Tuesday, 1 May 2012

My Brother David, the Dancer and a Big Mouth!

1946 and my first two wheeler.  Mum and Dad had gone to Switzerland on holiday and brought me back this bike with training wheels. It looks as if the latter did not last long, as there is no sign of them in this photo!

My Mum in 1946 at the St Bernard Pass, during which time they bought my bike

David, my half-brother, was seven years older than me, and perhaps because of the age difference, we got on very well together. I never remember a bad word between us and he was always there for me when I needed him.  He was the greatest brother any girl would ever want to have and I have wonderful memories of times together when I was small.

A story that stands out clearly in my mind is from a day when Mum and I had returned home from Fiveways garage one chilly winter day, to find the house covered in damp and soggy towels.  David luckily had been at home and had noticed Tony and Bridget's litter of six St Bernard pups playing down the garden.  They had discovered what fun it was to try sliding over the fish pool, only to find the ice was not strong enough to hold all of them!  David was chilled to the bone, but he had managed to wade in and recover all six of them and get them up to the house.  He wrapped each cold and wriggling puppy up in a towel and lit the fire.  The next day they were none the worse for their experience and a few weeks later, all left to go to their new homes.

Bridget, the mother of the pups. Photo taken with me in 1948.

The  two photos of this litter with  Mum and myself were taken in 1951; quite possibly these are the pups that tried swimming!
When I was three, I started tap dancing lessons. I have memories one Christmas of being on stage at the dancing school and being in a Christmas cracker.  When the cracker was pulled, I jumped out and danced a solo.  Apart from being one of the three witches in Macbeth during my time at senior school with the lines “Double, double, toil and trouble, Fire burn and cauldron bubble”, that was as far as my stage career ever went.  
Now you have to agree I look quite cute:-)
I am not quite sure  how old I was at the time, but another story that I was never allowed to forget, even long after I was  married, was the day I got on the a bus with my mother and I looked up and said in a very clear voice “Oh look Mummy, hasn’t that lady got a funny face”!!  I recall that my mum, with a very red face, told me to be quiet and sat with me as far away as possible, but a lady behind her tapped her on the shoulder and said “Really, the child is quite correct my dear”.   My poor Mum must have been so embarrassed, but as they say ‘out of the mouth of babes’.  She did admit to me in later years that the woman looked very like a Pekingese.  

I suspect my mother had a tough time with me and my big mouth, as  I was reminded a number of times over the years of the day that relations arrived with their two small children.  The children had been brought up being allowed to do what they liked and were never told off.  On this particular day, they decided upon arrival that it would be great fun to jump up and down on the settee in our lounge.  The only person there who was willing to tell them off was myself, and I told them in no uncertain terms, that feet were not allowed on the furniture!  

 The relations gathered up their children and left in a big huff; it was many years before they spoke to my parents again.  My mother did receive a phone call from another member of the family saying that her sister had phoned and told her the story of the children.  I gather everyone was delighted that the children had been put in their place for once.  I may have caused a family upheaval but it seems that I did in fact say the right thing! I have to admit here that I never met up with the children again, until about 6 years ago.  Nothing was ever mentioned and hopefully they have not remembered the occasion!

David and I used to have a lot of fun together and on one occasion my Mum came looking for us, as we appeared to be particularly quiet.  To this day, I have never discovered how we kept our playful sounds down, but when Mum discovered us in the lounge, she walked into a room full of floating white feathers!  We had discovered the fun of having a pillow fight with feathered pillows; my only comment was “Look Mum, it is snowing”.  We were very unpopular on this occasion and in lots of trouble, but David pushed me behind his back and took the blame for it all.

I have very few photos of a young David; the photos of myself in the blog are not precisely in date order, so please forgive for that!


  1. GaynorB says - today's piece on your 'life' blog was absolutely charming; such an enjoyable read.

    Thanks Gaynor. Diane

  2. Beautiful pictures. Yes, you look really cute in those pictures.

    It's been long since I have visited any blogs that I follow and then I saw your new blog. Really interesting.

    Thanks for visiting me and the comments. I hope the life is really fun and you guys are together in France.

  3. Sailor thanks so much for the visit and the comment, I appreciate people taking the time out to do so. I hope that all is well with you. Diane

  4. You certainly were an adorable child, and I can see the resemblance in your face even today. You certainly don't look your age!

  5. Marjie that comment deserves a payment:-) Thanks so very much, I really appreciate it. Diane

  6. These are precious memories, indeed. You look so cute in your tap-dancing costume. Did you keep up with your dancing?

  7. Rosaria, no dancing did not last for long, horses took over my life as you will see :-) Diane

  8. Hi Diane, thank you for sharing your story with us.
    Wow.. you sure look cute and sweet, a very pretty little girl. I love it.
    All the pictures look so lovely.

    Have a nice weekend. Regards.

  9. Thanks Amelia for the visit and the comment, I hope that my life is enough to keep everyone interested in later years!! Keep well Diane

  10. Dear Diane,
    Stumbled into your blog world via a comment you left in some Indian food blog. Anyways - this is quite a world. Charmed to be here. Discovered your online book about the travel from England to Zimbabwe. Will savor it leisurely.

  11. Narayanaswamy S. thank you so much for your visit and your very kind comments I appreciate them very much. David was always my hero too :) Keep well Diane

  12. Diane I have been enjoying catching up on your blog posts and what a treat they have been. Such wonderful memories and stories matched with such fantastic photos. Truly captivating. x

  13. Diane what nice have a brother like David:))
    and you really look so cute in the pics!!

  14. Froggy so glad that you have enjoyed this blog to date. Will catch up soon having just arrived back in France. Keep well Diane

  15. Gloria thanks for the kind comments. David was the best brother anyone could ever have. Diane

  16. How wonderful that David saved the puppies, I can see why he was your idol.

    You are so adorable in the photos, and yes Diane we can still see the resemblance to your photos now.

    I have already said it, but will say it again one more time, I am really enjoying reading Your Story and so happy that you have created this blog to tell it.

  17. Dolly, how I wish the resemblance looked a little younger :))

    I hope that 'my story' keeps up your enjoyment. Sorting out old photos is more difficult than I thought!!

  18. Your mother's shot with the mountains in the background is absolutely beautiful! Lovely post, Diane.

  19. Thanks JM, it is one of my treasured possessions. Diane

  20. chubskulit, thanks, pity I did not stay so cute LOL. Diane


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