The institution that is The Monarchy.
As a child, I was surrounded by Royal worship. They dominated the press, the Radio, The Colony’s. The world! My birth was in the latter years of the War, April 1944. As I grew, I was, along with all other children in the land, in love with the Royal sisters. It was the law!
Doodlebugs. V-1 flying bombs were also known as buzz bombs or doodlebugs. They first landed at Mile End on 13 June 1944 killing eight people. Almost 10,000 V-1s were launched towards England between June and August 1944, sometimes at a rate of nearly 100 a day. In Lewisham a V1 Flying Bomb exploded in front of the clock tower in Lewisham High Street at 9:41am on Friday 28th July 1944 in the middle of a busy market. The market stalls lined up outside Mark’s and Spencer’s Woolworth’s and Sainsbury’s caught the full force of the blast, which came without warning.
I remember. C.G. 2022
I remember steam trains trundling over my head – as I walked underneath –
a railway bridge in Lewisham.
I remember thunder storms rumbling across the sky. I was afraid.
They sounded like Bombs as I ran through and out of bridges.
Clapping my hands to my ears to cut the frightening noise.
I don’t remember a hug. I don’t remember love.
I remember the move to a children’s home. Bath time and ‘Listen with Mother.’ Auntie BBC. There was no Mother.
The Princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret. I remember the Coronation, the pageantry, the Crown, the dresses and top hats. All in black and White.
A golden coach, the horses clip clopping. Watched on a tiny TV screen.
I wanted to be a Princess.
I remember bubblegum splats on tarmac playgrounds – hopscotch and huge navy blue knickers, with a pocket for your handkerchief.
I remember Marmite sandwiches and school dinners. Mashed Potatoes dished up with an ice cream scoop. I loved mince and gravy, I loved the afters, Apple tart and custard. Sponge pudding and custard. Boiled cabbage.
Warm, full fat school milk, crates of stubby, glass bottles sitting in the tarmac playground in the sun – the stomach churning nausea, the smell, the taste.
My first trip to the seaside, sand, shingle, rolling waves and seagulls.. salty air and ice cream, sandcastles and tin buckets and spades.
A blue woollen swimming suit, dragging in the water – sagging heavily upon my skinny frame.
I pretended to swim .. one foot pushing me along on the sandy sea bed.
my arms flailing in some sort of breast stroke style.
Salt water in my mouth and up my nose.
‘I’m swimming,’ I called, ‘look at me.’ My first fib?
I remember the loneliness of red telephone boxes.
Four hot brown penny coins in my hand..press button A
A link to the outside world. A voice on the line.
I remember the radio in the 1950s, longing for a rock and roll record –
instead of the crooners of another generation.
My first period, stuffing shiny, medicated Izal toilet paper –
into my knickers in the school toilets. Was I a woman now?
I remember getting drunk on scrumpy cider.
The ground came up to meet me, my mind a swirling red circus.
My first pair of 501 Levi jeans, feeling cool?
Sixteen years old. A coffee bar in Soho, the steam- gurgling sounds of the espresso machine and the exotic smell of bitter, inky, black liquid –
topped with fluffy milk. I remember hoping to be discovered, as I sat –
with my hands around the warm cup.. willing it to last.
Discovered doing what? I had no idea.
‘What Do You Want to Make Those Eyes at Me For?’
Emile Ford and The Checkmates and my body wanting to dance until dawn –
The first time I opened my mouth. I sang in an ally beside a pub in Hastings Old Town. Suddenly and without warning. The House of the rising Sun – with two guitarists and a harmonica player.
More of a banshee’s howl than a sing. But it felt so good.
I remember the ferry from Folkstone, my first abroad.
Travelling with a Band, soon to become a living. Singing for my supper.
Green Avocado, a invite to eat in a posh restaurant, feeling sophisticated-
expecting fruit, it didn’t suit my taste buds..
Slimy and green with a pool of olive oil lying in its soft stone pit.
I wanted egg and chips and walnut whips-
sausage and mash and baked beans from a tin.
I remember turning forty and thinking, this is it. The slide into old age.
I forgot that thought and got on with living.
I remember my children being born. feeling an all consuming love as I held them.
Time speeds up. It was long lifetime ago.
1948 Weymouth beach. War ships at sea.
The two Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret in 1944. Princess Elizabeth with her parents. Always glamorous, I thought she was beautiful in her princess frocks, jewellery, glittering tiaras and high heeled shoes.
Below in 1948. A different life. Two girls in Bombed out Lewisham, myself and Jenny. The prefabs next door. Post War.
We watched the Coronation on a black and white TV with a crowd of children in Lewisham. We were taught that they, and the ruling classes were our betters
Out in the world at 15, I began to think that it was unfair.
In my old age, I know so.
Then, a glorious moment in our history. On the 5th July 1948, the NHS was born. Aneurin Bevan, at the Park Hospital in Manchester. A hero. Years of hard work and a move towards compassion, equality and a respect for all human life, not just the wealthy, the serfs taking the orders and often dying on the job. If they had one. Finish your working life, ill heath or lack of jobs, it was the workhouse for you, men to one women to another. My Old dutch. Lyrics in music hall songs, dealt with poverty and sex differences.
‘We’ve been together now for forty years
And it don’t seem a day too much.
Cause there ain’t a lady living in the land
As I’d swap for me dear old Dutch.
No, there ain’t a lady living in the land….’
I found my singing voice in Hastings in 1964 and gradually found my big bold voice. Music and musicians. Hard times and joyful times. For those times I thank all those artists with whom I have lived my musical life. With love. The teacher who taught me to read. The wise older friends I made in my young years. I thank them for the wisdom, I lived and learned. The world of music, art, film, theatre and words that inspired me. I thank them all with love.
I will cry when Sir David Attenborough dies. As I did when beloved artists, Aretha, Oscar Brown Jr. Jimi, Thelonious Monk, Edith Piaf, Otis Redding. Buddy Holly. Ella Fitzgerald, And in recent times, Amy Winehouse. A career cut short. So much more she would have done.
When beloved friends died. Llew, Karen, Jo, Hoppy and Larry, my first husband, David Mossman, Ronnie Scott…….so many.
In Lewisham SE13. The River Quaggy passed through south-east London, an urban river flowing though parks and playing fields, behind buildings and under roads. In some places it is nothing more than an open drain. My first sight of it, near Lewisham Market, was less than grand. My first River, before I met The Thames, not far away from where I began my life. I love The River Thames. In 1968, the floods hit London.
Below. My Grandfather served King and country in two world wars.
The two Princesses, plenty of fur, frocks and bling!
Property. Land. Cars. Huge Ships. Private Planes and Trains at ones disposal.
A gallery of some of the huge portfolio of properties and land owned by the Monarchy. If they sold off even a small portion of their riches, globally, as well as the UK…and a few of the many Castles, Palaces Mansions and Houses. Parks. Paintings, Horses, Jewels, and all those antiques in all of those grand homes… I rest my case. It could be put into the NHS. Education, Social care…Help for the homeless. If the Government built affordable, safe homes. If Charlie gave Cornwall back to the Cornish, Scotland back to the Scots, Lancashire back to…well, you catch my drift. They would still be extremely rich beyond avarice. We are regressing, as many have stated, back to Victorian times, when the divide between rich and poor was shocking.
Back to the Feudal System. The wealthy.. served by the poor.
Post death. 100 employees at the King’s former official residence, including some who have worked there for decades, received notification that they could lose their jobs following his accession to the throne.
Avoiding paying tax, thats what many of the wealthy do. With a love and fascination of dubious characters Saville, Epstein.. often knowing full well. The BBC. Aristocracy. The hangers on. Toffs seem to love a villain. A pervert.
They hide and protect them. Some of them are them. But we don’t see many with the Queen as Mummy,…. to bale them out.
Meanwhile, new PM, ‘no hand outs’ Liz Truss! Suspend green levies on energy bills, used to invest in renewable schemes. Opposing onshore wind, supports fracking for shale gas, backed a major expansion of nuclear power. “What we need to do now is deliver, deliver, deliver, and I am the person in this race with the record of delivery.” – Liz Truss. Deliver what?
Suella Braverman has complained that “too many people rely on benefits” – despite a huge proportion of those claiming welfare being in work already. She who claims for grants in the public purse like so many of her political mates. Put the bloody living wage up then! Her Majesties, oh shit, His Majesties Government appear to be like our ancestors, the Victorians: there to serve the rich, not the poor, The poor can jolly well put up and shut up.
Oh and me with my state pension? Well I am a skiver leeching off the state. Well Mate! I worked and paid into NI and Tax since I left secondary Modern school in 1959, just before my 15th Birthday. We, the workers paid into that system for Health Education!!!! Public transport, roads? We paid that, whilst the stinking rich have wealthy accountants and legal people to assist them in their dark ways of avoiding Tax. Hypocrite’s all. Digging into public money to service their swimming pools, Stables, second homes. Expenses?
We live in a world that is dying because of climate change. In a world where the carbon footprint had created the crisis. Never used so prolifically as by Royalty, aristocracy, politicians, world leaders and the wealthy in the corporate world. Private planes. Planes used exclusively for the use of the above. Boris flying to Glasgow, Cop 26, climate change conference, a case in point. He used a private plane to Cornwall – as climate change set to be high on the agenda 250 miles (400km) Prince Charles also flew from Rome to Glasgow on a private plane separately from the prime minister. They are not the only people to travel carelessly in this way, but it beats the hell out of me that they show such contempt and hypocrisy for the conference and events that they are attending. We have more people seeking refuge for War, persecution, famine, drought, flood, fires and poverty than ever before.
Above just some of the property owned by the Crown….
How the other half lived. Merely a mile or two away from The Mall and the Palace and the Mansions….North Kensington. Run down, rat infested houses. Wet with damp and mould. Let off as rooms and landings. One Bathroom, if you were lucky! Between 4 families. Now that sounds familiar does it not?
From our window in St.Stevens Gardens.
Below The Race, one of my first bands…..
Moved from St Stevens Gardens to All Saints Road. Around the corner.
The Communities I lived with in my teens and 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s So much more generous and kind than any of the Rich arses.
As I reach for the memories of my childhood, I remember that I had loved the little Princess who became a Queen. She was always there, as the years passed by. I suppose, those memories are still there, locked in my head, the love for a very wealthy woman who happened to be born into Royalty. The Queen: and suddenly she is gone. No more. Inside, I expect that the adoration I felt is still there. Strange. I cannot unpick my mind and long ago feelings. It is a part of me. Who I am. I am a woman of my time. A tiny speck in the millions of years that we have lived on this earth. The Earth that we, the human race, have been destroying.. And continue to do so.