Thanks for the upgraded knee

Just two months ago, on 30th October 2019, Val Hayes went into hospital for a knee operation. It has made an enormous improvement. Before that she was finding it difficult to walk from one end of the shopping mall to the other without great discomfort. Now it is virtually painless. But this would not have been possible without a great deal of help from our friends, to whom we give thanks.

Val after haircut

Val Hayes, November 2019

Val asked her doctor about the problem, and she was referred to an orthopaedic specialist, who looked at the X-rays and said that surgery was necessary to repair the knee joint. We asked whether the Medical Aid would cover such surgery because, as pensioners, we simply couldn’t afford it if they wouldn’t. so we tried to find out what extra money would be needed, and thought of appealing for it on the Go-Get-Funding web site. It was amazing how friends and acquaintances (some of whom we only knew through contact on the Internet) were willing to help and within a few days people had pledged to donate the full amount.

So Val went into hospital on 30th October, and had the operation, but only afterwards did we discover that this would cost extra and that would cost extra, and eventually the extras we discovered after the fact would cost twice as much as the original amount. So we reopened the appeal, and more people donated, some through Go-Get-Funding, and others directly,. Today we were told that the money from Go-Get-Funding was being paid into Val’s bank account, and it looks as though it will be enough to pay any extra costs. So thanks once again to all our family, friends, fellow church members and acquaintances far and near who contributed. Your kindness and generosity has been amazing.

Some memories of Westville in the 1940s

I recently reestablished contact with an old friend through Facebook (one of the things Facebook is good at), and posted a school photo in which both he and I appeared, but where I couldn’t remember the names of most of the other people in our class. A few days later someone posted a link to this article, on The Roots of Westville’s Historic Tree, which prompted me to write a few memories of Westville, near Durban, where I spent my early childhood.

I was born in Durban in 1941, and lived in Westville until just before my 7th birthday. We lived at 2 Woodlands Avenue.

2 Woodlands Avenue, Westville, 1930s

This is the house we lived in, though the picture was taken before I was born, and there were more trees in my memory. The upstairs window on the right was my bedroom, and the one on the left was my parents’ bedroom, and the one in the middle was my mother’s sewing room — she had a business making baby clothes and toys.

Behind the house, down the hill at the back, lived Mr & Mrs Morning, an elderly couple my mother and I used to go to have tea with. My main memory of those teas is of their art deco teacups, octagonal, and decorated with nasturtiums, and the stained glass in their front door.

To the right of our house (as pictured here) was the road that led down to the Mornings, and on the other side of that road, also in Woodlands Avenue, lived Dr and Mrs Levy, who had no children. Behind their house, again going down the hill, lived Mr Brinzer. His place was surrounded by a high wall, surmounted at intervals with plant pots, behind which he kept goats. We kids were dead scared of the goats, which we never saw, but which we knew lurked behind the wall. According to my mother Mr Brinzer wore a hair net, but I don’t recall ever seeing him, with or without a hair net.

If one continued to the right down Woodlands Avenue. past the Levys’ house, one came to the Main Road between Durban and Pietermaritzburg, later known as Jan Hofmeyr Road, but then it was just the Main Road. There my mother and I would wait for the bus to go into Durban. It was a single-decker Durban Corporation bus, painted grey. At one point Corporation workers cut all the trees along the Main Road, and then we got a double-decker bus. The bus passed various landmarks — an isolated shop on a bend advertising C-to-C cigarettes, passing through 45th cutting to Sherwood, then down the hill to Mayville, where there was a trolley bus terminus. Then down Berea Road, which in those days had trams, and islands in the middle with flamboyant trees. It ended up at the bus station in Pine Street, between the municipal telephone exchange and the station, with flower sellers at the station end.

On one occasion, when I was about 4 years old, my mother told me to wait for her outside the library, which was in the city hall building a couple of blocks away. She seemed to take forever inside, and I got bored and decided to go home, so walked over to the bus terminus and got on the bus. Some kindly person paid my fare, as I had no money, and I took myself off home, while my other frantically searched for me.

Back in Westville, on the other side of our house, Woodlands Avenue continued level for a short distance, with vacant land on either side, and then went down a fairly steep hill, where it joined another road. On the left was where my friend Clive Witherspoon lived (the one I recently made contact with on Facebook). and on the right lived the Hargreaves family, and they had three children, Peter, David and John. We spent a lot of time playing together. At one point there was building activity on one of the vacant plots of land, and a lot of drainage pipes were delivered for the builders. We had great fun laying out a drainage system with the ceramic pipes, but the builders were not impressed, and complained to our parents.

Somewhere beyond that was a stream, which flowed through a dam, and then over a small waterfall, and away through fields. We explored the stream as far as the dam wall, but were forbidden to go to the dam itself, because if children went there they would drown. By 1950 the dam and stream had disappeared under the new main road that replaced the old one, which was then renamed Jan Hofmeyr Road. Beyond the stream the road went into open country, with a cattle dip, where we sometimes watched the cattle going into the milky white water to rid themselves of ticks, and come out bellowing and dripping. A bit past that was the “mile-away-house”., which my father told me was a mile away from our house. And beyond that, at the edge of the world, lived another friend, called Roy. I forget his surname.

Only the main road was tarred, and all the other roads were gravel. Every few months the Corporation sent a grader, pulled by a caterpillar tractor, to smooth the roads. Great was our joy when one night the Corporation workers left the grader at the side of the road, to come back and finish the next day. We clambered all over it, raising and lowering the blade, and adjusting its angle. Other regular visitors to Woodlands Avenue were a Dodge bakkie that delivered milk, and a vegetable seller, called a sammy, who carried two baskets over his shoulders connected with a pole. He would haggle with housewives up and down the road over the price of his fresh vegetables.

In 1946, at the age of 5, I went to school. One of the children in the neighbourhood, Annabelle Dougal, had a governess, and her parents had built a classroom at their house, and so several children from the neighbourhood went to school there. It was known as Westville Kindergarten School,. and the teacher was M. Murray. Subjects taught were Letters, Counting, Singing, Poetry, Drawing, Story Acting, Modelling and Folk Dancing. My only surviving report says I was very good at counting and poetry and pretty mediocre at everything else.

In 1947 I went to Westville Government School, which was held in an old farm house. The headmaster was Mr Lumsden. I went into Class I, where the teacher was Miss Stockill. The classroom was next to the veranda of the old farmhouse, and so was rather dark and gloomy. After a term it was decided that my time at Westville Kindergarten School had made me too advanced for the class, so I was promoted to Class II, where the teacher was Miss Selfe. At some point one of the older kids came and asked me “Car or Cliff”. I thought I liked cars better than cliffs, so picked that, and found my self in the car house for the purpose of school sports. Now that I am older I think the houses were probably named for some worthy people with the names Carr and Cliff, but that didn’t occur to me at the age of 5.

I used to walk home from school, usually with my friend Clive Witherspoon. One day we were passing Mr Brinzer’s place (with the goats behind the wall). It had been raining, and there was a strange animal in a puddle in the road. it was slimy, greyish-black in colour and had a long thin tail. Clive thought it was a scorpion, with a sting in its tail, so we kept well clear of it. For a few years afterwards that creature provided my mental image of a scorpion, until I saw a real one, which was about a tenth of the size. I later realised that the thing we saw in the puddle that day was a chameleon, not a scorpion, but childhood legends die hard.

Westville School

Westville Government School Classes 1 & 2, 1947

In the class photo, the only people I remember for certain are myself (2nd from right in back row) and Clive Witherspoon (4th from right in front row, sitting). The blonde girl second from the left in the second row from the front was called Ruby, but I don’t remember her surname. The girl on her left with the white ribbon may have been Morag Turnbull, whose father was a doctor, and they later moved to Umtata. There was also a girl called Janet who occasionally came to school riding on a pony, but I don’t remember which one she was. If anyone seeing this picture knows who any of the people are, and what subsequently became of them, please write about it in the comments section below.

For more on Durban childhood memories see Evocation of a Durban childhood | Notes from underground and Growing up in Durban | Notes from underground

 

 

Val Hayes needs a knee operation

Over the last couple of years my wife Val has found walking increasingly difficult and painful, and last week after a medical examination, the doctor recommended an operation to replace the knee joint, and it certainly seems to need replacing.

Val Hayes, 29 Sep 2019

A few years ago we used to be amused at people who cruised around the car parks at shopping centres looking parking place marginally closer to the entrance, and we wouldn’t care how far away we parked, thinking that the exercise would do us good, but now we, like those others, try to get as close to the entrance as possible, because for Val the walking is too painful.

One problem, however, was the cost. The Medical Aid would pay a proportion of it, but we still needed to find something like R7500 to pay for the operation, .

So we thought we might try crowd funding from Go Get Funding, and within a few hours the full amount was pledged, or so we thought. But only when Val was already under the anaesthetic was it revealed that the anaesthetist’s fees were not included in that amount, and that another R16000.00 would be needed

Many thanks to those who have contributed. We are very grateful.

If you would like to contribute, please click on this link: Val Hayes’s Knee Operation.

Val had the operation on 30 October 2019 at the Wilgers Hospital, and came out of hospital on 2 November. Though her knee was painful after the operation, she says it was not nearly as painful as it was before, so there has already been an improvement.

 

2018: That was the year that was

In the past people used to keep in touch with family and friends far away (and even, sometimes, close at hand) by sending and receiving Christmas cards. That seems to have died out; this year we have sent none and received none. For a while that custom was replaced by more informative duplicated newsletters, and more recently by the PDF attachment equivalent. Well here’s ours, from Steve & Val Hayes, as a blog post. The advantage of a blog post is that one can keep it fairly short, yet add hyperlinks for those who would like to know more.

Steve: Has been engaging in quite a bit of nostalgia this year, recalling events of 50 years ago, as 1968 was quite a significant year in my life. For more on that, see my blog post on 1968 in Retrospect, and if you want more detail, for two months that year I was at St Paul’s College in Grahamstown, and I’ve written a series of posts on that, starting here. They cover things like theological education of 50 years ago, and contemporary theological currents.

That handles the distant past, but what about the immediate past, of 2018?

Val and I are both retired, and we continue to live in Kilner Park, Pretoria, in the Great City of Tshwane, where we have lived for the last 35 years, with our sons Simon and Jethro, and one dog, and several birds, like the hadedas that crap on our cars, and the toppies that come into the kitchen.

Our daughter Julia Bridget Hayes, is an ikonographer in Athens, and you can read about her work here.

Val Hayes, 70th birthday, November 2018

Our life as pensioners has settled into a routine over the last couple of years, with little variation. We can’t afford to travel, and so mostly stay at home.

Val: In November we celebrated Val’s 70th birthday, a milestone worth marking perhaps. We celebrated with our usual Sunday service in Atteridgeville, and a family dinner at one of our favourite restaurants.

Once a fortnight, more or less,  we go to the Alkantrant library to change our library books, which has a rather limited selection of books, many of them apparently donated by library patrons.

The core of the Atteridgeville congregation — Christos Nkosi, Demetrius Mahwayi and Artemius Mangena. Charles was baptised at Christmas 2017.

We go on alternate Sundays to services in small mission congregations in Mamelodi (18 km to the east) and Atteridgeville (35 km to the west). In Mamelodi we meet in the house of parishioners. We used to meet in a school classroom, but they raised the rental , and in any case Theophania Malahlela has a bad leg, and finds it difficult to walk to church so it’s easier for the church to some to her.

In Atteridgeville we borrow the African Orthodox Church, and you can see what that looks like here. Neither congregation is big, and in Atteridgeville it is mostly the two of us and three regular faithful guys. Perhaps we’re all too old to attract any young people.

Once a month the Russian parish of St Sergius in  Midrand has the Divine Liturgy in  English on a Saturday, and we go to that, and sometimes take our baptised members from Mamelodi and Atteridgeville so they can receive communion.

Fr Wolde Selassie (Diliza Valisa) of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, OT. Данила Луговой (Fr Danil Lugovoy), Rector of St Sergius, Midrand; Leonard Skweyiya; Deacon Stephen Hayes

Midrand is midway between the centres of Johannesburg and Tshwane, and so the English services there are also useful for inviting non-Orthodox who want to experience Orthodox worship, and chat about it at breakfast afterwards, and there are sometimes visitors from other parishes as well.

St Sergius Church, Midrand, 20th anniversary celebrations

St Sergius Parish also celebrated its 20th anniversary which we attended with members of the Atteridgeville congregation. There was a visiting bishop from Russia and of course our own Archbishop Damaskinos. There was also a visiting monastery choir from Russia, so the singing was magnificent.

In Lent and Holy Week especially we try to take part in some of the services in our old home parish of St Nicholas of Japan in Brixton, Johannesburg though the travel is expensive and tiring as every year the traffic gets heavier.

Another fairly regular event in our lives is a weekly ecumenical gathering called TGIF. It’s held at 6:30 am on Fridays in a local coffee shop, and someone gives a talk, usually on some aspect of the Christian faith, followed by questions, and it’s over by 7:30, in time for busy people to get to work, and retired old fogeys like us to have another cup of coffee, and chat to anyone who is still around. The general purpose is Christian apologetics, but there is no proselytising and no pressure on anyone to convert. Anyone is welcome.

At one TGIF meeting David Levey, of the English Department of the University of South Africa, spoke on Reading Irreligiously, and we suggested to him that we should have a more focused gathering on the general topic of Christianity and literature, a bit like the Inklings group of C.S. Lewis, Charles Williams, J.R.R. Tolkien et al. As a result we have been meeting to “inkle” once a month for nearly three years now, I’ve tried to keep a record of some of the books we have discussed in my blogs — see here, and here and here for accounts of some of our 2018 gatherings. The last of these deals also with the current situation in South Africa, and compares it with the “Matter of Britain” — the legends of King Arthur, with the idea that behind Britain there was the realm of Logres — the land of true good and piety, nobleness and right living — which is often overwhelmed by the evil that breaks through. And between 1994 and 2004 we had a glimpse of a South African equivalent of Logres, before the evil empire renewed its attacks.

Apart from those regular things we don’t go out much, and spent most of our days at home, pursuing our hobby of family history and general historical research, and occasionally trying to share ideas through blogs. In February Steve found himself part of an oral history project when Jess Richards and Renate Meyer came to interview him for the Banned People’s Project. Jess and Renate were both young, late 20s, perhaps, and so banning would have been before their time. They said that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission had dealt only with gross human rights abuses and thought that lesser human rights abuses like banning also ought to be documented. If you, reading this, are also too young to remember banning, you can find out more here: The Banned Wagon.

In September we had the first and probably the last reunion of Steve’s matric class at St Stithians College. It was the class of 1958, and we were perhaps never close enough to have a reunion, and were unable to contact any class members but two of us. The Class of 1968, which also gathered, had a better turn-out. More on that here.

We were also saddened by the death of an old friend, Stephen Gawe, whose 80th birthday we had celebrated at the end of 2017. A consolation was that we had got to meet his daughters Nomtha and Vuyo, who were both born while he was in exile in the UK.

In November Steve finally got round to publishing a novel he had been working on for a long time. It’s called The Year of the Dragon. It arose out of a challenge to write a book in the same genre as those of Charles Williams, which have been described as “supernatural thrillers”. You can find out more about it and how it came to be written here. The cover was designed by our son Simon, who spends most of his days (and sometimes nights too) working on computer animation.

Debbie & Jethro

In December Jethro and his girlfriend Debbie went on a trip to Botswana to visit Debbie’s parents who live in Gaborone.

Towards the end of the year we had disturbing news that Bishop Athanasius Akunda of Kisimu and Western Kenya was seriously ill in a hospital in the USA. He had come to South Africa as a young deacon to help with the mission work of the Orthodox Archdiocese of Johannesburg and Pretoria, and we worked together for 13 years. He was ordained priest, and was made deputy dean of the rather under-resourced diocesan Catechetical School, where he made a deep impression on the students who passed through it. Steve was promoter for his doctorate in theology at the University of South Africa with a thesis on Orthodox diologue with Bunyore culture. He became the parish priest of our “home” parish of St Nicholas of Japan in Brixton, Johannesburg where Steve served with him as deacon, and was a mentor, student, colleague and friend.

In 2015 he returned to Kenya and was consecrated bishop of the new diocese of Kisimu, where he has done excellent work, and so his illness affects not only him but many others.

In other news…

Samwise, a dog obsessed with balls

On 11 November our dog Samwise died. He was 12 years old. We got him as a small puppy in September 2006, which was a three-dog year, and Samwise was the third puppy we got that year. In January 2006 our strange excitable bonsai Alsatian, Alexa, suddenly took ill and died. In February Jethro came home with a puppy, Ralf, and within a few weeks he had died. We later discovered that both had probably suffered from a particularly vicious form of biliary.

We got another puppy called Mardigan, and covered him with anti-tick stuff. We got these puppies to keep our other dog, Ariel, company. Then when thieves broke in to steal our Toyota Venture, they poisoned the dogs. After an enormous vet’s bill, Mardigan died, but Ariel survived. We got Samwise to keep her company, but kept wondering if something bad would happen to him too.

Pimen running to welcome people home.

Samwise was a very big dog, and of all the dogs we have had he was the one most obsessed with balls. If someone came to the fence, he would bark madly at them, often quite frighteningly, but actually he was just asking them to throw his ball,. So we buried his balls with him.

Now our younger dog Pimen lacks canine company. When we came home in the car Pimen would bark to let Samwise know we were home, and Samwise would bark to summon Simon to open the gate. But now we have silent homecomings, because there is no Samwise for Pimen to summon.

 

 

 

 

50 Years Ago: London Transport

Fifty years ago today I started working for London Transport, now, apparently, called “Transport for London”. Bureaucrats will never use two words where three will do.

I had left South Africa six weeks earlier, driving to Bulawayo and then flying to London to avoid a meeting with Detective Sergeant van den Heever of the Johannesburg SB, who, I suspected, wanted to give me a banning order (suspicions that later proved correct, the banning order had been signed by the Minister of Justice, B.J. Vorster, on 11 January 1966) .

I was meant to begin studying at St Chad’s College in Durham in September 1966, and so had about 8 months to wait and support myself in the mean time. The trouble was that I had landed in the UK as a student, and as an alien I needed a work permit, which I didn’t have. Perhaps St Chad helped with his intercessions to get me the job, as 2 March is St Chad’s Day.

Willie Hannan, MP; my mother's cousin.

Willie Hannan, MP; my mother’s cousin.

But there was also earthly help in the form of shameless nepotism, as my mother’s cousin, Willie Hannan, was MP for Maryhill in Glasgow, and managed to find out, through his contacts in the Ministry of Labour,  which hoops I would have to jump through to get a work permit. It seemed that the great fear of the Ministry of Labour was that if they employed foreign workers, it would lead to a strike. It helped to be able to point out that London Transport was short of 7000 drivers and conductors, and that if Brit labour was available they would surely have filled those vacancies already.

So, after getting the necessary stamps in my Alien’s Registration Certificate, I presented myself at the training school at Chiswick Works on Wednesday 2 March 1966.

The day at Chiswick started off very much like the JMT training
school, from the days when I had driven buses in Johannesburg. . Even the pattern of the wooden benches seemed familiar. There were lectures on the whats and whys and wherefores of London Transport, and we were issued with rule books and maps and things. Then a guy doing personnel research came along and wanted to know why we were going on the job. Then came a lecture on the Highway Code, and the PSV test, and the lecturer, Powell, adopted the same moralising tone of the JMT instructors, Sonny Lotter, Jackie Schultz, Harry Nye, and Jacob Venter.

After lunch we were issued with uniforms, and allotted to instructors, and after tea my instructor explained the type of bus to me. It was a Leyland, with the same preselector gears as the AEC Mark IIIs we had driven in Joburg. I drove it for a couple of miles, and the instructor said I should pass my test fairly easily.

12 Brancaster Road, Streatham, where I lived while I was working for London Transport.

12 Brancaster Road, Streatham, where I lived while I was working for London Transport.

We left the bus at Camberwell garage, and there were three other blokes with me, only the other three had started on Monday. We arranged to meet the instructor at 8:00 the next morning at Camberwell garage, and I went back home and packed my things, and took them over to my new lodgings at 12 Brancaster Road, Streatham, which was fairly close to Brixton London Transport garage, where I would be working.

I had spent nearly six weeks staying with Canon Eric James, who had taken me in when I arrived in London as a semi-refugee. He was organiser of the “Parish and people” movement, which meant that he was out most of the time, visiting parishes and running courses and things like that. I would have loved to have gone with him to help him, even just by carrying his bags, and so, in a sense, earning my keep, but he never invited me to go, and I couldn’t very well invite myself. My landlady in Streatham was Mrs Emily Williams, from Sierra Leone. The adverisement had said she was an “African landlady”, and after six weeks in Britain I was feeling homesick enough for that to be an attraction, even though Sierra Leone was thousands of miles from South Afirca.

So the day ended wih me starting a new job, and living in a new home, a rather dingy bedsit that smelt of old cabbage, with only two thin blankets on the bed, so I used the London Transport issue greatcoat as well to try to keep warm. The training lasted a fortnight, and until I actually had to take the PSV test I was rather nervous about driving. The bus itself was familiar enough, as I had driven similar buses in Johannesburg, but the traffic patterns were different. The streets were more winding, and behaviour at intersections was different too. While I was driving the instructor, Harry Webb kept talking and asking me all kinds of questions about life in South Africa. At first I found it rather annoying, and thought he should have known better, but then I thought it was perhaps deliberate, and he was trying to see how easily I would be distracted.

The most interesting thing in the training was driving on the skid pan, with the first demonstration being an uncontrolled skid, where the double-decker bus spun around a couple of times, rocking quite alarmingly, and the difference when one corrected the skid. Similarly there was emergency braking, and seeing how much more quickly the bus stopped when one pumped the brake bedal. Fifty years ago vehicles were not fitted with ABS mechanisms, which do that automatically.

After passing our test we went to our various garages. We had visited them all in training, and I was pleased that Brixton seemed to be one of the better ones, with good food in the staff canteen. Some of the menus were unfamiliar — I once saw rice on the menu and asked for some, and they asked if I wanted custord on it. It turned out that it was rice pudding.

Staff canteen at Brixton LT Garage

Staff canteen at Brixton LT Garage

The first few days at the garage I had to learn the routes, so just rode around on the buses seeing where they went.

Steve Hayes, with PSV licence N81127, issued by the Public Carriage Office by the police.

Steve Hayes, with PSV licence N81127, issued by the Public Carriage Office by the police.

The most common routes were the 109 route, from the Embankment to Purley, and 95A, from Cannon Street Station to Tooting Broadway. There were a couple of Sundays-only routes, the longest being the 133 from Croydon to Hendon, and it was easy to get lost, because it was so seldom that one had a job that included that route.

I once got lost in my early days. We did Job 25 on Route 95, and I got lost on the way to Cannon Street — at least I missed a turning and it was too late to go back, so I could only go on. I thought I could go round the block, but not a chance. In London there are no blocks. And we ended up driving past St Pauls, down Ludgate Hill, and over Blackfriars Bridge, miles off course. It was then too late to bother going back to look for Cannon Street, so we went on our way back to Tooting Broadway. When we came off after the first half I thought I had better tell an inspector at the garage, in case they wondered what had happened. But he didn’t seem at all worried, and said as long as the coppers didn’t get me there was nothing to worry about. It struck me that the coppers had a lot of say about everything in connection with buses, it was almost like a police state After our break we did a half trip to Tooting, and I couldn’t see to read my time card, and the conductress rang the bell at the garage, and we nearly went on to Cannon Street again. we took over our last bus, and finished at 10:30 without any further incidencts.

 

Steve Hayes and Lascelles Wood

Steve Hayes and Lascelles Wood

At first we had two kinds of buses, the RT type, which was similar to the AEC Mark III buses we had driven in Johannesburg, and the RTW, which were similar, but a little bit wider. After a couple of months these were replaced by the newer Routemaster buses, and the RTWs were sold to Ceylon (Sri Lanka). The Routemasters were used on the 95A route.

Routemaster bus at Brixton Garage.

Routemaster bus at Brixton Garage.

The Routemaster bus had an automatic gearbox, but it was controlled by speed, which made it unpleasant to drive late at night, when there was little traffic, as one had to drive slowly, and it kept changing down into third gear even wehn it wasn’t necessary. Another thing that took some getting used to was the British practice of driving at night without headlights. People only used headlights on rural roads, where there were no streetlights. The most difficult thing was pulling away from a bus stop with cars coming up from behind, and they were often difficult to see if there were lots of shop lights and others.

RT bus at Purley terminus.

RT bus at Purley terminus.

One of the perks of working for London Transport was a free bus pass, which was good for the red central buses, the green country buses and the Underground. I used mine to explore London, and visit widely scattered friends who lived in different parts of London. Willie Hannan was the only relative I knew of in London, and he usually went back to Scotland for the weekends..

Brixton LT bus garage

Brixton LT bus garage

One of the interesting things I discovered was that one of the inspectors at Cannon Street Station, the town terminus of the 95A route, was a worker priest, and after work he organised Bible studies and such things.

Lascelles Wood and Steve Hayes, with Revd Inspector Tom Field (in cap) at Cannon Street Station.

Lascelles Wood and Steve Hayes, with Revd Inspector Tom Field (in cap) at Cannon Street Station.

On my first free Sunday I went to Mass at St Leonard’s Church, down the road. It was all rather strange. The church itself was rather old, and similar in some ways to the old Maritzburg Cathedral, with fancy woodwork and choir screen and the rest of the trimmings. However there was a nave altar, and the priest celebrated facing the people, and the altar was left bare until the offertory. They also used ordinary bread, and not wafers. However the place still managed to convey the impression of deadness, as if the heart of the people was not in it, any more than when it was done the other way. I noticed my landlady’s son singing in the choir, and said hello to them, but had not had much contact with the family, being out most of the time.

My landlady's daughter Joyce (on scooter) and son (on right). Joyce was in her final year at school, and was hoping to go to university to read history when she finished.

My landlady’s daughter Joyce (on scooter) and son (on right). Joyce was in her final year at school, and was hoping to go to university to read history when she finished.

I worked my last shift on London Transport on 20 September 1966, and hired a car to take all my goods to Durham. I was not aware that there was a thing called British Road Services that would have taken my trunk door to door for 5 bob (25p). I don’t think such a thing would be possible today.

 

 

 

Barking at beetles

Yesterday our dog Squiffylugs died. She was diagnosed with bone cancer just over a year ago, and we were told that the prognosis was not good, and that we couldn’t expect to have her more than a few weeks. So her death, though sad, was not unexpected, and we had her for another year.

In May, expecting her time to be short, we got a puppy, Pimen, so that when Squiffylugs died her father, Samwise, would still have a canine companion.

Pimen, watching beatles

Pimen, watching beatles

Pimen has grown a bit, and his latest hobby is barking at beetles.

Harassed beetle

Harassed beetle

The beetles crawled out of the compost heap, only to be pawed at and barked at, and eventually our son Simon rescured them and put them over the road, where they would be safer from Pimen at least. This bettle looked patriotic, a bit like the South African flag, or perhaps it supports the ANC.

An artist in the family: our daughter the ikonographer

For the last few years our daughter Julia Bridget Hayes has been an ikonographer living in Athens, Greece. Now she has been interviewed by the Orthodox Arts Journal, and explains in her own words how she came to be an ikonographer, and what her work is like An Interview with Iconographer Julia Bridget Hayes – Orthodox Arts Journal:

Julia Bridget Hayes is a talented iconographer working in Greece. Her work is a truly wonderful example of creativity within tradition. We asked to interview her and to share these images of her work that she might become better known to our readers.

ICXC51

You can see more of her work on her blog here. Like other blogs of family members, it is also listed in the sidebar on the right — if you have a blog that isn’t listed there, please let us know and we will add it.

Since the economic crunch in Greece it has not been easy, as many people cannot afford to buy ikons, so the phrase “starving artist” is no mere cliche, though by using the internet she is able to sell her work all around the world. You can find some of her work here:

You can also help by sharing the link to her interview with other family members and friends on Facebook and other social media sites, so here’s the link to the interview again: An Interview with Iconographer Julia Bridget Hayes – Orthodox Arts Journal.