Moving House

“I was walking along, minding my business,
When out of the orange colored sky,
Flash, bam, alacazam,
Wonderful you came by. “

It was 1950.  My parents had moved into the apartment after their own house was taken for road widening before I was born.  I had always lived in the apartment but now we were to move.

It was very exciting.  It was the year after I went to the grammar school.  I have vivid memories of house moving day.  Mother was very efficient and we were in the new house by lunchtime.  I am unclear of how we got there or how the furniture got moved.  I suspect that Father and some of his friends did the actual moving as we didn’t have money for moving men.

My elder sister and I were sent off to the Broadway Market to buy ham and fresh rolls for lunch.  As we were 11 and 12 at the time, and in a totally new area of the city (albeit only about 3-4 miles away) it was quite an adventure.

We were given instructions on how to get to The Broadway.  “Walk down Lansdowne Drive all the way to the bottom and then turn right into the market.”  And “Don’t turn into Shrubland Road that will take you to Dalston”.  Well, we had never heard these names before and so were very careful how we went.

With London Fields on our left we walked along with our money an,d shopping basket.  No plastic bags from the supermarket then.  In fact, no supermarkets.  It was many years before the introduction of self-service supermarkets.

How very grown-up we felt being trusted to go to this new shopping area on our own.  Our youngest sister was only 8 and so she couldn’t go with us.

Every shop sold specific things – the butcher sold meat, the baker sold bread etc.  There were general food stores such as Sainsbury’s and The London Co-op, but most people went to the individual shops.  All shops had long counters with shop assistants standing behind them ready to serve.

We went to the two shops.  Bought the ham from the butcher.  He sliced it on a machine counting out the number of slices.  He was friendly and we told him we had just moved into the area and he gave us a slice of ham each to eat on the way home.  We next went to the baker shop.  Full of bread, rolls and cakes and all baked on the premises.  Amazing smells and the smell of newly baked bread takes me right back to that day and that shops.

There are still some shops like this in parts of London.  We bought the rolls from the baker and went off to our new home.  We were very pleased with ourselves.

We told Mother about the butcher and the people in the bakers and how friendly they were.  As they were the local suppliers Mother knew she would meet them in the coming weeks.  Shopping was done each day – no refrigerator in our house and everything had to be carried home by Mother,

I clearly remember the song that everybody was singing at that time.  Natalie Cole sang “I was walking along minding my business when out of an orange coloured sky, crash bang alakazam wonderful you walked by”.  To this day, whenever I hear that song, I am transported back to 1950, walking along Lansdowne Drive on the way to the Broadway Market in the east end of London.


26 responses to “Moving House

  1. what a lovely memory. Isn’t it a amazing how a song can take us right back to a particular place or moment in our lives.


  2. A lovely moment, in a time long gone.


  3. Everything is in the mode of impersonal assembly line. It all started with that infernal smoke spewing horseless carriage they invented a while back.


  4. Wonderful memories. I’d like some of that bread right now, please. 🙂


  5. I still get just as excited about moving as I did when I was about 12 or 13.
    More inspiration here I think … 🙂


  6. A nice memory! A simpler time. But the thought of moving makes me cringe. I guess when you’re younger you’re not as effected by the stress and I’m sure it was so much easier back then, not so involved with red tape and paper work. Or lawyers. Or real estate agents meddling in just to get an extra buck.


  7. Thats a well sculpted memory. How different shopping in a mall seems to this


  8. Grocery shopping sure has changed. I couldn’t tell you where a butcher shop is around me. We do have several bakeries, though – we love our carbs!

    I can relate to the memories evoked by the song. There are songs that do that for me too.


  9. Lovely meander, Judith. Bakeries still abound, but other specialty food stores are less numerous.


  10. Such a clear memory of so long ago. Thanks for the comment.:)


  11. I love hearing your memories, Judith. I think visiting a market like that would be quite an experience.


  12. Repeating the sentiments above – this is lovely, Judith. Music is a wonderful time transporter, and the memory you’ve shared with us is …. lovely.


  13. What a lovely and clear portrait of a great memory.


  14. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    This is gorgeous, Judith :). It does sound like it happened yesterday!


  15. Pingback: Writing 101: Size Matters | I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

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