Tuesday, 25 June 2013


I do find that memories can be triggered by the strangest things.  The other day, as I was setting off from the car park to walk in Stanmer woods, a family was just arriving back at their car.  One of the family was a boy of about 8 or 9 - wearing long trousers.  That was what started this train of thought - this train of thought that will, in all probability, become circuitous.

Seeing that boy made me think of how things have changed.  When I was that age, no boy under 11 or 12 wore long trousers in normal circumstances.  I don't suppose any boy of that age possessed any long trousers, anyway.  And nobody wore jeans; indeed, I doubt one could even buy jeans in the England of the early 1950s.

I was reminded of my first pair of long trousers.  I must have been 12 or 13 before my mother bought them - at (I think) Featherstones, a men's outfitters in Rochester High Street.  I can't remember why we went to Rochester to buy them, but I suppose it is possible that Featherstones were the stockists of my school uniform and as these trousers were for school wear, it made sense to my mother.  I was very self-conscious when I donned those trousers at home later that day and was told to go next door to show my grandmother.

I said those trousers were for school wear, but that meant that they would be worn at any time.  It was considered quite normal for boys to wear their school cap (or Cub cap) whenever leaving the house and I can distinctly remember wearing my school blazer (it was a beautiful purple jacket) and cap when on holiday.


As well as poppies, there are great swathes of ox-eye daisies in bloom.

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