Thursday, 30 August 2012

A Christmas Outing

Reading the lovely Z's blogs of the last couple of days reminded me of a Christmas time event when I was a youngster.  It must have been between 1962 and 1967 because I know we were living in Surrey at the time.  If you move about enough you can place events with quite a degree of accuracy.

To backtrack a little, my father used to work for EMI (after he'd finished National Service) as some kind of engineer.  This is not EMI Records, but EMI Guided Missile Systems.  I know he was in REME for his National Service and he had been doing (I think) electrical engineering at Brighton College before he was called up. 

When I was young we moved around a lot.  I was born in Surrey, moved to somewhere near Aberystwyth when I was about 3, moved to Lincolnshire when I was 5 - my birthday's in August -  (I didn't start school until after I was 5 because they only spoke Welsh where we were living before and my parents didn't think I could cope starting school in a language I didn't speak - there, see how I've said that without being derogatory at all).

Then we moved back to Surrey and actually bought a house (up until then we'd been renting - well except for when I was born when they lived in a caravan which, thinking about it, they were probably renting as well - this is the early '50s, there weren't that many houses available), but instantly moved to Saltash in Cornwall for a year.

And then we moved to Surrey *sort of permanently*.  Although there was a period when my dad was working at John o'Groats but he went up there on his own for a week or two at a time. Whilst he was away he used to get given a free Crawfords "Family Assortment" box of biscuits every week, presumably to eat in his hotel room, which he always brought home for us.  Gosh, that was luxury - a "Family Assortment"!

I've no idea what my dad actually did for a job because he'd signed the Official Secrets Act but I know it was something to do with Guided Missiles, and that it probably had something to do with analogue computers (because when he left EMI he went to work with English Electric - which later became ICL - and then he was a computer systems analyst - this is still in 1967 so probably still at least half a room's worth per computer!).

Anyhow, I have an abiding memory of going on a kids work's outing when we lived in Surrey and Dad was working in Feltham and I must have been probably about 10, 11, or 12.  We all (the kids) got on a coach and went to an ice rink (possibly at Wembley, I don't know) and saw "Peter Pan On Ice".  This was my first theatrical outing, it was magical and I was hooked.  I remember very little about it, but I knew it was much more thrilling than anything I'd ever seen before.  And then we kids all went off to some hall somewhere and there was a sort of horseshoe of tables with food on for us.  I think my sister Susie went as well, as she would have been about 8 but she might not remember it.

Anyway that was the work's kids' Christmas outing.  And I still have an abiding thought that "works" have a kids' Christmas outing, but I can't actually think of any others.  Have I made this tradition up?


  1. That sounds a pretty good Christmas present from 'the works'. I've been remembering far more than I thought I knew, I make a point of not living in the past normally!

  2. I don't remember Peter Pan but I do remember seeing Father Christmas and all the food. I thnk there is a picture somewhere of us all sitting down and eating. I seem to remember going more than once. Dad used to fire misiles out into Cardigan Bay, get someone to row out and retrieve them and see if anything had gone wrong with them. That's why we kept living by the sea, so he could fire misiles out into the sea.

  3. What a great job that sounds!

    I remember "works do's" but I think they all finished when HR was invented.