Welcome one and all to my beach hut

Grab a deck chair, Tea or coffee and help yourself to a buiscuit but you'd better mind the seaguls or they'll grab them first. Just look at that view and doesn't the sea look inviting.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Time Marches On

It as been some time since I last posted a blog here and its not that I have run out of things to post about. There will be times in everyone’s life when pressing or unforeseen events seem to take full control of your time to the exclusion of all else and I have had two such events come together unexpectedly over the last three months.

I have been contemplating the progress of time recently and there are many mystery’s attached to it. When we are young time seems to us to go very slow. Time must seem agonisingly slow for a young infant unable to move and fend for itself and even once we have learnt to crawl we are even more impatient for the time we can stand, walk and run. During our formative years time drags for so many. We can’t wait for school holidays to arrive then not long after we wish it was time to finally put our schooling years behind us, we long to meet someone of the opposite sex, for that first kiss and eventually to settle down with someone. We long for the time when we can get our first wheels whether they are four or just three, it seems at this age that time always drags. Once we have married, got a home and start raising a family our time always seems so full. Every moment of the day seems to be full of chores and we seem to have to work very hard to find any time for ourselves. Then something very strange happens, just when you finally loose all your shackles because the family have grown up and left home and you look forward to retiring from work, time seems to move up a gear and you find that even though you have less demands on your time there never seems time to do all the things that you always wanted to do. Because of the aging process things take longer to do and some days it seems that time is going far to fast.

I can recall the time when I was a boy and each year I would go away for a whole week to the seaside. It always seemed to me that the first half of the week went slowly and there was plenty of time to enjoy all the pleasures associated with the seaside but once Wednesday had gone by the final three days would be all a blur and before you knew it you were on the station waiting for the train to take you home. What kind of illusion is this and why does it seem to re-occur in the cycle of life.

I mentioned at the start of this blog that two things had happened that had taken over my time in recent days. The more pressing of the two was the recent death of my father in his 90th year. What can you say about the closing of someone’s life, the words of him having a good innings spring to mind, being born in 1922 he had seen many changes and experienced many exciting events of history. He had served his country by joining the RAF in 1939 but due to unsatisfactory eyesight had to take a ground post. However he was still able to be involved in the action, during the Battle of Britain he was stationed at Biggin Hill and later served in Europe after D Day before being shipwrecked after the troop ship he was travelling on was torpedoed, which must have been a terrifying experience for dad considering he couldn’t swim. Dad spent most of his working life as a bus conductor, first off working for Barton’s in there Long Eaton depot and then for 20 years working for London transport which from story’s my father told could have been a very hazardous job at times. My father always wanted to reach 90 and we made what he said was the best day of his life by organising a small party for him at is sheltered housing complex in Peterborough in February ( see photo above with dad surrounded by is friends at Millfield House). Seeing to the closure of a person’s life is both an emotional and tiring experience. Travelling between Skegness and Peterborough during is short illness in hospital and then seeing to all the arrangements that need to be done after death is time consuming and energy sapping. Dad only lived in a one bedroom flat within the sheltered housing complex, he only had is pension to live on and so there was very little to pass on. Most of his possessions were great usefulness to his daily life but of very little monetary value to others. The most valuable assets to me were finding his RAF medals and a few photograph’s which I will treasure and most of all the memories I will have of times with him.

What do you say to close the life of someone who has lived to a good age, that he ran a good race or he stayed the course. What will be the reward no one can tell because none of us knows the rules? Time does march on and all you can hope for in this life is that you can live it out honestly and long to the end. I am reminded of the words of Shakespeare the world is a stage:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Time does march on but I hope to have a little more time to devote to this blog in the future and I hope that you all continue to enjoy reading it, where ever you are.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Music: Food For Our Soul

There’s a saying that the way to a man’s heart is through is stomach, then surely the way to a man’s soul is through is ears.

Music is the food of our soul. Even if we're not composers there is always a song that reflects our feelings, thoughts, mood culture and traditions.
Music awakens our imagination making us fly in time bringing back memories from our childhood, youth, or important events that can make us smile, laugh, cry, sigh or even dance!

Notice any child, as soon as they learn to stand, even before they can walk instinctively they move and sway along with music. The love of music I believe is passed down through the generations. I have always loved Brass Bands but it is only in recent years through researching my family Tree that I have discovered my grandfather’s love and devotion to Brass Band music. He was a member of the Long Eaton Silver Prize band club and accompanied the band on many trips to the Albert Hall, London for the National Finals. My Grandparents even had a band member lodging with them during the WWII years.

I have my school days to thank also for my love of classical music, thanks to an enthusiastic teacher I first discovered how music can tell a story by listening to a piece of music by Sergei Prokofiev sometimes referred  to as ‘The Young Peoples Guide To The Orchestra’ but more commonly known as ‘Peter and the Wolf’. In the piece each instrument symbolises a character in the story. Follow the link to hear how this works.  http://www.philtulga.com/Peter.html.

Through my teenage years I learned to love many forms of music from Traditional folk to what was called the protest folk music of Bob Dylan before moving on to more popular forms of music like the Liverpool sound of the Beatles.

I have from my youth also been a lover of the musical theatre, there is something magical about adding a song to a story as anyone who has had the opportunity of viewing classics like Les Miserables or West Side story will tell you it just seems to enhance the emotions of the characters and story.

I also enjoy the swing era of the 1940s and the sound of the dance bands that originated during that period. There is something about the sound generated by a group of talented individuals coming together in harmony and combining to create what has sometimes been referred to as a wall of sound.

I recently had the great frill of being able to attend a concert by the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra who were performing in the Embassy Theatre in Skegness. This was for me the first time I had experienced live a concert in which a 61 piece orchestra had performed and it was wonderful. I can’t really explain it but it gave me a warm glow of well being and I couldn’t stop smiling all through the performance. It was truly a joyful experience.

There are many messages in music and for me the vision I got from the Helsingborg concert was that if only our world could run in harmony just like that 61 piece orchestra did, what a wonderful place it would be to live in. The orchestra contained many individually talented musicians but to create the sound that so many of us enjoyed it was necessary to work together as one. If only it was possible for everyone to work together as one for the benefit of the whole how wonderful that would be. But I guess that will never happen because we all get lost in our own needs and we are all in competition with each other, so it seems that only in music can we experience true harmony.

I feel sorry for those who are not emotionally moved by music for I feel they are missing out on so many things.

I can truthfully say in the words of John Miles “Music is my first love and it will be my last, music of the future and music of the past.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Day Three Onwards Of The Queens Jubilee Celebrations weekend

Carrying on from my last blogs account of the Queens Diamond Jubilee Celebrations in London as well as here in Skegness we move away from the wet weather of Sunday to the more promising outlook of day 3 of the celebrations.

Monday morning was spent watching recordings of yesterday’s river pageant on the river Thames. The Thames has been called London’s greatest street, if you study its course you will discover it links many royal palaces together. It is hard for us to imagine that when the British Isles was a part of Europe before the last ice age that Thames was an extension to the Rhine, the ice melted and the land we now know as Britain became a group of islands and it was the Thames that carried trade and people deep into its interior that establish London as its capital.  So it was fitting that it was the Thames that was chosen to feature as the main event of the Facilities and what a great pageant it proved to be. So much of our recent history was on display, from the early trade vessels that worked on the river to the small which set sail from the Thames to rescue the British army from the shores of Dunkirk.  http://www.rmg.co.uk/about/press/royal-river-power-pageantry-and-the-thames

 In the Afternoon I visited the nearly named The Village Church Farm museum. Skegness was till just over a hundred years ago a mainly just a rural community with a small group of fishermen and there family’s dwelling along the shore and it would be the village green where all the celebrations would take place. There would be games organised for the children and plenty of ale to be drunk before the lighting of the beacon to spread the news of the happy events.

The evenings celebrations began with a visit to the impressive St Mathews Church which was built as part of the redevelopment of Skegness as a Victorian resort by the sea. Plans were drawn up in the 1880s to develop an area in the centre of the town to cater for the people who would be brought to the coast by the newly established railway link. This area was to incorporate a pleasure garden, hotels and also a new church built in the center of a road island on what was planned as the main thoroughfare that would lead to the developments magnificent new pier that would carry visitors out to sea to enable them to enjoy the sensational bracing air that was the reason given by many for visiting the coast.

The Concert was a community effort entitled ‘ Rule Britannia’ with contributions from local school children and groups like the Skegness Playgoers, choral societies and I was really pleased to see contributions from the popular Alive and Kicking group who have been providing social events and activities for those with learning difficulties of all ages in the town for many years. The accompanying music was provided by the every popular Skegness Silver Band. The church was full and a good time was had by all and everyone enjoyed the finale of the singing of Rule Britannia.

The night concluded for me with a second visit by me that day to the Village Church Farm for yet more singing of popular songs like Land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia and of course God Save The Queen before the welcome site of the lighting of the Skegness Beacon that would join a string of over other beacons throughout the British Isles before the final beacon was lit by the Queen on the Mall.

The Final morning of the celebrations on the Tuesday was spent visiting Winthorpe which is a community just on the edge of Skegness. The residents association had done a marvellous job in putting together an event that would please every one and was well supported by the community and those who were elected to represent the community. There was a five a side football, side stalls and trade stalls and all the things you would associate with this type of celebrations. The Weather was fine and everyone was enjoying themselves, I congratulate the community association for putting on a grand show.

Finally I settled down to watch the recording of last nights Jubilee Consort for the Queen performed on a stage built just in front of Buckingham palace. It was billed as the concert represented the music associated with the queens 60 years of reign. I enjoyed it so much because it was not only music that had been a major part of the Queen’s life but it was the music that had run through my life also. From the early days of Paul McCartney and Cliff  to Tom Jones Elton John and Stevie Wonder and on to Gary Barlow and Jesse J of today’s music. It also included a long list of comedians who announced the acts and filled in between acts which could have been reduced considerably if they had handed the job to Peter Kay who was in my opinion the best of the lot.

All in All a good time was had both in London and Skegness despite the appalling weather on the Sunday     

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Queens Jubilee Celebrations

Wonderful four days of Celebrations to mark the Queens Diamond Jubilee here in Skegness. As always the weather played a big part in how the events panned out, but overall we were very lucky  as they say 3 out of 4 ain’t bad. Saturday started us of with a mainly sunny start, I have a very relaxing day in Tower Gardens, enjoying the exhibition of work by some talented artists from the Skegness Art Club, Browsing through some well preserved Vintage cars and motorcycles from Boston and sitting back and enjoying the wonderful sounds of Brass from the talented Skegness Silver band, what more could you ask for. Unfortunately I arrived home to see my horse (bonfire) in the Derby put on a dismal display to come in way down the field behind the Triumphant Camelot.

Sunday was a complete washout as far as the main celebrations in Lumley Road Skegness went. It had persistenly rained all through Saturday night and Sunday morning. The main shopping area had been closed off to traffic and groups and a parade had been booked. The groups had to be moved indoors and the parade was cancelled, so disappointing for all the orginizers. We made the effort to be there for the opening ceremony but only got drenched in the process and it was so cold as well.

We had been invited to a local street party at 4pm on the same day and it was still raining but by now it had been reduced to a drizzle. We arrived to find the party still set to go on and small band was playing under a make do shelter and one of the hotels in the area had opened up there dining room for the food. It was a case of carry on regardless and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

The earliest street parties were held around the end of World War I in 1919 with “Peace Teas” to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. They were tea parties that were focussed on a special treat for children in those times of hardship and were quite formal sit down affairs. These street parties organised by residents were very popular and were probably a development of the more formal public street dinners that had historically been held for occasions such as Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

Since that time the community get-together has grown in popularity as famous events are celebrated across the nation on a local level. 1945 saw the VE (Victory in Europe) Day street parties as streets gathered together to celebrate the end of the war in Europe. Cries of “God save the Queen” rang through the street parties of 1953 as the celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation on 2nd June brought thousands to the streets to welcome their new monarch and watch the first Coronation to be broadcast on TV. It was on this day that a British classic dish was born - Coronation Chicken which remains a popular nostalgic party dish to this day.

Other major events that have been celebrated with street parties include the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in1977, the Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 and, of course, last year’s Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. It has not only been Royal events that have joined residents together though as England’s World Cup Victory in 1966 had people across the country joining together to celebrate with street parties.

Originally, the traditional street party was at times of austerity so food would have been simple and consisted of whatever was available. In 1953 for the Queen’s coronation, food was still rationed after World War II but households were given an extra pound of sugar and 4 oz of margarine for the celebrations.

The parties of today may not have the same constraints but they will still be a celebration of traditional British food and tradition. I hope the tradition of holding street parties will go on long after my generation have vacated this earth, we all need an excuse to get to know our neighbours and this often leads to bonds being formed in the community that last long after the party has ended.

I will continue this look back at the 4 days of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in my next blog.

Friday, 1 June 2012

The Queen's Diamond Jubilee and Sixty years of memories

Sixty years ago on Feb 6th it was announced on the radio that King George VI had died peacefully in his sleep during the night at Sandringham House and that Princess Elizabeth had now become Queen Elizabeth II. I was just four and a half years old at the time and so the news did not register much to me, but I do remember that all radio programm's were stopped and for the next few days all that could be heard was sombre music. It must have been a very sad and final occasion for many, they had lost a king who had stood by them during the dark days of the second world war, who had shared there grief and who gave them courage through their darkest days and had shared also in their triumphant celebrations when victory was assured. It was just seven years since the end of the war in Europe and much of England was still in ruins, there must have been uncertainty, how would the young princess cope, would she be up to the task.

Just over a year later 60 years ago tomorrow June 2nd . Things were very different I was just two months short from my sixth birthday and I have quite a few memories of that day. The day started very wet in fact according to the weather reports of the period we were in the middle of a period of atrocious weather that would go on till the middle of June http://www.weatheronline.co.uk/reports/philip-eden/Coronation-Weather.htm.

There was some news circulating that morning about Edmond Hilary had reached the summit of Everest but I was too excited about the forthcoming party to care much about that. I was at one of my Aunts at the time and she was one of the few residents in the street with one of these new fangled contraptions called a television or as my Uncle referred called it, a goggle box. It seemed to me that nearly half the street had packed into my Aunts front room to watch the very small screen in the corner of the room and all the time us kids played together in the background. I recall seeing the gold coach coming down the Mall. I also recall seeing snippets of the arrival at the Abbey and of the crowning ceremony, but for us kids it went on far too long.

Finally it was over and I can recall going out into the street and watching a small parade with a made up band of people playing a variety of instruments including someone with a zinc bath strapped to his front and was hitting it with too much force for my liking. After the parade had passed the trestle tables came out and everyone on the street had worked together to provide a feast of proportions I had never seen before, how they had achieved this when you recall that many food items were still under rationing is anyone’s guess. We all had a great time and each of us kids went away with a coronation mug provided by the committee.

The one constant person through the lives of all who can recall that day in 1953 is our queen. Family and friends have come and gone, for some of us our surroundings have changed a few times along with our places of work but our Queen Elizabeth has ruled and shared with us our joys and our sorrows. We have learnt to enjoy the many celebrations, the weddings, the births, the Birthdays and the anniversary’s of her reign.

I remember very well the celebrations surrounding her silver Jubilee in 1977. We were living in Derby at the time and were keen walkers. I had spotted an article in our local newspaper about the Jubilee celebrations in Matlock. They were holding a competition to discover the person who could show the most unique way of reaching the town for the celebrations and we decide that we would walk the 25 miles from Derby to Matlock and at the same time raise money for The Princes Trust. We decorated our rucksacks with Union Jacks and wore red white and blue woollen hats. Just as in the morning of the Coronation the weather was atrocious, we got soaked to the skin even before we reached Belper. But with a few pints inside after a few stops at the local hostelries it didn’t seem too bad. Eventually it began to clear up and by the time we reached Matlock Bath the sun was sinning and our collection boxes were feeling full. We reached Matlock just in time to join the parade and we were later presented the trophy for the most unusual way of reaching Matlock. Much later after having our photo taken and an interview for the Derby Evening Post and many more pints we caught the train back to Derby having had a wonderful day out.

Again I am looking forward to the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in Skegness; I will be putting the effort in and decorating the Mobility scooter just as I did for William & Kates wedding. Sunday June 3rd is the big day in Skegness, they are pedestrianising part of Lumley road where they will be having craft stalls, live music and a gathering of famous mascots throughout the day and later in the evening we will be attending a traditional street party. Let us hope that this time the weather will be fine, but come rain or shine I will be raising my glass and once more and will be singing God Save the Queen and hoping she will reign over us for many years to come.   

Please feel free to share any of your own memories

Thursday, 31 May 2012

The bloggers delema = life gets in the way a bit

I have been blogging now for over 17 months and I am enjoying the experience. I try to make my blogs enjoyable and interesting with a sprinkle of history thrown in. I try not to get political or touch any other controversial matter but sometimes it gets really hard. I just like to talk about what affects me living on the coast in a light hearted sort of way, plus I like to review the books I’m reading and the music in my life.  I never believed that anyone would read my blog when I first started and so was surprised by how many and amazed at where people were in the world who reach my blog. It’s hard to know how many of the people who hit my page actually read the blog, so it is very satisfying when someone leaves a comment.

I try to do at least 2-3 blogs a week but sometimes find it hard to make time stretch enough to allow me to do this. Just looking at my last blog its almost a month ago, time seems to go much to fast as you get older and life does get in the way. With the unseasonal weather we have been having in Skegness work on my community group has taken up more of my time and once you slip out of the blogging habit it becomes hard to get back into it again.

But I’m back now so I hope to get into the swing again, lots happening here in Skegness over the next few days with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and I hope to visit as many events as possible, the beach huts are opened for the summer now and so I hope to be stepping out of my virtual BH soon and into a shiny new one built during the winter in nearby Mablethorpe.

I hope I haven’t lost all of my readership and I hope you continue to enjoy my blogs and if possible leave a few comments now and then just to let me know you’re all still out there still in Hyperspace.