It’s a girl thing!
7 December 2018
I’m coming to the end of my big birthday year; 1957 to 2017 have been full of ups and downs – mostly ups, I admit, thank heaven – and full of adventures.
Aged 17 I left my then-small hometown of Redditch in Worcestershire to join the Royal Navy.
I can’t remember exactly why I joined up, other than I quite liked men and I knew there were plenty of those in the R.N., my dad had been a sailor, I liked the uniform, I was bored at college and I liked the seaside. My first draft as a fully trained Radio Operator was to Whitehall; so much for the seaside…I actually cried when I heard the news.
Plymouth, Portsmouth, and Cornwall appealed so much more. In hindsight it couldn’t have been a better draft. Living in Kensington was amazing. Biba, lots of sophisticated night clubs, the Spaghetti House restaurant (where the newsworthy siege took place in 1975) and early morning drinks in Billingsgate Fish market (only after a 12 hour night shift) were all new experiences and I loved London life. I grew up fast…but remained naieve to the point of ending up in the flat of several communist Italians; not great for a serving member of the British forces. I left Kensington in 1976.
Yesterday I returned to my old stomping ground to deliver a meeting – literally five minutes walk from my old home. It was so strange to be back after 41 years. As I walked out of Gloucester Road tube I felt oddly ‘at home’. I only wish I had allowed more time to revisit the grand building on Queensgate Terrace I had lived in for eighteen months. Other haunts such at the G(loucester) Pub, the little Greek restaurant I used to frequent and the (what were) amazing public toilets in Kensington Gardens hold fond memories too.
I don’t wish to live in the past, I’m very much a ’live for today’ type of gal, but I do like to revisit my past. It sort of reaffirms who I am.
Returning to Kensington got me thinking, ’Have I changed much?’
I guess I’ve grown (not physically😩😂), I’m slightly more sensible, I’m more emotional at times too, but I’m still me.
I’m happy with me at 60 – albeit running up and down stairs and escalators in kitten heels isn’t as effortless as it was aged 17 – where I’d typically be wearing wedges and a long dress.
If you wonder why was I running it wasn’t from choice, but because a train had derailed. I had to change my route to Euston and struggling to read the tube map without glasses (vanity), plus having to take extra tubes to get around the problem, meant I had to run or miss my main line train home.
At least I thought it did! You see, I thought my train was at 09.26am, but travelling on the third tube of the morning I actually checked my ticket and laughed out loud. My train was booked for 11.03am.
This little ’episode’ confirmed that I am the same at 60 as I was at 5, 15, 25, 35, and so on. Laid back (but driven), lacksadaisical, a little bit crazy and generally pretty unaware of time!
Have a sparkling Christmas and a wonderful 2018!
Hugs, Leigh xx