The Anonymous Widower

The Man Who Could Have Changed History

I’m half watching a play about Hitler.  But I’m finding it a bit difficult to follow, probably because of the hay fever’s effect on my hearing.

It is set in or about 1930 and I am reminded of another tale. It is in Lord Howard de Walden’s obituary in The Guardian.

He inherited 120 acres of London’s west end and bred and owned the 1985 Derby winner, Slip Anchor. But the story he loved to dine out on was when, as a young Cambridge student fresh out of Eton, he was driving a new car in Munich when a man walked out in front of him and was knocked down. “He was only shaken up,” recalled de Walden. “But had I killed him, it would have changed the history of the world.” The man was Adolf Hitler.

I never actually met him, but I knew a few people who worked for him, who never said any word about him that wasn’t complimentary.  My last vision of him was shortly before he died, sitting in state in a wheel-chair at Newmarket races, immaculately turned out ciomplete with apricot coloured socks; his racing colours as suggested by Augustus John.

August 21, 2011 Posted by | Sport, World | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Overground Connection to the Lea Valley Line at Seven Sisters

I tried to take a picture of the Gospel Oak to Barking Line of the Overground, as I passed over it, just before I got to Seven Sisters station whilst travelling to Bruce Grove today.

The Overground Passing Under the Lea Valley Line South of Seven Sisters

It was not good and neither was the one of the I took of Seven Sisters South junction that connects the two lines.

Seven Sisters South Junction

Some might argue that an interchange station here would be a good thing. Or perhaps that some trains from Enfield might use this junction to get to Barking and other places in East London.

I wouldn’t!  But I would make the walk from Seven Sisters station to South Tottenham station as easy as possible. According to Wikipedia, there is a shorter route that is not well signposted.

So often improvements in many things can be brought about by decent signs, maps or a few litres of well-applied paint.  Perhaps when we signpost an area, we should involve the teenagers.  They know all the short-cuts and those places that are dangerous.

August 21, 2011 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Personalised Spider Bus Maps

London’s spider bus maps are good and are starting to be copied by other places. This is the one for Bruce Grove and Bruce Castle.

I think it would be rather nice if you could create personalised ones, so that you could show all the routes to or from your house or business.

August 21, 2011 Posted by | Transport/Travel, World | , | Leave a comment

Returning from Bruce Castle

I didn’t come back by train, but took a 243 bus direct to Dalston Junction station.

A Well-Appointed Bus Stop at Bruce Castle

As you can see, the bus stop by the museum was well appointed.

The buses are so much easier than the trains.  And also the climb up the stairs is optional and only is used to get a better view from the front.

August 21, 2011 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , | 6 Comments

Memories of Wood Green

I walked up to Bruce Castle Museum from Bruce Grove station early this afternoon. It was not a difficult walk and there are some buildings worth looking at on the way.

Luke Howard, Namer of Clouds Lived Here

This rather derelict building being refurbished was the home of Luke Howard. He seems to have been an amazing man with a wide degree of scientific interests, who should be remembered for a lot more than his classification of clouds. He must also have been the only pharmacist praised in a poem by Goethe.

But Howard gives us with his clear mindThe gain of lessons new to all mankind;That which no hand can reach, no hand can claspHe first has gained, first held with mental grasp.

I suspect too, that he might have been the Howard after whom the local telephone exchange in Enfield was named. Enfield Rolling Mills, who were my father’s biggest customer and where I worked for a couple of summers, had a phone number of Howard 1255.  There is a list of all the old London exchange names here.

I enjoyed the museum, as it brought back some happy memories for me. I will be back.

  1. C’s godmother and her sister had worked at the Gestetner factory in Tottenham Hale and had a flat which would have been in the middle of the riots, although it looked like no damage was done. They were a lovely pair of sisters, who’d had a hard life, but who always remained cheerful to the end. They both lived into their eighties and still had all their marbles when they died.  But I think, if they’d had the sort of healthcare that we get now, they might have had a few more years. Both seemed to keep falling over and breaking thighs and other bones.
  2. One memory the museum brought back was a tale from my grandmother about the Belgian refugees, who were put up in Alexandra Palace after the First World War.
  3. I can also remember the Monday evening crowds swarming past my father’s printworks on Station Road to the racecourse.  Someone used to setup a Crown and Anchor board to fleece punters before they even got to the races, outside the works on Station Road.  If the police turned up he allowed them to duck inside, provided they put a couple of notes in the charity box my father had on the counter.
  4. I also saw the inside of a pub for the first time at about eight, when my father used to take me for lunch on Saturdays to the Jolly Anglers in Station Road, when we both worked in the works.
  5. When we were at school, we often drive to Ally Pally to have a drink, as no-one seemed to bother how old you were in the bar there.  You would then take your drinks out and sit on the grass to admire one of the best views in London.
  6. In the museum was a display, which had some stationery from Ward’s Stores at Seven Sisters.  In the early 1960s, I used to work in a paper shop, who delivered them to Mr. Ward.  Rumours had it, that he was dying of something and was getting a bottle of Scotch a day on the NHS.

Next time I visit, I’ll have a serious look at the archives.


August 21, 2011 Posted by | World | , , , , | 1 Comment

More Dangerous Staircases

I went to Bruce Castle Park again today to see the museum. I took a few more pictures of staircases to go with the previous ones at Stoke Newington and White Hart Lane.

I had a brief chat with one couple with a baby in a buggy.  They weren’t impressed with the staircases either.

August 21, 2011 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | Leave a comment

Perry Is George Bush on Steroids

That was said by John Morgan, a professional impersonator as he sees Perry as an equally rich seam to be milked for all its worth. Here’s the story.

Good luck to him!  But not to the odious Rick Perry!

I like this quote on Rick Perry, by Bruce Bartlett, who was an advisor to Ronald Reagan.

Rick Perry’s an idiot and I don’t think anyone would disagree with that.

It’s funny how in United States politics, the scum always seems to float to the surface.

August 21, 2011 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment

My Allergies and Me

I seem to be getting no relief from the hay fever at all this summer. Just as it seems the pollen level gets to a low level for a day, it then rises back up again. I had lunch with a friend yesterday and he never suffers, but he is this year.  It’s a story that I’ve heard so many times in the last few months from others. No-one seems to have any idea about it either.

I don’t get any luck with it either.  On Friday I was to see a consultant about it, but for administrative reasons the appointment was put back for a few days. Any sane person, would think that the Devil has it in for them, if they had suffered the last three years I have. To make matters worse, the sale of my house in Suffolk, seems to be moving slowly and Ipswich lost by seven goals to one last night. But I’m still here, which is more than can be said for my wife and youngest son.

I also had a good lunch yesterday with friends, essentially to celebrate my birthday on Tuesday.  Even Ipswich contrived to lose six two that night.

I know it’s only a small thing, but I slept well last night and got up feeling fresh.  So I thought, it might be a good idea to go to perhaps Brighton or Southend and get a bit of sea air. But after checking the pollen levels, I decided against it as levels were moderate in all the places I checked.  And the excellent Met Office web site, says that it’ll be Tuesday before the levels get better.

So I think I’ll go and see my therapist today.  I’m not sure where I’ll explore, but because it is so easy and fairly close, I think I might go to Bruce Castle Museum this afternoon.

What I will do is reflect on my life and especially this dreaded hay fever.

I will start with my ancestors.  I’m certain that it’s my father’s line that has the really bad genes and has brought me the allergies.  From what I know now, I’m certain that he was a coeliac like me.  He certainly had more wind than the Outer Hebrides.  He was always choked up with catarrh and  ate menthol catarrh tablets like others eat sweets. He was also a heavy pipe smoker and that couldn’t have helped.  His father had died young of pneumonia and my father had told me, that my grandfather was a heavy drinker and smoker, who suffered from asthma.  My father told me graphic stories about how he would pick him up in a terrible state from places like Wood Green Conservative Club. One of the strange things about my father’s family, is that there is very few women, who have ever given birth. Could this be the coeliac gene, which doesn’t help women carrying a viable foetus to full term.

Unfortunately, I don’t have my school records, but it would make interesting reading, as I can remember taking endless time off because I just wasn’t up to it. I seemed to be coughing all the time and spent many nights with my head over a jug of Friar’s Balsam. At one time I supposedly got a case of scarlet fever. How I ever got to a Grammar School I don’t know! Luckily, we had television and I had my Meccano to amuse myself with.  And that is what I did, when I was at home.  Most weekends I would be off to my father’s print works, where I did useful things. To say, I was an indoor child would not be an understatement. And we worry about kids spending too much time on their computers.

So what was it that made me so ill? Unfortunately, my medical records are incomplete and start in 1970. If only they were on a central database, that I could access!

My GP, one Dr. Egerton White, thought I was allergic to eggs, and so I was rationed to one a week.  Did it help?  Not at all.  My father thought it might be the paint in our house, which he thought contained lead and I can remember him stripping it all off and using modern lead-free paints.  It could also have been his smoking or the coal fires we had in those days, but I didn’t really improve much.  I suppose it might have got better, when my parents bought a house in Felixstowe, but we only went for the odd weekends. But at least I used to walk a lot by the sea.

I think in some ways, I just grew out of the worst times and what finally killed it in some ways was going to Liverpool, where I spent the next three years at the University on top of a hill with the wind in the west.

So perhaps it was just hay fever of a particularly persistent form, as from what I can remember, I don’t feel much different now. The only difference, is that now I’m on a strict gluten-free diet after having been diagnosed as a coeliac ten years ago. That cured a lot of my problems, like chronic dandruff.

All of my levels like B12 are spot on, so it’s not as if I lack anything.

Since C died, I’ve started to get a few problems, like tight shins, difficulty in breathing and spots on my chest, back and legs. I scratch them a lot, when I’m alone.

I have been told on good authority by an academic I respect, that widows can suffer high cortisol levels and the Internet indicates there may be a link.

So has all the stress I’ve suffered in the previous three years, brought the hay fever back?

I sometimes think, that my mind learned how to control it and the stroke knocked out that knowledge, but that is just a feeling not based on any fact.  I have been told by a serious doctor, that stroke patients sometimes have pain return from previous injuries.  He did find problems in my neck, which are improving through physiotherapy.

August 21, 2011 Posted by | Health, World | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment