Sunday, 7 August 2011

August Stories

Did I ever tell you that I once sat down for a chat with Mickey Mouse?
"That's nothing special!" I hear you cry, after all, so many children have now seen Mickey and friends in Florida, California, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
But I'm talking about way back in 1963 ... in Bognor Regis!  Mickey & I had a fine old time as you can see:

Hotham Park - Bognor Regis - Mickey Mouse

Despite the fact that the slide is dated July 1963, I suspect that both Mickey & I had very cold knees and the picture was more likely taken much earlier in the year.

Later I popped over to Miss Muffet's tuffet for a while, but she wasn't there ... I wonder why?

Hotham Park - Bognor Regis - Miss Muffet's Spider

Finally I went aboard for a short cruise with the Butcher and the Baker.

Hotham Park - Bognor Regis - Men in a Tub

Such were the attractions on offer for children back in the 60s.  No animatronics, no white-knuckle rides (the railway around Hotham Park was fun but it didn't exactly set your pulse racing); just a few fancy chickens, a couple of goats, some guinea pigs and most exotic of all: a llama or two!  I don't actually remember the animals of Pets Corner, but I do remember the excitement of meeting the characters from my bedtime nursery rhymes, including poor Humpty Dumpty, though sadly I do not have any photographic evidence of our encounter.

I visited Bognor Regis a lot as a child as it was there that my paternal grandparents ran a boarding house: plenty of spare rooms for my father, my brother & I when he came home to the UK on leave.  We children were indulged by the paying guests and occasionally given a few pennies (old ones mind) to take to the arcades on the pier.  I'm rather ashamed to recall that I often mentioned the local attractions to the residents in anticipation of their generosity!

I was fascinated by the little balls of butter and tiny pots of marmalade that my grandmother would prepare during the afternoons, ready for the next day's breakfast trays. There were service bells in each room too - my brother & I would delight in ringing them and then dash down to see the panel in the kitchen indicating which room we'd just been in.  It must have driven my grandfather mad and was utterly pointless as we knew perfectly well which bell we'd just rung.  Happy days though!

I've only just scanned these slides, and so there's no layout to share, but I did make a page a while back of  me outside the boarding house with my first proper bike: as you can see, I (or more likely my mother) really liked me dressed in red!

Layout - First Bike in Bognor Regis - Jimjams

These innocently happy memories were brought to you in conjunction with Siân's Storytelling Sundays - pop here for more.

P.S. There's still time to hop around my Blogiversary friends and find the missing number to be in with a chance of a give-away .... I'll be back with the winner on Monday 9th!


Mary B said...

I love the photo of you with Mickey and boy don't you look cold.

CoventryAnn said...

Such fantastic photos, and memories. OHs Mum and Dad ran a B&B in Scarborough in the 70s, not sure if they did the butter and jam pots :)

Sian said...

Jemma, what an evocative story this is! It conjures up your childhood perfectly and at the same time it took me right back to the summer I went to Weston Super Mare and rode on the donkeys. Brilliant!

If you are scanning slides I'm guessing there are more lovely stories to tell. Hurray!

Thanks for this one (and the lovely layout and photos.) I'm glad you had a chance to meet Mickey Mouse

debs14 said...

I think we must be a similar age! This post made me remember similar types of holidays when I will younger. I do hope that you really weren't wearing wellies and winter coat in July though!

Anonymous said...

Simple pastimes indeed! I especially like the part about you and your brother racing up and down stairs to investigate the service bells.

Denise said...

I think we are about the same age as your stoy had me remembering too! Love it x

Becky said...

A lovely photo of you with Mickey! Knowing the English weather it could quite possibly have been July lol! Thanks for sharing a lovely story.

S said...

Oh thanks for sharing your story - I especially loved hearing about the boarding house. And adorable pics!!

JO SOWERBY said...

but where was the candlestick maker? had they lost him somewhere? i never went to bognor until i was about 12 and never saw these guys. we lived in storrington not far away,
gr8 story and you look beautiful in red,
jo xxxx

Maria Ontiveros said...

What wonderful memories - it really brings home the point that family relations can be a really important part of children's growing up. Here in northern California, there's a place called "Fairy Land," which is much like what you describe. The rumor is that Walt Disney used to visit and used it as the inspiration for Fantasyland in Disneyland.

Ginger said...

Those are such cute photos of you! Curious, are you scanning the slides or sending them off for scanning, the quality is so good!
I really enjoyed your story, thanks for sharing it :)

Anonymous said...

Loved your story. You had me remembering before all the animatronics etc of theme parks.

happysnapper said...

my paternal grandparents had a guest houe too. We lived there for a while when i was preschool age, so i know exactly what you mean. I'm ashamed to say i would wear my cutest dress and smile, pretty much with my hand out, well almost, on leaving day, i made a tidy profit too. :)

Ifa said...

Love your recollection. I wonder if you still wear a lot of red ?

Alison said...

Loved your story and the pics!
Alison xx

Melissa said...

What wonderful memories & photos! I remember the little amusement park near us when I was a little girl and it seems so small & unexciting now compared to the big parks, but I enjoyed it & have such fond memories of our times there as a family.

I really like the four wheels layout - perfect red accents to bring out your cute red suit.

Missus Wookie said...

Found my Great Aunt's butter moulds (in new modern rubbery flexible plastic) a year or so ago. Neither of my kids could understand why... they've only seen the individually wrapped bits.

We like those old fashioned attractions - always fun to see :)

You look good in red too!

Winnie said...

Just catching up on all the stories. I loved yours, especially seeing those old slides. What a great early memory of Mickey Mouse! LOL