Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Carousels, Ducks, Daleks and Butterfly Gardens!

Roll up, roll up folks!  We have a nice selection of stories for you to read today!

July 26th 2011

David dropped us at the other end of Walpole Park on the way to his dentist appointment so that I could photograph Harry Hebborn's beautiful gallopers.  I was still too scared to ask if adults were allowed to ride without accompanying children though!


Some horrid men leered at me the whole time I was filming that video clip.  I still don't know if they were being general gross "women's bodies are only out in public for us to stare at" lads or were laughing at me for filming the pretty horses!  Of course, me being me, the men put me off and I failed to take any close up photographs of the horses themselves.

I also finally photographed the memorial wall outside Pitzhanger Manor House commemorating Ealing's war dead.  It is here that my great uncle is commemorated.  Poor Donald was always a weak lad with asthma and other breathing difficulties and wasn't considered fit enough to fight in World War II.  Instead he was sent to Devon to lay barbed wire on the beach (to prevent enemy ships from landing).  His doctor wasn't very happy but he was sent regardless.  Needless to say, the poor boy didn't last long wading around in the icy water.  One thing to lead to another and Donald ended up dying of TB.  My grandma and her siblings had to fight to get his name on the memorial as technically he hadn't "died in service" but he was clearly a victim of the war.  While I (and even my mum) never had the chance to meet Donald, I feel I know him personally from all my grandma used to say about him.  Wars are such a waste of young life...and look what became of our country anyway.


We enjoyed watching some ducklings and their mother in the pond at the park.  Unfortunately, the water was filthy and full of litter.  It's a wonder the poor little things didn't get tangled up in all the carrier bags and other rubbish.


If Mum and I had been having a nice time for once, it was short lived.  David rang up before we even got home to tell us that the dentist had declined his credit card and he had had to pay with a cheque.  The dentist said that all of his teeth were loose due to the long haul flight to and from America (?)  I bet that's what caused his earache when he was in the USA.

He came flying in to collect my prescription (for the pointless shampoo and steroid gel) and took £20 from me with which to buy it.  Um...but the two items wouldn't cost £20.  I presumed he was finally going to collect Mum's antibiotics, but he didn't take her prescription again.  I have no idea what he did with my money...he just reminded me again that I should be "on the dole".  Because it's so easy to sign on JSA when you have no qualifications or knowledge of how to actually seek a job!

He was in a fowl mood about money, scaring Mum about how "broke" we were and demanding more of her savings.  But don't worry, he was only borrowing it and would leave it to her in his will.  Um...isn't he already leaving all of his money to her?!

He claimed that he only had £5 to do the shopping (the extra money he took from me perhaps?) and chose to get bread, milk...and strawberry trifles of all things!  Wouldn't it have been better to get something more sensible than a treat/dessert if you're really that short of money?

So much for going to Earnley Gardens.  I wasn't surprised that he had run out of money, I just don't understand why people make promises they can't keep.

Having said that, the Art Fund took a direct debit payment from his bank account and he didn't bat an eyelid.  In fact, he said that he wanted to remain a member.  Why?  We never went anywhere with our membership!  The truth was he couldn't be bothered to ring them up and cancel the payment.

We also pointed out that he hadn't chased up the travel insurance to see how much of his American "earache" treatment costs he could claim back.  But he didn't have time to do it, you know, because he's "always painting".  Uh...his arguments were getting beyond ridiculous at this stage!

My grandad's old friend, Olive, sent a belated hand painted birthday card to Mum.  It was nice to hear from her as we had feared she was no longer with us.  She was in her 90s but still painted beautiful flower cards.

I had a lovely long chat with my friend Grace as well as the usual Skype conversation with the poor car accident victim.  It was nice to hear from Grace, I miss our IM chats. :(

July 27th 2011

Mum broke a tooth (it was not a very good week for dental problems, was it?!) and was in terrible pain.  David told her that she would have to wait until next week for treatment as he needed all of the money she had in the house, but we walked to the practise for an emergency appointment regardless.  It cost £47!  Not only is toothache an unpleasant experience, but it's an expensive one at that!

She saw a new Irish dentist who she hadn't seen before.  He seems to have been a bit eccentric and have been married to an equally eccentric woman.  Having noticed the picture of Winnie the Pooh on the front of Mum's jumper, he told her that his wife was obsessed with all things Disney and asked how much she would sell the jumper for! o_0  What the...?  And what was she supposed to change into in order to walk home?!  When she said she wouldn't sell the jumper off of her own back, he asked if she had any other Disney jumpers at home that he could buy.  Or any Disney merchandise for that matter!  If it had a Disney character on it, his wife wanted it...even if it meant one of his patients wandering around in the nude, it seems.

We looked in the FARA Kids charity shop on the way home.  Princess Glittering Gem was still there, priced at £1.00.  (The G3s I had seen there before had now sold).  At the time, I thought £1 was a ridiculous price so I left her there.  These days I would have picked her up and tried to rehome her, of course, especially if I had known what was to happen to her and the other toys in that shop in the coming days... :(

Well, at least I got to walk through Walpole Park again and take a close up photograph of one of my favourite horses, "Victoria".  "Jamie" was my other favourite but he was positioned on the other side of the merry-go-round and I feared getting told off for taking too many photos!


We stopped for a rest in Lammas Park.  It was nice to just sit on a bench and catch our breath after so many years locked up in Grottsville.


I was still exhausted after such a long walk and my feet were burning.  But I knew the day wasn't over yet.  I still had to go to Grottsville to collect another pile of eBay items.

David had said that he would be home shortly after 5pm when his meeting finished.  He actually arrived at 7.30pm, then went to the bathroom until 9pm.  It was dark by the time I got to Grottsville, of course, and impossible to find anything with no light at that end of the room.  I ended up scrabbling around in the darkness to try to feel my "Doodle Bear" in a box of stuffed toys.  Not a pleasant experience when I knew that there were rats and mice around.

Meanwhile, David sat down and started watching his beloved television.  He got cross with me when I cut his session short by telling him it was too dark to do anything productive towards clearing the house and that I needed to get back to Woodberry to send a combined postage quote to one of my buyers.

"Why does she list things if they aren't already at this house?" I heard him hiss at Mum when we returned to Woodberry.  Hmm...maybe because most of my old toys were still at Grottsville and he never gave me any time there in the daylight to sort them out and bring them here?

My scalp was itching terribly so I decided to give the steroid treatment a try.  I gingerly patch tested it on my parting.  The itching didn't stop but the cool liquid did feel nice on my scalp!

July 28th 2011

Mum and I walked around the block.  I saw a Butterscotch in one of the charity shops but decided against buying her as I had quite enough duplicates and couldn't bring myself to sell them at that point.

A strange man decided it would be fun to leap out of a shop doorway and make some kind of exclamation at me on the way home.  It sounds funny, but it was actually terrifying.  I thought he was going to follow Mum and I all the way back to the house!

My "friend" on Skype had got in on the ride research now and together we were finding tons of stuff.  Today's discovery was the Project Dalek forum where there were several threads dedicated to talking about the Edwin Hall Dalek ride.  Member Doctor Hue had posted this lovely picture of a Dalek ride, taken at Battersea Funfair in 1973.


More interesting to me than the Dalek itself was the ride behind it.  It looked like a pig in a boat or bath tub?  Actually it looked like Pinky or Perky.  It was definitely on an Edwin Hall base.  I wondered how many other rides were out there that I had never seen before.

With the discovery that "Brownie" was still at the Bispham arcade, Mum had found a nice coach trip to Blackpool that October and wanted to book for us both to go for the day.  David didn't like the idea and said that he would take us for a couple of nights away instead.  Well, how was he going to do that if we had no money?

David was still ranting at me for listing stuff on eBay that wasn't at Woodberry.  He begrudged taking me to Grottsville even for the short periods I got to go there to collect things...so how was I supposed to bring my stuff here?

I gave my scalp its first proper treatment with the steroid gel.  I don't think it did any good though.  In fact, I seemed to be losing more hair than ever!

July 29th 2011

We didn't go for our usual park walk.  Mum woke up in a bad mood, it seems.  She didn't wake me until 9.30am, then wondered why I had "delayed her" by not getting the eBay parcels wrapped up until noon!  Delayed her doing what, you ask?  Well, she was finally going to put her costume doll collection in the cabinet I had moved into the corner of the extension.  However, she never got around to doing that either, so we stayed indoors for nothing really.

I scanned some more photos for her but it didn't seem to lighten her mood!

My Rainbow Dash Fashion Fun Playset kept eerily playing the MLP theme tune, even though it was high out of reach where nobody could possibly be touching it.  It freaked me out so much in the night that I actually had to get up and remove the batteries.  I actually really hate battery operated musical toys for that reason.  It's so creepy when they make a noise unexpectedly.

David and I went to Tesco in the evening.  I bought myself a pretty black polka dot dress (which I have never worn because it's sleeveless and I hate my arms!) but couldn't find any black tights.

July 30th 2011

I didn't leave the house.  David arrived at Woodberry early for once...while I was still eating my breakfast, in fact!  As I was "busy", all plans for going out were cancelled and he just spent the day rolling around the living room floor, filing scanned photographs.  He discovered that he hadn't scanned half the stuff he said he'd scanned anyway.  Surprise, surprise.

It was my turn to have a toothache! (Well, it had to happen...)  In my case, I wasn't sure if the cause was my braces or a filling through.

Mum spotted a wood mouse in the garden.  It was a dear little thing, but also a bloomin' nuisance, as it meant we couldn't have the patio doors open any longer.  And it was horribly hot in the extension with no windows open.

Mum also spotted a big pack of papers in David's jacket pocket, where he had left his jacket hanging on the family history room door.


Just as suspected, these were yet more lists of women...


It's no wonder I grew up hating men, eh?

Mum got angry and scribbled all over the lists.  I totally agreed with her on many levels, but I still wanted to get to Earnley Gardens and was scared that David would punish us by not taking us if he saw what she had done beforehand.  I was scared of the backlash full stop really.  Though why we should live in fear when he's the one in the wrong, I don't know.

He did go to Tesco that night, but left it too late for me to go as I wanted to have a bath in preparation for the following day.

July 31st 2011

If David had discovered Mum's etchings, he didn't say anything.  And so we set out bright and early for Earnley Gardens.

We stopped at Nuthill Fruit Farm Car Boot Sale on the way.  It was a very good car boot (just as I remembered it from years ago really) and still had lots of old toys.  These were my buys:


Kiss & Tell and Love Story were 50p each and the Littlest Pet Shop Playset (almost complete) was £1.00.  Not too bad, eh?

After all the waiting, Earnley Gardens was a bit of a disappointment to be quite honest.  I had so many happy memories of visiting that place when I was a child and it had really gone downhill.  There were mice running everywhere, wasps all over the place (okay, that's not really their fault but it added to the unpleasantness!) and general signs of deterioration and neglect.  The once pretty garden set ups had been left to wilt and die and all of the animals were being kicked out "for financial reasons"...although the small print said that they were getting a new selection of animals next year.  Well, if they were truly having financial problems, they wouldn't be able to afford a new lot, would they?  I still wonder what happened to all of those poor creatures.

Oh well, I was there for the coin operated rides, wasn't I?  Well, that was a disaster too.  The first thing I saw was this little jeep ride at the cafe.


A 1990s Amutec ride...in place of the old tank I'd come to see!  Then I spotted a horribly sad sight...


The tank had just broken down and was standing in the corner.  They couldn't tell us if it would be fixed or if it was destined for the scrap heap.  Either way, I was destined never to know how it moved or to get a film of it in action.  I did get a few still photographs of it anyway.


Well, at least one question was answered.  That WAS an Edward Savill plaque on both of the rides:


Curiouser and curiouser.  The ostrich is definitely an Edwin Hall ride so did Edward Savill (distributor for Edwin Hall for many years) make a small number of Hall's rides after his retirement, or did he just put his plaque on other manufacturer's rides that he distributed?  I know Savill did make some rides using mildly altered Edwin Hall moulds but, as far as I'm aware, all of these were issued on Savill's own decorative bases.  I still have no idea where the tank came from as I've never seen another like it.  The base is unique to any others I've seen as well.

The ostrich was still there at least, and still in fully working order.


I got a lovely film of it in action, the first Edwin Hall ride I had seen moving in about nine years (since I had last ridden this ostrich...I'm pretty sure this was the last Edwin Hall ride I ever rode)


I don't think such fast, bumpy rides would be allowed these days outside of bucking bronco rings!  Think of the health and safety issues!

We spent a little while wandering around the animal enclosures, getting increasingly upset at the plight of the poor creatures and worrying what would happen to them.  I fell in love with some very friendly guinea pigs and felt sad to think that I had been pet-less for three and a half years.


We also checked out Rejectamenta which used to be a lovely little museum.


Sadly, this too had gone downhill.  The owner, Stella Mitchell, left Earnley Gardens and set up her own museum in Shropshire some years ago so I knew the collection would have been severely reduced.  What I wasn't prepared for was how Earnley Gardens had neglected what was left of it.  Everything was under a thick layer of dust and some things had even got broken from severe temperature changes and so on.  There's not even an attendant in the museum to watch over things and make sure they are safe from would-be burglars.

Some of the actual butterfly gardens were still really pretty and we spent an hour or so looking around those.  The owl butterflies seemed to be attracted to the flowers on my dress and kept landing on me!  (Sorry, I really hate that picture of me too, but I love how the butterfly thought it could drink nectar from my dress!)


After we left Earnley Gardens, David drove us down to the nearest coast so that I could get a brief glimpse of the sea before returning home.  I'm not sure what beach this would be, but I suppose it must be somewhere around Bognor.


So, despite the disappointments regarding the tank ride and the way Earnley Gardens had decayed in general, I still think it was a pretty nice day really.  A nice high note to end this blog on for once!

Best wishes,
Desirée  xxx

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