Friday, 16 April 2010

Half a world away

Today is my elder son’s birthday. Thirty-seven years ago today, in the local hospital, Ben was born. The most remarkable thing about him at first was that he had a mop of dark, curly hair. I’m afraid we were very inexperienced but determined to make our own way.


About a year or so before, I had started my new job at the University Department of Museum Studies, where we had 20 students, 2 lecturing staff, a secretary, and a technician – me. It was like a family in itself and I think the students were almost as excited as we were. And we had moved into our first house (we’d had flats, but never been owner-occupiers; almost like being grown up), a Co-operative movement built terrace in the middle of a short row of 6 with a shared (defunct) water pump in the middle.

The young family - with a rather disgruntled Ben, ready for bed

Marea’s mum and dad bought us a pram – HCB (high carriage built). A beautiful thing, but rather difficult to get up and down the steep steps up to the front door. How we loved that house, and constantly opened it to groups of friends and acquaintances. We weren’t especially well off financially, but had lots of friends - we were rich!

Ben in the HCB pram in the back yard

The Steps up to the front door. This is possibly the worst photo ever taken of the house, but it was the only one I could find in a hurry.

Ben - angelic, or what?


The house came with a long garden. You can only see about two thirds of it here; the lower section was a typical cottage garden crammed with flowers, but the top was my pride and joy – where I grew fresh vegetables and fruit. We bought an extra large freezer for all the produce, salted beans, made bread and, of course, wine. It all seems half a world away. It’s certainly over half a lifetime away.

About a year and a half later Toby came along and we bought a Spaniel puppy (too much having to deal with infantile bodily functions – gluttons for punishment). The boys are seen here (sans dog) on holiday in the Lakes.

This is Ben organising everyone.

And Toby helping with the cooking.

Both sets of parents are now gone and Ben is grown into a (not quite so) young man, and like his younger brother, Toby, a son to be proud of. Both are seen here organising and cooking for Marea’s 60th birthday fusion BBQ. I know they don’t read this blog, so they won’t be embarrassed.

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday Ben. Great photos! :)

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