Category Archives: Nostalgia

One of these days

“One Of These Days
When We Both Are At Our Ease
When You’ve Got Time To Please Yourself
See What’s Right And See What’s There
And Breathe Fresh Air, Ever After”
Paul McCartney sings – One of these days

How often do we say “One of these days I will. …whatever”? or “When I get around to it”?  Well I want to tell you that today should be ‘one of these days”.  None of us know how many more days there are to do whatever we think we want to do.  As someone who was left without ‘one of these days’ I now feel the loss of those days.  We were fortunate in that there weren’t  any things unsaid or undone between us when my husband died, but there cannot be anymore ‘one of these days’.

Do you have a bucket list with all the things you think you want to do before you die?  But have you thought of all the smaller things that maybe you should do?

  • Have your told your spouse/partner how much they mean to you and how much you appreciate their just being there for you?  – What if tomorrow never comes will they know how much they mean to you?
  • Have you told your children how proud of them you are ?
  • Have you told them how much you love them?
  • Have you told them no matter what they do you will still love them?
  • Have you thanked your parents for your childhood?  I know some people had awful childhoods so delete this question if it doesn’t apply to you.
  • Have you told those special friends how much you appreciate their support?
  • Have you thanked your children’s spouses for the love and care they have shown to your children?
  • Have you told your grandchildren that if you had to choose you would choose them?

So often we attend funerals ( and we attend so many more when you reach this  vast number of years)  and hear great eulogies about how wonderful the dead person was.  How many people told that person of their love and respect while they were still alive and could appreciate it?  Wouldn’t it make so much more sense to do so?

So determine that from today you wont put off doing these small things and here for you today is a round tuit.

A Round Tuit

So now you have no excuse for putting anything off until ‘one of these days’ or ‘when I get a round tuit’.  You now have one!  Use it as often as you like.  It can never be over used or worn out.

So today look at the list of things you want to say to others, look at what you might regret if you don’t do so before that special person dies, and as the ad says ‘Just Do It!”

And for me – I want to say thank you to all who follow and read my blogs.  It has been something to do ‘one of these days’ .  Well today is the day so thank you.


“On behalf of all the people who have assembled here
I would merely like to mention, if I may
That our unanimous attitude
Is one of lasting gratitude
For what our friends have done for us today
And therefore I would simply like to say
Thank you very much, thank you very much
That’s the nicest thing that anyone’s ever done for me.”  From Scrooge the musical

Christmas Is Coming

Christmas goose
“Christmas is coming and the geese are getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!”
I have talked/written before about growing up in London during and after the Second World War.
During those years, Christmas was a very special occasion.  Not for us the mad consumerism that is rampant now – there was very little to buy.  But what happy memories I have of those days.
In memory, it always seemed to snow on Christmas Day.   We would rise early to see what had been left in the stockings and pillowcases at the foot of our beds.  Our stockings always held an orange.  A rare treat in those days when one couldn’t buy fruit from around the world or fruit out of season.  I don’t know where these came from.  In the stocking would also be several small things.  Maybe a bar of chocolate or a packet of sweets, remembering that sweets were rationed during and after the war.
Ration books

via Wikipedia

Rationing was introduced in June 1940 and ended in July 1954 as was phased out gradually over five years beginning in 1948.   Sweet and sugar rationing continued until 1953.  For more on rationing click here

Our pillowcases were the next to be explored.  There would be a book, puzzle or game that we had commented on during the preceding weeks.  Perhaps a gift from a particular aunt or uncle would also be included but no bright wrapping paper.  Just the presents in the pillowcase.

Then when we would all have breakfast together.  I don’t think this was any special breakfast the way we have now.  Just the normal fare with perhaps eggs or bacon if the ration stretched that far.

The three of us girls would then go to church for the Christmas service.  I know that Mother didn’t come having been raised in the Jewish faith, but I don’t remember Father being there either.  However, once church was over Father would take us on the bus to visit his Father and family.  This was always a good time – but no presents were exchanged – just the fun of having so many cousins all together.

Cooked goose

Back then to our house for Christmas dinner.  This was always goose, never turkey.  I don’t know how they managed this with rationing, and perhaps my memory is playing tricks.  Perhaps it was only in later years that we had goose.  But I have never eaten goose anywhere but in my parents’ house and if I think hard, I can conjure up the smell of it cooking.  In fact, I can smell it now!

The afternoon was spent as a family, playing the games we had received as presents, or everybody reading their new book.  There would be imported dates and is this is the only time I can remember having dates as a child, dates always remind me of Christmas.

How simple and innocent were those Christmases so many years ago.  No mad rushing around the shops for all the presents; Father and Mother bought a gift for each of us only.  I don’t recall their ever having bought a gift for each other.  Perhaps their gift was seeing the happiness of their three small daughters.

We certainly wouldn’t want to return to those days of austerity, but often, in the midst of the hurry and scurry for Christmas, I think back to those more simple days and am glad that I experienced them.

“I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”
Charles Dickens.

Christmas tree

Image via Wikipedia

My September Years

“One day you turn around and it’s summer
Next day you turn around and it’s fall
And the springs and the winters of a lifetime
Whatever happened to them all?”
So sang Frank Sinatra –
listen to the song here


As one grows older and has time to look back, we can marvel at the many things we have seen and done.  The people we have met, the places we have visited.  We can also perhaps ponder on the road not taken and the options and opportunities not taken up.

I consider myself to have been immensely fortunate throughout my life.  I was brought up in London during and after the Second World War by two loving and supportive parents.  From reading some of the blogs, I know that not everybody was that fortunate.

I married at a young age (19) and stayed married to that man until he died 41 years later.  Of course, there were bumps along the road, what good marriage hasn’t survived a few of those, but in the main it was very good.

We travelled around the world because my husband worked for an international company and was transferred to different places.  Consequently, my children learned to fit into new places and to make friends easily; they can enter a room knowing nobody and within a few minutes be in the middle of a conversation with a group of people.  Luckily, I have always found making new friends easy.

The busy years were good and full for all of us.  And the years that followed after the children left home,  when we had only each other to concern ourselves with were also very good.  We were able to do all the things we had planned and when my husband retired early we took trips to parts of the world we had always wanted to see.  I had only just started my own business at the time, and as I was some 10 years younger than he, was not ready to retire.  But we often talked about what we would do when I retired.

But as Charles Aznavour sings The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned and The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men (Robert Burns “To a Mouse”) then needed to be adapted to this new life I now live alone.

The places we still had left to visit after my husband died will remain unvisited.  Travelling is not nearly as exciting or interesting on one’s own.  Who wants to marvel at a fantastic view or a beautiful painting if there is nobody to discuss it with then or later over a glass of wine?  These things and places will remain unvisited by me.  In some ways I am now an onlooker in life.  I see others doing the things we planned.  I see others walking into the sunset holding hands and am slightly envious that they still have each other.

Having said that, I am still making memories each day, with my friends and family.  My grandsons never fail to amaze me at what they do, what they already know and what they are learning.  They certainly will learn so much more than I’ll ever know.  How lucky am I that I get to share in parts of their lives.

“But now the days grow short, I’m in the autumn of the year
And now I think of my life as vintage wine from fine old kegs
From the brim to the dregs, and it poured sweet and clear
It was a very good year”

Apart from a couple of hiccups along the way – a brush with osteomyelitis and breast cancer and the death of my husband and both parents, all my years have been good.   I am very thankful for that and look forward to the next years being as good.

And just because I like this picture and Marilyn Monroe’s quote –

Red Shoes

If only I was still able to wear those heels I would really be in my element!

“I don’t know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot!”Marilyn Monroe

Today I Made Soup

 “Beautiful soup! Who cares for fish, game or any other dish? Who would not give all else for two pennyworth of beautiful soup?”
   Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Those of you who know me or have read some of my earlier blogs will not be surprised by the heading of this one.  But today as I made soup it took me on another trip down memory lane.

Minestrone Soup

Picture from Two Peas & Their Pod

I got the recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod.  And once I have tried it I shall report on whether it tastes as good as it smells.  It certainly looks like the minestrone soup of my memory.

It was 1956 and I had recently left school to work in the American Express Company’s Freight Department as a secretary.  It was only some 11 years after the end of the Second World War and rationing had dragged on for many of those years.  As part of our salary (which we called wages in those far-off days), we were given Luncheon Vouchers.

Luncheon Vouchers sign

Image displayed in cafes and restaurants

Luncheon Vouchers were introduced in 1954 and were used to ensure that workers got a good meal in the middle of the day without companies having to provide their own canteens.  They were readily accepted in cafes and food bars, coffee shops and sandwich bars.  The image above was displayed so that you could easily identify where to use these vouchers.

It later transpired that LVs were being used for many other things.  The famous case of Cynthia Payne who was charged with keeping a brothel brought this to light.  “Payne first came to national attention in 1978 when police raided her home and found a sex party was in progress. Elderly men paid in Luncheon Vouchers to dress up in lingerie and be spanked by young women.”

There were many shops and establishments that didn’t sell food displaying the voucher sign.

Wardour Street, Soho

Image via WikiTravel

Well back to my memories.  The Haymarket is a short stroll to Soho.  At the time there was a number of small Italian cafes in the area and this is where we used our Luncheon Vouchers for lunch several times a week.  We were introduced to different soups including Minestrone with Parmesan cheese on top and pasta in its different forms.  All of these were very strange to our London tastes at the time.

So most days saw us having cappuccino coffee – a true luxury as coffee had been rationed during the war years – after our soup.  My parents weren’t particularly happy about my going to Soho with its reputation for prostitutes on every corner and of course, the Windmill Theatre, most (in)famous for its nude tableaux.  Very daring for the time. Did you see Dame Judi Dench in the movie “Mrs Henderson Presents” that was made about the Windmill?

And for me, Minestrone soup always takes me back to a little cafe in Wardour Street where young women used to meet and think we were so sophisticated.  Remember 18 year-olds at that time were very innocent.  Not nearly as worldly-wise as those of today.  With my sisters, I lived at home and we were quite tightly controlled by our parents as far as what was acceptable and what was not.  And what we were allowed to do.  How different it is today.

I understand that many companies still use Luncheon Vouchers for their staff.  Here in New Zealand if this were the case the company would have to pay Fringe Benefit Tax and that of course, is another story.

“Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don’t catch steak hanging around when you’re poor and sick, do you?”
Judith Martin (Miss Manners)









Notes –
1. WordPress was playing up today.  I wrote this blog and then it disappeared into the ether never to be seen again.  So this is the second attempt. and
2.  I have tried the soup and it is delicious.  More memories to follow.



Even More Memories

London panorama

London Panorama from St Paul’s Cathedral

“Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner that I love London so.  Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner that I think of her wherever I go. “Hubert Gregg, English songwriter,
BBC broadcaster, author and stage actor. (1914-2004)

I read this post from Monica’s Tangled Web and immediately was transported back in time to 1951.  This was shortly after the Second World War ended and Britain and her people were badly in need of some cheering up.

Large areas of London were still in ruins and redevelopment had hardly begun.  The powers that be thought a festival would give Britons a feeling of recovery and progress.  Labour Deputy Leader Herbert Morrison one of the instigators of the Festival, described it as a ‘tonic for the Nation”.

“As we look forward to the year 1951, each of us can share in the anticipation of an event which may be outstanding in our lives. The motives which inspire the Festival are common to us all – pride in our past and all that it has meant, confidence in the future which holds so many opportunities for us to continue our contribution to the well-being of mankind, and thanksgiving that we have begun to surmount our trials.” King George VI, 1949

The south bank of the Thames was decided as the perfect place for the Festival as large areas had been demolished during the Blitz and building began to take shape.  Much was written and told about the wonders.  And to a very young girl, they were wonders.

I clearly remember the Skylon.  A futuristic-looking, slender, vertical, cigar-shaped steel structure seeming to float above the ground.  All that held it in place were those thin wires.  We all thought it was magical.

But it was controversial with some claiming it to be dangerous and apparently, questions were asked in Parliament regarding the danger to visitors from lightning-strikes to the Skylon, and the papers reported that it was duly roped off at one point, in anticipation of a forecast thunderstorm.


I think the Dome of Discovery was the centrepiece of the Festival and it dominated the site.  Together with the needle-like Skylon it became the instant visual symbol of the Festival.

King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and their daughters the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret rose attended the opening of the Festival with 14,000 invited guests.  The Festival was opened to the public the next day.  Here is a British Pathe recording of the day.   It’s very crackly but if you can ignore that it really is a piece of history.

Festival of BritainThe Festival was a resounding success even though some criticised the event as a waste of public money.  The South Bank exhibitions attracted 8.5 million visitors in five months.

In spite of its popularity with the public, the cost of dismantling and re-erecting the Skylon elsewhere (£30,000—£642,979 as of 2011) was deemed too much for a government struggling with Post-War austerity.

The exhibition was dismantled in 1952 and the Skylon was removed and common lore has it that it was thrown into the River Lea.   However, after a public outcry, it was revealed that both the Skylon and the Dome of Discovery were dismantled and sold for scrap.  In any event a truly ignominious end to such symbols of our future.

And this year the 60th Anniversary of the Festival of Britain is being celebrated.  According to the Guardian Newspaper “To pay homage to the event that helped usher London and the rest of Britain out of the postwar doldrums, the Southbank Centre is hosting a four-month jamboree boasting everything from gardens sprouting from the concrete buildings to a museum chronicling the original festival.”

How clear it all is in my memory.  And how exciting for the young children who had known only the deprivations of living through a war.  Suddenly there were celebrations and excitement.  Wonderful.

“But now the days grow short,  I’m in the autumn of my years and I think of my life as vintage wine from fine old kegs,  from the brim to the dregs.  It pours neat and clear.  It was a very good year.”  So sang Frank Sinatra – It was a very good year.


Pounds, Shillings and Pence

“The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea
In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.” Edward Lear 1812 – 1888, British poet and painter known for his absurd wit.

Front page The Owl and the pussycat

I thought about this subject when writing about shopping when I was growing up.  Mother had a change purse always full of coins.  But that didn’t mean she had plenty of money – just plenty of coins as did all housewives.

White five pound note

Bank of England Note

When I was young and until 1971, the British currency was pounds, shillings and pence – shown as the above image for pound, s for shillings and d for pence.  So if an item cost two pounds, three shillings and sixpence it would be shown as £2.3s.6d.

There were 12 pennies to a shilling and 20 shillings to a pound.  the currency was further divided as two halfpennies (pronounced hapennies) and four farthings to each penny.

Shilling coinThe shilling was known colloquially as a bob.  this was then divided into 2 and we had 2 sixpences and the sixpences were further divided into 2 and we had threepenny pieces – known as threpenny bits.

We also had the half-crown which was worth two shillings and sixpence and the florin that was worth two shillings.  With so many coins no wonder women’s change purses were always full.

Ten bob note

The Bank of England produced bank notes.  There were one pound notes and ten shilling notes, the equivalent of half a pound, five pound notes and very rarely one might see a ten pound note.  The five pound note shown above was on very flimsy paper and quite large – 195mm x 120mm.  Because they were comparatively rare one had to sign on the back of the note when offering it for tender.

Most of the banks in Scotland produced their own notes and this caused further problems as often they weren’t recognized in England.  I remember having to go to my bank to have the Scottish note from the Royal Bank changed into a Bank of England note.  Occasionally, if the Scottish note was accepted one was given only 19/6d (nineteen shillings and 6 pence – pronounced nineteen and six) for it.

Royal Bank of Scotland note

When decimal currency was introduced in 1971 it caused quite a stir.  Some older people and my Father was one of them although at that time he was only 59 but did seem old to me – claimed that they were being swindled by the Government.  There had been two hundred and forty pence to the pound and now there were only two hundred.

No wonder visitors to our shores were confused.  But growing up with this currency made us all very adept with figures.  Any child could tell you almost instantly how many pennies or shillings in a pound and then extrapolate this out into further sums.

Decimal coins

From my collection

I was not in the UK when decimalisation was introduced but my parents purchased a set of coins for each of my children.

The coins have since been changed again.  The two pound coin introduced for use in 1971 was withdrawn and some of the sizes have changed.

I am sure that our British blogging friends can tell us more about this.

And here endeth yet another meandering blog.  Are you still awake out there or have I bored you to tears?

And my Mother always quoted to us the old proverb

“Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves.”

Note – Unless otherwise stated photos from Google Images.

















Judith Baxter, Platinum Author Registered & Protected

Today’s Specials

Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson:  you find the present tense, but the past perfect!  ~Owens Lee Pomeroy, 1929-2008  Co-founder of the Golden Radio Buffs of MD

“Judith, 3852 specials at Woolworths Churchill Dr” This was the subject of an email in my inbox today.  It made me think about the things we now buy and think we can’t live without.  So what are some of the 3852 specials for this week?

The specials include a whole range of grocery items, vegetables and fruits and some homeware items.  This made me think of how shopping used to be.

As you may know, I grew up in London during and after the Second World War.  There were no supermarkets and Mother shopped each day.  We didn’t have a refrigerator until I was into my teens.  We had several ‘things’ to keep milk and butter cold.  They were made of clay and shaped to go around either the milk bottle or the butter.  They were soaked in cold water prior to use and then as they dried out they kept the milk or butter fresh.

Milk bottles

photo – Dreamstime

Of course, milk was delivered each day and Mother shopped every day so there was little chance of either the milk or butter turning.

Meat and bread were also bought each day.  Our local butcher was Mr Ives and during the war, for a time Mother worked in the shop stamping the ration books.

Ration books

via Wikipedia

Obviously, all these years later I don’t have a photo of that butcher’s shop but it is very clear in my memory.  The meat was on show hanging on hooks suspended from the ceiling.  There was, of course, a cold room out back but as there was very little choice of meat at the time, it was mostly all out front on show.  I can still remember the smell of the shop.  It had sawdust on the floor and this is the smell that reminds me of the butcher.

The area in which we lived had a large percentage of Jewish people living there.  So we had some of their specialities to try.  The local deli had a large barrel of rollmops just inside the door.  What a lovely smell and what memories that smell evokes.  And the baker baked bread every day.  You could smell his shop from a distance.  Mmm ..lovely.  And not just the usual white bread.  He baked challah daily and as we were part of a Jewish family, we also bought our matzos there.

Hovis logo

Logo via Wikipedia

He baked wholemeal bread long before brown or other grain bread was readily available.  Mother though preferred Hovis.  This was (and I think it is still available) a brown bread loaf baked with high wheatgerm wholemeal flour.

But we girls, of course, preferred the daily baked, hot white, crusty bread that came from the baker.  I think he was Mr Smulevitch although that may well have been the name of the delicatessen owner.

The greengrocer also had to be visited most days because everything that was bought had to be carried home.  Mother, of course, didn’t have any means of transporting the shopping except by hand.  I didn’t particularly like this shop because the door was never closed and it was always cold in there.  And it was dirty and untidy.  Vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and other root vegetables were not even brushed before being put into the large crates from which they were sold.  Vegetables were weighed using large balance type scales and then put straight into mother’s shopping bag.  She, of course, had a bag for vegetables as they all went straight into it.  No plastic bags or even paper bags then.

scales for potatoes

And of course, only fruit and vegetables in season were available then.  How different are things today.

And we didn’t have dollars and cents then or even the current GBP.  We bought things using pounds, shillings and pence.  Twelve pennies made one shilling, twenty shillings made one pound.  Pennies were further broken down into half-pennies (hapenies) and farthings (quarter pennies).   The subject of this currency will make a great blog someday.

This blog is meandering on as usual.  I shall close here but oh, I have so many things I should like to share with you about growing up in London.

I found the following quote when looking through The Quote Garden –  When I can’t find just what I want in my books I turn to this site.  And because I didn’t know of Doug Larson I looked him up on Wikipedia that other stalwart of researchers.

Nostalgia is a file that removes the rough edges from the good old days.  ~
Doug Larson










Preserves, Conserves, Jams and Jellies

Between friends differences in taste or opinion are irritating in direct proportion to their triviality.
W. H. Auden

When I saw the title of Robin’s Blog today – Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve – I thought we were about to get a recipe for making a preserve of wildflowers.  However, this was not to be.  Instead, we were shown wonderful photos of this wildflower preserve.  Of course, I then had to go to the website to find out more about this wonderland.

Shenksferry flowers

Picture from the website.

After that, I remembered that my late husband’s maiden aunts used to make wildflower preserves or jellies.  So I hunted in one of their tattered books that I inherited when the second one died, and found this:


2 cups flower petals (or fresh young herb leaves)
2 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups peeled and chopped apples (for pectin) or 600 oz liquid pectin (2 packages) or equivalent powder*

Note – I added the pectin which wouldn’t have been available commercially when the aunts were making jam or jelly.  They would have had to stand over the pot of boiling petals stirring, stirring until the desired consistency was achieved.  Hot, tiring work.  It’s so much easier now.


The basic recipe is to use the same amount of water and flower/fruit material.

In a small stainless saucepan, bring the flower petals or fruit to boil in the water.  Cover and let this sit preferably overnight or for at least  several hours. Strain, squeezing out all the water into the saucepan. Bring the water to a boil with the lemon juice and stir in the sugar until all is well dissolved.  This is where they would then have had to stand and stir for however long it took for the jelly to thicken.  There is no note of this in the cook book. 

Stir in the pectin and boil hard for two minutes. Pour into hot, sterilized jam jars. Put into a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.. Store at room temperature.”

Obviously, there was no refrigeration in the early 1900s but in the unlikely event that I were to make this today, I would refrigerate the  preserve/jelly/jam  once the jar is opened.

And then I found this gem in my old copy of Mrs Beeton’s Cookery Book.

Mrs Beeton's cookery book

1894 Edition – Cost One shilling

“Carrot Jam to imitate Apricot Preserve

Ingredients –  Carrots; to every pound carrot pulp allow 1 lb (1 pound) pounded sugar, the grated rind of 1 lemon, the strained juice of 2, 6 chopped bitter almonds, 2 tablespoons brandy.

Mode – Select young carrots; wash and scrape, cut into round pieces, put them into a saucepan with water to cover, and simmer until soft; then beat them through a sieve.  Put the pulp into a preserving pan with the sugar and boiled for 5 minutes stirring and skimming all the time.

When cold add the lemon-rind and juice, almonds and brandy; mix well with the jam; then put into pots well covered and keep in a dry place.  The brandy may be omitted, but the preserve will then not keep; with the brandy it will remain good for months.

Time – about 3/4 hour to boil the carrots; 5 minutes to simmer the pulp. And here is the best part – Average Cost – 1s 2d (one shilling and two pennies) for 1 lb of pulp with the other ingredients in proportion.  Sufficient to fill 3 pots.  Seasonable from July to December.”

Note the words in italics are mine.

But what a mine of information this little book is turning out to beBut overall I think/know I prefer to buy my preserves ready-made.

Crab apple jelly

Jelly – From my larder

And for those of you who like me prefer to spend their time in other pursuits

“There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne.”
Bette Davis 1908 – 1989 American actress

Bottle of Champagne


This isn’t Kansas Dorothy

“Toto, I’ve got a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore” so said Dorothy to her little dog, in the Wizard of Oz.

Dorothy and Toto

via Wikipedia

I love The Wizard of Oz and today when thumbing through my ancient and dog-eared copy I came across this phrase.  And while it struck me as being correct geographically, New Zealand is some 7,940 miles/12,780 kms distance from Kansas, there are other similarities and also unsimilarities. differences.

For instance we know that Kansas produces corn, fields and fields of it. So does the Waikato region of New Zealand.  Look at these two photos – how alike are they?

Kansas Corn field

Kansas Corn Field

Waikato NZ Corn Fields

Waikato NZ Corn Fields

And both have major rivers running through them.  What came first the name of the rivers or the areas settled around them?

I know very little about Kansas but would like to share a little NZ history here.  When the land was invaded by the colonizing British a series of armed conflicts  was waged in various parts of the country.   The wars were fought over a number of issues, the most prominent concerning Māori land being sold to the settler population.

There is a Maori King who resides in the area.  He inherited the crown from his mother in 2006.

Maori King

King Tuheitia on the throne at Turangawaewae Marae. Picture / Peter Drury, Reuters

Maori are the indigenous people of New Zealand.  The Maori and the pakeha (the non indigenous New Zealanders) live in harmony for the most part.  The Maori are being recompensed for the happenings in the 19th Century when their land was taken and the Waitangi Tribunal is hearing and addressing their claims.

The claims are based on the Treaty of Waitangiwhich is the document signed  by Lieutenant-Governor William Hobson on behalf of the then Queen of England, Victoria, and many of the Maori Chiefs on behalf of the people of New Zealand.  This was a land of clans and there is still argument as to whether the Maori King speaks for all Maori.

But back to the Wizard of Oz.  I have told in an earlier post of how as children we went to the movies on a Friday night.  Of how scared I was of the witch and how much I appreciated my Father’s warm and loving hand in mine whenever she came onto the screen.

Over the past few weeks I have read various blogs either on the subject of The Wizard or else weaving it into the blog.  Monica’s post had this mother wondering about her daughter “For all I know, when my daughter’s at college, she’s walking around in ruby slippers and impersonating Judy Garland.”  Or rather not wondering when she was away at college.

Wizard title page

Original title page circa 1900 via Wikipedia

“The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” seems to have played a part in many of our lives, whenever and wherever we have lived.  And there are so many morals included in the book.  The tin Man  used to make his living chopping down trees in the forests of Oz, as his father had before him. Because the wicked witch enchanted his axe to prevent him marrying the woman he loved he became a man of tin and really wanted a heart again;  the Scarecrow  reveals that he lacks a brain and desires above all else to have one. In reality, he is only two days old and merely ignorant. Throughout the course of the novel, he demonstrates that he already has the brains he seeks and is later recognized as “the wisest man in all of Oz,”; Cowardly Lion believes that his fear makes him inadequate. He does not understand that courage means acting in the face of fear, which he does frequently.

These  three pictures are all from Wikipedia.

Wikipedia gives a brief outline of scholarly interpretations thus:

“Economics and history professors have published scholarly studies that indicate the images and characters used by Baum and Denslow closely resembled political images that were well known in the 1890s. The Scarecrow, like other characters and elements in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was a common theme found in editorial cartoons of the previous decade. Baum and Denslow, like most writers, used the materials at hand that they knew best. They built a story around them, added Dorothy, and added a series of lessons to the effect that everyone possesses the resources they need (such as brains, a heart and courage) if only they had self-confidence. Although it was a children’s book, of course, Baum noted in the preface that it was a “modernized” fairy tale as well.

Those who interpret The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as a political allegory often see the Scarecrow, a central figure, as a reflection of the popular image of the American farmer—although he has been persuaded that he is only a dumb hick, he possesses a strong common sense, remarkable insight and quick-wittedness that needs only to be reinforced by self confidence.”

So we can all either just enjoy this great tale or learn from it – or maybe we can do both.

“You live and learn: at any rate you live”  Robert Cody – Note I think this is the Robert Cody, author and one of the most notable American performers of the Native American flute.

Judith Baxter, Platinum Author Registered & Protected

Down Memory Lane aka Streeet Markets

“Memories, light the corners of my mind
Misty watercolor memories of the way we were.
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
smiles we give to one another
for the way we were…”

Isn’t it great how reading what one of our blogging friends writes leads us off into worlds of our own?

One of my blogging friends Hallysan (sorry I don’t know her name in the real world) wrote today about haggling.  See her post here.  While I do occasionally go to the market here I was instantly transported back to Saturday markets when I was growing up in the east end of London.

Road sign

Our particular market was Ridley Road in Dalston.  Way back then there were very few immigrants in the area and consequently we didn’t have the diversity of produce and products that are on sale now.  Saturday was the main market day and this is when mother and her three daughters did the shopping.  Remember, there were no supermarkets then and before going to the market we went to Sainsbury’s or the Co-op to do the grocery shopping.

Ridley Road Market

via Telegraph UK

After buying the butter, cheese, tea and other necessities for the week, we made our way to The Market.  This was a loud, lively place with stallholders (costermongers) calling out attracting us to buy their wares.  Shortly after the second world war ended there was no great variety.  Vegetables and fruit in season that had to be weighed by the stallholder.  Pat Cryer talks about this in detail.  Visit her website and I have talked about shopping when I was growing up in an earlier blog.

On Sundays, after father returned from the war he would take us to Petticoat Lane or the Lane as it was called by those of us who lived nearby.

Again, remember this was shortly after the war ended and there were very few tourists or immigrants.  The stalls were all manned or womaned by true Londoners with their cockney accents, calling out to see what they had on offer. And they had great things – “Look here Luv. Look at this lovely dinner set.  I’m not asking you ten pounds not even eight pounds – OK you can have it for a fiver (five pounds).  Can’t say fairer than that.  Can I?”.  What characters they were.


Logo via Wikipedia

If you have ever seen the BBC sitcom “Only Fools and Horses” you will get some idea of these characters.

There was a wide variety of things for sale from clothes, dinnerware and other china, ornaments to puppy dogs, cats and birds and everything in between.  This was an exciting time for three little girls out with their father who had been away for so long.  Mother was always left behind to make Sunday lunch and even writing this I can smell that lunch when we returned.  We were usually cold and always excited from this trip out with Father.

Petticoat Lane is a great favourite of tourists to London now and not to be missed but it has changed and expanded since we were three little girls.

“Can it be that it was all so simple then
or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
tell me would we? Could we?”

There were several other markets in the area but these were the two we regularly visited.

Many years later I returned to both these markets.  How they have changed.  They are of course and because of the immigrants, both more international and many of the stallholders call out attracting folk to their stalls but the accents are no longer all cockney.

“Memories, may be beautiful and yet
what’s too painful to remember
we simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter we will remember
whenever we remember
the way we were.”

Doesn’t Barbra Streisand singing Memories say it all?  It does for me.