Memo To Self


Memo to self:

‘Never shop at Tesco’s late on a Friday morning. Remember. Because of the congestion, you will never be able to move faster than a plod. Especially when you have driven a short distance having cleared ice from the car windows, you will find that you are wearing too many layers for the oppressive atmosphere. The trolley could pass as a dodgem car. Other drivers will mostly be too old or infirm to be granted a licence; except, that is, for the toddler in the store-supplied pedal vehicle towing his Grandma’s basket on wheels. Facing an oncoming loader stacked with products for filling shelves will be like attempting to avoid an out of control container vehicle. Deft footwork will be required to avoid lasting bruises.

Especially if you are tagging along in a junior mate’s capacity, and you are unfamiliar with the layout you will not feel you are much use. When dispatched to collect specific items, at first you will need to find the relevant aisle. Even if you then find the right brand, you will probably bring the wrong size or the wrong amount back to the Caterer in Chief, and have to retrace your steps to return and replace the item. That is after you have managed to find your lady with her trolley in any one of the countless number of avenues of shelves.’

In case anyone thinks I exaggerate, when faced with an oncoming wheeled tower with apparently no driver, I, at one point, had to choose which elderly woman’s loaded trolley to treat as a bumping car. Fortunately, there was a staff member pushing the container, around which she peered, and applied her brakes. At that moment the toddler pedalled around the corner. The employee  had the good humour to be amused when I asked if her employers had trained her on the dodgems.

This afternoon I scanned another batch of negatives from May 1986. Some of these have appeared in earlier posts, but were made from prints of which I thought I had lost the negatives.

I believe this first group was taken at Tooting Common, where Sam and Louisa enjoyed climbing frames, sandwiches, and ice creams. Would gravel be permitted under these structures in our safety-conscious era today, I wonder? I am not sure whether the bicycle was Louisa’s birthday present.

Our first clematis Montana was grown at our home in Gracedale Road,

barefoot on the concrete back steps of which Sam, admired by his sister, undertakes an important piece of carpentry.

Perhaps Jessica took this photograph of me at a party somewhere.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Quilla, where we received the usual friendly and efficient service with first class food. My main meal was prawn Ceylon; Jackie’s was chicken bhuna; and we shared Kashmira pilau rice, garlic naan, and sag bahji. We both drank Kingfisher.


  1. I admire your dedication to scanning. I haven’t been able to keep on top of transferring old photos to archival quality albums. It’s a huge undertaking. I miss pebbles on the playground. They use mulch in our neighborhood and it washes away with the rain. Most often it is a muddy mess or hard dirt that remains. And yes, parents then complain about the safety. Have a great weekend.

    1. Thanks a lot, Robin. I have kept everything in pretty good order over the years, and now have the time to put them into digital form – just a few at a time. Your take on the playground surface is good. Enjoy your weekend, too

  2. My favourite shot is the one of Sam stretched across the balancing beam. And he is another left-hander. I guess most parents wouldn’t let their children loose with a saw today for fear of being reported to some safety god.

  3. An excellent description of a supermarket anywhere in the world I’m sure, at peak shopping hours. To be avoided at all costs! Luckily you didn’t have the over-stressed two and three year old tantrum spinners who had been denied the treats lined up for them at eye level at the check out queues……..

  4. Tesco’s must be the equivalent of our Walmart…it’s a nightmare on Saturday. You know how I always love your posts, Derrick, but this one goes into the top five. I love all of the photos of the children. What a great gift you’ve given them.

    1. I don’t normally do much at all, but I couldn’t let Jackie replenish our ebbing stocks alone when she’s still not fully recovered. Hopefully I won’t have to do it again for a while

  5. Your stroll through memories is always an inspiration, Derrick. I love the photos with Sam and Louisa. And I like a lot your mustache from the last picture.
    Have a great day, dear Derrick!
    xo <3

  6. Such wonderful photos, Derrick. The playground photos are really great, but the photo of Sam with the saw really captures the moment–time frozen. I’m trying to imagine my niece who still has safety locks on her cabinets when her youngest is now eight, allowing any of her kids to use a saw. πŸ™‚
    Your description of the crowded, busy supermarket was funny, but so true. If I can, I try to go early in the morning.

  7. Your shopping excursion to Tesco was a crack up. Especially “When dispatched to collect specific items, at first you will need to find the relevant aisle. Even if you then find the right brand, you will probably bring the wrong size or the wrong amount back to the Caterer in Chief” ….LOL
    Jim rarely grocery shops with me, possibly only when we’re on holiday. This is our precise scenario too. He doesn’t know where things are, disappears for long periods of time and put weird stuff in the cart. It’s really awesome you have these great photo’s of your kids rambling around a playground. Photo’s of my own childhood are sparse and mostly of occasions like birthdays, Christmas and such, where we are all spiffed up in attire that rarely saw the light of day. You’re quite right about the gravel. In our old neighbourhood, the county came and removed the wooden surround the held the sand in place. It was replaced with plastic. Safer apparently, probably toxic and certainly non-compostable. I’m certain children don’t have half the scars I grew up with because everything is so safe and monitored now. Nice photo of you there, a lot of men must envy that great mop of hair, ha! Cheers Boomdee

  8. I enjoyed your Tesco tale as much as hearing about other people’s nightmares πŸ™‚
    I walk to my local shops and bring home what I can carry. Fini.

    Love Sam’s saw. Reminds me of toddlers in PNG who all carry machetes bigger than themselves. The young Derrick looks rather debonair. πŸ™‚

  9. That’s a terrifying picture of Sam with the saw; how on earth did he escape, with all his limbs intact?
    Whoever allowed him to handle a saw like that should, be horsewhipped.

    I have an excessive fear, for the safety of children.

  10. I enjoyed the twoering carts and the wheeling of child pedaling. The word “Dodgem” is definitely one that made me smile, remembering fair rides and how determined my brothers were to hit each other head on, Derrick.
    Louisa, Jessica and Sam, while you captured the essence of family, poignant moments indeed. The photo of you is quite handsome as the other three are full of beauty. <3

  11. This sounds like shopping ???? on a Friday or Saturday in the States too. One of the benefits of being retired is going in the morning Monday through Thursday. Nice of you to help out the Caterer in Chief.

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