Despite the promising dawn this morning,

and the generally bright, if cold, day, hailstones ricocheted off my window panes as I scanned another batch of colour slides I made earlier -in 1977 to be precise.

That June Jessica, Matthew, Becky and I spent a weekend with our friend Carole in Ipswich.

Becky 6.77 1Matthew 6.77

The two children were happy taking turns in Carole’s hammock.

The following month I attended a steam fair in Mitcham.

Steemroller wheel 7.77

This was the wheel of a steamroller

Oilcan 7.77

that carried its own oilcan.

Such vehicles were responsible for smoothing out the road surfaces of my youth. Many’s the time we all dashed out into the street to watch and listen to the clouds of steam rising above the  toffee-like tarmac being rolled out under the three whopping wheels.

Enthusiasts painstakingly nurture these splendid, lumbering, giants of the road and display them at fairs across the country. This one was made by Aveling & Porter, the first successful manufacturers.

At the beginning of September, we attended the annual Soho Festival, where we were entertained by

Dancers 9.77Dancer 9.77

dancers from The Philippines,

Korean martial arts 9.77 1Korean martial arts 9.77 2

and exponents of Korean martial arts. When, having emitted the required sounds, this expert brought his arm down on the breeze blocks each one in the stack was neatly cut into two. Don’t try this at home.

Spaghetti eating contest 9.77

Always popular, the spaghetti-eating competition attracted its usual audience. I console myself with the thought that the scowls in evidence here were prompted by the self-inflicted torture the contestants were experiencing, rather than being a response to my lens.

Gypsy Joe 9.77

Gypsy Joe, on the end of the table, was, to the locals at least, a well-known Soho photographer.

This evening Jackie and I finished yesterday’s Chinese takeaway, followed by Black Forest gateau. I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012


Published by derrickjknight

I am a septuagenarian enjoying rambling physically and photographing what I see, and rambling in my head as memories are triggered. I also ramble through a lifetime's photographs

47 thoughts on “Steamrollers

  1. My favourite years 1975 76 77 78 79 , then like the music it was downhill all the way, oh well derick,progress?

  2. I’m happy your roof didn’t experience any hail damage. So the garden is okay too?
    I think I’d prefer to participate in an ice cream eating contest rather than Spaghetti…I’d be stuffed!

  3. When I saw the steam rollers it reminded me of something… As kids we used to get a gumball-size of fresh tar from the road when it was being paved and chew it, like chewing gum. I wondered if I only dreamt that, so I googled it and found that others of my generation had done the same thing! I don’t imagine it’s done these days, which is just as well, since the composition of tar is probably quite different. Anyway we survived—none the worse for it!

  4. There’s a lot of science in that business of breaking concrete blocks but in the long run that poor bloke will have painful arthritis when he’s as old as some of us are.

  5. I’ve been on the Isle of Wight (for those abroad, that’s the thing with The Needles [almost] attached to it, which Derrick photographs periodically) and chose this glorious morning, which started cloudless, as did Wednesday’s, to go off for a walk on part of the island’s high tops. I think my companion and I were lucky, in that, although we did get a few ‘soft hail’ showers, some pretty wind-driven, what was falling either side of us, every now and then (sometimes just 2 miles away, sometimes over the South Coast, perhaps 10, 15 miles) looked pretty nasty, more akin to the needle-like rain described the next day. Some of the showers were so dense it almost screened just the other side of the valley, and it wasn’t clear whether it was snow or hail falling. Truly spectacular light effects, as the storm-following sun played on nearby monuments or distant chalk-cliffs: pity one can’t accompany words with photos here. The wind, earning barely a mention in the posting, was vicious out of the sun. We were both ungloved, and proper felt it. Brrrr! But it was also responsible for the fleetingness of the light-effects, so some recompense.

  6. The annual Soho Festival looks amazing, Derrick. I love to see dancers in action. I never seen live a spaghetti-eating competition. I guess it is very funny. Will that festival be also this September?

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