๐Ÿ˜Š Now that all the excitements died down…๐Ÿ˜Š

…and the festivities are over I must admit I’m a bit of a party pooper when it comes to Christmas,ย  New Years Eve & Australia Day celebrations.

Thankfully they now are for the next 10 months or so over ,then it’ll all start up, again.

Not having that many more; if any, to look forward to, I was kind of reminiscing on the times I’d actually ‘celebrated’ New Years Eve/Day, and I couldn’t think of any;ย  in fact I could only remember two, and they really weren’t celebrations.

The first was New Years day, Mondayย  1st January 1951, nothing happened on the Sunday the 31st December, we, my dad, brother and I, all went to bed early. We had to get up and go to work on Monday.

No such thing as a ‘Public Holiday’ย  back then, just another day at the office; literally for me at any rate, my dear ol’ dad would have been slaving away, over his anvil, in the blacksmiths shop, at the Beckton Gas Works; just as he’d been doing for the previous 25-30 years.

Being the largest gasworks (over 500 acres, had it’s own wharves and owned 10 or 11 colliers and space to storeย  250,000 tons of coal)ย  in Europe it was of immense interest to the Jerrie’s during WWII, who’s Luftwaffe took great delight in bombing the place. I won’t bore you with any stories.ย  Today at any rate.


But I digress, but not before adding some pictures which I downloaded from Google; except for my dear ol’ dad. The bottom picture is of the blacksmiths shop circa 1925 so I imagine DOD is in there somewhere!

My New Years day was no different from any other day, I watched for Douglas Bader to come roaring into Great St. Helens, (ย  Church c.1210 AD) in his Morgan, top down. He’d clamber out, and toddleย  off in the direction of St Mary Axe.

He drove in most days and naturally to a 15 year old boy he was a hero, and just a glimpse would make my day.

Come lunchtime, I went off as usual , alone, to the Mecca Restaurant; where I’d have a three course luncheon, for the princely sum of 2/6d. It was the best food I had in those days.

It cost me nothing really; every Monday morning first thing, the lady pay-mistress would go through the office, giving out the weekly supply of ‘Luncheon Vouchers’ to every member of the staff.

Naturally the ‘Senior Staff Members’ didn’t eat at the Mecca Restaurants, they went to the up marketย  ‘Slaters ‘ ( think that was the name) chain, where they’d have to cough up another half crown or more for their lunch.

ย Well come the end of my lunch, when the waitress came with my bill, and I signed and paid with my docket, I was given a receipt and also a little bronze medallion on which was inscribed:

Welcome to the first day , of the first year of the New Half Century”ย 

Kind of odd really, but as you see, something that’s stuck in my memory these last what is it, 68 years?

My second memory is ofย  New Years day 1954, just 3 years on, and happened in Victoria.

Of course, here in Australia, any excuse for a public holiday is grabbed with both hands, and never let go!

I was working for the Royal Insurance Co. back then and my best mate, Doyley asked what I was doing on NYD, and suggested we go for a drive out bush.

Doyley was from Kyneton, in the country, and he’d taken me out into the country a couple of times. I had the car. Doyley had driven the thing home, when I bought it, as I didn’t have the first idea how to drive.ย 

The car I bought, I wrote about, with pictures some time ago strangely enough entitled “My first motor car”!ย  How’s that for imagination?ย  ย This blokes going a long way!

ย And whoever it was said, “and the further the better” can leave now!

He gave me a lesson in how to drive, and a couple of months later, I thought it might be an idea to get a licence, so he came along as my driving instructor, that was fun, I remember that well, and the copper who put me through the test?


Anyway to make a short story longer, we, (he Doyley), decided to head out after work on the 31st, and come back on the Sunday; work on Monday. I had no idea where he was taking me.

I did most of the driving, and being hot, we had the air-conditioning going full blast!

The a/c in my vehicle consisted of a handle, which if swung clockwise, caused the windscreen to open up from the bottom out, allowing the hot wind to blow through, but as he was taking us into the hills it was pretty good.

How long we drove, I don’t know, my car a 1939 Morris 10, that denotes 10 HP, it developed 40 BHP, wasn’t the most powerful vehicle on the road, and, climbing up through, and into the hills/ mountains, we didn’t break any speed records.

What we did for food I don’t recall, it must have been a bit after 1800, ( I’d started using the 24 hour clock in ’63) when we left Sunshine and headed out, being a Friday night and Doyley being a good Catholic lad, we probably stuffed ourselves on fish and chips, “a coupla pieces of flakeย  and a bobs worth of chips thanks mate”.

With nothing but trees, and darkness all around, Doyley suggested we stop where we were, and get some sleep, then press on in the morning. We were to sleep in the car, what we drank I don’t know, neither of us was averse to a beer or two, but we didn’t have one of those new Esky things, to keep it cold,

Must have had something with us though, middle of summer? Hot!.

Awake at dawn, stiff and still tired, have you ever tried sleeping in a small Morris Saloon Motor Car? We kind of staggered out of the car, and there before us, a beautiful stream running swiftly, which is understandable, we were quite high in the Lower Victorian Alps; not that I knew where we were at that time, and the water was icy cold and pure.ย 

The water was to damned cold to strip off and jump into, so we cleaned ourselves up as best we could, and then Doyley pointed to a house, just about opposite where we’d spent the night, sleeping uncomfortably, in theย  damned car. My car was not too popular with me by this time,ย 

Doyley suggested we go knock on the door, see if we could get some breakfast. “You got to be joking” says me, or words to that effect. ”We can’t go just knocking on someones door asking for food”.

“We’ll give it a go” says he, and over he goes, me lagging behind, and he hammers on the door, and some bloke answers, and Doyley says something, and the bloke invites him in; I’m still wary.ย 

This bloke calls out to me to come on over, and come in; so still a bit nervy, I toddled over and went into this bush cottage / house, and there was this blokes lady, cooking away on one of those giant wood fired stoves, the biggest frying pans/ skillets I’ve ever seen, never seen anything close to them since.ย 

She turned and asked if I’d like some fresh fish for brekkie; how could I refuse, so out comes another of these big pans and she tossed in a packet of butter, must have been a pound, and then popped in two beautiful freshly caught mountain trout, still with their heads on into the pan, I gave thanks that they’d been cleaned, and I tucked right in when this strange lady served them up.

The best fish I’ve ever had, I’ve always loved fish, but there’s never been anything to compare to those two fresh mountain trout, cooked in a big pan of butter, for a New Years Day breakfast.

To cut this short, seems that we were expected. This bloke just happened to be a cousin of Doyleys, and they had decided to have some fun with his New Australian, Pommy Mate. Me!

Nothing was given away until, after I’d feasted and was sitting there suddenly; embarrassed to hell; and the three of them burst out laughing.

So there you have it; the only two New Years Days that I can remember, out of the 84 I’ve lived through,

39 thoughts on “๐Ÿ˜Š Now that all the excitements died down…๐Ÿ˜Š

  1. What a lovely story โ€” they really had you on. Doyley was prepared to put up with a night of discomfort just for the sake of giving you all that embarrassment?
    My best three New Years have been one at Hogmanay Ball in Johannesburg’s City Hall, a wonderful full-dress affair, and on our beach below home where we all fell asleep lying on the sand until chased back home at about four a.m. by a sudden storm, and on the edge of the Fish River Canyon in a Combi Camper with only one other traveller distantly in view and a cat that had adopted us from the banks of the Orange River in Upington.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bryan Francis Doyle was a bad man I ‘d like to bet that when I was sleeping he’d slipped over to his cousins place, had a few hours kip and then went at dawn with with his cousin to do a bit of fishing.
      I really think you should post some pictures of you in your kilt, Hogmanay; full dress,?
      Your NYE sounds very much like ours sleeping on the sand, but that doesn’t appeal to me, sooner sleep in a car ๐Ÿ™‚


      1. Sounds as if that is exactly the sort of thing he would be inclined to do!
        I wish I did have a picture of that occasion.
        On one occasion we slept in the car (not NYE) we woke up to find we were surrounded by a large herd of wildebeest and warthogs, This was in Mozambique.
        On another occasion, in Namibia, we awoke to find leopard tracks round the car. Just as well he didn’t have a tin-opener with him.


        1. The only thing we’d awake to find, would be snakes or spiders, of the deadly variety, or maybe a 2 metre goanna


        2. What about kangaroos?


  2. Good story, I enjoyed reading it!


    1. Thanks Andrew, I don’t really know why I wrote it but seems to have been well received.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You wrote it because it is a good story!


        1. Actually I wrote it because I couldn’t think of anything interesting to bore everyone with; have to try this more often.
          Thanks Andrew makes me feel chuffed ๐Ÿธ ๐Ÿ˜Š ๐Ÿธ

          Liked by 1 person

  3. These memories are priceless to us all, Brian. By 1963 my luncheon voucher would get me a Ploughman’s and a pint of Guinness in The Pill Box at the Waterloo end of Westminster Bridge


    1. I’ll wager your voucher was worth more than a half a’crown, 1950 as you’re aware of rationing was still well and truly amongst us, so the food that was served was a damned sight better than I received at home. We never had butter, my mother swapped our butter rations for tea rations, she considered it more important for her to have her tea than her children to have butter. I never really knew what it was like ’til I arrived in Oz I still can’t get enough of the stuff,

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If I ever finish ‘A Knight’s Tale’ there is a section on rationing. I don’t remember the LV value, but that was a good lunch I got with it.


  4. I hadn’t thought about Morris cars in decades! When I was a kid, my best friend’s family had a black Morris Minor. It was a bit of a novelty in Oklahoma City at the time. An English car with a funny name.

    Trout for breakfast! Fabulous. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of vacationing in the Rocky Mountains (not far at all from where I live now), going out by a mountain stream, where my dad would catch some trout, clean them, and walk them over to where my mom was sitting by the campfire with a hot cast iron skillet waiting to fry them. She’d also be fixing blueberry pancakes or fried potatoes. Best meal in the world, fresh trout over an open fire next to a roaring mountain stream (and I didn’t have to sleep in the car overnight to get it). To this day, when I’m in the mountains, I seek out places that serve trout (although I’m under no illusion that the fish are caught locally anymore).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes; an unforgettable feast, and the skillets my mates cousin used were the big black cast iron ones, they must have been well over 36″ in diameter, Huge.
      I had a big brother to a Morris Minor once; A Morris Oxford bought it for a song second hand and it saw valiant service. Perhaps I should do a post on that ๐Ÿ˜ˆ
      The old Nuffield Morris’s were sturdy machines

      I’m glad to have brought back some fond memories for you Susan something I should try to do more often, I even woke up some for Derrick and Lesley (col)


  5. You are describing a more generous age, when employers issued luncheon vouchers, and the restaurant gave out celebratory medallions. Do you still have that bronze medallion?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It was also gentler Ira, even though we were still in the aftermath of WWII they were good times.
      No I don’t have that medallion, if only I had known.
      It was just 6 or 7 weeks later that we left for Australia aboard the convict ship MV Cheshire and it got lost, misplaced, forgotten, hard to recall what happened to a small , about the size of a halfcrown, piece of metal, I’ve never forgotten it though.


  6. Great memories! D and I don’t celebrate New Year’s Eve anymore, but when our kids were young we lived in Altadena, California, not far from the Rose Bowl. It was down low in a canyon-like area. We used to drive the kids over and sit on the edge of the canyon looking down on the Rose Bowl (you had to pay a price to get inside), watching the spectacular fireworks. Great fun.

    Your father has a kind face and smile. How wonderful to have that picture of him looking straight at you. ๐Ÿ™‚


    1. Thanks Elouise; my dad was an honest man, he was stone deaf for the last ten years or more of his life; probably made him happy, he could no longer hear his wife nagging

      Liked by 1 person

      1. What a price to pay….and he couldn’t hear you, either. I’d love to hear some of your stories about him….just in case you wake up one day and can’t decide what to talk about! ๐Ÿ™‚


        1. I did write one maybe two long ago when I first started out here; here’s a link to one where my dad gets a run.I could tell some great tales about him. The one I admire the most is his meeting the Prince of Wales of abdication infamy!


          Liked by 1 person

        2. Thanks for the link! ๐Ÿ˜Š

          Liked by 1 person

  7. OH! What wonderful memories, Lord ๐Ÿป iOfBow! Thank you for sharing them with us! ๐Ÿ™‚
    (All of that happened before I was born! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ )
    I used to really enjoy New Year celebrations/parties, but the past few years I’ve enjoyed the small gatherings and quieter celebrations. ๐Ÿ™‚
    That photo of your dad is wonderful! He looks like a guy I could’ve teased and laughed with and he would’ve teased right back! ๐Ÿ˜€
    HUGS!!! to you and The War Office!!!
    PATS!!! to Coco!!!
    ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜› :mrgreen: ๐Ÿ˜ด ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜Ž ๐Ÿค— ๐Ÿ˜ˆ ๐Ÿค“ ๐Ÿ™‚
    This is me right now: ๐Ÿค’ I is sick. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ


    1. This is no good Carolyn, what ails you?๐Ÿ˜ž just saying you’re sick will make me worry more, I read how you got a good report from your oncologist so I’m hoping that’s still the case and we have no cancer worries.๐Ÿ˜ž
      My dad was a great favourite with the young girls and ladies, He was a very quite shy type of man with a wicked sense of humour; ๐Ÿ˜Š ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜ I wrote something about him and his humour a long time back, I have not one bad memory of him, I’m pleased you enjoyed my reminiscing, thank you and big ((HUGS )) and scratches, treats and pats for ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿ—๐Ÿ—๐Ÿพ

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not to worry! I just have an ughy sinus infection. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Lots of stuffiness, nose-blowing, sore throat. I’ll survive it. ๐Ÿ™‚

        I am so grateful for the good oncologist visit! ๐Ÿ™‚

        How wonderful to have only good memories of your dad!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Thank you for the big (((HUGS))) and scratches, treats and pats for Coop and me! HA! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜›


        1. Well I’m a bit late and I now expect that you are over it and fully recovered. ๐Ÿ˜€ :bear:๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿถ ๐Ÿพ

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I’m feeling much better now! Thank you! ๐Ÿ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Ahhh, the gift of memory! It’s as if we have all of these marvelous movies in our headsโ€”and you’ve come up with some good ones in this post, Bear! And what could be better than pan-fried troutโ€”I remember feasting on them a time or two!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a marvellous analogy, ‘movies in our head’. I’ve never heard it expressed, and never thought of it that way, but it’s exactly what it is; thank you Diane; you’ve made my year! ๐Ÿป

      May I use that expression before you ยฉ it, and make a fortune in Royalties ? ๐Ÿ˜€

      I’ve only ever experienced the trout the once, and as you see never forgotten; perhaps it’s as well that it was only the once, had it been a regular thing, fresh mountain trout pan fried in butter; I’d probably never have remembered the delight of that first time.

      Thank you Diane ๐Ÿ™‚


  9. I already read this, must have got sidetracked because it seems I forgot to comment.
    I’m not a fan of New Year celebrations either.
    Love the story ! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll have to do some more of these yarns, they seem to get the best response. ๐Ÿ™‚


      1. Yes, we all like wandering down memory lane with Our Lord!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Do you think I should let my hair grow long, wear long white, ‘Persil” white, robes and carry a staff?


        2. What a great idea. TWO will be so excited …

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Yes. She could have me certified immediately and stuck into a looney bin

          Liked by 1 person

  10. Lisa H Perkins 29/01/2019 — 12:21

    It’s memories like those that makes life exceptional. By the way, New Years has never been a favorite of mine either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seems Lisa that nobody likes NYE well those sensible ones that read my codswallop! ๐Ÿ˜€


  11. “โ€œWelcome to the first day , of the first year of the New Half Centuryโ€ – that is so cool. Marking something that is important – rare these days – seems like every little thing is celebrated and the important ones hidden among the fluff.
    Morris cars are cool – bet you wish you had it now just for the goofy fun and memories of then.
    Enjoyed the stories and your dad’s pix

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had fun with my Morris cars, never a dull moment. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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