1951 Paul Pauls life

Life of Paul – 1952

Age 3. Experiences of London.

3 years old - hazy memories.

I have a few memories of my early years in London.

One thing I do remember is being taken to see my Grannie Taylor (Mum's Mum) in Balham. It was a fairly short walk from our house in Tooting to her house. After Joan was born, I would walk beside Mum, pushing Joan in the pram, along the London streets with their wide pavements and Plane trees.

At least once, I was the only male guest at an afternoon meeting of my Mum with family and friends. It was probably a birthday celebration, and as well as tea and cakes, there was sherry! Little Paul was allowed a tiny sip of sherry to try, and I felt very grown up being allowed to taste it. On leaving the party, I was encouraged to politely take my leave, by saying "Thank you very much for the party" but made them all laugh by adding with emphasis, ".. and thank you VERY much for the SHERRY!"

The Guinness Clock
A Guinness advert showing the Toucan

We sometimes visited parks. Battersea Gardens were near, and in those days they had a funfair and other amusements. I remember a Guinness clock, which came to life every fifteen minutes with the trademark Guinness Toucan and other animals flying around, and the slogan "Guinness is good for you". See more details here.

I must have been quite a nervous little boy. I remember being terrified of someone dressed up in a bear costume at the park entrance. After that I had frequent nightmares of being chased by bears. I also was quite traumatised by a Punch and Judy show, with Mr Punch's violent use of a stick, the crocodile and the policeman. I had to be removed from the show in tears!

Another traumatic experience I recall was, after going on board a boat on the Thames, I was given a very fetching Captain's peaked cap which I wore with pride to celebrate the experience. However, as I walked proudly along a strong gust of wind blew the hat from my head and, although we chased after it, it was carried away into the river with no chance of getting it back. I was inconsolable!

Some happier memories are of visiting Woolworths store, which in the 1950s sold many cheap items, including simple toys. Before the age of plastics, there were some little toy cars made of wood. I was given one and was delighted to play with it, launching my "daddy-car" across the floor for many happy hours.

On one occasion, my Dad took me to a market, where there were lots of interesting things to see on the various stalls. By one stall was a pet parrot chained to a perch, who repeated the classic parrot phrase "Pretty Polly" over and over. This really caught my imagination, and I couldn't wait to tell my Mum when we returned home...

"Mummy, mummy... we saw a carrot, and it said 'Pretty Pauly!'" I was teased about that for a long time.

My Mum usually called me by the pet name "Pauly" and I remember quite a few people being confused whether I was actually a boy or a girl, having misheard my name as "Pauline".

Dave was still studying to become a qualified Doctor of Medicine.

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