I support a group of creative writers.  We have a monthly zoom call and homework!  This is my homework for this month.

The Return

The wind moaned. It shook the locked and bolted door. The rain rattled down. Raindrops bounced off the windowpanes like the rat-a-tat of a gun. Despair’s icy fingers slithered under the door and through the gaps in the window frame. Despondency’s tendrils wrapped around the sobbing figure lying on the bed. It clung to her the way ivy clings to the crumbling fa├žade of a decaying building. Clutching a thinning blanket, which did nothing to keep out the cold, the figure sobbed louder.

The door sprang open. A light shone in. A light so bright it was impossible to look at. ‘Come, follow me’ a gentle voice whispered. The girl on the bed trembled with fear.

‘Come, follow me’. The voice was louder now. The girl rose and took faltering steps towards the light filled doorway.

Outside, the storm had passed, and the sun’s rays were beginning to warm the land. Still unable to see who it was that was behind the bright light, the girl whispered: ‘Who are you? What’s your name?’ 

 ‘My name? My name is Respair. I bring hope after a time of despair’. The girl sighed as warmth returned to her body and hope arose.

She turned to look at the light. But it had gone. As she looked, she saw a lamb walking towards the sunrise. 


A 15th century word, as a noun, respair means “the return of hope after a period of despair.” As a verb, respair means “to have hope again.” 

Thanks for joining me today.