I’m not high up enough in the food chain to have my memoirs published or to have my diaries forged. I do, however, have many a quiet evening on my own. Occasionally I’ll get the glue out and stick a few items in my scrapbook.
Where did I get this habit? Sunray started it all back in 1978, when he was posted to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS). He was constantly cutting and
pasting gluing into his Ministry of Defence A4 hard-backed book:
- Article after article from the Camberley News
- The occasional Northern Echo clipping about his elder brother, who was in the habit of arguing with North Yorkshire Police and ending up the loser in court
- Ah yes… every now and again, local non-news articles that mother would post to him from the Darlington and Stockton Times, eg “TRUCK BREAKS DOWN ON A1 BY LEEMING BAR. NO-ONE INJURED.”
Fast-forward to 1998, and I am visiting Sunray, having been estranged from him for nearly a decade. There among his photo albums is his RMAS scrapbook.
Dad, can I have a look at your scrapbook, please?
Aye, feel free, son. I’ve not had a look at it myself for years.
Flick, flick, flick, flick, flick, flick, flick, flick, flick, flick, flick, flick, flick, flick, flick…
- Sovereign’s Parade 1979
- Sovereign’s Parade 1980
- Sovereign’s Parade, guess what, 1981
- Bellerby Sub-Post Office without 2nd Class Stamps for over Two Weeks in summer of 1981 – local butcher fuming
- Elder brother up before Thirsk Magistrates 1978: £75 fine
- Brother up before Thirsk Magistrates 1979: £60 fine
- Brother up before Northallerton Magistrates 1981: £80 fine
- He must have moved house in 1980, I guess..
- Most recent clipping – brother up before Richmond Magistrates 1991: £800 fine
- Goodness – I’ll put that £800 down to inflation…
I resolve to go start myself a scrapbook the very next day… Ahem… Well, at least, the intent was there.
1 November 2003: I finally get round to buying a suitable scrapbook. Masham post office (which also did have 2nd class stamps). I also buy a small bottle of PVA glue, so beloved in British primary schools (where it normally comes poured out of huge gallon bottles).
Come on, you must have used gallons of this in your school days!
Within two years I had filled my scrapbook with, well, er scrap. I took a leaf out of Sunray’s book. I just had to collect local non-news articles from the local paper, such as the following two horror stories:
Oh, the sleepless nights…
A very unhappy pub landlord, scowling for the camera…
Not only the local news items, but also the souvenirs of travels (address redacted).
Sunray was enjoying himself in Berlin. His return air fare just £40 – bargain!
But if you can’t take the plane, let the train take the strain. £6 there and back: another bargain.
And finally… no newspaper clippings of Sovereign’s Parade, but this headline mocking a Sandhurst graduate, Mr Ian Duncan Smith MP (ex-Guards), one-time “leader” of the Conservative Party, who was about as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike.
Who remembers Comical Ali from Gulf War II?
The people come and go, but thanks to the scrapbook, the memories remain. Oh, the winter (and summer) evenings are going to just absolutely fly by, I’m sure.
Have a scrappy day, won’t you!