Damon Hart-Davis: Memories

Mum's Parents: Dorrien and Joe

[I don't think that I have a photo of Dorrien and Joe.]

Dorrien and Joe lived in Mirfield (West Yorkshire) when we did, but seemed so far away. I think that I may have walked or biked to them just once. I called them Granny and Grandpa.

Their house was in Gregory Springs Mount, I now realise on the other side of the River Calder from us at Uplands Drive (and along "Granny Lane"). Their house backed onto a farmer's field, and unlatching the gate through their high hedge and turning right on the path along the edge of the field, led to a wood.

Their back garden had a greenhouse or two that spelt of tomatoes, and a slightly green and slimy water butt, and a prolific netted damson tree. Dorrien liked her gardening, and their living room (with the big old-fashioned stereo center with turntable and radio, and TV also in a wooden cabinet with doors, and high-backed chairs, looked on through their huge picture window. Dorrien listened rapt to Gardeners' Question Time on the radio every week.

Upstairs was a spare bedroom that I sometimes slept in, and also where Joe made wine. I used to watch the bubbing of the air traps, and smell the slightly sickly fermentation.

Being Yorkshire, Granny made me tea the Yorkshire way that Joe liked it, with so much sugar that the spoon could stand up. And bread with beef dripping, prizing the tasty dark bits. And of course the roast dinner that the dripping came from, with Yorkshire puddings!

Joe was a driving instructor, independent I think, with his dual-control Mini Clubman. He promised to teach me to drive, but age and cancer got to him, and I eventually learnt while at university in Edinburgh.

(I think that Granny once took me to the place that she used to work in Dewsbury, the next big town along, maybe as a typist? My memory is vague.)

Dorrien and Joe had two daughters: my mum Adrienne, and her elder sister Penny. With Penny's son Christopher and me and my brother Jason, that makes three grandchildren.

Dad's Parents: June and Rupert

June and Rupert at home in Marske
June and Rupert at home in the Old Rectory, Marske-in-Swaledale, North Yorkshire. (Original at the Gallery.)

Adam sent me the following photos and notes ():

June was not my mother. Dad and Comfort (Mum) separated and divorced around 1960. Dad went off to Yorkshire and married Ruth (Simon), who then died, and he married June (Clifford) around 1968. I think you must have met Mum when you were tiny, but we left for Canada in 1968, and she died before we came back.

I trawled through some old photo albums and came up with a few pictures.

Family shows Dad, Mum, Duff, Bridget, and me as a baby in 1943.

Hendaye Plage beach pics are 1956 - Dad, Mum, me, Bridget.

The pics labelled Mum are 1962, with Duff, Phylla, and Bridget; and Mum with her Fez, which I brought back from Fez.
Finally Dad with you in 1967.

([Photo credits] The one of you with Dad is mine. The ones on the beach were taken by whoever is not in the picture, Dad or Bridget or me. Duff was away in national service. The one of me as a baby was probably taken by Diana Gamble. The one of Mum, Duff, Phylla, and Bridget may have been taken by Phylla’s sister Olivia. I was in India at the time.)


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