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Memories of the Old Neighbourhood

November 18, 2009

There is a little town, on the south bank of the Thames, called Erith (pronounced Ear-ith), where I grew up. Erith, when I was a child, was a busy town of attractive Victorian shops, and we lived in a sizeable three bedroom maisonette above one of them, on the High Street.


After my brother was born, we moved up the hill to Home Northumberland Heath, Erith, where we were joined by a sister and brother. My brother Bill and I used to wander far and wide, getting up to mischief, especially after Saturday morning cinema, and I remember the group of us getting kicked out because of stink bombs…it transpired that my little bro put one in his pocket…and it broke!

When I was about ten or eleven,Tom's House a new boy, Tom, moved into the neighbourhood, and I remember the evenings when he would sit in the tree at the bottom of his garden chatting to me and Bill, and throwing washers about…apparently, there were boxes and boxes of them in the shed.

In the winter, when we had real snow, I remember a snowball fight with me and Tom, in his garden, against Bill and John out in the road. I have no idea who won, but it was fun!

Meeting Place Anyway, by my teens the bottom of mine and Gary’s gardens had become a regular meeting place, with the boys one side and the girls the other, and as the evening progressed and everyone else went home…I used to disappear down the alley with Tom (where Dad used to have to go looking for me to fetch me home…!) Happy memories.

At the top on my road lived a family. When the family moved out, an op-art poster (something like this) was clearly visible in the back bedroom, and TomOp-art said he liked it. Thinking about it now, I am really surprised at my audacity. A new family moved in, so I went and knocked on the door, telling them that I’d just moved out and left my favourite poster behind…and can I have it back, please. Up in the bedroom, I went to the poster only to find it had been pasted to the door…shock!! Horror!! Relax…it came off easily. I don’t think Tom was expecting me to actually go and pilfer it for him…LOL!

Another memory was of me and Jan being home alone. We were in the back room when we noticed a small child standing in the doorway of the garage. “Who’s that?!” we asked as we both raced out of the back door and down to the garage…to find absolutely no one at all! We searched in the garage, the garden, our neighbour’s gardens, but there was nowhere for a small child to go in the couple of seconds it took us to get out of the door! Very strange! That was not the only strange/eerie/weird thing that happened at that house, either.

Aye…I remember when I were a lass…October 1974

54 Comments leave one →
  1. ROCKET permalink
    November 18, 2009 2:45 pm

    Great memories, Sandi!

  2. Bran permalink
    November 18, 2009 2:58 pm

    I well remember Erith when I was a young merchant seaman and tied up in KG5 docks in North Woolwich, we used to cross the river via the foot tunnel and catch the train there to play in the band at a "Private" club —- often the journey back on the workmans train as the sun was rising and catching the first ferry of the morning was blurred by alcohol and memories of naughty but nice "Erith Maidens" ;0)

  3. Eileen permalink
    November 18, 2009 2:59 pm

    Just to say I will come and have a proper read probably on Friday when I get a chance – just didn\’t want you thinking I was ignoring you xXx

  4. Sandi permalink
    November 18, 2009 3:01 pm

    No doubt it was the thriving Victorian town you remembered, Bran…not the concrete no-go zone it became after the powers-that-be declared that modernization was what was needed (Top right of top picture!)

  5. Sandi permalink
    November 18, 2009 3:02 pm

    Good luck with your trek tomorrow, Eileen…you\’ll need it!!

  6. Sandi permalink
    November 18, 2009 3:03 pm

    Ooh…you could always nick a shopping trolley from the supermarket…!

  7. Cornish permalink
    November 18, 2009 3:30 pm

    I love memory lane.You were a right one weren\’t you Sandi?? You thief you!! Can\’t believe you did that! I used to have a coat like the one with the birdles. It was blue with a white trim. Oh dear, off I go on one.Guess what I did last night? Only went and fell asleep on the bed while I was waiting for the bathroom. Woke up half an hour later and then couldn\’t get back to sleep again. I shall try again tonight. Sleep evades me these days. Wait til I get my hands on it again!Eileen could get a granny trolly to pull. She\’d make an excellent trolly dolly. xx

  8. Maria permalink
    November 18, 2009 3:54 pm

    I love these kinds of blogs, though I never get round to writing many myself as most of my childhood seems to have passed me by. I\’ve heard of Erith, though have never been there..You have some great memories Sandi..what a cheeky girl you were eh? Wonder if the spooky things are still occuring?Thanks everso for sharing xxx

  9. Curiosity permalink
    November 18, 2009 5:05 pm

    Ahem! Sandi, I was there….now don\’t you go letting go of all the cats out of the bag about what really went on in those garden sheds. And don\’t forget that as far as my parents think it was you I was visiting and not the lad next door………..and I will keep quiet about the time you turned up at mine all dishevelled after going to a concert! ho ho ho those were the days aye!!

  10. Bran permalink
    November 18, 2009 5:12 pm

    Wonder how she got dishevelled at that concert, wonder if she was one of the girls who used to lean on the apron of the stage and throw notes up to the band!!!!!!

  11. Maria permalink
    November 18, 2009 5:24 pm

    Hmm I wonder too..better to throw notes than knickers though eh?

  12. Sandi permalink
    November 18, 2009 7:58 pm

    Ahem…now that is a \’memory\’ I cannot recall…turning up at your house all dishevelled…? No…don\’t recall…at all!Ah, yes…Gary\’s garden shed…Lorraine and Wendy went home…John and Mark went home…Anne disappeared into that shed with Gary…and I disappeared down the alley with Tom…those were definitely the days…!! ;-D

  13. Curiosity permalink
    November 18, 2009 10:41 pm

    You told your mum you were at mine, but you went to a Slade -or suchlike-gig and your tights got torn and laddered and you were in a right old pickle.By the way….what went on in the alley/shed stays in the alley/shed and as for the i-ti boys and their scooters, well thats another story!!!!!

  14. Sandi permalink
    November 19, 2009 12:03 am

    Ah, yes…John, Silvio and Greg…last time I was visiting (late 70s) I saw John and he had turned from the \’ugly duckling\’ into…well…phwoar…!Parents knew I was going to the Slade gig…and I wore trousers for that. Lord knows what that was about, then…just don\’t remember that one.

  15. Natalia permalink
    November 19, 2009 9:43 am

    Lovely Blog Sandi, Brings back memeories of the simplicity of childhood. Interesting the scenario about the "Phantom" Child and how other children will often see what is apparent and adults do not. Thanks for sharing. xx

  16. Sandi permalink
    November 19, 2009 10:34 am

    Early one morning, Dad got up for work, and as he was getting ready he heard a child\’s voice saying "Look behind you…" in a playful manner. He thought it was one of us, but when he checked on us we were tucked up in bed asleep.

  17. Natalia permalink
    November 19, 2009 11:34 am

    As they say Sandi, the plot thickens! ;o) xx

  18. Sandi permalink
    November 19, 2009 11:46 am

    Or as Robert says…the thick plottens…! 😉

  19. Deb's permalink
    November 19, 2009 12:10 pm

    the spooky thing is that town centre looks like the one I grew up in, up north, even down to the 2 tower blocks, although i doubt our american friends would see them as any other than tall houses considering their skyscrapers. lovely piece, tis good to time travel every now and again. and the piccy with the pigeons, My step daughter would freak out just looking at that one she is terrified of birds..lolhugsxXx

  20. Sandi permalink
    November 19, 2009 12:58 pm

    Bloody vermin…! I know better, now…and councils do, too…feeding pigeons is no longer acceptable because of the damage and diseases that they carry and spread…ewwwww!!Is it the building on the right (Wheatley Hotel) that reminds you? As A child, I was fascinated by this building…it wasn\’t normal, it was different…because it had glazed tiles on the outside! That was strange to me, then.

  21. Deb's permalink
    November 19, 2009 1:38 pm

    tis more the layout of your town centre.. and the shape of the buildings in the shopping center, and the picture of the town hall, our local town hall has 2 tower blocks in the back ground too. and our riverside was that of the Tyne.x

  22. Sandi permalink
    November 19, 2009 2:06 pm

    I do believe that the concrete monstrosity that tore the heart out of a thriving town…in the name of progress…has been demolished now, and buildings more in keeping with its history have been built in their place. Pier Road and the High Street were full of attractive shops with flats and maisonettes above…people used to live in the town centre in those days, so there were always people coming and going. What an expensive mistake!!

  23. Sandi permalink
    November 19, 2009 2:13 pm

    A thought has just hit me (ow!)…thinking about the Wheatley Hotel and it\’s external glazed tiles, another thing I remember was the smell…a real old wooden keg ale smell…of hops and barley…something you don\’t get anymore with these modern kegs. Shame!

  24. Sandi permalink
    November 20, 2009 1:48 pm

    I guess I\’ll never be as skinny as I was in that picture, again, and it makes me laugh that I hated the way I looked because I thought I was fat!! Stupid child! I still have a pair of red trousers from the early to mid 70s…and they\’re tiny!! Also a skirt from the 80s…it is tiny!! Not mine…surely?!!! The Wrangler jeans that I last wore two years ago, prior to my thyroid problem, were tried on yesterday…boy did I struggle to get them past my backside! I\’ve got some pounds and inches to lose before I can get into them again…but my goal is to do so for next summer! (No crash-dieting here!!!)

  25. Cornish permalink
    November 20, 2009 2:01 pm

    I think you\’re lovely just the way you are Sandi. What\’s the point in trying to get into old clothes again when it\’s more fun to go out and buy new ones? Yeah, still trying to get back into old clothes too *groan*. Easier said than done isn\’t it? Funny though; all the old shoes still fit. Don\’t want to wear them! xx

  26. Sandi permalink
    November 20, 2009 2:12 pm

    I hate clothes shopping! Nothing, these days, is designed for normally-shaped women! Trousers just seem to be designed for barrels that have the same waist measurements as they do hips…! What\’s that about?! Besides, I can\’t afford any new clothes, and what I do have is wearing out…I think I\’ll just hibernate until I win the lottery!!

  27. Eileen permalink
    November 20, 2009 2:20 pm

    Well I think you look lovely as you are – it\’s not normal to stay skinny as we grow older! As for old clothing.. if I still had any clothes from when I was a teenager they\’d be too big now.I\’d run a mile with all those pigeons! Thanks for sharing your memories… reminds me of the things we got up to – oh to have no responsibilities!

  28. Sandi permalink
    November 20, 2009 2:29 pm

    Well, I certainly don\’t want to wear my teenage clothes…I\’d look ridiculous! And the only reason people get fatter as they get older is because of having children, being less active because of illnesses or general aches and pains, or because they can\’t be bothered any more.Two years ago I was fit and healthy and slim…and I felt fabulous! I want that back…I want to do things without getting out of breath…I just want to look and feel good…and at the moment, I don\’t.

  29. Eileen permalink
    November 20, 2009 2:39 pm

    I don\’t know it seems like the 80\’s are back in fashion! Lol Lol, I was the opposite, 10 years ago I was a good size 16, and had never had a day off work from sickness, then I got ill and went down to a size 8, now I\’m still pretty much an 8 and get knocked down when I catch anything :o(

  30. Sandi permalink
    November 20, 2009 2:44 pm

    Not the nicest way to lose weight…have you tried any special diets that are designed for weight gain? Or are you happy with making other women envious where your weight is concerned? As for your immune system, it sounds like it needs super boosters to get it working properly, again. (((hugs)))

  31. Eileen permalink
    November 20, 2009 3:02 pm

    I don\’t know actually, I\’d love to be healthier but with ME I doubt I will ever be like I was, as for the size I am.. I\’m sure it will creep up at some point. As long as I eat properly I don\’t mind I suppose.And as for you missus.. now you\’re on the right medication etc I\’m sure your weight will settle! (((HUGS)))

  32. Curiosity permalink
    November 20, 2009 4:32 pm

    I would like to go back in time and give myself a whallop round the ol\’earhole and tell myself that I looked fine and had no need for all the hang ups I believed I had at the time. Oh! I could just give myself a blimin\’ good shake!!But I would have no more listened to the voice of experience any more than the young girls do nowadays.

  33. Eileen permalink
    November 20, 2009 4:45 pm

    Me too!

  34. ROCKET permalink
    November 20, 2009 5:08 pm

    It\’s alive! Yes, I have survived the miserable sinus infection. I\’m not sure at this point that I want to but I can actually sit upright without fearing that my head will explode and just in time to toss my two cents worth in. I have recently discovered that Frankie has been shrinking my jeans and tampering with the bathroom scale again. She\’s been doing this every year since my accident and I know she thinks it\’s hilarious each time I discover another waistband that will no longer button or an extra 10 or 15 lbs on the scale. It\’s all her fault. I didn\’t have this problem before I met her. She tries to say that was 23 years ago but when I point out that I wore the same size jeans for 15 years before I met her she just gives me THE LOOK!

  35. Curiosity permalink
    November 20, 2009 6:46 pm

    Poor Frankie has got her work cut out with you RM, but at least she also has the measure of you too!!

  36. Sandi permalink
    November 20, 2009 7:39 pm

    LOL @ you lot!! Now I\’m on the right medication, Eileen, my weight will settle…with a little help from yours truly…! I walked all the way to work today, ran up the footbridge and up the stairs at work…and now I\’m pooped! But I will feel better for it in the long term.I have to agree with you, Anne…hang-ups I had aplenty in those days!! Daft, innit!! But, two years ago I was finally happy with my weight, and how I looked and felt, and I\’d worked at achieving it, too, which is why I feel the way I do now. So, I am starting to work at it again…shimmying in the kitchen, bending, stretching as I\’m doing general stuff, and dancing \’round to me toons…know wha\’ I mean…! (Actually, it\’s more like head-banging and such like, but that\’s just the pedantry that I\’ve caught from himself…!!)And as for you, RM…shame on you! Blaming Frankie for shrinking your clothes and tampering with the scales…!! You must have mischievous faery folk living in your house…had you not thought of that? But I\’m glad you\’re feeling better, sinus infections are horrible and painful, not to mention smelly!! (Well, mine was!!)

  37. Curiosity permalink
    November 20, 2009 8:05 pm

    My 2 yr old grand daughter Evie has an infection in her little nose, good grief does it smell bad, it is rank!!! She is oblivious to it, thank goodness it is fading as the banana flavour medicine is starting to work.

  38. ROCKET permalink
    November 20, 2009 8:06 pm

    All I can smell is blood and the doc says that indicates the infection is clearing. As for the faery folk…..if they\’s any o\’ them critters runnin\’ round loose in this house Sam ain\’t getting leftover biscuits and bacon grease for breakfast tomorrow cause he ain\’t doin\’ his job!As for shimmying, dancing, and all of those contortions if I tried that Frankie would be calling the guys with the butterfly nets to come haul my looney butt off to the basket weaving academy…..and telling them to bring the extra large nets! I finally decided to just be happy that I\’m above the dirt and still breathing. I was very thin as a young hippy and self conscious as all get out but now I feel that I\’m in good shape for a beat up old geezer. Round is a shape, isn\’t it?

  39. Sandi permalink
    November 21, 2009 12:05 am

    Blood? Ewww…that must have been some infection! And yes, Chip, round is a shape…so I guess you can honestly tell everyone that you are in shape! When I had an infection, it hurt like blazes and felt like my cheekbone was crumbling, and the gunk absolutely stank…and being as sinuses are to do with the nasal bits, I couldn\’t get away from the pong…oh, it was horrible…!!!! I could have done with some yummy banana flavoured medicine, Anne. Poor little Evie.

  40. Bran permalink
    November 21, 2009 12:23 am

    Hate to say it Sandie but I had no hangups when I was young, I just knew I was the sexiest thing alive —- but reality is setting in as I get older!

  41. ROCKET permalink
    November 21, 2009 12:24 am

    Banana flavored medicine? Yes please…..a couple of gallons if you can spare it. I had a lot of sinus problems in my 20s, probably due to missile duty. The air inside the underground complex was maintained at 68F and 10% humidity 24/7, year round. Extreme humidity in Arkansas is a given. I would spend 24 hours on duty where the air was so dry I had to use eye drops, then the next couple of days topside where the air was so humid the starch in my uniform rarely lasted past noon and everyone\’s boots would be stained white from perspiration for 7 or 8 months a year. We spray painted our boots with gloss black paint just before inspections and waddled into formation flat footed so the paint wouldn\’t crack and flake off before the inspecting officer was finished looking us over. I had surgery on my sinuses when I was 28 and this is the first problem I\’ve have in at least 25 years…also the worst I have ever experienced.

  42. Sandi permalink
    November 21, 2009 10:06 am

    Bless you, Bran…you just need a new pair of those specs with the pretty coloured lenses, that\’s all…I do, too!Chip, I remember Dad telling me about some of the cheats that they used to do when he was in the army, when an inspection was due. I can\’t remember any off hand, but I remember some years ago when some big-wig was visiting his workplace, and everyone was instructed to wear a shirt and tie under their overalls…in the swealtering heat of summer….after said big-wig had left, his colleagues were surprised when he undid the top couple of buttons and just pulled off…the collar and front of a shirt. The tie was a clip-on.

  43. Curiosity permalink
    November 21, 2009 12:14 pm should have worn a kilt, there is a lot to be said for a bit of a draught!Sandi…even rose colour glasses fade with age!Bran…you must have lots of twin brothers, every bloke on the planet has the same claims to being better looking every day!

  44. Sandi permalink
    November 21, 2009 12:58 pm

    That\’s why I suggested to Bran to get a new pair.Chip in a kilt…? Don\’t forget the trampoline…!!!

  45. ROCKET permalink
    November 21, 2009 5:58 pm

    Who told you I had a trampoline?

  46. Sandi permalink
    November 21, 2009 7:22 pm

    Er…I think you mentioned it, the last time kilts were talked about…!

  47. ROCKET permalink
    November 21, 2009 10:42 pm

    That\’s right. Simon was looking for a way to make some money and I offered the use of my trampoline but he had to provide his own miniskirt……I mean kilt.

  48. Sandi permalink
    November 21, 2009 11:29 pm

    Charge the ladies to come and see the peep-show…hohoho…!

  49. Sandi permalink
    November 21, 2009 11:30 pm

    Charge extra if they want to take photos, and if it\’s a video camera…he could make a bomb!

  50. Sandi permalink
    November 21, 2009 11:33 pm

    He\’d have to get good at doing somersaults, and be really neat…no ungainly waggling of arms and legs…elegance of movement at all times…!

  51. ROCKET permalink
    November 22, 2009 1:24 am

    That\’s the whole idea; Simon the Bouncing Bus Driver.

  52. Sandi permalink
    November 23, 2009 1:23 pm

    Oh, dear…Simon on a space hopper has just popped into my head! And Europe\’s Final Countdown, which Robert sang "It\’s the vinyl bounce round…" to…! (Sometimes I wish I could remover the \’imagination chip\’ from my head…!)

  53. Lisa permalink
    April 17, 2016 9:32 am

    Hi. Was the house in the pictures in Horsa Road?

  54. July 30, 2018 9:43 pm

    Yes, Lisa, it was…well, still is, I just don’t live there any more.

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