Friday, 25 February 2011

Long Ago And Far Away

My Dad The Sailor-Smoker!
As Sepia Saturday is on the horizon again, and features ships this week, I though I'd share this photo of my Dad enjoying a spot of sunshine - and I hate to say, a cigarette! I've probably mentioned some of the following details before - in which case forgive me - but not all of you will have read my earlier ramblings!

During the war,when Dad was away at sea, Mum and I stayed with Granny Ada. Mum shared Gran's double bed in the back bedroom and my cot was against the wall to the left of the door, with the fireplace at its foot.  I don't remember this ever being lit, though I swear black's white I once saw a tiny mouse scuttle to hide under its basket. Mum denied it, but to this day, I'm certain it wasn't a figment of my imagination.

The base of the cot was the usual, old fashioned, wire framed base which balanced on the ledge at  the  bottom of the bars. One night, I must have fidgeted a bit enthusiastically, for one end of the base fell off the supports, and I found myself  head down, feet up, as though I was on the slopes of Portsdown Hill!  Guess I was so used to the bombs, it was no surprise to encounter a different kind of thing that went bump in the night.

'Mum!'  I called out in alarm. Gran, who was either still awake anyway, or simply quicker to come to than Mum, looked across and said 'It's alright Dorry, she's still tucked in!'- as if she was prepared to leave me at that precarious angle for the rest of the night! Luckily, Mum saw things differently… (Long afterwards,when I was older, we all three managed to laugh at the ridiculous situation many times over.)

Eventually,  I was old enough to go upstairs on my own, and I had another lucky escape one day. On Gran's dressing table stood a candle  and a box of matches. How exciting! I thought I'd have a go at lighting it, as I'd seen Uncle Fred strike enough matches to light his cigarettes. It might be fun to have a go myself…   I struck the match on the side of the box, and joy, joy, it lit ! However, the smoke drifted up my nose something awful, and made me catch my breath. I quickly blew hard to put the flame out. At this point, Mum realised I'd gone AWOL, and up the stairs floated the dreaded words, 'What are you doing up there?' Then I got the dressing down I deserved, for the smell of the spent match was enough to give the game away, without my spluttering. As if the German bombs and incendiaries weren't enough, I was doing my own pyromaniac impression. At least it put me off smoke for the rest of my life, so cigarettes never became an attraction.
Me with Granny Ada

28 comments:

  1. Oh Jinksy I do love your stories of the past -those were the days eh?

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  2. Ah! Jinksy, You were only trying to 'Keep The Home Fires Burning' !

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  3. Your dad reminds me of Lionel Jeffries. Wonderful memories and super photographs.

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  4. Love it Jinksy. I can never follow the theme for SS since I don't have enough photos to do so, but I love this meme dearly. That was a great story. I remember sleeping on a cot as a young girl since we lived with our grandparents and there were not enough beds to go around. LOL Good old days. Not
    QMM

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  5. Great stories and that photo of your Dad is so classic.. except one might expect a pipe in place of the cigarette.

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  6. These are the best pictures yet and with a colorful story too. I can just imagine your father sitting down to draw those wonderful creations of his.

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  7. Awww-- great memories and great pictures. We all have pictures of our parents with cigarettes or cigars--they didn't know any better then. Thanks for sharing!!

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  8. It was in my own bedroom, but I once tried to disprove the old adage: "You can't burn a candle at both end." I did disprove it, but came very very close to setting the room on fire.

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  9. Penny, nearly all men smoked in those days so your Dad wasn't out of step. During the second world war I think all men smoked. My Dad never smoked until he went to war (in the Pacific). Then he became a regular smoker. So did I from about the age of seventeen! Not now though - Dave

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  10. great memories! but jinksy, sailors have to smoke *grin*

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  11. Great photo and story...Karen

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  12. My eldest brother was in the Fleet Air Arm during WWII; he left me a pile of pennies to buy a gob stopper a day and instructions to tell anyone who asked that he had gone to stick a bayonet up Hitler's backside.
    These wartime tales bring back all sorts of memories.

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  13. Hi Jinksy, you are an incredible writer and storyteller! Thanks for making me laugh on this early morning -15* day. Thanks too for visiting and leaving a comment yesterday. I really enjoyed reading your Sepia Saturday post and seeing your special photos.

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  14. A delightful post, Jinksy. I enjoyed the tale of the bed collapsing under you. You must have been well and truly tucked in. I've slept in much the same sort, but never had it fold up under me. Love the old photos; you and your dad have the same look about your eyes.

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  15. A great little story; I can see your set up with the cot. I too tried my hand at lighting matches when I was about 6, my bedroom using a pail and caught by my Mother who exacted punishment. In my curiosity I told her I was trying tot find the devil because I'd heard he lived in fire. She was not amused! Fortunately nothing burned! At least I'd used a pail and not let the fire flow!

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  16. jinksy...wonderful! Give us more of these superb stories please.

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  17. Your dad's face just oozes fun in that picture. And you are just too cute ;-)

    And uhm, that's my excuse too when I post things I've already posted earlier. It's not me who's getting a little demented... It's definitely the audience that needs reminding now and again. LOL

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  18. good story and photos. i feel so out of words coming so late to the party.

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  19. A very good lesson learned well....and lucky you didn't burn the house down too! My hubby and his sisters did with their first attempt of striking a match, which set off a stack of papers on fire and their solution was to stuff it all in a closet and close the door. OOPS! BTW my grandma's name was Ada also! They got the name from her father's initials!

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  20. Oh, the stories you can tell, eh? And what a wonderful photograph of your Dad.

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  21. Two fine photos that really capture their spirits well.

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  22. Having known your Dad, I can say that he REALLY was a lovely, kind and gentle giant. The one quality that I always remember about him was his humility and sense of duty - I think that that attribute was valued in those days. He gave up his chance to go to Art College to support his widowed mother and siblings at the age of fourteen.

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  23. lucky for you that you never got hooked on smoking, a problem i have to deal with...
    loved the story,
    and may i say:
    damn handsome people in your family!!
    :)~
    HUGZ

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  24. If you had to distill the essence of what I think Sepia Saturday is all about - this is it. Those old photographs, those remembered incidents : saved forever - and shared with others.

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  25. Jinksy
    I'll never say never
    You know that can't be
    For the stories you tell us
    Just fill us with glee!

    Honest...ly

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  26. Your dad looks every inch the sailor!

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  27. Great photo of your dad. As a smoker, I guarantee there would have been just the tiniest bit less happy in his face had the cigarette not been there. This is not to say they're good things, overall, but those who smoke 'em do get pleasure from 'em at the time.

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  28. I have to say, your father looks every bit the artist he was! Cigarette or no, it's a great photo and your father was very handsome. What fun memories you shared along with the photo of you and your grandmother. You were a cutie with the look of an adventurous child.

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