Settling In

It is Mothering Sunday; well that is what it used to be called until somehow it was changed to Mother’s Day.  And I hope that all mums had a great day.  Sadly mine passed on in April 1981.  I was with her until the end at the Hospice in South West London where she had chosen to spend her last few weeks.  She slipped away peacefully, as her sister, my Aunt Mary, poured Holy Water over her head and prayed for her.  It is also sad that today I am typing this after hearing the news that reality star Jade Goody has now lost her battle for life.  She slipped away in her sleep at around 0315 GMT.  I hope she is now at peace and I wish her husband Jack, and her children well for the future.  It cannot have been easy for them all, being in the media spotlight.  Now, maybe they can be left to grieve and continue with their lives.


Last week I mentioned how my radio was my trusted friend at school.  Indeed, at times, it felt as if it was my only friend.  I first went to St. Vincent’s School for the Blind in Liverpool in September 1970.  I did not settle well.  I was ten, and it was my first time living away from my parents.  I have to be brutally honest and say the first half term was hell.  I was forever in trouble because I would not conform to the new order that was a Catholic boarding school.  But I also want it to be known that my time there did get better, and I was happy and I did eventually enjoy it.  Without the education and support that I got from the Nuns and teacher and childcare staff there, I do not think I would have been able to have been employed by British Rail for 18 years.


I could nearly always be found with my radio at any time when I was not doing school work or other chores that were required of me.  Saturday mornings, after dusting, polishing and hovering the dormitory I would either be outside on a bench or in some corner of the play room with my radio listening to either Radio 1 or Manx Radio, which ever was playing the better music.  But I will always remember the mad dash after dinner during the week to get the radio out so that I could hear Johnnie Walker and Pop The Question, or, on a Tuesday the chart rundown and the brand new number one.  Yes, in those days, the new chart was announced at lunchtime on a Tuesday.  There were in those days two main charts, the official one, which the BBC carried, and the Luxembourg Chart which was announced each Tuesday evening on the Peter Stiverson Chart Show at 2130, usually hosted by Paul Burnett.  Of course, as commercial radio developed in the UK a number other local charts came along and so the Luxy chart lost its appeal, especially as it was on a station that faded in and out so listening was trying, to say the least.  But it was not just music on radio that captured my attention in those days.  No, I was more than happy to tune in to some of the English programmes from international broadcasters. 


My favourite, and the one I listened to most when at school, was Radio Sweden.  It may be because it did have a strong steady signal.  Or it could have been the excellent feature programmes.  But I will always remember DX jukebox which aired on a Tuesday and The Saturday Show.  This programme was broadcast on Saturday evening, but, on medium wave was a two hour programme of good Swedish rock and pop music and little sketches presented by two English guys, Roger Wallace and Kim Lochlan.  It was through this show I found my first pen friends, a girl from Belgium and one from East Germany.  I had always liked letter writing, and this gave me the excuse to write some more.  Sadly the girl from East Germany stopped writing after a couple of months but the girl from Belgium, Bea, well we were in contact for well over three years.


Anyway, that is all for this time.  Remember, if you want to comment you can by sending an email to  Thanks for reading and until next week, have fun.


About briwinter

Born in South London. Went to school in Liverpool and college in Shrewsbury. Lived in Coventry while I was married. Now live in Catterick. I like walking and reading as well as listening to music and trying to get my head round computer stuff.
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