« “A Bone of Contention” - Concerning the Curious Case of Bone-conduction Headphones | Main | Silently »

As Time Goes By: Forty Years On

...I noted that January started bitterly cold with snow and icy pavements. The Salvation Army was appealing for blankets and clothing for the homeless. Southend hospital in Essex wanted people to return obsolete crutches, as due to the number of fall fractures they had run out...

Eileen Perrin remembers another bitterly cold spell of weather forty years ago.

Reading my old 1985 diary, I noted that January started bitterly cold with snow and icy pavements. The Salvation Army was appealing for blankets and clothing for the homeless. Southend hospital in Essex wanted people to return obsolete crutches, as due to the number of fall fractures they had run out.

Cathy had taken up lace-making and she also painted lace bobbins with tiny flowers, etc. which she sold at lace-making days as far afield as Durham and Lancing. Les and I often went round to look after the little girls for the day while she was away.

In January British Telecom announced that the red telephone boxes were to be abolished

On Sunday February 3rd we drove up to London to Holy Trinity church, Dalston, to attend a clowns’ service in memory of Grimaldi, being interested because I had found that I was related by marriage to the Chipperfield Circus family. We were descendants of my great great grandfather John Coan .There was still snow and icy roads in the south east.

1985 was the 250th anniversary of the opening of No.10 Downing Street, originally the residence of Sir Robert Walpole when he moved into the newly redesigned property in 1735. Walpole was born in 1676 at Houghton in Norfolk, the third son in a family of seventeen, eight of whom died young. At the age of twenty-four he inherited Houghton Hall, which we had visited when we toured Norfolk.

I attended the regular monthly lunch-time meetings of the City of London Family History Society at the Guildhall, filling up the afternoons by going round to do research in their library, where I looked up Coans’ births and marriages from the 1500’s in the wonderful Mormon International Genealogical Index .
I formed a splinter Suffolk Group from members of the Central Middlesex Family History Society to which I belonged of those who also had origins in Suffolk. We met in my front room on monthly Mondays. My circle of distant relatives was growing and I heard from a Barbara Mortimer in Glasgow, and an Ethel Barker in Manitoba who told me she had nineteen grand-children and nine great grandchildren. Barbara and Ethel were descendants of my great grandfather John Tyrrell Coan of Norwich.

The ongoing National Union of Mineworker’s year-long strike ended on March 3rd. The national strike against pit closures had been called in March 1984 by Arthur Scargill, the president of the N.U.M. It had had great support from the miners’ wives all the way through. In March they conceded defeat and although their demands had not been met, returned to work within two days.

By July there were only 31 pits left working in South Wales.
Showing every week on television was the popular ‘East Enders’ and one of the best films of the year was ‘Out of Africa’ with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Another had the unusual title of ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ starring Madonna.
In late May Les and I took a holiday in France, driving to Dover, then across by ferry to Calais, where we boarded a car-carrier night train for Nice. - French Railways had allowed us a discount for having to drive from Nice back to Aix.

Next morning we woke in our couchettes (bunk beds) and alighted in the south of France, where we collected our car off the train in the station sidings of Nice and then drove across to Aix-en-Provence. We stayed for a week in Le Manoir hotel which had medieval cloisters at the back, where we took our breakfast.

Through the week we enjoyed the scenery in the Gorge Verdun and the Luberon mountains, and the torrents and river at Fontaine de Vancleuse, where we bought a wrought iron key rack from one of the many craftsmen working along the banks.
One day we had a coach trip to St.Remy and to the ruined remains of a Roman town. On another trip we were taken to Cassis and drove through picturesque limestone crags into Marseilles where we saw the Chateau d’If on its offshore island.

For our second week we motored to Boulouris near Freyjus St.Raphael, and stayed in a flat on the second storey of a holiday chalet, having its own balcony. It was very hot weather and we were glad to go swimming in their pool at the back of the complex. During the week we drove to Draguinon via Le Muy with its wonderful rocky gorges. We visited the lavender fields of Grasse and went around the showrooms, buying perfumes to take home.

In 1985 Microsoft in America had developed Windows 1 for I.B.M. personal computers.

For our 40th anniversary Les took me to Hatton Garden where we chose a gold and ruby brooch. Our Ruby wedding was celebrated on Saturday July 6th at the Cumberland Hotel, Harrow, where we had held Cathy and Geoff’s wedding reception. All the family arrived, - our mothers Kitty and Lily, Val and Anne Marie and two little daughters Tara and Gemma, Cathy and Geoff with Elizabeth and Rosemary and baby Josephine and Les’s sister Lorna with Colin. Then our four small grand-daughters came up one at a time to kiss us. It was an occasion to remember. In the afternoon there was a buffet tea in Cathy’s garden. We had cards of congratulation from our lately discovered relatives - Graham and Francis Coan, Ken and Enid Coan, Diana and Marjorie in Quebec and Leslie Arthur Coan in Alberta.

In August we were away again, at Coombe Martin in north Devon, and during the holiday visited Lynton, Ilfracombe, Barnstaple, and had scones, jam and clotted cream for tea at Hunters Inn in the Valley of the Rocks in the tea rooms where I had been many years before as a child with my parents, when we were holidaying at Westward Ho.

In October we had a weekend break in Midhurst, Sussex, staying in the 14th century Spread Eagle hotel and visited Chichester while there and went over the cathedral.

For some time we had been thinking and talking about getting a computer and I had been asking advice from the teachers and technicians at college where for some of the time I was using a computer. At last we went to Computacenter in Watford and ordered an I.B.M. with an Assistant program, and so became proud owners of our own computer.


Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.