Saturday, 27 July 2013

The house where Grandad was born

last weekend i found myself* at Latitude festival in Suffolk. the festival site is near Ipswich, and i knew my Dad had grown up near there since he supports Ipswich FC. while my friend Justin drove us back to London, i was suddenly moved to call Dad and ask him about the area - just in case we were near his hometown. the conversation went something like this:

Me: Hi Dad, it's me. I'm just driving through Suffolk, near where you grew up I think. We've just come from Southwold...

Dad: If you're driving back to London from Southwold, you'll be on the A12 right? You're about to drive through Yoxford, where I grew up.

Me: Oh wow!

Dad: But before that you'll drive through Darsham - over a railway crossing, up and down a hill and then you'll drive right past where your Grandad was born.

Me: Sorry what did you say? We're going to drive past where Grandad was born?

Dad: Yep, he was born in a lodge just off the road. You'll see it on the right as you go past...

...and we did. Justin kindly stopped the car in a serendipitous lay-by, and we walked back to the house where, on Hallowe'en 1925, my Grandfather, Peter Crane, was born. i can't really explain the feeling i got from seeing for the first time (that i can remember) the house Grandad was born in. and how everything had come together - Justin's very kind offer of a lift to save me the hassle of the train, the sudden inspiration to call Dad and the convenience of our journey home being the exact route to the origins of my family.

Grandad lived here with my great-grandfather Crane, my great-grandmum and my four great-uncles until he married my lovely Nanny in 1949 and moved to the neighbouring town of Yoxford. not very far, as you can see from the map...

View Grandad's house in a larger map

the Crane family lived in the lodge because my great-grandfather was a groom and gardener for the big house nearby. Grandad also became a gardener. he died when i was seven, so i don't have that many memories of him, but i do remember his house when the family moved to Westhumble in Surrey, and all the beautiful flowers in the garden. Nanny loves flowers, and i do too... i wonder if that's what drew her to Grandad. strangely enough i was recently very attracted to a man whose job involves gardening...

it's all just a little bit of history repeating.

*huge thank you to Robin for my unexpected Latitude adventure. check out his own current (and crazy) adventure in South Africa, here.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Conscious v. Unconscious

"Dr. Will Menninger has a single illustration of the Conscious v. Unconscious conflict. The mind, he says, is something like a clown act featuring a two-man fake horse. The man up front (the conscious part of the mind) tries to set the direction and make the whole animal behave; but he can never be sure what the man at the rear end of the horse (the unconscious) is going to do next. If both ends of the horse are going in the same direction, your mental health is all right. If they aren't pulling together, there's likely to be trouble."

Time, October 25, 1948, pp. 65-66.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Women of 1926

Mother’s advice, and Father’s fears,

Alike are voted—just a bore.

There’s Negro music in our ears,

The world’s one huge dancing floor.

We mean to tread the Primrose Path,

In spite of Mr. Joynson-Hicks.

We’re People of the Aftermath

We’re girls of 1926.

In greedy haste, on pleasure bent,

We have no time to think, or feel

What need is there for sentiment

Now we’ve invented Sex Appeal?

We’ve silken legs and scarlet lips,

We’re young and hungry, wild and free,

Our waists are round about the hips

Our skirts are well above the knee

We’ve boyish busts and Eton crops,

We quiver to the saxophone.

Come, dance before the music stops,

And who can bear to be alone?

Come drink your gin, or sniff your ‘snow’,

Since Youth is brief, and Love has wings,

And time will tarnish, ere we know,

The brightness of the Bright Young Things.

by James Laver (1899-1975)