Julie's Jabber - This week with London LDWA

Julie's Jabber - This week with London LDWA
Julie's Jabber - This week with London LDWA

This is the time of year when normally I hop on my favourite train, the Caledonian Sleeper, and head up to Scotland to stay with my two nephews and their families. They live within a couple of miles of each other in Aberdeen and it's always lovely to see them because they are the last link to my late sister. The Grampian region provides some fantastic walking, and this time we were intending to have a crack at the Deeside Way , a newly-developed route that links Aberdeen with Ballater in the Cairngorms National Park, using what was the Old Royal Deeside Railway. 

Like everyone else, though, I've seen my plans for summer fly out of the window. The visit itself seems ludicrous in prospect -  travelling six hundred or so miles so that two households and I can meet in a garden. Instead I'm making do with some virtual travelling, by listening to some of Phoebe Smith's  podcasts at Wander Woman . I'm not a great fan of podcasts as a rule - I'm often asked to appear on football ones as The Token Woman, and they mainly consist of blokes giving their opinions while I nod and smile.  Phoebe's, though, are absolutely brilliant. Till normal travelling can resume, they are the best possible substitute. 



brig o dee aberdeen laird

Brig O'Dee, Aberdeen

PHOTO G. Laird




While I'm on the topic of summer holidays, I have just received a free copy of a book I mentioned in an earlier Jabber - British Summer Time Begins, by Ysenda Maxstone Graham..The free copy was a perk of agreeing to be one of the people interviewed for same. Basically it's a treasure trove of people's recollections of how they spent the school summer holidays, which range from the sepia-coloured 1930s to the brash 1970s. There is also a wide selection of interviewees, from the self-styled 'street urchin' Bill Carroll, the 1954-born son of a Stepney warehouseman, to the posh novelist Jilly Cooper (who passed the summer riding her pony, obviously). 

Each chapter expands on various themes: the Factory Fortnight by the sea, the upmarket trip to France or Spain, working holidays such as fruit-picking and - my favourite - Summers in the Capital. This chapter contains some lovely descriptions of London life in the years after the war. According to Bill Carroll:


'We were just street urchins. As soon as we got fed, we were out again. Every street had a bombsite at the end of it, and we entertained ourselves in those.  We were down there all day, making camps and bricking up cellars. We found good stuff there: I found a nice green carpet, put it in the pram and brought it back to our place.' 


In contrast, here's Baroness Ruth Deech, now in her late seventies: 'My father took me to the British Museum every Saturday morning and parked me in front of the Egyptian mummies while he went off to the library for an hour or two. I roamed freely around the British Museum, ages seven, eight, nine. Then we went across the road to the jewellery shop Cameo Corner, run by Moshe Oved, a jeweller and poet from Central Europe, who wore a long purple gown...Then my father and I prowled Soho together for continental bakeries and delicatessens.'


Others played in paddling pools in Bishop's Park, or derelict houses in Wood Street, Walthamstow, or got out of mum's hair by taking buses on their own from the suburbs to the West End, or practically set up home at Lilo Blum's riding stables at Hyde Park Corner.  All in all, it's an evocative picture, and - as with my virtual travels via Phoebe's podcasts - till Ron Williamson'sTarmac Walkers Club cam re-convene, these  snapshots of London as one big playground will have to do.





gordon and lonica birthday

Lonica and Gordon pictured on a special occasion - Gordon's 75th birthday. He shares his date of birth with another sporting icon - Pat Jennings, Tottenham Hotspur's greatest ever goalkeeper. 






bola and alice bubble

Socially distanced walking - Bola and Alice formed a bubble on the North Downs. Their Epsom Circular went via Colley Hill and Box Hill and the itinerary included (below) luxury accommodation for ducks on this little pond at Banstead



banstead pond duck house





Cookery nook revisited

Our resident chef Julian Pursey writes:


The wild garlic is now over but I did have a go at making elderflower cordial last week.There are loads of recipes for this on the internet, I chose one that included citric acid as a preservative.Carefully plucking my elderflower heads in the sunshine, everything seemed merry and bright before cheerfully pitching up at the local chemist.

'Citric acid? Please' I jauntily enquired.

The bemasked and bevisored woman behind a perspex enclosed counter looked me up and down, then did it again, then uttered 'It comes in 50g packets.'

'I'd like 200g please, ... that'll be...er four packets then please.'

'You can only have two packets' she huffily replied.

'It's for elderflower cordial ,' I offered helpfully.

She gave me a look as if to imply, 'That's what they all say,' while implacably shoving 100g"s worth my way through the little hole in the plastic screen.

It was only afterwards that I learnt from my nephew, who's much more worldly in these matters than me that citric acid may be cut with certain illegal substances to bulk up the weight. Brilliant...so a one time painter and decorator once of this fair town and of previously unimpeachable good character is now being gossiped about as a Class A drug dealer.

At least the elderflower cordial tasted good.





Last week's request for captions produced some corkers for this chap, the naked rambler with lockdown hair:


bare man with snakes


“Hold on guys! He’s protecting a baby snake.' Colin Saunders

'Another ingenious use for my gossamer thin face mask...’  Gill Struthers

'Hey chaps.  Just wonder if you could go ahead and clear some of the bramble for me.' Susanne Waldschmidt, who prefaced her offering with the comment, 'As I am sure some of the captions might  be Adult Only content here is one for our respectable  publication.'

Speaking of which, here's Adam Dawson's response: 'Your photo inviting us to "bare" all prompted me to send you the attached.  I can’t claim authorship – it was sent to me by a friend, and I have no idea of its provenance, but at least it made me laugh.'


please use tongues adam



And finally...

A trawl through Twitter produced yet another gem from the 70's Sci-Fi Art account. As ever, captions welcome.


more trouble on footpath




London LDWA - http://www.ldwa.org.uk/London