I hope that you’ve made the most of the daylight this afternoon – we lose an hour of it as from tomorrow, and we enter the tunnel that is the long dark late autumn and winter. They can be really beautiful seasons, but how I wish that we didn’t have to change the clocks, so that it will soon be dark at 4pm and then at 3.30pm for such a long time! I don’t think that they change back again until some time in March 2008 – 5 months away.
We had one of our interesting days today, as we went to a nearby postcard fair. Well, we did after visiting the post office, where last week R asked if they would change some bags of coins for us that we collected in our RAF pig for Wings Appeal week. R writes out the cheque for the donation and then takes the cash to the bank, but last week he asked on the offchance over the counter and they said Yes. So we took them there today – and they said No. So we brought them home again and he’ll take them to the bank during the week. We thought that they might like to have the change, but apparently not.
Anyway, we found several lighthouse postcards that we didn’t have already in the collection. That was unusual because we usually only find one or two if we’re lucky, and this time there were about half a dozen. We didn’t buy them all though because quite a lot were £6 or over, which is rather on the steep side. I’d have LOVED to have bought some of lightships – we have the Brake one, anchored over the Goodwin Sands, and the Cork one, but they’re our only two. However one of those that we saw today was £10 and all the others were £12. We found some more lighthouse ones while rummaging through some 20p boxes a bit later on – but sadly no lightships!
It might sound like a boring anoraky sort of pastime, and I’ll agree to the anoraky because I am one! But boring, never. And anyone researching social history could do a lot worse than look at the messages on a few postcards. To me sometimes they are more interesting than the picture on the front – how about this black and white one that we bought today of the lighthouse on the Promenade at Littlehampton. It is sent to Mrs. Hayes at Windsor, dated 15th September 1929: “Dear Alice, On Sunday, will you bring a teapot fairly large, as it is such a big thing to carry from here. There will be eight of us in all. Love from Mary x”
Harwich Lighthouse to Mr. A. Kemp, Peckham Rye, 7th August 1907 : “Dear A, Very please with P.C. sorry to hear about your ankle hoping it is better the weather has been wicked here but the last day or so as been lovely kind regards from Nell. Write S. Annie” Ramsgate Lighthouse to Miss Harris in Croydon, posted 15th May 1908: “Ever so many thanks for P.C & kind invite. “Caruso” is in Paris I see – at present I cannot get away. M.B. is very weak so must bide at home – have an invite for Lucerne in June but cannot get away You write theres a dear soon, Ella“
And 1st July 1910 from to Mr. and Mrs. Turk from Mum and Dad: “Well my dears how are we now. We arrived here 9.30 last night nearly done for, not any the worse I hope, as no signs of cold appears at present. Love to all & kisses from all here. The “Oleanth” is said to have past here at 10 of last night.” Sometimes postcards are written by people sitting in the shadow of the lighthouse, or who have just climbed it or are just about to, but that’s probably enough for you for the moment but I hope that it gives you a flavour of how interesting some of these insights into lives long gone can be. Well, interesting to us, anyway!
R also found some stamps and a book on the history of The Royal Institution, so that will keep him quiet for a while.