17th July

I had a dream about my Gran last night! I hadn’t been able to get to sleep as I had been thinking about an e-mail I’d received about The Summer of Love party which had annoyed me and set me off thinking. The last time I recall looking at the clock was around 2:45. When I did fall asleep I started dreaming I was at the SoL party but it appeared to morph into the street where my Gran lived when I was younger. I found myself outside the house and having a disagreement with someone about some post (!). I dropped the letters and went into my Gran’s house.

I remember I went in through the back door like we always used to and once inside turned left to go down the passageway towards the living room. As I did I saw my Gran standing in front of the front door, she turned and when she saw me she smiled and said something like “Oh hello hinny, it’s good to see you”. At that point I woke up with a start.

I remember having a similar dream about my mum around a year or so after she died. I remember walking into our living room and found my mum sitting looking at the granddaughter she never got to see. As I came round the corner she looked up and smiled at me. It’s almost like a message from the other side just to let me know that everything is ok.

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Watched 3 interesting TV programs tonight. The first was the series I  mentioned a few weeks ago where they have been taking families and putting them into lives that people would have lived in a particular decade. This week it finally reached a decade I have some experience of the 1960’s. I have to say the portrayal of life in the 1960’s left me feeling a bit short changed. There were things which were obviously specific to certain areas that had been rolled out across the whole country – like the infux of West Indians. Having grown up in Sunderland in the 1960’s I don’t think I even saw a black person till my father invited a fellow (overseas) officer he was studying with at a Police College back to his home for the weekend. There was certainly no mass influx as suggested on the show. They also portrayed the black family inviting all the neighbours round for a house party. I think that was unlikely in the way it was shown and I’m sure there would have been someone banging on the walls and moaning about the music and how the neighbourhood had gone downhill sinces all the n****ers had moved in!

I also took issue with the idea that working class homes had a fridge as standard – I know we didn’t get a fridge until the mid 70’s (we actually had a colour TV before we had a fridge! – but then you couldn’t have watched Sunderland win the 1973 FA Cup final on a fridge!) The only reason we got a fridge was that after the Ronan Point disaster in London the block of flats my Uncle lived in has it’s gas supply removed and he had to get rid of his fridge – so we got our first fridge from him – yes it was a gas fridge! My wife asked about why we had got a TV before a fridge and my answer was two fold – firstly you could rent a TV but not a fridge – therefore you had to take out a loan or save to buy one. They were new fangled devices that weren’t really necessary in a world where you still shopped locally and daily. Also houses didn’t have central heating so food stayed cooler than it would nowadays. My gran held out even longer and had an electric kettle before she finally got a fridge in the early 80’s.

Youth culture was defined in an early 60’s mod style although i did spot a tie-dye banner in the flat where the teenage girls lived (the only nod to the hippy culture of the late 60’s). I think the whole decade was seen through rose tinted spectacles and in a very London centric way. The rest of the country, including I suspect the town in which they are living probably only really caught up as the 70’s started – which incidentally is the subject of next weeks show and will no doubt have been Abba-fied!

The second program was about the conceptual art movement in Glasgow and was not only interesting covering a lot of artists that you don’t get to hear about often but quite inspirational as well. I loved the idea that one guy did where he dressed up the outside of a derelict toilet to make it look as if it was a public house!

I was going to go to bed after that but the next program started and before I knew where I was I’d been sucked into it! It was a drama set amid the bombings of 7th July 2005 called London River. It was the story of a woman searching for her daughter and an African migrant searching for his son. It turned out that their children were living together even though neither of them knew and despite the initial animosity they put their differences aside and ended up searching together. The African, who was a Muslim, admitted that at one point he was worried that his son may have been one of the bombers. It was never going to end happily despite the false hope that was raised when they discovered that the couple had been booked on the Eurostar to Paris that morning. The story concluded with them being told that they’d been on the bus and had effectively been blown to bit, identification was only possible by DNA traces. I found the scene when the African informed his wife of the outcome very touching when he simply said Our son is gone, it is God’s will.

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