INSIGHTS ON IVOR
My father, a staunch believer in social and work justice joined the Labour Party and was a member of the Printing Union for many years. It was through this latter connection that when he resumed his printing career after the First World War and work was hard to find he turned to them for help. This entailed him cycling daily to the Union’s Headquarters in Blackfriars London he found it hard to found a permanent job. The country was still recovering from the war. So Dad would cycle daily to the Union headquarters in Blackfriars London seeking any available work. Sometimes he got a few days work and other days he could be very lucky to get a week’s employment.
This financial uncertainty continued until one day in 1923 when the Union sent him to an address in Westbourne Terrace in the Paddington area of London. This event would turn out to be, after the War, the next life changing event of his, and his family’s life. The work he was offered was to print the First Subscribers only copy of T.E. Lawrence’s (Lawrence of Arabia) book Seven Pillars of Wisdom.
No more would he be grateful for just a few days work, this mammoth task would not only enable him to meet and work alongside Lawrence, it also kept him employed for the next three years. When the book was finished in 1927 Dad was temporarily out of work until through the Union he was introduced to another man who also had a big influence on his life. This was Robert Maynard, one of the best artists of the day and the controller of the Gregynog (pronounced Gree-gun-ogg) Press in Mid Wales.
Maynard offered Dad the post of Pressman at the Press. This invitation came out of the blue and demanded very careful thought by Dad and Mum. After all they were true cockneys through and through and the thought of moving the whole family, three children at that time, from their spiritual home of London to Wales, a country with a completely different environment and culture wasn’t to be taken lightly.
But after deep discussions between Dad and Mum plus Robert Maynard it was agreed that Dad would accept the post for a one month trial period. So, with some trepidation of leaving Mum and his family in London he took the train from Paddington to Aberystwyth and onto Newtown where he was met by a chauffer driven Rolls Royce which took him to Gregynog Hall where the Press was housed.
The one month trial period was very successful and Dad signed a three year contract at £4.10 shillings for a 48 hour weekly wage. This exceeded the average £3 a week he had been receiving in London.
---End of Part Three---
INSIGHTS ON IVOR
The blinding snowstorm on the night of December 17th 1931 had no mercy on the lone cyclist battling his way on a two mile journey through the dark; far from leafy, deserted lanes from the small village of Bettws Cedewain in Montgomeryshire (now Powys) in Mid Wales. The blinding snow covered ghostly figure thinking –what-a-night-to-have-a-snow- blizzard, was my father Herbert Hodgson, frantically striving to keep his bike wheels upright and rotating in a straight line. His desperate battle against the elements was to inform the local midwife that his pregnant wife had gone into labour earlier than expected, and therefore her services were urgently required. Within minutes there were two determined cyclists battling through the snowstorm on this labour of love back to Bettws and thankfully they made it just in time for my arrival. Thus I became the fifth and last child, four boys and one girl, born to Herbert and Rebecca Hodgson.
My eldest brother was christened Herbert (Bert) after Dad, my sister Lillian (Lily) came next followed by Bernard and as the fourth child of the family, born eighteen months before me also in Bettws, was given the Welsh name of David (Daffyd) it was decided that I should follow the same pattern hence Ivor (Ifor)
The village of Bettws Cedewain (pronounced Bet-us-cur-dow-N) is set in idyllic surroundings amidst the welcoming singing hills of Mid Wales. At the time of my birth the village consisted of about a dozen houses, two inns, two shops (one a Post Office), a working mill, a blacksmith, a tailor’s workshop, a cobbler’s shop, a wheelwright’s shop, a stone church dominating the village, a school, a village hall, a small workshop-garage with one petrol pump, a stone bridge over a river. The two inns, the New Inn and The Talbot were run by two villagers, one of whom was the wheelwright and the other worked in the mill.
The reason I was born in Wales will become apparent later in the story. So, I’ll start now by telling you that my parents were both Londoners, father from Camberwell and mother from Peckham. My father Herbert John Hodgson (1893-1974) served his apprenticeship as a machine minder in the printing trade and worked as such up until the outbreak of the First World War. Like thousands of others he immediately joined up and became a soldier in the 1/24th (County of London) Battalion of the Royal West Surrey’s (The Queens). After initial training he was sent to France and despite serving on the Western Front he somehow survived the war and returned to London and his printing work in 1918.
He always considered himself just an ‘Ordinary bloke’ and ‘one of the lucky ones’ to survive but unfortunately he, like thousands of others, would have horrific memories of trench warfare lying dormant, ‘entrenched’ in his subconscious mind only for them, in later life, to occasionally resurface and invade his sleep with the terrifying sounds and vivid images of the death and destruction he witnessed. These nightmares haunted him for the rest of his life.
---End of Part Two---
INSIGHTS ON IVOR
Over the years it is only natural for parents to relate incidents of their own lives, birthplace, schooling, work, opinions, beliefs, hobbies, holidays etc to their children. This is something my wife and I have done with our two sons Chris and Martin. So when Chris suggested that maybe some of the readers of my Insights might be interested in learning a bit more about me, I thought that perhaps you would, after all Scotland Yard, The Immigration Office and the Inland Revenue know all about me so why not you?
So, with this in mind I have changed the title of my usual Insights to fit this adventure. Firstly let me assure you this will be no masterpiece of prose, or a best seller. I’ve no idea how it’s going to work out myself so please bear with me as I attempt to relate some of the events, good, bad, big, small, interesting, boring!, unbelievable, plus mistakes I have made, which I have tried not to repeat in my 84 (so far!) years, on this mad, violent, intolerant, prejudiced, materialistic, ever changing but also at the same time, wonderful and beautiful world.
The first part of my story sets the scene from my birth and naturally involves my parents; well it would wouldn’t it, and my brothers and sister. I have limited recollections of my early days for reasons I shall now explain. Some of you may recall from past Insights I have told the story of my father, Herbert Hodgson and what an interesting and rewarding life he had and one which he, thankfully, committed to print in a book entitled Impressions of War. (Don’t worry if you are unaware of this fact, it’s not too late to purchase a copy of the book. I believe Chris has one or two copies available in his shop, The British Touch, now there’s a plug if ever I heard one). If he has sold out don’t panic Mr Mainwaring, I could bring a few copies over when my wife and I visit in early October this year. If anyone is interested just let Chris know. You can also visit www.martlet-books.co.uk and click onto Impressions of War - The Memoirs of Herbert John Hodgson 1893-1974. Follow all the links to get an outline of the life and story of, to quote my father’s own description of himself, ‘Just an Ordinary Bloke’. Believe me he was, and his story is, far from Ordinary.
Because of my somewhat hazy and limited recall of my early days, it is very fortuitous for me that I can draw on my father’s Memoirs for clarification of any points of uncertainty I may encounter whilst writing this, my story for you.
---End of Part One---
Hello everyone. It's only another 34 days before we toddle off to the Polling stations to vote in what is, for many people, particularly the young, probably the most important decision they have been asked to make in their young lives
I don't envy them because the so-called facts, about whether to remain or leave the EU, being hurled at us on a daily basis by one side of the argument are immediately contradicted by the other point of view. The trouble is when these 'facts' are presented by someone who is a good speaker, very erudite and lucid ,which most politicians are, then they are more believable to people lacking maturity and limited in life experiences. Old fogies like me, have heard it all before. .
For instance whether you agree or not with David Cameron's viewpoint about remaining in the EU, and if anyone's interested, I don't agree, it's fair to say that he is a good speaker, hardly ever stumped for words, i.e. a typical politician whereas Boris Johnson on the other side, although a very clever, knowledgeable and popular man tends to smile and joke a little too much, a trait which can be misconstrued by some people as a bit 'clownish' and a man not to be taken seriously which is a great pity. One thing’s for sure, there are many more 'facts' to be trotted out and promptly kicked in touch before the big day June 23rd arrives. Here ends the political insight.
Fantastic Leicester City deserved all the praise heaped upon them for winning the Premier League Championship. How their kept up their high standard of play throughout the season was unbelievable. Naturally as a Spurs fan I was bitterly disappointed to see them end so badly but not surprised. The punch-up match they and Chelsea had was an absolute disgrace and a terrible example to the youngsters. It's a world away from the football I played and watched in my youth, more's the pity'
Also on the football front all West Ham supporters will know that after all these years the club have played their last match at Upton Park. I had to laugh at the comment reported by the Daily Mail's Martin Samuel, who relates that once he was with his Dad watching the Hammers playing Aston Villa and behind them was a West Ham supporter who used to eat apples, talk and curse the players at the same time, this often would result in bits of spit mixed with apple leaving his mouth and ending up in the hair of the people sitting in front of him! Urgh. Even worse though this so-called expert once remarked that the trouble with legend Bobby Moore was that 'He couldn't pass' For anyone not with me on that remark let me explain that Bobby Moore was renowned as one of the best passers of a football England has ever had.
If any of you remember the old television series, Hi-di-Hi then you might like to know that Barry Howard, who played the dance instructor from 1980-1986 has died aged 78.
To finish here's a couple of 'jokes'?
1 Of course I talk to myself, I need expert advice.
2. I don't trip over things, I do random gravity checks
AND FINALLY HERE'S A POSER FOR YOU
Name the song which is played or sung the most throughout the world.
IVOR’S INSIGHTS - FEBRUARY 2016
Hello everyone. I hope you have all recovered from your Christmas festivities and are now becoming solvent again!
As you are all probably aware the big issue over here is the one surrounding the promised Referendum on whether Britain stays in or leaves the European Union.
David Cameron has been flying to many European countries trying to persuade their leaders to join Britain in the fight for changes to the European Union, particularly regarding the biggest threat to us all, the one of immigration. So far he hasn't been very successful.
He eventually got an offer called an 'Emergency Brake' which Britain can apply for if we consider the UK is being flooded with too many immigrates. The only trouble with that is we have to get about 14 other European member states to agree with our request before the brake is applied, which is just about impossible.
So what does our leader do? He returns to the UK, somewhat in triumphant mood, declaring we have made great progress in getting our demands and then adding BUT there is still a lot to do. You can say that again Dave.
Many people, myself included, are leaning towards Britain exiting the European Union. What puzzles me is if most of the European Member countries say - as they do - that they don't want us to leave because they need our products then why don't they do all they can to keep us in by agreeing to some of our requests for change?
For the last two years Britain has traded more with the rest of the world than with Europe which tends to show that they, Europe, needs us more than we need them!
Anyway, IF by some most unlikely miracle our leader can obtain .......... ....... no, on reflection he can't, so forget I ever said that.
There are many within the Conservative party who want us to leave the European Union and wish to tell the people the reasons as to why they think that way but David Cameron has forbidden them to speak out until his negotiations with the other member states are completed which should be before the end of February (this year I hope!). Oh well folks, that’s democracy. Don't hold your breath.
Our other leader one Jeremy Corbyn is even worse. For instance when it comes to good ideas for our security this is what he advocates. .
1. Keep our Trident submarines but without any nuclear warheads on board - Like an army without guns (Stupid boy, Pike)
2. Britain should hold discussions with Argentina over the future of the Falkland Islands. (Tell that to Simon Weston and all the families who lost loved ones in the Falklands war))
The fact that the Falkland Islanders, like the people of Gibraltar, consider themselves British and want to remain so is ignored.
Let’s change the subject and whizz through some other items for you delectation.
The loss of Terry Wogan was a big shock. He was a prime example of someone whose gentle Irish charm (blarney) captivated us via radio and television for so many years. The, usually, 'dreadful' European Song Contest was only made bearable by Terry's tongue in cheek gentle remarks like for instance when referring to the contestant from Belgium as someone from 'Plucky little Belgium'. The vast sums of money he raised for various charities, particularly for Children in Need was colossal. He will be remembered by many with great affection for many years.
Another radio DJ who died was Ed Stewart. Whenever we happened to be listening to his show we never failed to smile at the cheeky cockney boy who would suddenly utter, in a pure cockney accent the immortal words 'Hello darling' .
Those of you who remember the television show 'To the Manor Born, which starred Penelope Keith and Peter Bowles might also recall Gerald Sim who played the Vicar. Well, he died last year aged 89 and his will just published shows that among his beneficiaries was the showbiz retirement home, Denville Hall where he lived with his sister, Sheila Sim and her husband Lord Richard
Before I go I thought you might be interested in this special offer. .
For sale: Parachute. Only used once, never opened.
Take care and count your blessings.