Friday, 10 October 2014

Hector’s house…

Looking back it seems that I spent my childhood worrying about things in a time when there was far less to worry about than for hundreds of years previously or since. No wars, no plagues, no workhouse; just times tables, not being good at football, other boys, the vague threat of nuclear holocaust, and home.

I wasn’t alone. There was a lot of worrying in my house. It seems in retrospect that there was a grey miasma hanging over us, maybe that’s what caused the constant arguments. It couldn’t have been the booze because neither of my parents drank. The pressures must have been bad though. I grew up believing that all parents took prescribed Librium and Valium, and it wasn’t until I discovered Lou Reed and learnt what these drugs were for that I realised that there must be some parents that didn’t.

To help me through whatever it was I was trying to get through I didn’t take calming tablets. Instead I took comfort from television. It was always on and back then there was Children’s Hour at five o’clock sharpish which I never, ever missed.

It’s Friday. It’s Five o’clock. So it must be Crackerjack!

My Children’s Hour habit stuck with me for years - way into my twenties. It was almost as though I was reluctant to let go of this peaceful part of my childhood and who knows, perhaps I was. I think that in some ways the boy in me didn’t want to go give up in a Peter Pan kind of way, although God knows what it was I trying to hang on to.

Along with my not-so-inner-child, that undefined worry stuck with me for years as well. Ill-formed, nagging, constantly at the back of my mind, through university into work and on into an unexpected married life. Television remained with me too, and I continued to watch children’s TV, pretending to watch it for the three young girl children that surrounded me, but really watching it for myself and comfort.

My anxiety was at its height in the autumn; for some reason the dark damp evenings making me worry even more. Was I trapped? Did anyone really care? Where was I going? Was I wasting my life? What should I do?

It was only when the evening came with pre-news Magic Roundabout, or Crystal Tipps & Allister, Ivor the Engine, Nogin the Nog, and my favourite The Herbs, that I could lose myself in childish absorption, my worries dumbed-down by the silliness of the adventures of Sir Basil, Lady Rosemary, Constable Knapweed, Bayleaf the Gardener, Mr and Mrs Onion, The Chives (the Onions' children) and that clumsy Tarragon the Dragon. 

We’d sit there, the four of us, in the dim light of the flickering television as Hector the Dog, Madame Zsazsa the Cat, and Kiki the Frog acted out tales that had no real story, not having to think about anything but the glove puppets in their beautiful house and garden. It was all very comforting for ten minutes or so and then the six o’clock news would come on and my worry would start up once more.

It’s years ago, but still I have no real idea what I was worrying about, why I worried, where I was trying to run to, or why I wanted to run away but never did.

I’m older now, and most of the worries that seemed so sharp when I was a child and a young man have long since disappeared. Things aren’t so pressing, winning not so important – maybe I have nothing left to prove. But sometimes when the autumn evenings come I feel a twinge of that old underlying worry and wish Dougal, or Noggin, even Roobard and Custard were still around to distract me into safety.

Yes, sometimes I’m still a silly old Hector.

30 comments:

  1. Richard Shore on FB
    Bagpuss

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cloe Fyne on FB
    Watch them!!!! Wonder of the web!

    Andrew Height
    I do sometimes. It's not the same though

    Cloe Fyne
    I recently watched button moon. Was bitterly disappointed to realise that the rocket was a baked bean can and you can see all the puppeteers behind

    Cloe Fyne
    Go to the museum of to and film in Bradford. It's free. Can watch loads of old stuff!

    Andrew Height
    That's the problem with growing up. All illusions slowly taken away.

    Cloe Fyne
    Yup nice blog though x

    Andrew Height T
    hanks. I'll wait for the police to arrive

    ReplyDelete
  3. Linda Kemp on FB
    time for bed

    Linda Kemp
    boing!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sharon Taylor on FB
    Andrew Height, all of the above I love, apart from Button Moon, I am too old! However I did used to leave work early enough to watch Edd the Duck and not forgetting Dangermouse (soon to return to the screen I hear). It is a lovely thing to go back in to, I gave my treasured DVD of Tales of the Riverbank and Michael Bentines Potty Time to my niece and nephew in law only a couple of years ago! I am pleased to say they actually liked them, so there must be some magic in these programmes that will live forever, don't ever let the magic go ...........
    .

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  5. Lindsey Messenger on FB
    Andy Pandy....Bill & Ben (little weeeed).....Woodentops

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrew Height
      Potty Time - how I loved that and Wurzel Gummidge which I remember from autumn Sunday afternoons. Only 4 channels then and video recorders had just been invented.

      Andrew Height
      Tales of the Riverbank

      Andew Height I was never keen on Andy Pandy. But Bill and Ben - well I lived that little fairy thing that was dressed in autumn leaves.


      Delete
  6. Andrew Height on FB
    Twizzle and Torchy too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Lindsey Messenger on FB
    Oh I loved Twzzle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrew Height
      He lived in a tomato I think.

      Delete
  8. Sharon Taylor on FB
    Twizzle and Torchy, don't remember them? But straying across the ocean(?) Lamb Chop!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Vicky Sutcliffe on FB
    Clangers@

    ReplyDelete
  10. Linda Kemp on FB
    no, Twizzle made me feel scared, don't know why. Blue Peter, How!, Crackerjack

    ReplyDelete
  11. Sharon Taylor on FB
    Clangers goes without saying :O)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sharon Taylor
      oh yes and how did I forget how. Magpie? ( just because of the good looking curly haired guy)

      Delete
  12. Carmel Payne on FB
    Enjoyed reading this. No mention of the Clangers. Their strange noises would send me into a hypnotic type state

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you ever come out of it Carmel?

      Delete
  13. Vicky Brickhill on FB
    Mary, Mungo and Midge. Potty Time, Issy No Ho and Fingerbobs.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Andrew Height
    We stray back into the sixties with some of these, but so what? life would have been unbearable without Pinky and Perky and dare I say Muffin the Mule? Then of course there's Walter Hottle Bottle, The Wombles, and... well, should I go on? Thanks everyone

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrew Height Nice collection Nick.
      I remember Toppo Gigio.

      Delete
  16. Nick Jennings was thinking...
    Nick Jennings's photo.
    8 hours ago · Like

    Nick Jennings and then..
    Nick Jennings's photo.
    8 hours ago · Like

    Nick Jennings but then... but shades of your last post came to mind so changed to...
    Nick Jennings's photo.
    8 hours ago · Like

    Nick Jennings a favourite...
    Nick Jennings's photo.
    8 hours ago · Like

    Nick Jennings but then, as if by magic, the shopkeeper appeared and...
    8 hours ago · Like

    Nick Jennings and, i wondered if it's just me that remembers Toppo Gigio!!???
    Nick Jennings's photo.
    8 hours ago · Like · 1

    Andrew Height Nice collection Nick. I remember Toppo Gig

    ReplyDelete
  17. Emma Cholmondelay on FB

    Yes really cosy times I also remember the old black and white films we'd watch on a Saturday afternoons before Playaway with Brian Cant and Family Fortunes on a Sunday night. Childhood is great though. It's a time absent of worry or troubles. I'm glad I never knew you wanted to run away from us all though. Even though it pretty much ended up that way.

    I want to remember my childhood without those blemishes. I want memories of Club Tropicana, Thompson Twins, Boy George, Height Family Christmas cards, spray glue, Christmas hat competitions, pink and grey bathrooms (complete with step up to the bath), bunk beds (with both on top!), walk in wardrobes, bonfire parties, paddling pools, hose pipe water fights, Chinese gardens, running through the back gully frightened to death, Chinese takeaways, Mary and Paul, Crackerjack, Laurel and Hardy, Harold Lloyd, sledging, Poppy, Persha, Beano and Kiki, roller skates, foldaway bikes, hopscotch...........you and I playing downfall - me winning of course!!! Very cosy, happy times -

    ReplyDelete
  18. Zoe Prax on FB
    Pink Panther (the cartoons, not the Peter Sellars films). Oh and Sesame Street must be my earliest TV memory. Still love these and have the box sets (for the kids, honestly!) Great blog

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ricardo Listeretti Has to be this Andrew
    Ricardo Listeretti's photo of The Clangers.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Andrew Height
    Another favourite Rick.

    ReplyDelete
  21. David Bell on FB
    Four Feather Falls was brilliant - and it was real.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Andrew Height
      I don't remember that at all. I do however remember Rubovia

      Delete
    2. David Bell
      That's because you're a young whippersnapper: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqLyY4zQOjk

      Four Feather Falls: Episode 1 - How It Began - Part 1
      From Gerry Anderson's Supermarionation Western...
      YOUTUBE.COM

      Delete