The weekend just past brought more than its fair share of nostalgia.
On Saturday evening, after a day of marking exams, I went to hear Geoffrey Saba giving a recital of seldom-heard Schubert piano works. As it happens, Geoffrey and I were at school together in Toowoomba in the early 1960s. About the turn of the decade, we both made our way to Britain, and made our lives here. We rediscovered each other’s existence a year and a half ago. I was walking the Capital Ring when I saw, tied to the railings of Clissold Park, a poster advertising a performance he was to give in Sutton House.
The recital on Saturday was in Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel. Though theologically rather different from the church where I went every Sunday, in a crocodile, while I was at school in Toowoomba (Geoffrey missed this, being a dayboy), it had the familiar feel of Victorian gothic.
On Sunday, we spent the first part of the day riding old trains on the Amersham and Watford branches of the Metropolitan line. One of these was 1938 Tube stock, which contained posters and maps of the Northern line from about the time I arrived in Britain. The giveaway was that the Moorgate to Finsbury Park branch of the Northern line (as it was then) was shown terminating at Drayton Park because of construction work on the Victoria line. (I believe that this change was made in the mid-1960s and the Victoria Line opened at the end of the 1960s.)
I rememberer several of the things advertised (such as the Location of Offices Bureau, which encouraged businesses to give their employees a better lifestyle by moving out of London). The prices were striking: an evening at a glamorous theatre-restaurant for £14.50, all in, for example.
After lunch we went to Rickmansworth and rode in the original prototype pre-production Routemaster down to Batchworth Lock, where the Rickmansworth Festival was on. We sat on the grass in the sun in the environment fair area, where Tinlin were playing in the Owlsworld tent. A duo who, by their own admission, write songs which they practise in their bedrooms. Well, I’ve been there and done that, but unlike them I didn’t get up in public to perform the results. Good for them. They mentioned that their next gig is on Watford Hospital Radio next weekend; don’t miss it!