film moves on, 5 miles along the Thames to Tower Bridge,
where Dad shot what must now be very rare footage of us
eating sandwiches and a ship passing under the open bridge.
Shipping has been dad's life. He started out as a shipwright
in the East India dock but studied and eventually became
a well respected naval architect - a job which took him
to every country on the planet with a coast line. I remember
sitting on the toilet crying when he first went away, to
Iceland but as kids, we soon got used to him being away
in exotic places such as Hawaii, the Caribbean, Australia,
Peru, Iraq. He always brought us home a present and I still
have small gifts from all around the world. Although retired
at the age of 80, Dad still acts as a consultant and surveys
the odd ship or boat to keep his hand in - especially in
cases of law.
may see somebody you all recognize in the Barking Carnival
scene. Barbara Windsor of 'Carry On' film fame and, I believe,
'Eastenders' nowadays is in the parade with the Carnival
Queen. Our down's syndrome playmate is my Dad's poor baby
brother, 'Reggie'. During the war, Reggie was so small that
he slept in the Anderson Shelter in a small suitcase. The
doctors said that he would not see 14 years but he lived
well into his 60s. Until his passing, Reggie liked Rupert
Bear books and we used to play cowboys and Indians together.
One funny memory I have is mum first telling me 'You must
never laugh at Reggie'. Being about 4 years old at the time,
I misunderstood her meaning and thought she had meant that
it was wrong for me to smile in his presence. I spent weeks
putting on a dead pan expression whenever I was in the same
room and eventually 'Nan' noticed, and asked me what was
the matter. She then explained the situation to me properly.
He had been bullied badly at his mainstream school, which
prompted Mum's lecture.
it all taking place nearly 50 years ago, I can still remember
every single incident in this film taking place as though
it were yesterday; my pretending to feel seasick so that
I would not have to go on the boat at Tower Bridge and my
brother John being in trouble for doing his monkey impression,
next to 'me with the horn'.
transit gloria mundi! (Thus passes a better world!)