Archive for the ‘Nostalgia’ Category


Black gingham shoes with rosebud trim by Betsey Johnson

I suppose gingham is a fabric we all remember from our childhood and teenage years – mine were in the 1960s and 1970s – and with a revival of fashion from that era it now seems as popular as ever. Or was that LAST year? But this post is about words as much as fashion – did you know the word gingham came from Malaya?

My mother made me some (more…)

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Antimacassar set for a doll’s house, from the Buttercup Miniatures site…

As a child I floated in a sea of wonderful words, many of which I don’t hear any more – so I am always delighted when I come across them in a crossword. One such is antimacassar, which I spotted again the other day.

We didn’t actually (more…)

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Admiralty Park, Holton Heath…

There’s a great novel called Ursula Under by Ingrid Hill, “a daring saga of culture, history, and heredity”. A little girl falls down a mineshaft and we learn of all her wonderful ancestors who were born thanks to minor miracles that brought their parents together or saved them from early death. By quirks of fate does our personal DNA come together.

Obviously I would not be here today if my parents had not met. So in a way I owe my existence to World War II and specifically to the manufacture of explosives by the Royal Navy…

My father was from South Wales, my mother from South Dorset. What could possibly (more…)

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The Indonesian volcano of Rinjani in 1994, by Oliver Spalt on Wikimedia Commons

STOP PRESS: Moments after I published this, reports came in of a volcano erupting in Sumatra – so best wishes to everyone struggling there…

Did you have an irrational fear of something when you were a child? In my case, for a while at least, I was terrified of volcanoes. You might say that’s not so crazy. But as I lived in Wales, where an eruption would be pretty near impossible, I think it was.

So this post is all about what (more…)

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Nelson Mandela in Cardiff, June 1998

I hadn’t expected to post this today, but when I heard the news that Nelson Mandela had died at the age of 95 I felt I needed to write. I found my old diary entry for the day Nelson Mandela received the freedom of the city of Cardiff, on Tuesday, June 16, 1998 – I was there and I want to remember the great man and that lovely day.

At the time (more…)

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In November 1963, 50 years ago, John Kennedy was assassinated and Doctor Who hit our TV screens…

OK, this will probably be very boring for you, but I am going to explore some big moments in history from my childhood perspective.

If I don’t do this now I never will, for there can never be a better time than the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy and the first episode of Doctor Who on TV. Those events happened in this week and I’m sure most people will have noticed the coverage in the media.

I don’t have any huge insights into history, just a few moments frozen in time. In my mind and heart I can still (more…)

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One of the alignments of standing stones at Carnac in Brittany, France, in 1975…

This self-indulgent trip down memory lane has been prompted by two things. It was the midsummer solstice on Friday and the Le Mans 24-hour car race took place at the weekend. Bringing these together, here are my very faded images from an archaeology field trip to see the megaliths (“huge stones”) of Brittany (including Le Mans) in 1975.

It was my first (more…)

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