Saturday, 15 September 2007

My First Christmas. 1951.


Considering I was only thirteen months old, this
memory is very vivid in my mind still.

My Mum was getting me dressed in the morning
inside this bitterly cold tin hut that was our home.
I was stood by the side of what seemed like a
‘huge’ black cast iron bed with brass bits here
and there, in just my vest, when there was a knock
on our door.

My Dad opened it, and I could see this chap in a
red suit, red hat with white trimmings and a white
beard handing a bright red tin car to him.

The bearded man waved to me and wished me a
Happy Christmas.
(Not that I knew what he meant I don’t suppose).

It’s what happened next that really sets this memory
in solid stone for me. My Mum and Dad proudly
presented me with this car and told me I could get
in it. Of course I was very excited and jumped in as
fast as I could.

THEN…….THE SHOCK!……It’d just come in from
the freezing cold winter air of 1951, and all I had on
was a vest.

I can still feel that COLD on my bum right now.
But how great that at fifty six years old, I can still
remember my very first ‘conscious’ Christmas as if
it was yesterday?

Found out later that it was our next door neighbour at
‘The Huts’ who played Father Christmas that year.
Dear old Ron Darby, now sadly passed over.

Catch you later,


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Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Just A 'Twinkle' In Their Eyes.


We all had to start somewhere, even if it was just a
'twinkle' in both our parents eyes, but it is worth
going back and checking the circumstances and cond-
itions before and AT the time of our birth.
(Maybe it says a lot about us, maybe nothing, who

In my case, my Mother was recovering from losing
her second partner in an industrial gas blast in the
late 1940's. The war was over, and everyone was
struggling to 'survive' let alone 'live'. She found
herself living back with her parents in a small
bungalow at Finchampstead, Berkshire with 7 kids in
tow. A bit of a squeeze, but plenty of countryside
for the young ones to get lost in adventure during
the day.

Before moving back to the small bungalow, my Grand-
parents had taken in a lodger to help ends meet. He
was a local gardener, odd job man, fresh from the war
and needing a place to live. Little did he realise just
how THAT was going to change his life forever.

With my Mother freshly grieving her loss, and strugg-
ling to support herself and her kids, the lodger took
her under his wing and became very protective of them
all. So much so, that one day they 'both' developed
that 'twinkle' in their eyes and 'I' was conceived.

Well actually, not just me, I had a twin brother
growing beside me, keeping me company.

After a few months of struggle in very cramped condit-
ions, Wokingham district council awarded my mother,
her kids and now of course, 'My dad' a Nissan Hut to
live in at Hare Hatch, near Wargrave, Berkshire.

At the time, they were over the moon. A brand new,
shiny tin hut to live in alongside several other families
in similar circumstances. A smashing little community
that would last for three or four years.

However, while cooking some bacon & eggs in the
frying pan, my mum accidentally knocked the pan OFF
of the stove and onto her foot, scolding herself very
badly, and inducing labour as a result.

She was rushed to St marks Hospital in Maidenhead
where my twin and I were born very quickly.

The big downside was that my twin died because of
the lack of oxygen brought on by the shock of the
accident. The outcome being, that somewhere out
there in the 'ether' is another part of me. A kindred
spirit that will be forever a part of me until the day
we arrive at the same destination together.

A coincidence maybe, but nearly twenty three years
ago now, my wife gave birth to twins three months
prematurely, both weighing just two pounds each.
Both were kept in the 'Special Baby Care Unit' at
the Royal Berks Hospital in Reading for a couple of
months. Very touch and go at that time, with one
of them keep stopping breathing regularly, and staff
having to jump into action to resuscitate him often.

Modern technology EH? But both lads are fit and
strong these days. You'd never guess they had such
a dodgy start. But that's a different story for a diff-
erent time.

Please call back.

Cheers, Pete.

It's the Twelfth of September 2007 today, and I'd just
like to acknowledge the fact that it's my wife 'Sharons'
Second anniversary of her passing over to 'The other side'.

The whole family is thinking of her.

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'Total Eclypse Of The Heart' by Bonnie Tyler was a song she would play over-and-over again to herself as she fought her depression. Still an amazing record; Click and Enjoy :-)


Monday, 10 September 2007

Why 'Platignumpete'??


This is the first post on this blog, so I
thought I'd clear up the question that most
people already ask; "Why Platignumpete??"

I use the name on many forums and my 'eBay'
account with people continually telling me
that I've 'spelt' the name wrong. They are
of course thinking about 'platinum' the
mineral, whereas I'm talking about Platignum
the fountain pen manufacturers.

When I was young, about eight or nine years
old, my mother used to be a housekeeper come
cleaner for the 'posh' houses in our village.
I had always been a prolific writer and
reader, which, when I'd tag along with my Mum
to these jobs, would become apparent to her

Anyway, that Xmas, my mother gave me a present
to go with the nuts, fruit and other little
goodies we'd get in our 'stockings' at Xmas.
We'd never get much, as we were a family of
ten children in the mid to late 50's.

One of the ladies my mother worked for
recognised my passion for reading and writing,
so she told her to give me this fine fountain
pen as a Xmas present. It was seriously the most
beautiful pen I'd ever seen, with a real 'Gold'

Of course, at that time I just loved it and used
it as often as I could afford ink for it. Or I'd
'snaffle' some from junior school when the teacher
wasn't looking. (Yes, we had the old wooden
'dippers' in those days, 'the Robert Piggot Junior school',
and we had to keep our desk ink-wells filled, so
naturally, a little now-and-again would get into
'my' ink bottle).

When I was Thirteen, I was mad about the thought
of starting a band to be like the Beatles or Stones.
Another older lad I knew had an old guitar that I
had my eye on, so we struck a deal; My 'Platignum'
for his 'old guitar'.

Seemed like a good idea at the time, but the memory
of that 'special' gold-nibbed 'Platignum' fountain
pen will likely stay with me 'till my dying day now.

So THAT's why I'm called 'Platignumpete'.

This blog is all about recalling stories from my past
which you 'may' or 'may not' find interesting.

Please call back often,


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