with love from Llangollen (1974)

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Dear Hilary, I hope you are well.  On Saturday we went to the sheep dog trials at Llanrhaeder and it was very hot.  What sort of weather did you have?  On Sunday we went swimming.  On Monday we went for a picnic in the mountains & had a nice day.  love from Julia

Fantastic Welsh traditional dress features on this card.  Julia was my new best friend at the school I joined when we moved, she lived just down the road and made me feel very welcome.  Julia was bright and clever -see how she’s broken up her holiday report with a question back at me.

The postmark date is 8 August 1974 and the stamp is a second class 3½p which approximates to 37p in 2014

I was only at that school for one term before we all moved on to senior school.  Julia went to a different one and we both made new friends.  It was difficult to maintain the friendship with Julia and we lost touch.   On reflection, this was probably more my fault than hers.

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with love from Widecombe in the Moor (1975)

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Dear Hilary & John, We are having a very nice holiday the weather has been very kind to us.  We visited Widdicombe yesterday & today we are sitting looking at nice sea with quite large waves at Meadfoot Beach between Paignton & Torquay.  Love to Mummy & Daddy.  Grandad & G~~~ (Grandma to you)

A classic status update from my paternal grandparents to my brother and me.  The postmark date is Newton Abbot, 1 June 1975.   Five stamps adding up to 5½p which was the cost of sending a postcard second class in 1975 (this is approximately 50p in 2014).

The picture illustrates the old nursery rhyme which reads:

Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your grey mare, All along, down along, out along lee; For I want to go to Widecombe Fair Wi’ Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney, Peter Davey, Dan’l Whiddon, ‘Arry Hawk, Old Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all, Old Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all.

Grandad died in the early eighties.  Grandma was my last surviving grandparent and lived on to see me married, but missed being a Great Grandma.  In actual fact she was my Dad’s stepmother, but when I was born it was decided (for ease) that she would be known as Grandma.  She was a great needlewoman and textile artist and encouraged this in me.  More about my love of textiles here http://www.textiletarts.co.uk/about

with love from Romsey (1982)

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28-VII-82. But 2nd class for maximum economy.  So! Back at last having dumped Herring and the rest of the Norgies.  WELCOME BACK.  You just can’t beat Britain – and by god (or Thor if you like) Maggie has been flat to the boards trying).  We may be a country of Homosexual Policeman, Burgesses in cupboards and strange men in Queens’ Bedrooms (where was the King? – conspicuous by his absence!) but we’re a good lot!  Yours unexpectantly – DAM.  What of the Falklands..? UP THE FJORDS!

The message on the back of this postcard from July 1982 is perhaps more fascinating than the picture of The Railway Inn, Romsey, as so many references to the social history of the time are contained in such a small space.  I had been working as an au pair in Norway (hence the references to herring and fjords) for a year and had been fairly cut off from UK news.

In 1982 the UK was deep in recession and Margaret Thatcher’s policies of shutting down unprofitable national industries and limiting the power of the trades’ unions were very unpopular with many.  However, the invasion of the Falkland Islands by Argentina allowed Maggie to demonstrate strong leadership and the UK rallied behind her, putting unemployment and inflation to one side, in favour of supporting ‘our boys’ in the South Atlantic.

In 1982 being openly gay was still something of a controversy and newsworthy – LGBT rights have improved massively in the UK since then.

The reference to ‘Burgesses in cupboards’ remains a mystery…maybe someone else can shed some light?  We were, of course, still at the height of the Cold War.

Michael Fagan somehow managed to get in to the Queen’s bedroom and engage her in conversation.

The postmark is dated 28th July 1982 (same day as the card was written).  The other postmark is inviting us all to Southampton to see the finish of the Tall Ships race between 21st and 25th August 1982

The Railway Inn, Romsey is now a private house, as I believe it probably was in 1982.  I guess this photo dates from VE day?

DAM was at senior school with me.  At some point he left and went away to private boarding school.  He was a loyal letter and postcard writer, very clever and quite quirky.   His name was Dean but his initials were D.A.M. which is how he always signed himself.  We stayed in touch for several years and saw each other a couple of times.  I think he would have liked more from our relationship, but he just didn’t do it for me; although I do recall a drunken snog on one occasion.  We got briefly in touch again about 13 years ago, when the World Wide Web became available to the masses and we all reconnected through a site called ‘Friends Reunited’.  We caught up on 20 years worth of news; he was working in Australia, then… then there’s always a reason why you don’t stay in touch.

with love from St Ives (1974)

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Dear Hilary, At this moment I am on a camp-site in our tent in bed.  I have been to Sennen-Cove today and after a gastly shower I am still sandy.  I had a nice time at the Wye-Valley we did lot’s of things.  I shared a room with Helen, Tracey, Anne and Clare.  Hope you are well and your family.  I didn’t manage to get to boarding school this year but I’ve got another chance next year.  Hope to see you sometime.  My mum gives her love to your mum, lots of love, Ida

Another postcard from my childhood – the postmark date is 9 August 1974.   We moved areas earlier in 1974 and it took me a long time to settle in my new school.  My friend Ida was committed to keeping me up to date with news from my old friends.

The other postmark is still asking us all to ‘Remember to use the post code’ which by 1974 was supposed to be included on all addresses.  As I recall, it was quite hard trying to find out  what the correct post codes were.

In 1974 a first class stamp had gone up to 4½p

St Ives is still a popular destination for tourists and artists.  The photo appears to have been enhanced by tropical vegetation – I think the main shot has been taken from the end of the harbour wall where there are no plants.  Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Ida and I were at infant school together, we have not seen each other for over 20 years, but continue to enjoy catching up via regular exchanging of Christmas cards.