The Foam Rubber Mattress

Back drive

Aaron brought a friend with him this morning, to help him spread the shingle on the back drive. In two hours they neatly laid four tons of material. That they didn’t cover the full extent of the drive was simply because there was not enough gravel. I will need to buy some more.

This afternoon I scanned a batch of colour slides from November 1972. I have not been looking forward to reaching this stage in my archives. This is because two months earlier Jackie and I had, devastatingly, parted. After we each had led rather different lives, it was to be 37 years before we were reunited.

After spending some time with friends Tony and Madeleine, I was given a room in the flat of a work colleague in Blackheath. It was a large room and could accommodate a thick piece of foam rubber measuring 6’6″ x 5’6″ that I had tailor made so that Michael, Matthew, and Becky could share it with me at the weekends. That makeshift mattress was to serve for another 34 years. When I set up home with Jessica I had a wooden bed built around it. Only when I left Lindum House and returned to London, where it was too large to fit into the Hyde Park Square flat, was it replaced.

I was to be even more grateful for the Blackheath room and that mattress before I moved on, because for period of six weeks I suffered my one and only bout of bronchitis and hardly left it for a month.

Matthew on donkey 11.72

Matthew and Becky 11.72Becky 11.72 002Becky 11.72 003

During the time at Blackheath the children and I visited that village where donkey rides and Guinness were sampled.

Greenwich waterfront 11.72 001

Sometimes we went down to the Thames waterfront at Greenwich, which would be unrecognisable today. Smoke still billowed from Battersea Power Station and cranes were still in service.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious chilli con carne (recipe) and egg fried rice (recipe). She drank sparkling water and I drank Seashore Isla Negra merlot 2014.


  1. That was a shock! Oh no – you haven’t been living together happily ever after after all! Isn’t life interesting with it’s twists and turns and options for growth and change!

  2. Two roads diverged in a yellow wood – I mean two lives diverged before you got the yellow driveway – I mean… whatever… I got a shock too and have only known your blog for about a fortnight!

  3. What a story. The Chinese word 緣 comes to mind. It has no direct translation to English, but there is a saying that may explain it: 有緣千里能相會,無緣對面不相逢。 It means if you have 緣 (pronounced yuan) you will get together even if you are a thousand miles apart; without it you will not meet even if you come face to face. You and Jackie has ‘yuan’ 緣。

  4. Great sequence of images – unexpected twist in the narrative. Sometimes you need more gravel to cover all the space evenly. Take care. 🙂

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