I have a book that is very old. It came into my possession when my parents died and left everything to me. I haven’t read it yet! Why? Because the print is so small … it was in those days. Several times I have taken it off the shelf fully intending to give it a go, but never got beyond the first few flimsy pages.
The book’s title is ‘London Belongs to Me’ and was written in 1945 by Norman Collins who at that time had written seven books. Today I decided to give it another go. If I only read one flimsy page at a time I might eventually get through it.
I have attempted this before and given up so I hope that now I have more time on my hands I can at least read one page per day. Only one, I hear you say! The real reason is that the eyes give up by the end of one page.
So far I have gleaned that the writing is good and includes a touch of humour.
It was Christmas. Time four-thirty on Friday 23rd December 1938. Scene set in an office where the staff members prepared to celebrate, or as the author described ‘Bethlehem now broods encouragingly over London’.
“Mr Battlebury had dropped into Scott’s for a dozen six-and-sixpenny oysters and had ordered a bottle of Hock to go with them – which is why he arrived back in Creek Lane, E.C.2., carrying his gaily tied-up parcels, a lot later and a good deal more genial than he generally arrived.’
Mr Battlebury’s staff had not gone so far afield. The typists had rushed off to the neighbouring Lyonses and Express Dairies and Kardomahs (two flight up and mind the old oak beam), and had stuffed themselves with slices of rich dark pudding or hot flaky mince pies. The male staff, of course, had made for the pubs.”
Kardomah Cafés were a chain of coffee shops in England, Wales, and a few in Paris, popular from the early 1900s until the 1960s, but now almost defunct. I don’t know about you but I remember Lyons and Kardomah and the coffee drunk in both. It was at a time when coffee was banned in my family, so drinking it on the sly was like an adventure. There was a theory that coffee was bad for growing children. Hmmm! I wish my parents could see the present generation!
Back to the subject of this post……. okay it might not interest anybody else but to me it was like taking a step back in time
Wish me luck in what I consider to be a mammoth task. If I read a page a day it will all be over in 639 days!
Go on, I dare you, work that out!