CEE’s Which Way Photo Challenge: January 12, 2018

Road to Langendorf 18.10 (11)

Let’s hope this cat knows which way to go

Road to Solothurn 17.10 (16)

If you live near one of the oldest towns in Switzerland, Solothurn, you still enter and leave through the gate.

Road to Solothurn 17.10 (27)

The first stairs leading to the lookout on the dome of the St. Urs Cathedral in Solothurn, Switzerland.

CEE’s Which Way Photo Challenge:January 12, 2018

Daily Prompt: Evoking Memories of the past

Norah Street Park between Pollards Row and Squirries Street in Bethnal Green

This is, or was, Norah Street. It’s name is forever  deleted from the street atlas of London, it no longer exists. I grew up in Norah Street, born in 1946 and lived in our little house until I left for Switzerland 20 years later. There were two squares of Norah Street, and this wonderful peaceful looking lawn was where my square would be. My square was the lower square with approximately 30 houses, each one attached to the next. They were built in 1884, according to the writing on the wall, and were demolished some time in the 1970’s. I left Bethnal Green, London in 1966, where this lawn replaces my memories.

Nothing more is left to evoke memories. It is  no longer my square with the lampost in the middle where we kids would hang a rope and swing on it. The uneven paving stones, each one with its own colour, cracks and markings no longer exist, just the memories. Each houshold had its own door step. Door steps were an important part of East End slum life. It was the step that mum kept clean and scrubbed at least once a week. Some even painted them a special colour, usually red. Ours was worn in the middle from the feet of the many that walked into the house for almost 100 years. My grandfather and grandmother moved into No. 45 when they married and remained until they carried grandad out in a wooden box, I was then about 14 years old and he was something over 80. In their three rooms on the ground floor they raised 4 children, my mum, my two aunts and uncle. Eventually the top floor was vacant and mum and dad rented it when they married.

Eventually mum and dad got the good news that they could leave this reminder of the olden days with no running hot water and no bathroom and move to one of the new settlements built on the Eastern edge of London. Our relations had been moved some time ago to the same area. Dad had been working in a place called Dagenham for many years, in the Ford motor works, and of course the choice fell on Dagenham. I was no longer at home, had already decided to explore the world and was settling down in Switzerland.

Of course the old house was full of old memories. My little bedroom which had only space for a bed and a few cheap cupboards that were issued to the people after the war, was all I left behind. My cupboard was full of my old school books, books I had written in the six years I attended grammar school in London. They were the basis of my education. When mum and dad moved, they left in the house what they no longer needed. No longer needed were the memories from my childhood life. We never had money to spend on luxuries and my childhood possessions were a reflection of this. Nothing was built to last. I was in Switzerland, and that was my decision and somewhere on the garbage heap of time my school books were disintegrating. Perhaps a demolition worker read a few pages of what I left, but I do not think that the Pythagoras theorem would have been interesting, or the would have read my notes on various works of literature such as Shakespeare or Jane Austin. They were gone forever. I asked mum on a visit to London, before I met Mr. Swiss, whether I could take my old school books back with me to Switzerland. She looked quite shocked and eventually admitted they no longer exist. They left them in Norah Street when they moved on.

What could I say? It was my decision to move away from Bethnal Green, and quite honestly I would have gone anywhere at the time. My family is no more, and you cannot take anything with you when you go, but I would have liked to have kept my schoolbooks. This newspaper cutting that mum sent me is all I now have to evoke the memories of how it was. This was not my square but the top square, but they both looked the same.

The End of Norah Street

Daily Prompt: Evoking Memories of the past

Good Morning

Baselstrasse 11.01 (23)

Anyone for breakfast? This store is even open at 8.00 a.m. on Sunday. It is about a five minute walk along the main road from where I live. It originally opened as a small grocery store for bits and pieces but it was extended to cater for a quick snack and coffee and breakfast. In Summer there are a few chairs and tables outside. The owner also runs the only butchers shop in town. One by one our butchers in town closed down, they could not keep up with the competition from the big stores and this is the only one left.

Yes, I went again for a wheelie in my chair yesterday afternoon along the main road.

Baselstrasse 11.01 (31)

I drove past the bishop’s palace where the bishop of Basel lives. He has quite a nice little house, but the gate is always closed. Opposite there is the school for ongoing catholic priests.

Baselstrasse 11.01 (28)

Again the gates are locked. I have passed these buildings often, but have never seen anyone in the grounds or walking around. They really seem to keep themselves to themselves. Now and again a gardener might appear to trim the bushes.

Baselstrasse 11.01 (5)

Here is another villa, the road seems to be full of them. This is the villa Serdang named after a Sultanat in Sumatra. The guy that bought in 1859 was a very rich and many stories originate about his background. He seeme to be a successful business man in  Sumatra and some even tell tales of slave traffic etc. although I think this is more legend than truth, but who knows. The villa has 18 rooms and the police chief once lived there. It is now empty. For a while it was an art gallery and it has now been bought by a business man that wants to turn it into a sort of culture centre. At the moment it just sits empty opposite on the road and now and again there is a car parked outside.

It was interesting to go past these places and make more detailed photos, as usually I just have to snap what I can from the car.

Otherwise no big events at the moment. I am still plowing through my book “Radetsky March” by Joseph Roth, one of the great German classics. On Amazon it said 290 pages which I found digestible. However after a week I was at the end of part 1 and part 2 appeared. Yesterday I finished part 2 which was folowed by part 3. I have now discovered in the full edition, which I seem to have, there are actually almost 500 pages. Of course it is wonderfully written and a great book etc. but I think I do prefer Stephen King. The story is of three generations of the Trotta family in Austria. The first Trotta saves the life of Emporer Franz Josef at the battle of Solferino, more by chance, than heroism: he got between a bullet and the emporer. He gets rewarded with a title. His son becomes a clerk for the Austrian government and the grandson is a soldier. The grandfather is never forgotten as the so-called hero of Solferino. The story is not exactly exciting, but tells of life at the time of the monarchy in Austria. I still have a section to read, but there are now signs that war is approaching in Europe. I am reading it in the original german, which is no great problem for me.

It’s time again this morning for week-end shopping. Life seems to be full of week-end shopping, time goes so quickly, it is a life full of week-ends, especially when you are a golden oldie.  I will leave you with a photo of some heather I saw growing in a garden of a house along the road. Have a good Friday, you might even have the luck to have two free days on Saturday and Sunday. I have the luck to have free days every day.

Heather 11.01.2018