Tuesday 31 January 2017

Sketchbook Circle 2017

Despite some of the hiccoughs and the slight disconnect with one of my Partners, I really enjoyed participating in the Sketchbook Circle last year, so I've signed up for this year's Circle. Partners have been assigned and today I've sent off my sketchbook to Partner A (Amey). As with last year's start, I'm prevented from showing any of my pages until Amey gets the book, so here's the peek I am allowed to show.

Monday 30 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thur 30th January 1947

"Visited hospital.

Doris grand, and a fine baby.

5 lb 14 oz yesterday; 6 lb 3 oz today."

Sunday 29 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 29th January 1947

"Doris taken ill with pains at 5 am. Ambulance left 2 pm.

IT'S A BOY!!!!   H.R.B."

And so we come to the reason I think the diary was kept all those years (I've found no later ones) and why I thought it might be fun to share it with you. It's my 70th birthday today.

The significance of the "H.R.B." is that my Dad's name was Henry Robert Bell and he was named after his father whom he thought the world of. So it meant something special to him to be able to name me after his father. And yes, all three of us were called "Harry" anyway.

Whether I carry on with the rest of the year's entries is probably up to you.

Saturday 28 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 28th January 1947


Unusually, the day is simply struck through.

Friday 27 January 2017

Thursday 26 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 26th January 1947

"Usual quiet day.

Went out with Ronnie at night."

A traditional Sunday, I suppose. Ronnie was one of my Dad's three brothers, the only other still living in Gateshead. Artie was in Wiltshire and Alan, as I've mentioned before, was in Australia.

Wednesday 25 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 25th January 1947

"Still no coals.

Saw Gateshead beat Rotherham 2-0.

Saw 'Concerto' at Coatsworth."

Five days of no coals."

 Although the Odeon was the cinema of choice, there were of course, several other cinemas in Gateshead. The Coatsworth was an easy walk from the house.

I can't trace a film called simply 'Concerto' from that period.

Tuesday 24 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 24th January 1947

"Still no coals.


I guess writing up a diary wasn't the main thing on his mind.

Monday 23 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thur 23rd January 1947

"Snow this morning.

Saw Ken Gardner at night."

Sunday 22 January 2017

Saturday 21 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 21st January 1947

"Finished off all requisitions from Brechan / Cares (?).

No coals arrived."

I assume the first is to do with work and I'm afraid I can't even be sure of the word after the oblique.

I can imagine the non-delivery of coal was worrying.

Friday 20 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 20th January 1947

"Demobbed one year today.

Coals from CWS due.


Thursday 19 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 19th January 1947

"Usual Sunday - had short run on bike in morning.

Mother's and Conservative Club at night."

Mam and Dad had been enthusiastic members of a cycling club (they even had a tandem) and Dad used to cycle for a long time after this.

I'd like to pretend that the better facilities at the Conservative Club were the attraction, but Dad and I never saw eye to eye on politics. I'm sure he'd have hated the current breed of self-serving Tories though.

Wednesday 18 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 18th January 1947

"Didn't go anywhere this Saturday. Helped Doris with washing.

Gateshead beaten 2-1 by Southport.

Transport strikers back to work today."

Tuesday 17 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 17th January 1947

"Nothing to enter."

Honesty, if nothing else.

Monday 16 January 2017

Sketchbook Circle End Times

There's a sadness about coming to the end of a Sketchbook Circle exchange, coupled with the excitement of looking forward to this year's Circle exchange.

To bring you up to date on how my Partner Becca's book finally looked looked, here are the last few pages:

My Dad's Diary : Thur 16th January 1947

"Saw Bob Hope in 'Monsieur Beaucaire' at Gateshead Odeon."

I vaguely recall seeing this film some years ago. It got a pretty good reception, apparently.

Plot: "A bumbling barber in the court of King Louis XV becomes engaged in political intrigue when he masquerades as a dashing nobleman engaged to the princess of Spain."

Sunday 15 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 15th January 1947

"Emergency Committee meeting re - Canteen Committee.

Doris got sack of coke.

Filled football pool in."

I think by then Dad was working for the Ministry of National Insirance as a Paper Keeper, having come back from India to find that his job at a furniture shop hadn't been kept for him as was promised.

Oddly, this is the first mention in the diary of my Mam, Doris.

Saturday 14 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 14th January 1947

"No fire this morning.

Wrote to Ken Gardiner and Ginger Milburn.

Went to C.W.S. re coke."

Dad was writing to army friends, I believe. I know Ginger Milburn was a good friend of his in the army. You can see the winter fuel shortage starting to take hold. 

The C.W.S. was, of course, the  Co-operative Wholesale Society. 

Friday 13 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 13th January 1947

"Transport strike - troops brought in.

1 bag of coke from Mother."

Thursday 12 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sun 12th January 1947

"Usual Sunday.

Coal shortage - 1 bucket from Mother."

The beginning of problems keeping warm.

Wednesday 11 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 11th January 1947

"Watched Manchester City beat Gateshead 3-0.

Stayed in tonight."

Not a great Saturday, I guess.

Monday 9 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thurs 9th January 1947

"Went to Gateshead Odeon.

'Without Reservation' (sic) and 'The Hammond Mystery'."

Neither of these movies are known to me. Claudette Colbert and John Wayne star in the first, Without Reservations (1946):

"Kit Madden is traveling to Hollywood, where her best-selling novel is to be filmed. Aboard the train, she encounters Marines Rusty and Dink, who don't know she is the author of the famous book, and who don't think much of the ideas it proposes. She and Rusty are greatly attracted, but she doesn't know how to deal with his disdain for the book's author."

The Hammond Mystery (1942) (AKA The Undying Monster) might be more to my taste, even though there are no stars to speak of:

"A werewolf prowls around at night but only kills certain members of one family. It seems like just a coincidence but the investigating Inspector soon finds out that this tradition has gone on for generations and tries to find a link between the werewolf and the family, leading to a frightening conclusion."

Sunday 8 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 8th January 1947


Mother called at night."

Again, I'm unsure of the reference here, but it may have been the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 which the Labour Government introduced to establish that planning permission was required for land development; ownership alone no longer conferred the right to develop the land. 

You'll begin to realise that my Dad and his Mother were very close.

Saturday 7 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Tues 7th January 1947

"Large contingent arrived from Blackpool for V.P.I.

Wrote to Bill Prior."

I can't be certain, but I suspect "V.P.I." stands for "Victory Parade India" to commemorate the end of the War in India and Burma.

Bill Prior was a family friend who lived in Epsom, Surrey, but eventually moved to New Zealand.

Friday 6 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Mon 6th January 1947

" First snow tonight, very light.


A hint of weather to come.

Thursday 5 January 2017

Sketchbook Circle Again

I so enjoyed my participation in last year's Sketchbook Circle that I've signed up to do it again this year. I found it quite liberating using collage, watercolour, coloured pencils and markers to respond to the additions that my partners made to the pages of two sketchbooks. 

But there's more to be gained from another year in the project, I feel, so I'm already thinking about new ways of making these small pages work for me.

My Dad's Diary : Sun 5th January 1947

"Quiet day.

Mother came to tea."

Is this the calm before the storm?

Wednesday 4 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Sat 4th January 1947

"Saw Gateshead beat Lincoln 3-0.

Couldn't get into pictures at night so had short walk."

Simple pleasures. At the bottom of the page is a little printed motto:

"A little 'ginger' is good for all of us."

Tuesday 3 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Fri 3rd January 1947

"Went to the library."

My love of books and reading came from my Dad.

Monday 2 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Thurs 2nd January 1947


Gateshead Odeon to see 'The Bride Wore Boots' and 'The Overlanders'."

The Cash Account pages at the back of the diary show that his pay on January 2nd, including overtime, was £6.5.8.

Going to the pictures was always a weekly treat. The Bride Wore Boots is a romantic comedy starring Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Cummings. I don't recall ever having seen it or The Overlanders subsequently. 

Apparently, The Overlanders came about because the Australian government were concerned that Australia's contribution to the war effort was not being sufficiently recognised. They contacted Britain's Ministry of Information, who in turn spoke with Michael Balcon at Ealing Studios, who was enthusiastic about the idea of making a film in Australia.

Given that Dad had recently returned from fighting the Japanese and his older brother was living in Australia, I can see why the plot would appeal: 

"In 1942 the Japanese army is thrusting southwards and Australia fears invasion. Bill Parsons becomes concerned, and leaves his homestead in northern Australia along with his wife and two daughters, Mary and Helen. They join up with a cattle drive heading south led by Dan McAlpine. Others on the drive include the shonky Corky; British former sailor, Sinbad; Aboriginal stockmen, Nipper and Jackie."

I have no idea what "shonky" means.

Sunday 1 January 2017

My Dad's Diary : Wed 1st January 1947

Dad used to go to Redheugh Park to see Gateshead AFC play. They were still in the Football League then.

"Saw Gateshead v. Hull. Won 1-0.

Spent night at Mother's.


Happy New Year!