Tag Archive | My Memoirs

My Memoirs – Remembering the fallen of World War 1

Private Harry Davis - died at Flanders in world war 1

My great-uncle, William Harry Davis, was born in 1879 and baptised in 1882 at St. Peter’s, St. Albans. Later on, with the death of his father, the family moved to Hart Hill Lane, Luton, Bedfordshire. On 4th August 1906 Harry (as he was known) married Mary Edridge. There were two children born – Stanley and Gladys.

Harry went to France with the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment, but was killed on 16th February 1916 in Flanders. He is buried in the Cambrin Military Cemetary, Pas de Calais, France, grave reference F9.

I have found out this information through family research. I didn’t know the story beforehand. Harry was part of a very large family of Davis’s. There were about thirteen children. My little nanna, Ethel was the youngest and her brother Harry was next but one up the line with Mabel in between.

I didn’t see my dad for a large part of my life because he moved to Australia when I was fifteen. I didn’t see him again until I was thirty-two years old. If I had known my dad better during those years, I expect I would have heard these stories frequently. I do know that my dad, whose middle name was Harry, was named after his Uncle. I know that now but I didn’t know it until I started researching.

When I heard that The Royal British Legion were offering commemoration for the fallen soldiers in World War 1, I decided to remember my great uncle in this way. I am hoping they will put a poppy on his gravestone, since he is fortunate to have one. Not everyone did.

I have no contact with this branch of the family. Does anyone on here know of them? All I know is that Harry and Mary were married in Northwood, Middx. but since he spent a large part of his growing years here in Luton, I felt it appropriate to remember him here.

Who are you going to particularly remember on November 11th?


Dylan update – July 2014 and a flash back to the past.

Dylan is spiderman - July 2014

It seems that Dylan’s transformation into Spiderman is complete!

Dylan is now nearly four years old.  His birthday is in October, like mine and so the big 4 is just around the corner. He is a very active little boy who enjoys dressing up and posing for photographs. Whenever I see pictures of him or observe his behaviour when he comes to visit, I can’t help thinking back to my own three little boys when they were the same age. It doesn’t seem so long ago to me, you see; although in reality it is 36 years since my eldest son, Robert, was four years old.

This is Robert, aged 4 and his brother Edward aged 1. David wasn’t born yet. The year is 1977.

Robert (4)Edward(1)


The photo was taken by a professional photographer. I know that at the time we could hardly afford it, but I so wanted a nice picture to keep so we stretched ourselves. The days when my children were little were the happiest of my life. It is hard to compare those days with these days when I am almost a different person. I look back and I think, did this really happen? Why did it go so quickly? Looking at the picture above, it would not be long before Robert started school proper and then it would be ‘teacher said this or teacher said that.’ and I would no longer be that most important person in his life. For now he was mine, all mine and we shared everything together. We lived in a happy bubble, not having much money, but having plenty of time.

My grandson, Dylan, has just had his first professional photograph taken at the Nursery where he goes twice a week. I think it turned out very well, don’t you?
Dylan (3)

Have a lovely Sunday all of you. Just want to say a big thank you for following my blog and sharing my life and my memories.



Starlight Promotions – 4 – My Memoirs – sounds get more selective.



So it’s the mid 90’s; Starlight Promotions is up and running and I’m getting busier and busier. The website is getting a lot of hits and I’m learning about sound recordings. I figured out how to put the sounds on the website and I asked the bands to give me one song that I could use so that the customers could listen. I used the Windows sound recorder to pick a part of the song which best reflected the sound of the band or artist. So most of the clips were 60 seconds long. The trick was choosing which 60 secs to record. Sometimes it was the intro. which was the most interesting and at other times it was the guitar riff in the middle or the fantastic drum solo at the end. Choices, choices!

For the party bands, I had the demos. but it was costly to post them out all the time and sometimes I didn’t get them back so the sound clips became more and more important. The sounds of the party bands needed to show their singing and playing abilities whereas the unique,new,Indie bands needed to show off their particular strengths.

So Starlight was evolving. There were the bread and butter songs and then there were the new bands, looking to be famous. I wanted to promote them more even than I wanted to provide music for weddings and parties. At this point I will say that there wasn’t much money in it! It was more of a hobby and a very interesting one at that.

Together with a friend from one of the bands, who I shall call A, we decided to break off the individual band part and set up a record label with our own name. We thought up a name to suit us both. We called it Mangoneworld. I found out how to get a bar-code for the CD. That also proved to be very interesting. Once we had the name, the business and the bar-code, we made a record and assigned it to our own label.

This is it:



The band is Grief Society and the song below is called ‘Pin Cushion’. You can buy it or the CD on Itunes.com.


Can you let me know please, if the sound thingy works? Thank you.





My memoirs – J and I, our first home.

Jim and Stella first home1

I’ve been ill with the flu all week – horrid. It was a week when I discovered Larry didn’t know how to peel potatoes and Jim didn’t know how to load the washing machine! Oh well, perhaps I’ll feel better next week.

While I was lying in bed feeling awful, I got to thinking about my next post on here. What should I write about? It seemed some time since I wrote a post for my memoirs, mainly because I’ve been caught up in Larry’s posts about his finding on life over here in the U.K. I

I am writing these memoirs for my boys. Perhaps they will like reading them one day. This one is particularly significant and I hardly known where to start. It is about young love and discovery. It also touches on ‘becoming invisible as we get older’ because I am 62 year’s old now; but I wasn’t always old. I wasn’t always an Oma. I was a young lady – that’s me in the picture with my first husband J. We weren’t married yet. When you look at this picture, see me as the young lady I was, not the old lady I’ve become. I’m still here. I just look different and I think differently about life, based on my experiences. I digress…

It is May 1970. I am 18 years old and J is 21. We  are preparing for our wedding in August. We have know each other for four years already and we are planning to get married to the day that we met, i.e. August 15th. For me it is a happy day, a very special day. J and I met on August 15th, 1966 and we married four years later. The marriage was to last for 36 years and we are still great friends to this day.

We saved to get a deposit for the flat (apartment) you see in the picture. It cost apx  £3,200 and our deposit was £1,000. Neither of us earned very much money because we were so young and J was still studying for his degree as a research chemist. He wouldn’t complete the course until three years later, although he already had an H.N.C (Higher National Certificate) in Chemistry. So in those early days I was earning more than he was,just!, as a Sales Administrator at Electrolux. In those days it was only the husband’s salary which counted for the mortgage and then only 2 1/2 times, nothing like it is nowadays. We were lucky to get a mortgage at all. Despite saving diligently in the Halifax Building Society for 3 years, we were still turned down. They said they didn’t lend money on flats and we couldn’t afford a house. Then J’s father took matters into his own hands. He went down to the Building Society and ‘threatened’ to take his own savings out and put them somewhere else if they didn’t give his son a mortgage! Nowadays that probably wouldn’t cut any ice, but then it did. He had significant savings and they listened. Our mortgage was granted (thanks dad) and we got on the first rung of the ladder.

The flat was new, brand new and I can’t tell you how excited I was to get it. My mum promised to buy us some curtains so that they were all the same. They were bright orange and one of the walls was purple. All very 70’s and high fashion at the time. Later on one of my hamsters would chew a big hole in one of those expensive curtains, but I’ll keep that story for another time.

Our flat was on the ground floor, at the front of the building. There was a bus-stop right outside, which was very convenient. I could walk to work and J could get the bus. Bit by bit we bought carpet and furniture and made a cosy home.

In the picture I am wearing a mini-skirt dress. It was made of crimplene, a very fashionable material at the time. I think it was a pale green colour.

Here are some interesting facts about May 1970 in the U.K.

So, we had chosen our home, booked the church for our wedding and the venue for the wedding reception. My dress was chosen as were the dresses for the two bridesmaids. We were almost there…

What were you doing in May 1970?

My Memoirs – 1962 – I start High School

Stella starts High SchoolThis old photograph was taken in 1962 and it shows an eleven year old me in my new school uniform, ready to go to High School.

In order to get to the ‘High School’ we had to pass the 11-plus examination at the end of Junior School. My mum promised me a transistor radio if I passed! The 11-plus was more of an intelligence test than a proper exam. I passed and got the radio. I was delighted. Now I could go to the best school in the town and I was as pleased as my mum and dad were proud.

I had to be kitted out with the uniform, which was extensive and expensive. I had two sets; one for summer and one for winter. The winter uniform consisted of a felt hat, white shirt-blouses,tie, navy blue tunic,large navy blue knickers,white socks and sensible black shoes. I also needed a blazer with a badge on it, plus a badge to go on the tunic. This showed the school emblem. In the picture I am wearing my summer hat, which was a straw boater. We could choose between three colours for the summer uniform. The choice was yellow, blue or pink gingham and I have to say that the girls looked very nice in their pretty colours.

We also had to have a sports kit. The least said about that, the better. I had the same pair of black plimsolls for five years! and I was always getting into trouble because they were black, not white. I lived with my mum at the time and we were very poor. She couldn’t really afford any of it so I would never dare to ask for anything extra for fear of upsetting her.

My satchel was leather and had to hold a lot of books. Each day I had to carry the books to school and then back again afterwards. It’s a wonder my shoulder wasn’t dislocated with the weight of it all.

So I was going from being a big fish in a little pond to being a little fish in a big pond. What would life hold for me? You’ll have to wait for the next instalment…

Can you remember getting your school uniform at High School?

My Memoirs – 2 – 1953

1953 - 2

This is the second part of My Memoirs. Here you see me at aged two years, on the beach in 1953. I think it is Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight.

If you missed the first part of My Memoirs, you can read it here.

From Wikipaedia: ‘The Isle of Wight pron.: is a county and the largest island of England, located in the English Channel, on average about 3–5 miles off the coast of Hampshire, separated from Great Britain by a strait called the Solent.
Population: 140,500, 2010

Isle of Wight

Of course I don’t remember the occasion, but I’ve heard enough stories about our visit to the Isle of Wight, over the years, that it is familiar to me, even in the telling.

We stayed in a caravan on a caravan park, which was nice because there were no doubt other families there, company for all of us. Apparently the bed that my dad slept in was too short for him and he had to put his feet in the small cupboard at the bottom.  Sounds uncomfortable, doesn’t it.

This time period was not long after World War II ended so it was a time when people could relax a bit and maybe let their guard down. It was still a time of food rationing, which didn’t end till 1954. You can read more about food rationing in the United Kingdom here.

In my youthful state, I knew nothing about wars, food rationing or other hardships which my parents had just endured. I was on the beach, probably for the first time! and I was having a good time. My parents must have scrimped and saved to afford that holiday because they only had rented rooms to live in with a shared bathroom and kitchen down the corridor.

1953 was notable for many things, some of which I list below in chronological order:

Ian Fleming had just published his first James Bond novel, Casino Royale.

Winston Churchill received a Knighthood from the Queen.

The coronation of Queen Elizabeth took place at Westminster Abbey and

Laura Ashley sold her first printed fabrics.

No doubt I ate my way through a fair few clouds of candy-floss and at least half a dozen ice-creams.

Life was good in 1969.

1969 - 1

Life was good for me in 1969. I was 18 year’s old, just engaged to be married and doing well at work. Hope was in abundance and I faced the world with excitement and anticipation.

I decided the other day to do a series on here about my past life because, as an only child with parents both deceased, not many people will remember me when I’m gone. I’m 61 year’s old now and I don’t know how much life I have left to live so I’m going to record some of it and try and give an honest and acceptable record for my kids, should they ever find this one day.

I like this picture of me (wait till you see some of the others – they’ll give you a laugh) so I thought I’d start with this one. I’m not going to keep to a timeline, I’m going to jump about a bit depending on which picture appeals to me each time but this is a good place to start.

I didn’t go to University. Although I was clever enough to go, my mother couldn’t afford to send me so this part of my life was concerned with doing a job, earning money, helping my mother in the home and saving to get married. My father  left the family in 1962 and moved to Australia and ceased to support me at the age of 11 so money was always very short.

In those days it wasn’t unusual to get married young – most of my friends did it, but later on in life I realised that I had indeed, just like mother said I would, missed out on a carefree youth. However, at the time I felt very grown up, loved going to work and earning money and wondered what life had in store for me.

I worked at Electrolux Limited, a Swedish company that made vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, etc. I started there at the age of 16 in the reception office and learned how to use the photocopier and the telex machine. One day a week I went to college to learn typing and shorthand. In the reception office my duties were to greet visitors and show them to the place where they needed to be. Electrolux was a huge factory and important visitors were treated with respect and accompanied to the department where they wanted to go. That way I got to know all the routes around the office blocks and the factory. It was all very interesting and different from school. My other duties included operating the photocopier and sending and receiving telex messages. More of that another time. There was a hatch in the door of the office where people could bring their photocopying to be done.  They left their work in a folder and when it was done, they came and collected it. That job allowed me to meet lots of people. It seems funny to me now, looking back, but that was the only photocopier in the place! 1600 people worked there and one photocopier! It was in the days long before people had one in every office.

I was surprised at the end of the first summer when one of the men said to me ‘are you going to college soon?’ He thought I was on college break. He was hinting that I looked too clever to do a job like that permanently I suppose but I didn’t find it demeaning. It was an honest job and I learned a lot and met all sorts of people. It did give me pause for thought though. When I got home I wondered if I had done the right thing, going out to work so young, but I didn’t have doubts for long and in any case, I didn’t have the choice so I had to make the best of it.

Two year’s later, as the picture shows, I was happy and fulfilled. I’d passed my secretarial exams and was looking forward to my first secretarial job which I hoped would come along soon…