Ivor's Insights Part 6 and Part 7

Part Six
The Saturday morning films were so vivid and realistic that it was usual for us to exit the cinemas not as young boys but as cowboys or soldiers chasing Indians firing imaginary guns at each other as we tore up the aisles and returned to the reality of our life in Middlesex.   It’s amazing when one looks back to that period, and realise how wrong and misguided it was that whole generations of children – as well as adults – were brainwashed into thinking that what we now know, and call, the indigenous American Indians, were blood thirsty savages riding the Great Plains attacking wagon trains and scalping any white people they captured.
   Of course we mustn’t forget the last film shown each week was the ‘Serial’ film which always ended with a scene showing the hero facing certain death, hanging from a cliff top for instance, which meant we had to return next week to find out what happens. Of course he always found a way out and survived only to face another cliff–hanger ending which forced you to return again and so on until the final happy ending was shown to make room for the next serial to take over and the whole rigmarole started again.
     Meanwhile from my parent’s point of view the new house at Pinner was Xanadu compared with our small two bedroom cottage in Bettws. The move from Wales back to the London area was not only to benefit the children’s education and work prospects but it also had the added bonus of making it viable for my mother to visit her own mother and sister in London. She did this by catching a tube train at nearby Hatch End station straight through to the Elephant and Castle. From there it was a penny tram ride down the Old Kent Road to her mothers and sister’s house in Marcia Road Peckham just around the corner from the Dun Cow public house.
     Life was good but another change was necessary when in 1938 Robert Maynard announced that due to his business expanding he needed bigger premises. This he found in Alperton near Wembley. Although Dad had been a keen cyclist all of his life he decided that the distance from Pinner to Alperton was a road (or two) too far for him to cycle daily, so we upped sticks once again and moved to 102 Rydal Crescent, Perivale. This time the house was a three bedroom modern bow-windowed, terraced and privately owned house. What also surprised and, as a life long cyclist, pleased Dad was the house was near one of London’s new roads, the Western Avenue, which had cycle tracks on each side of the road! 
---End of Part Six---
Part Seven
   If any of the older readers know Perivale they will no doubt remember the large Hoover factory (long gone) on the Western Avenue to the left of Rydal Crescent and  a Peerless factory at the opposite end. I have fond memories of the Hoover factory because one year, as a six year old, I was invited to the traditional Christmas Party they put on for the local children. Jellies, trifles, ice cream, and all the cakes you could stuff in – plus a few more you shouldn’t have – there were games, crackers, prizes, balloons; you name it they provided it. When Hoovers eventually stopped this annual treat it left a big ‘vacuum’ in the children’s lives I can tell you. 
     I remember the ‘Stop me and Buy One’ ice cream man who rode his three wheeler bicycle around our streets displaying the above invitation. His bicycle had a wooden cabinet attached to the front which contained a variety of ice creams and ice lollies. Everyone, especially the children would rush out, a penny in their hand, and accept his invitation with relish.. Another welcome street visitor usually arrived on Sunday afternoon. This was the Muffin man who sold his wares from a tray carried on his head. As electric toasters weren’t so readily available in those days we would stick our toasting fork into each muffin and toast them one at a time over a open coal fire. The memory, and taste, of those muffins, especially when consumed around the fire on a cold winter’s afternoon, is remembered with great fondness.  Other street vendors in those days included a man we called a rag and bone man who called out ‘any old iron’ as he drove his horse and cart down each road. If you had any old bits of iron, old clothes or other paraphernalia you wanted to dispose of he was your man and if you were lucky he would give you a few pennies for them. Another long gone caller I remember is the knife sharpening man. He would have a knife grinding stone with him and for a small payment would sharpen any kitchen knives in need of it.  
     By this time my eldest brother Bert had followed Dad into the printing trade joining him at the Raven Press in Alperton and my sister Lily went to work in Perivale at Sanderson’s, the well known Wall Paper manufacturers. It was there that she was destined to meet a man who would eventually change both their lives for ever!
     When I was six years old I contacted Scarlet Fever and was taken into Clayponds Isolation Hospital in South Ealing. Due to the high risk of contagion of my condition no visitors were allowed any direct contact with me, all they could do was to peer through a window at me. My only recall of this illness is the fuss bestowed upon me when eventually I recovered, was discharged and taken home.
The year 1936 is notable as the year when the first Royal Christmas radio broadcast was by made when King George V addressed the nation. This same year also heralded the world’s first public television service when, in November, the BBC transmitted it from Alexandria Palace London. Sporting highlights that year included Britain’s Fred Perry winning Wimbledon for the third year in succession and Yorkshire cricketer Len Hutton making a world record innings score of 364 runs which he achieved over 13 hours against Australia at the Oval.
In 1938 there were ominous signs emerging from Europe that Adolf Hitler was causing much unrest spreading his Nazi doctrine throughout the continent. The threat of another war so soon after the horrors of WWI, - the war to end all wars - was worrying to say the least. But, as always, life must go on and our family continued
living in the relative suburban peace of Perivale. We even had a holiday when Mum and Dad took us to sample the seaside delights of Margate.
     Just before we embarked on that adventure a letter arrived from the well known cake, biscuit and chocolate company J.Lyons (Joe Lyons to everyone).
The company had a sports sheet which was printed on the back of the menus in their J. Lyons Corner House tea shops, which were familiar sights throughout the country.  This sports sheet changed every week and one of its features was to announce the latest winner’s name for the prize of a Dundee cake which was awarded to someone who, in the opinion of the editor, had achieved an outstanding feat on the sports or athletic field. My brother Bernard, who was aged 11 years and 11 months at the time, had been chosen as a worthy winner for his outstanding cricket achievement whilst playing for Perivale School the previous season. The citation recorded that he took 123 wickets in the season and recorded the highest one innings score of 52 runs. The Dundee Cake arrived in a large round tin, not on it’s own of course, it was delivered to our house.   Now there’s no ‘point’ in giving you a lot of ‘flannel’ or trying to ‘cover’ it up, so we have to ‘declare’ that it tasted ‘out’ of this world. We were all ‘bowled over’; ‘stumped’ for words and our pleasure knew no ‘boundaries’. Howzat?
    So, on our Margate holiday Mum spotted a Lyons Corner House teashop and marched in. She explained about her son’s prize and asked for, and was given, a menu with the story of his sporting prowess printed on the back. The citation was subsequently framed and proudly shown to all and sundry and is still with Bernard today.
     My father not only had a love of, and a varied taste in, music he was also blessed with the talent and aptitude to express this love by playing the piano and the Mandolin banjo (not at the same time I hasten to add). So when he was living and working in Wales he decided to form a dance band. This venture was a big success and the band  were in constant demand performing at weddings and dances in many of the surrounding villages.  Dad’s musical ear and talent was passed down through his children starting with my eldest brother Bert who received violin lessons, also in Wales, but now in 1938, he decided to switch instruments and bought a trumpet. If anything Bert’s musical ability surpassed Dad’s and he quickly became very proficient in mastering the trumpet. But unfortunately this venture didn’t last because one day whilst out riding his motor cycle he was involved in a road accident and suffered a cut to his upper lip which ended his trumpet playing days. But, nothing daunted, he went on to buy a saxophone and later a clarinet. As with the trumpet, Bert’s natural talent and dedication soon had the sound of the saxophone filling the house with many of the lovely melodies from the likes of Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Jerome Kern.  Alas those peaceful innocent and melodic days were ended the next year when on Sunday Sept 3rd 1939 Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain made his historic radio broadcast that ended with the words ‘Consequently, this country is now at war with Germany’
---End of Part Seven---

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