Monday, 31 March 2014

Christmas at Robinsons

Here's a lovely photo that was kindly sent to me by Helga Ford showing her younger daughter at Robinsons in Singapore in the early 1960s. I'm sure we all remember visiting Santa when we were kids. I particularly remember the ones at the Naval Base and the parties and the presents we got. My present was a wonky camera that fell apart when I got home. Seems such a long time ago now.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my friends around the world who have enjoyed my books and blogs about Singapore and Malaya. It's been lovely hearing from you all over the years, all with similar memories to my own of our idyllic times spent in Singapore and Malaya.
I haven't added much to my blog in the last year but hope to write a lot more in 2014.
I've had lots of books to compile for various publishers over the last year so that's kept me very busy. Next year will see three books all about the First World War and one about the 1960s. I hope to write a lot more about Singapore sometime in the future.
Thanks to everyone for their support, it's been lovely to hear from you all. Best wishes for Christmas and for 2014!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Noel Harrison

  1. I was sorry to read about the death of Noel Harrison recently. For many, he will be remembered fondly for his record 'Windmills of the Mind' but for me, he is best remembered for his role as Mark Slate in The Girl From Uncle. When the programme was first shown, I was 5 years old and living in Jalan Wijaya, Johore Bahru, Malaya. We all loved The Man From Uncle which had started two years earlier and loved anything that was connected to the show, so when the spin-off series began, we all made sure we watched it. The show was broadcast for a year and also starred Stefanie Powers as April Dancer. Although the show is almost forgotten nowadays, hearing the theme or seeing clips from the programme instantly transports me back to my boyhood, staying in on a hot day, making sure I didn't miss it. Of course, we all really wanted to be Napoleon Solo or Ilya Kuryakin from The Man From Uncle and perhaps The Girl From Uncle wasn't quite as popular but it will always bring back happy memories for me.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Toys from Singapore and Malaya

It's a long time since I last updated my blog but I hope to add a lot more entries in the future.
I wonder how many toys people still have from their time in Singapore and Malaya in the 1960s? The only ones that I can think of are my Batmobile, Man From Uncle 'Thrushbuster' and Corgi James Bond DB5. I remember being taken to the Naval base cinema to see Goldfinger. I must have been about 4 years old back then. I never ever saw the end of a film because I always fell asleep! All kids had to have James Bond's car from the movie and I didn't know anyone who didn't have one. It was the same with the Batmobile. We all watched the show starring Adam West and Burt Ward and re-enacted the scenes in our garden. Anything featuring Batman was much sought after and everyone had to have a Batmobile. The spy show The Man From Uncle had the same following and everyone had to have their car, the 'Thrushbuster'. I remember being on holiday at Sandycroft in Penang and Alan and me hassled my parents for more pocket money so that we could buy the car from a small stall there. I've still got them all today although a bit knocked about and worse for wear. They were part of my childhood and a memory of our time in Singapore and Malaya and I would never get rid of them.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

My 6th Birthday

I wondered in my last posting why I was so well dressed sat in our garden at Jalan Wijaya with my talking tin robot. Then I came across this photo which was obviously been taken on the same day. There's Alan and me with my cake for my 6th birthday and the reason I'm tidier than usual is because everyone was due to come around for my birthday party. There were many kids on the estate and we all went to each other parties. Many of them I didn't even know. We all looked forward to our birthdays and knew that all the other kids would bring presents. I remember one boy brought me an excellent electronic tin car. He was so excited about it that he unwrapped it himself before giving it to me and then we both drove it around the front room!
It's hard to remember much about the day but I remember that we played pass the parcel and mum had bought many toys to wrap up so that everybody got something. I always liked the cheaper toys and I remember being pleased with a Bugs Bunny watch! We also played games like pass the parcel and pinning the tail on the donkey.
The second photo shows us playing in the garden on the same day. This is one of those photos that got lost over the years but I found that I'd once photographed it onto a slide and just discovered it recently. It's not too clear because of this. In it I can recognise my dad, Debbie Sharpe and Ian Bagwell, who lived nearby, as well as my brother. We had another photo of Ian taken just after this one which I can remember but it's long since disappeared.
I've no doubt I had a great day but probably the thing that stayed in my memory the most was playing with that talking tin robot!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Family photos

I haven't written anything on this blog for quite a while so I thought that I would go through our old family photos taken in Singapore and Malaya during the 1960s and write a bit about each of them.
This photo shows me in our back garden at 103 Jalan Wijaya in Johore in about 1967. I wouldn't be surprised if it's my birthday (I'd have been 6) and I'm sat with my favourite toy - a Cragstan talking tin robot! It said many phrases, my favourite being, 'I am bulletproof too! Ha, ha, ha!' If you search through my blog you can hear m copying him on the reel to reel tape that we sent home to my gran in Seaham Harbour. In the background is the tree I planted myself when I was about 4 years old. It was just an old branch I found by the side of the road and stuck in the ground in the back garden. It didn't take long for it to start growing and I was soon climbing it and trying, unsuccessfully, to build a tree house.
I've got socks and shoes on so something must have been going on. I look very tidy too so perhaps my birthday party was about to happen or was taking place indoors.
I loved that robot but unfortunately he ended up in the bin. I've got another one now though (ebay!).

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Site and Sound

A couple of years ago, Peter Lamb kindly sent me some DVDs of the Singapore show 'Site and Sound' featuring Julian Davison. The shows features many of the old places that we all remember in Singapore.
Recently, the first two series have been put on YouTube and here's the first episode.
The caption on YouTube reads:
'Episode One covers sites of original early 19th century imperial settlement.
These include Fort Canning, City hall, Supreme Court, Empress Place, Coleman Bridge, Old Parliament house, and St Andrews Cathedral. Julian delineates, describes and depicts the British center of power in this area for over 150 years.'
People outside Singapore haven't been able to view the shows before and I'm sure that many people in Britain will enjoy seeing them for the first time.
Further episodes can be found here