I was born in the seaside town of Worthing, Sussex, a stones throw, or should I say a flat pebble skim from Brighton, U.K. My father worked in a warehouse of a very fashionable antique dealer. My mother helped out in one of the larger bed and breakfast guest houses. Both were a vital part of my education.
The antique show rooms had sections of furnished rooms of many ages and styles. The guest house season which ran from Easter until late autumn introduced me to a variety of guests coming from all over the U.K. Each guest would have tales to tell and those with cars would even take the son of the proprietor and myself on trips.
As my parents worked seven days a week, I was fortunate to have an aunt who took charge of me most weekends. There were visits to variety shows in nearby Brighton, the cinema, picnics, and historic buildings. One memory, centred on my aunt, was a visit to the Dome Cinema in Worthing which is still a working cinema.
It would show a variety of films including the latest Rock n’ Roll films, which are classics now. At the entrance to the cinema was a cafe, the haunt of teddyboys and their girlfriends. Quite often she had to push her way through them to buy our tickets. We enjoyed the films, even more so when the music squences started and the teenagers left their seats to dance in the aisles. Try doing that today!
I think I’m beginning to show my age. Just to intrigue you even more, I remember the time when a horse pulling a milk float was startled, resulting in the milk cart falling on its side. Oh yes and what about entertainment? Of course there was the radio, visits to the cinema twice a week, on a Thursday and on a Saturday. A television set was so expensive my family did not have one, but I was allowed to watch it in the guest house. You might think the work ‘allowed’ seems strange today.
I was a regular television viewer! Every Thursday I could watch children’s television in the lounge of the guest house for an hour, unless there were guests watching something else. As a family we were invited to watch the Christmas shows on Christmas afternoon. Can you imagine any ten year old today watching under fifty hours of television A YEAR?
Next week my tales become more explosive: the house next door to my junior school blows up and a sea mine nearly blows up the pier. Those were the days.