Monday, June 20, 2011


It has just started raining, and the roof is closed at Wimbledon, so at least some tennis carries on! I finished watering the garden 45 minutes ago. Why am I not surprised? But supper is over, David cleaned out the gutters this morning, I have been to gym and did my stork thing again, and I have been to have a chat to the doctor to keep her up to date. She nearly went flying over my stick, and I tried a little baton twirling with it to keep it out of her way, which reduced us both to hysterics. I aim to amuse. The bp is just fine, and so are the eyes, after she shone that little beam in to see behind them, for whatever she looks for.

This growing older bit is not for the feint hearted. I have just spent an inordinate amount of time checking to see if it is feint or faint. There seems to be a dilemma re meaning. Hmmm. YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN. Not for sissies. Scaredy cats. YOU HAVE TO BE STRONG.

Oh move on, Linds, this is ridiculous......

It is so dark outside, I have to switch on the lights and it is 7pm in midsummer. It is midsummer tomorrow, I think. And so it should be sunny and bright till late. But Wimbled..... Exactly.

Do you remember  my jaunt down memory lane a few days ago? I mentioned that TV only arrived in SA in the early 1970s. And I started thinking about how the radio played such a huge part in our lives. Here in the UK, the pay TV channels, like Sky buy up the rights to screen major sporting events, so apart from the Grand Prix, a little football, and Wimbledon, if you don't pay for satellite or cable, you don't see anything. And the general consensus is that children who are not exposed to sport on the world stage won't play it. I used to think that too.

Until I wandered down memory lane.

I grew up listening to the radio. I knew exactly how to play cricket from listening to Charles Fortune describing the game, the ground, the birds in the sky, the lot. And when I did start going to cricket, it was all familiar. Rugby?? The same. The 25 yard line became the 20metre line, but I learned all about it from the radio. If we wanted to watch sport, there was school sport every Saturday morning in every school in the land, and apart from that,  I played tennis, badminton, hockey, netball, and did swimming and gym, all at school (compulsory).

But you know what occurred to me today - just how much radio stimulated the imagination. I visualised everything I heard, from sports to plays, to current events. To (and here my SA friends of my age will remember this) Mark Saxon, and Sergei Krimilko. No Place to Hide. Springbok Radio. The Creaking Door.  Castle Playhouse. Deadline Thursday Night. Consider your Verdict. Squad Cars "they prowl the empty streets at night"....... You have NO idea how much exercise the imagination got! Marge and I have been talking about this just now, and we both remembered that Mark Saxon was on at 7.15pm, and we never missed it. But if you had asked us to describe the characters, we would have totally different ideas. Our individual imaginations interpreted the characters in unique ways.

If we wanted to see movies, we walked down the road on a Saturday afternoon to the Scala cinema matinee, where we paid 33cents back then for the good seats, and we saw whatever was playing. It was always packed. And believe me, we saw some diverse movies. From Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald (and this was in the 60s) (and who can forget..."When I'm calling yooooooooooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu" in Rose Marie) to Walt Disney, to westerns, to just about anything. Then the advent of Cinerama - The Way West was the first cinerama movie I saw on a wide screen. Ooooh! The excitement!

The first movie I remember seeing as a child, was Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and it is still a favourite, you know. Flipper was another early movie, and also Born to Sing, about the Vienna Boys Choir. Those were Special Movies, which you had to go into town to see at the big theatres. And they were real theatres, which were used for ballet, plays, opera as well. So exciting. With boxes, circles, and upper circles, and the Alhambra had a ceiling which looked like stars at midnight. Magical. I saw my first ballet there when I was very small, or was it at the Metro..... The Royal Ballet was touring and we saw Swan Lake. I remember loving it all. My mother remembers me wanting to get something to eat and not sitting still. I prefer my version. And I still remember it, so of course I am right!

Cape Town, by the time I was a student, had an opera house complex, which also included a beautiful theatre, and while my children were little, we went to everything. They grew up going to ballet, opera, theatre. Their schools arranged visits as well, just as mine did throughout my school days, and back then, if you went to the Opera House, you wore black tie and evening dresses. Oh, I loved it all. It made evenings out very special.

But back to the radio and imagination. Inspiration. We underestimate how important imagination is nowadays I think. In this world of 2011, it is all provided. Don't you sometimes go to see a movie after reading a book you have loved, and find it all wrong? I do. My imagination paints pictures in my mind, which do not always gell with those of the producer. Sometimes, I choose not to see a movie, in case it spoils the story for me. Books.... such treasures for children, and for adults alike. And it doesn't matter how old you are, an active imagination which uses all the colours of the spectum to paint pictures in the mind, is a real blessing.

Maybe a little less of the TV and a little more of the radio may be a very good thing........ And I wonder how many children know about radio? Not the music channels - of course they will know those ones, but the plays. BBC Radio 4 here. Are there even children's programmes any more? It would be really interesting to take a group of children, play a story tape to them, and ask them to describe the characters. Differences. Ideas. Colours.



Anonymous said...

I've just been posting about Wimbledon too!

I know what you mean about reading a book and seeing a film and being disappointed.

However (and please don't be offended anyone who reads this, it's just my opinion) I never really "got" Lord of the Rings until I saw the films. I tried for years to read them, but it was like wading through treacle.

Another book reference. For William Horwood fans, tommorow is not Longest Day, it's "Shortest Night" (Duncton Chronicles)

Linda said...

I have to laugh Linds, when I saw "feint" I though, "Oh goodness, I've been spelling it wrong all this time!!
I was (and still am) a girl with a huge imagination. I think so much is lost when we don't give that gift to our children.

Dawn said...

I'm with Linda - I say "old age is not for the faint of heart", and have been spelling it wrong in my mind all these older years!

I almost refuse to see a movie based on a book I've read, or hope to read. They just ruin the book, as far as I am concerned, at least usually.

My grand girls all have good imaginations, in spite of t.v., for which I'm very thankful. Do you get Dr. Dobson's "Odyssey" on every night of the week? I haven't listened, but I know many families really love it.

Thanks for stoppiing by today!

Needled Mom said...

There is a great radio show that carries all of the old classic radio shows and it is so much fun to listen to them and use you imagination. My mind wanders to when families would gather around the radios each evening as the story continues. Although we get all five nights in one show now, I can still imagine how excited they must have been for that night's adventure.

My vision of you with the stick twirling is also quite vivid!!

Stripeyspots said...

My Dad loves to tell us how as a child he didn't know how Sergei was spelt so in his mind it was Sir Gay. I've never heard anybody else mention that particular radio show before!