Cecil Amor 02/12

Whilst a National Serviceman in the Royal Air Force, I spent about twenty months at Chivenor in North Devon, where the champion ‘Military Wives’ singing group are now based. One  evening activity for us was to go to the “Astra”, as the camp cinema was called. I remember in particular a season of Marilyn Monroe films and especially the film ‘Niagara’, with the star walking away from the camera. It had always been said that Bromide was included in the tea at Initial Training, but it was evident from the catcalls, that the effects had certainly worn off  by then !

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Far from the Maddening Crowd

Most of our towns have a Mayor and Council, although they may not have the powers they once had. We all like to see them in their robes on civic occasions, even if it is the local carnival! We may see the Mayor and Deputy, Town Crier, Mace Bearers, etc. In Bridport the Borough Arms were granted in 1623 and the first mace was made in 1676, the second in 1693 and both bear the initials of the Bailiffs of the time and are carried from time to time.

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He Made Them High and Lowly…

I was a choirboy and bell ringer in our village church, but when our venerable old priest retired he was replaced by a younger man. I found the new Vicar’s sermons boring, as they were rather like some politician’s speeches, full of words and no content, mainly consisting of the repetition of “Paaarh” (Power). When I started work, studying for a qualification was a contractual requirement and I used the three evening classes each week as an excuse to stay at home on Sunday to complete the homework.

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Old Fossil – or the back of a 10 Quid Note

One of my childhood friends had been orphaned and came down from London to be ‘adopted’ by relatives living in rural Wiltshire. As I was also an only child and my parents were regular churchgoers, it was considered that I might be suitable to play with him. He was a year or so older and from more affluent parents, and was able to teach me to roller skate and to build Meccano, (which may be why we both went on to qualify as engineers).

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Moonraker

I am a ‘Moonraker’, born in Wiltshire, but with a Dorset Mother and grew up a couple of miles from the supposed Moonrakers site, a large pond at Devizes. The story is that about 200 years ago, smugglers were there at night with their contraband when they heard that the Excise Officers were hard on their heels. The smugglers threw their barrels of  goods in the pond and held them under the surface with hayrakes.

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