Guernsey 1950 to 1959

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Quick Facts

Guernsey, a British Crown dependency in the English Channel, is one of the Channel Islands. It’s known for beach resorts like Cobo Bay and the scenery of its coastal cliffs. Castle Cornet, a 13th-century harbor fortification in the capital of St. Peter Port, now contains history and military museums. Hauteville House is the lavish former home of French writer Victor Hugo.
Its a small island some 3 miles wide and 9 miles long. The capital is St Peter Port where my grandparents lived.
 When I was a baby (1949) and up until the age of about four we flew to Guernsey I have the memory of a twin engine plane and having to climb up the central isle which was steep. Once over Guernsey I would break out in hives, they disappeared after a couple of days. I remember bits and pieces but it is mainly from 5 upwards I remember. The house where I lived in the Harrow Road was three story and in it lived my mother and her two sisters, we were one on each floor. The school holidays were 6 weeks, I would spend all of it in Guernsey and the three sisters would take two weeks each because of their husbands jobs, to look after us at my grandparents house.
So when flying became too expensive we used to take the boat train. My memory is a bit shaky of course it was a steam train and about a 3 hour (?) train ride from London to Weymouth. The train would stop at the dock and we would walk to the ferry. Then we had a 8 hour (?) boat trip that was fun.

My grand parents lived at 48 Mount Durand, St Peter Port where my mother and her brothers (6 I think) and sisters (5) grew up. The house was nearly on top of a hill and it was a steep climb up it. There was a window at the top of the house that I could sit in, read a book and just see the harbor and sea. I used to smoke the odd cigarette there and get dizzy. Magic place.

Living there were :

Grandmother : Edith Winterflood Roe 4ft 11 and the boss, called her Nan. I was with her close to the time she died. Dear Nan. The lads used to wind her up something awful. But she would beat them even Uncle Terry who loomed over her.
Grandfather : called him Gogo as I couldn’t say grand dad. Big man too but badly crippled from The Somme up to his chest in water for days. He could still walk but not so well. A good man. He had a back garden that grew loads of vegetables potatoes peas ( I can remember shelling them and how sweet they were), broad beans, tomatoes and lettuce. Digging in the garden was fun. Name of Toms originally from Devon. He was a band leader and we used to go to hear him at old time dances. My mother and father were excellent dancers as were all the family and could float around a dance floor.
One of my earliest memories is the night the white bait came in. I was down on the beach picking up handful’s of these little fish. However following the white bait was a huge shoal of mackerel. People were lowering baskets in the harbor and coming up full of mackerel. They gave me one as long as my arm and I tied a piece of string around its tail and dragged it across town to the dance hall where my Nan was to show her this big fish I caught.
My mother needs a whole chapter. She had a wild streak too having once put a rowing boat, her and her friends put this rowing boat in the middle of the High St. They were all a bit wild.
My Dad I’ll talk about him in a separate piece. He was a good cricketer and once took four wickets in four successive bowls. I have the press clippings.
Aunty Daisy and Uncle Stan. Aunty Daisy was a steady person and Uncle Stan worked as an accountant / manager in an office.
Aunty Pat and Uncle George. Uncle George taught me to swear. He would give me a penny for a bad word. “Biddy shit arsehole” was a favourite of mine when I was about 4. Uncle George was a conscientious objector for the second world war which set him apart a bit. He worked in a mattress factory. He had emphesemia and took about ten years to die, getting ahead of myself. Sad.
Uncle Peter bit mad and a risk taker. Peter, Dave and Nigel (adopted Uncle) were all scuba divers. One early morning dive they caught a huge conger eel must have been 8ft long. What they did was drape it over the drying lines in the kitchen. When Nan opened the door she was met with two staring eyes and she screamed. We cracked up. When she was cutting it up that afternoon it moved and freaked both of us out.
Uncle Dave cool guy mad but not as much as Uncle Peter. Dave and Peter both had motorbikes. Uncle Dave wouldn’t take me on the back, said it was too dangerous. Uncle Peter said hop on Phil and I swear we did 90 around the island. WOOT!
Uncle Roy not the brightest spark in the bunch, bit slow.
Uncle Terry was huge like my grandfather 6ft 4ins and broad shouldered had a twinkle in his eye.
Uncle Percy and Aunty Maud didn’t live with us but out in St Samsons. Uncle Percy was a major in the army and was known as “The Major”. Aunty Maud was a gas, a real memsahib. She told one story when the Queen visited Ghana and she rushed to the front shouting “Guernsey Press move round”. She was a beach comber too. Great lady.When Uncle Percy died he had no children so left his money to us kids. I got just over £500. I bought a Kashmir silk carpet.

Aunty Margaret and Uncle Tom were a bit odd. It turned out Uncle Tom was also her brother by marriage was a bit weird.

That was the household. It was a riot sometimes.  They once bounced me from every bedroom in the house from bottom to top. I had hysterics. Guernsey was and probably still is a paradise. We practically lived on the beach. The one closest to us was First Beach but known as “Gabbers” as all the women would go down there to chat. It was stony which was a bit of a turn off but It was handy. The great thing about Guernsey is that where ever a breeze was coming from you could always find a sheltered beach. I remember the bus station where you could get a bus anywhere on the island. The bus driver would often go off route to pick someone up or drop people off at their houses. We had our favourites. Petit Bot was always protected by its high cliffs and you had to walk down hundreds of steps to get to it. At the bottom was a lovely sandy beach but the tide came in very quickly and I had to be rescued once when I was climbing around the rock pools looking for crabs and the tide came in and left me stranded. My mother was a very strong swimmer and had swam to Herm 3 miles away in her youth. Herm was a grand place just a short boat trip away. It had a shell beach and my mother told stories of how beautiful the beach was in her youth.
One of our favourite beaches was Vazon with its shallow sandy beach. When the tide was out they used to hold car races on the sand. I can remember the sea being so clear and the perfect weather, sigh.
One of the highlights was loganberry forays we would come home with bags full of them and jam and tarts would be made.
Another snippet I remember was the time I was in the house alone and there was a knock at the door. I was in the kitchen and the milk man let himself in put the milk in the fridge went to my Nan’s purse and took out what she owed him said good morning and left. I guess it was a village thing. No one locked their doors in those days. Guernsey cows are famous for their dairy and the full fat milk needed a knife to scrape off the cream.
Occasionally I would get burnt by the sun but generally lived without sunscreen and I had my mothers skin she only had to look at the sun and she would go brown. 
Some of my happiest childhood days were spent in Guernsey. I was blessed…..My relatives there are mostly deceased now. The price of ageing. But we had a good time and fond memories.

Keeping Some Kind of Record

Album: Famous Blue Raincoat (1987)



It’s four in the morning, the end of December
I’m writing you now just to see if you’re better
New York is cold, but I like where I’m living
There’s music on Clinton street all through the evening

I hear that you’re building your little house deep in the desert
You’re living for nothing now
I hope you’re keeping some kind of record

Leonard Cohen (September 21, 1934 – November 7, 2016)

Keeping some kind of record and no better way of doing it is a blog! I have clear memories of the 1950s – was it better then or was it because I was a kid; maybe maybe not, things were beginning to boom. Education, Health The NHS, teddy boys, Guernsey, I was 8th in my class in primary school and was given a shoe-in to Willesden County Grammar School. These are all topics that make for good blog topics. (I feel guilty in having only blogged a few snippets) AND I know one person who will be interested, my daughter she nags me about histories!

Women kneeling
Woman kneeling

I was trawling the net a few months ago and I came across this. I had this poster by Egon Schiele  up in my room when I was at Uni, oops another story. 1982 I think.


If you are not on Facebook I heartily recommend it. I can help too.  Its a great way of making new friends and the news feeds are very helpful for keeping up to date. More topics for your blog!

Here’s a music interlude Love this tune. I got 5 lovely girls to dance for me!!!

The venue is Junkyard Blues Club in Second Life. Cool club with a live DJ most times. People are very friendly. I was a host there for a couple of years, taking a break at the moment. If you have a few hours  spare its fun. I’ll blog about it later. You have enough on your plate as it is. You’ll be able to research it yourself. I can help if you need me to. Another chapter.

What I am trying to do is to stimulate ideas. A blog is in many ways a personal endeavour, you have to find a place / space. I have a good few subscribers on my various blogs, getting on for 5,000. I will happily put a link to your blog from those high traffic ones. I mean 1% response is 50.

I love computers had my first one in 1981 a ZX 81 . That’s more than 30 years ago (sigh) . It had 16k of memory I have 32 gigs in my desktop now. I also have two screens. My main screen is 27 inches its gorgeous!

I had my first website up and running in 1996 its a bit neglected at the moment but I feel more awake these days so will work on it. Did you know there is a web archive  in Internet Archive: Wayback Machine

Explore more than 279 billion web pages saved over time. If you think your website is lost then is the place to look. I have found sites from 16 years ago.

We were  first with ISIS (lol) Irish Secure Internet Services, of course this was before the other ISIS was around. Oh lets work towards a happier world. Lets make it our mission to bring smiles to those who serve and those who are served.

 A blonde and a lawyer are seated next to each other on a flight from LA to NY.

The lawyer asks if she would like to play a fun game? The blonde, tired, just wants to take a nap, politely declines and rolls over to the window to catch a few winks.
The lawyer persists and explains that the game is easy and a lot of fun.

He explains, “I ask you a question, and if you don’t know the answer, you pay me $5.00, and vice versa.”

Again, she declines and tries to get some sleep. The lawyer, now agitated, says, “Okay, if you don’t know the answer you pay me $5.00, and if I don’t know the answer, I will pay you $50.00.”

This catches the blonde’s attention and, figuring there will be no end to this torment unless she plays, agrees to the game. The lawyer asks the first question. “What’s the distance from the earth to the moon?”

The blonde doesn’t say a word, reaches into her purse, pulls out a $5.00 bill and hands it to the lawyer. “Okay” says the lawyer, “your turn.”

She asks the lawyer, “What goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four legs?” The lawyer, puzzled, takes out his laptop computer and searches all his references, no answer. He taps into the air phone with his modem and searches the net and the library of congress, no answer. Frustrated, he sends e-mails to all his friends and co-workers, to no avail.

After an hour, he wakes the blonde, and hands her $50.00. The blonde says, “Thank you,” and turns back to get some more sleep. The lawyer, who is more than a little miffed, wakes the blonde and asks, “Well, what’s the answer?” Without a word, the blonde reaches into her purse, hands the lawyer $5.00, and goes back to sleep.



Joan Langrick aged 86

I was born in 1949 and I remember the 1950s. Life was pretty good. This came from my facebook feed via Graham Smith dear old friend I lived with him in the 1980s.

Joan Langrick to We trust and support Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour

Yesterday at 03:20 ·22/1/2017


At the end of the last war I was a young mother with a husband and two children and we were living in terrible accommodation.With so many people bombed out of of their homes we knew it would be years before we could have any sort of decent accommodation Then, amidst all this doom and gloom old labour came into power and we witnessed miracles taking place before our very eyes.

Council houses were being built, prefabs (temporary homes) sprang up like mushrooms almost overnight. Then, although only my husband was working and that was for a very modest wage, we managed to get a mortgage for a home of our own. Schools were built, family planning and baby clinics where I could get free orange juice and free milk when my children started school. They didn’t call “Margaret Thatcher the milk snatcher “for nothing! Factories re-tooled so they could return to peacetime production. The NHS was born, roads and railways rebuilt after so much excessive bombing.Because my brother didn’t pass for grammar school he went to a technical college where he learnt a trade. There were jobs,for the first time in years and we had that wonderful thing called “Hope” life was good.

Owing to us having to fight a very long and expensive war we were far more in debt than we are now. However, old labour put people before money and so decided that although we would have to repay this massive debt we would take our time and not make the savage cuts our government is making now. So, there were no people sleeping on the streets or visiting food banks. Instead they were busy working at re-building Britain’s infrastructure and getting it moving on the roads and railways. True we took a very long time to repay our debt, but we did repay it and our country didn’t suffer the terrible austerity .and cuts it is suffering now.

This is why I am supporting Jeremy Corbyn, it is because he represents the old labour which literally saved our lives all those years ago. Of course he is ridiculed and hated, because his enemies realise he is a very real danger to them. Although I am now eighty six I am actively engaged in trying to get the homeless off our streets not only for their sakes, but also for the sake of my nine great grandchildren who will shortly be needing a home of their own. I can hardly walk, but I can still use my computer and speak at council housing meetings, when someone gives me a lift..I also regularly phone radio stations and open people’s eyes.Finally, this is not just Jeremy’s fight, it is also ours because we are in a serious fight, if not for ourselves, for our children and grandchildren. All too often people think they can’t do anything to get rid of this dreadful government, but believe me they can if they sincerely want to. Also, they believe that they have to wait for a good many years, however this is also not true, the fact is it could happen in a matter of days. So, we must be prepared and focused on putting this amazing Mr Corbyn into number ten, Now wouldn’t it be great if old labour came into power and put the country back on its feet as it did when I was a young mum?
Now there’s a thought!. Joan Langrick… . .