1969 was a great year!

1969 was a great year for many reasons in particular:

  • Richard Nixon became the 37th president of the USA.
  • The Beatles gave their last public performance.
  • Boeing 747 became the largest aircraft and made its first commercial flight.
  • Concorde took its first test flight.
  • Sir Wally Herbert reaches the North Pole and becomes the first man to cross the frozen surface of the Arctic Ocean.
  • Judy Garland died.
  • Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon.
  • The halfpenny ceased to be legal tender.
  • Monty Python’s Flying Circus aired on BBC One for the first time.
  • Lundy Island was given over to the National Trust.

Oh, and not forgetting another important event!  At 2.15 pm on 2 August a baby girl weighing in at 8.12lb came into the world!  She was longer than the average baby, but then she always like to be different!

Yes of course that girl was me.  I cannot believe that I have been around now for 50 years.  It feels so old, but time seems to have flown by.  It isn’t until you stop and look back on your life that the reality really hits you.    If you have read my previous blogs, you will know that I am actually ok about being 50.  I’m in a really good place in my life, and even though life throws me curve balls, I know with my hubby, together we will get through it.

I’m celebrating the day with some of my closest friends.  We are off to Devon to relive probably one of my only real memories of my birthday as a child.  When I say I don’t remember any others, it isn’t because I didn’t have a good childhood.  Far from it.  I had 2 of the best parents ever.

As my birthday falls in August, we were always on holiday, so the day tended to blend into the holiday more.  Mum always got me a cake with candles on and they made a fuss of me, but could I tell you what else I did, then no.  That was except for 1 very particular birthday.

We were in Devon and out to Ilfracombe for the day.  There was a boat in the harbour, so Dad suggested we go have a look around it.  What I didn’t know was that mum and dad had booked a trip to Lundy Island as a surprise for my birthday.  That day has stayed with me forever.  Not least because my parents won’t let me forget it!  Not because of the Island, or the treat.  Oh no!  It is because as a very confident child, I wouldn’t allow anyone to help me board the boat!  Splash – I was in the water!  Yep that was me.  Miss accident prone!  As we didn’t have any spare clothes with me, I just had to dry off.  Thankfully it was a warm day.

On the way back, when offered help, I declined again.  I wasn’t going to fall in twice was I?  Oh no of course I wasn’t!! Splash – yes in I went again!!  My parents love retelling that story to whoever will hear it!  Along with a few more incidents such as my zip line experience, which I won’t go into today, but still have the scars! 

Despite that, I have such happy memories of that day.  The excitement of being on a boat for the first time.  Seeing the birds and looking around the Island was so special.  It seemed only right then that for my 50th I should go back and revisit the Island.  Plus with it being 50 years under National Trust it seemed meant to be.  I refuse this time though to fall in, so if help is offered, I intend to take it.

Sadly, I couldn’t get a boat actually on my birthday, so we are going the next day.  I don’t mind because the whole weekend is my birthday.  Well it isn’t everyday you turn 50 is it!  I’m going to be milking it.

We have our own boat.  Not the normal ferry.  I have been liaising with Colin from Lundy Charters.  We are going from Clovelly this time, which is apparently closer than from Ilfracombe.  I am hoping to see Puffins, seals and dolphins, so will have my camera at the ready.  I’m just hoping the sea is calm after the night before!  We have a Thai Restaurant booked and no doubt there will be lots of bubbles involved!

We are starting the celebrations off tonight with a meal out.  Just me and hubby.   The question is, do I open his present and card tonight or take it with me?  I’ve said I don’t know.  I will have to decide later, I think.

We then head to Westward Ho for 3 nights with friends.  My babies are staying at home as they don’t allow dogs on Lundy Island.  I will miss them dearly, but they will be well looked after.

I don’t know what else we will be doing over the next few days.  That is what makes it fun.  Maybe fish and chips on the seafront.  Our apartment overlooks the sea, so I’m excited to be able to wake up on my birthday looking at the ocean.  Hubby doesn’t know it yet, but I will be expecting a cup of tea made of course by him, while I sit on the balcony admiring the view.

There are 8 of us in total, so whatever we do, I know it will be a good laugh.

Over the 50 years, I have learnt that if you have good family and friends, everything else isn’t as important.  I’m the happiest I have ever been.  I don’t know what the future will bring.  I’m living for today.  What I do know is that I have some amazing people around me.  I feel the luckiest person alive to have my hubby, my fabulous parents and family.  I have some great friends.  Every one of them is different, but that is what makes them special.

I’m actually really excited about the weekend.  I’m sad my parents won’t be there to spend it with me, but I will call them on the day.  I never miss speaking to them on my birthday.  They are amazing parents and love them dearly.  No doubt I will be calling them a few times of the weekend.  I know they will be waiting to hear if I made it on the boat and back without falling in! 

So, I am embracing 50.  I am thankfully for the memories I have already made, and looking forward to the new ones I will make in the future.

My advice is, don’t worry about the little things.  Treasure those that are close to you and live life to the full.  I’ve made mistakes over the last 50 years, but I don’t regret them. If I hadn’t lived the life I had, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

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50 things in my 50th year….

So this year, I am hitting a big milestone! The grand old age of 50. Unlike reaching 30 and 40, I am actually looking forward to this birthday. Why? I’m not completely sure, but I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I am finally very happy with my life!

I have an amazing husband, who I adore. We have a fabulous relationship. We have the same interests in common, (well nearly), and we compliment each other so well.

I have wonderful parents and family. I have great friends. All of this means that entering into the next chapter of my life is a time to celebrate and enjoy, and I intend to!

With this in mind, I have put together 50 things I would ‘like’ to achieve in my 50th year!

1)  Travel to China

Hopefully this is an easy one to achieve! I’ve been planning this trip for what seems like forever! I had seen the trip I wanted to do a few years ago, but had to wait for the company to release it. Finally, in January 2018 I received the telephone call I wanted! I could now reserve my place on the Viking River Cruise tour – Imperial Jewels of China, with added extra days before and after the tour! It is a holiday of a lifetime, but worth every penny I am having to save for it!

Amongst many things we will see the Great Wall of China , Forbidden City & Terracotta Warriors. I’m so excited. It is like a dream come true.

2)Visit Croatia

Again, another one I will be able to tick off my list this year. We have booked a 4 night trip to Dubrovnik. I am so looking forward to seeing the walled city, and where Game of Thrones was filmed.

It might be only for a few days, but I know my hubby and I will pack a lot into that time as usual!

3)  Weekend away in a VW Campervan

I have a little obsession with these campervans. I’ve never been in one, and they probably are not as cosy and comfortable as they look, but I’d still love to have even just one night away with them. There is something so romantic about them. Don’t ask me why!

The downside is though, you would have to go outside into the cold to pop to the loo! For one night though, I am sure I would cope!


4) Re-visit Lundy Island

Yes this might sound a bit unusual, but one of my best ever birthdays, and probably the only one I really remember in detail as a kid, was spent on a day trip to Lundy Island. For those that don’t know, it is a little island off Ilfracombe. It is a nature reserve owned by the National Trust.

I have very fond memories of this trip, even if my mum can’t stop telling people about how I fell in the sea twice on this trip, getting on and off the boat! I do not intend doing that again, but I am planning to spend my 50th doing the same trip!

5)    Eat at a Michelin star restaurant

I’m sure I have already done this once before, but not with my hubby! It would be nice for the 2 of us to have a beautiful meal, good wine, in an award winning restaurant. Maybe with views over the ocean or a city! I’m an old romantic I know, but why not!

6)   Bake with Paul Hollywood

It’s is no secret that I have a celebrity crush on Paul Hollywood! I’d love to have a baking lesson from him. I’m sure I could concentrate just enough to learn something new!

7)  Be my own boss

You will probably find this one a bit weird, but I would love to one day have my own successful business. Successful businesses don’t start overnight, they take time to build up. You have to start somewhere. I just need to find the right idea!

As you will tell as you continue reading, some of the 50 things on my list are probably not going to be achieved, but there is nothing wrong in having dreams and ambitions!!

8)   Buy a new car with the registration of the year I was born

I’m terrible with cars. I never usually keep them for more than 3 to 4 years. Mainly as I know they will be reliable and cost me less in maintenance. My current car is now just over 4 years old. I do love it, but that isn’t the reason I haven’t changed it!

This year, the number plate will have the number 69 in it! This is the year I was born, so I would like a number plate with 69 in it! Mad I know, but I’ve got this into my head!

9)    Get at least 1000 subscribers on my YouTube Channel

My new years resolutions last year were to start a blog. I did this, but I also really wanted to do a vlog. I was unsure if I would have the courage to do one, but in April 2018 I launched my first YouTube channel.

Having subscribers at the time wasn’t really that important as I was just playing around, but as the year has gone on, I have found I really enjoy it! I would love to increase by subscribers to at least 1000. Why? Just to know if anyone is actually interested in anything I am doing, or is it just for me?

I’ve learnt that the number of subscribers is a great measure of success. Not necessary of your channel, but maybe just 1 video! Just to say once in my life I have achieved that, would be great!

10) Take a hot air balloon over my home town

I’ve taken a hot air balloon over the Atlas mountains in Morocco and loved it. I often see them flying around where I live. I would love one day to go up and see where I was born and bred from above!

11) Have a weekend away with my parents

As I have gotten older, I’ve learnt to appreciate my parents so much more than when I was a kid! I am so proud to call them my parents.

When I was a teenager, I was very independent. My last holiday away with my parents was when I was 16. After that, they may have been in the same place, but I was very much with my friends.

As they get older, I realise time with them is precious. I would love just 1 night away with them, to build memories. A log fire somewhere in the countryside or overlooking the ocean would be perfect.

12) Fly first class

I was once offered a free upgrade to fly first class to New York with British Airways. There were a few of us going on a trip with work. I really wanted to say yes, but was reminded by a colleague that it would be unfair if only 2 of us got to fly first class, when the rest of the group were in standard class, so I politely declined!

I wonder how many others would have declined the offer! I’m sure they would have too wouldn’t they? Sadly, I’ve never been offered a free upgrade again, or had the finances to pay for one! Viking did offer me a deal to upgrade our flights for our China trip, but it was way out of our budget! Ah well, you never know I may win the lottery one day!

13) Complete a successful ‘Dry January’

It is probably no surprise that my husband couldn’t stop laughing when I said I was doing dry January! Not because I have an alcohol problem, but I do like a glass of wine at the weekend after a hard week.

I’ve said I’m going to do it many times before and usually last a week or 2! This year though I am going to do it! Why is this year different from all the other failed years? I’m not sure. Maybe, I am just more determined this year. Or maybe, I want to prove my husband and some friends wrong!

14) Walk 5,000,000 steps in 2019

I have had a fitbit for a few years now and love it! This year as I’m 50, I think it would be good to set myself a target. As I do on average 13,000 steps a day, 5m sounds like just the right number of steps!

15) Learn to crochet

I recently knitted my hubby a scarf for our local rugby team. I only had about 10 days to do it in. This kept me quite busy each evening as I usually only have about an hour to myself, but it also took my mind off snacking! I thought it would be a good thing to find something else to do in the evenings, and although my gran did teach me to crochet as a child, I can’t remember how to do it.

By learning this new skill, I can keep myself occupied in the evenings, and maybe produce a blanket or something that I can donate to charity!

16) Visit Stonehenge

I can’t believe I have never been there! It isn’t that far away from me so I really don’t have an excuse not to go! I love visiting sites like this. Dogs are allowed, so have even less of an excuse!

17) Swim with dolphins

There is something magical about doing this! They are such beautiful creatures and to get up close, would be a dream! Maybe when I go to Lundy Island, although the see will be a bit cold!

18) Run 10k

Ok, the truth is, I’d love to say I have run a marathon, but lets be honest, there is ambition and dreams, and then there is clear fantasy and madness! The most I’ve done is 5k so 10k would be good to go for next! Especially as I’m not even sure my knees could do that now!

19) Learn to decorate a cake with icing

If you know me, you may be surprised to see this on my list, but the reality is, I would love to be able to do beautiful piping on a cake!

I’ve made cakes for family and friends, but they were quite basic. To do something like The Cake Boss produces would be amazing!

20)Learn to ballroom dance with Anton De Beke

Many years ago, I was able to have some dance lessons with Anton. It was just a day, with a group of others. I would love one on one training to surprise my family that I could dance ballroom. Not sure how the surprise would go, but hey, nothing wrong with dreaming!

21)Be on the panel of Loose Women

When I go to the gym at lunchtime, I will watch either the end of This Morning or the beginning of Loose Women. I day dream often about being on the panel and giving my view and opinion on the topics! Ok, I’m dreaming again aren’t I?

22) Own a designer handbag

I’m not a materialistic person at all. I would rather colour my own hair and paint my own nails than waste(my words) money on getting them done professionally. I would rather put the money to other things including treating others. It would be nice once, to just be indulgent and treat myself to a designer bag!

I’d probably buy it though and regret the expense immediately!!

23) Replace my greenhouse

When I moved into my new home in 2016, I promised myself a little greenhouse. Space for it was short, but I got one which is about 2ft wide by approx 5 feet. It’s only canvas, but I love it! I’d now like to buy myself a more grown up one! I still need it to be small to fit the same space, but it would be great having sliding doors instead of zips, or to be able to see inside it!

I keep looking, and maybe this year, I will find the perfect one!

24) Reduce my daily commute to work

Well this is another of my dreams that I probably won’t be able to change this year! Not unless I find something I can do, working for myself or winning the lottery!

I currently have a 3 hour round trip to work each day! It’s very tiring, and limits the quality time I have at home. I would love to have just an hour off that back each day, to catch up on housework etc.

By the time the weekend comes, I’m exhausted. Plus, I then have to spend the little time I have doing the jobs I don’t have time to do in the week!

25) Teach Lola to walk off a lead

My previous dog before Fido was amazing. He never needed a lead on his walks, and would wait to cross a road until he was told to do so!

My youngest dog is super intelligent, but very energetic and independent. I would love to be able to have the freedom to walk her without a lead, however I fear that may never happen! I’m not going to give up though. I’m contemplating this year, taking her to dog training! Now that should be fun!

On the plus side, she is doing wonders for the muscles in my right arm!

26) Teach Fido to not bark at the door

Fido has this really annoying habit of barking every time anyone tries to exit our front door. I can’t even remember when it started, but it really is a nuisance and annoying. My hubby and I are trying all the techniques we have read about to stop it, but it’s really a slow process! If we cracked it, it would make for a less stressful life that is for sure!

27) Teach Fido not to bark at noises

I love Fido to bits, but he has some problems! One of them is noise! I am sure he would bark at a cloud some days. Door bells, phones, televisions, you name it, he will bark at it. In fact, it is more than that! He looses complete control!

We are working with him after having a behaviourist in to help us. It is very slow process and so stressful, but we will keep at it. It isn’t his fault. Something happened to him in the 16 weeks before we had him, that has effected his behaviour!

If we cracked this, I think I will be dancing on the moon!!

28) Have 5 minutes of fame on T.V. – preferably on This Morning

Ok, back to the day dreaming at the gym again! I love Phil and Holly and Ruth and Eamonn. Wouldn’t it be great to meet them on This Morning? No? Is it just me then? It would be a laugh I’m sure! Maybe I could help Paul Hollywood cook something on the programme, or even get a make over from Lisa Snowdon! You gotta have a dream!

29)Go to see a musical at least once in 2019

I love musicals. For many years I used to go to loads in London, but in the last 12 years, I have gone to very few! This year is a time to change that! There are so many great ones to see. The challenge will be choosing which one to go to first!

30) Go to a music festival or concert at least once in 2019

Again, I love live music but haven’t been to a music festival for about 9 years! I recently saw Madness live and they were amazing. There are so many more opportunities out there to see music live. Time to change this year and see more me thinks!

31) Write a blog at least once a week

Last year’s New Years resolution was to start writing my own blog, which as you can see I have done. I want to continue doing this so I can grow my audience. I want to feel I have made a difference to others, through my blogs.

32) Improve my photography skills

I’ve been into photography for a few years now, but last year, I really got the bug. I was so shocked and pleased when I entered a photo I had taken of Fido, into a Countryfile Magazine photo competition and won! I now want to build on that. My blog and vlog will help me do this, but I also want to try and improve my techniques by studying other great photographs.

33) Clean out the garage

I really do hate clutter, but you wouldn’t know it from my garage!

Because I am so busy, I just dump things in there! I have an exercise bike somewhere in there. The plan was to use it in there,while watching TV on my laptop! That was 2.5 years ago!

This year, I really need to be ruthless! Throw things out I don’t need, get my hubby to put the brackets up I bought 2.5 years ago, so we can hang things up properly, and start using it!

I may just wait until it warms up first though!

34) Help raise awareness of homelessness

I see so many people sleeping on the streets every day, and it breaks my heart. I do try and help when I can but if others could do the same, even in small amounts, it would really help.

No-one chooses to sleep outside in freezing temperatures. Just a little bit of kindness to them could mean the world.

35) Help out someone at least once a month

I feel very blessed with my life, and if I can do something nice to just one person a month, then it could make a lot of difference. It could be speaking to someone who is lonely, looking after my nieces to give my brother a rest, carrying someones shopping. Absolutely anything. It would be nice just to give something back.

36) Have a professional make over

I never spend much time on me! I’m always too busy, or feel the money should be spent on more practical things. I also haven’t a clue what really suits me, so putting myself in someone’s hand would be great.

This is probably one I won’t do this year, for the reasons above, but you never know, maybe for once I will just take the bullet and do it!

37) Have a ‘hot’ Christmas

This isn’t what you may think!  I’ve always seen Christmas as being a cold time.  My hubby is from South Africa so every year until he left South Africa, he had Christmas in what was his summer.  I would like to see what that is like.  To cook a turkey on the braai rather than in the oven.

I would imagine Santa in speedos may be a bit too far, but it is always good to experience new things!

38) Remember friends and family’s birthdays

I used to be really good at this, but over the last few years it has been very hit an miss.  This year, I want to pre-write my cards a month in advance, date them in the corner of the envelope, put a stamp them, and send a week before!  That is assuming I have their dates in my diary that is!

39) Be surprised

I love surprising people, but it doesn’t really happen to me.  I would love someone to arrange something as a surprise for me.  It doesn’t have to be big, just something that I haven’t had to organise or choose!

40) Have dinner out once a month

I get so tired some weeks.  Having to always think about what to eat every day can be a challenge.  Some nights, I could just pick up a takeaway menu for eat out, but I always think I could use the money for better things, so only eat out for a treat. 

I should at least once a month put myself first, and go out.  It doesn’t have to be expensive, but I wouldn’t have to cook or wash up after!

41) Take an hour out a week for ‘me time’

Going back to some of the things I have said above.  My time is so precious, but I really need to take time out for me to do something relaxing. Recharge my batteries without worrying about anyone or anything!

I do try and get an hour on the sofa each night before going to bed, however that is usually also spent dealing with 2 dogs who decide that is the exact time for them to play fight, right in front of me and the TV!

42) Get 8 hours of sleep a night as much as possible

I seem so tired most of the time.  As I get up just after 5 am, I have to be in bed by just after 9 pm to get 8 hours.  Sadly, as I rarely get to sit down before 8-8.30 each night, I’m not relaxed enough to go to bed to sleep, so that time slips.  I then end up with only 6-7 hours sleep!

Come the weekend, even if my body clock won’t let me lie in, the dogs certainly don’t!  Once I am awake, I really struggle to go back to sleep! I’m not sure how I am going to achieve this one, but I will give it a go!

43) Drink more water and less diet coke

I am so bad with coke.  I really need a healthy kick and cut it down.  It isn’t good for my teeth either!  I just need to try and like water!!

44) Have a girls night out at least once every 3 months

Because I am so busy, I am always tired, so when the weekend comes all I want to do is chill.  This means I neglect my friends.  I need to make sure I make more of an effort this year for them, as they are great loyal friends.

45) Have a date night with hubby at least once every 3 months

I have an amazing husband and relationship.  I don’t want it to ever be taken for granted, so having time away from home together is really important.  When we do, we feel so much better for it and have such a great time.

46) Take a canal trip

Wouldn’t it be great to take life at a slow pace!  Seeing the scenery around you.  Stopping off each day in different places!

I’ve been promising for years to do this with another couple.  I really must do it.  Even for a weekend.  It would be so relaxing, and just what the doctor ordered!

47) Go to see Wasps at least 3 times during the year

I love going to see this team play.  It is close to me and a great atmosphere.  I really should support my local team more and have time out with something my hubby enjoys.

48) Learn the rules to Rugby

I have seen so much rugby with my husband.  I was addicted to going to live matches for the World Cup in 2015, however what I know about the rules of the game are so basic!  After 11 years with my hubby, I think it is about time I took more of an interest and understood why penalties were given etc.  At the moment, my only real knowledge is if the team players I’m supporting have the ball or not, and if they score!

As my school report said – I must try harder!

49) Take up a new hobby

Why not!  It is always good to broaden your horizons!  Our local village has a choir which some of my neighbours are considering.  I may go along on the 7 January for a taster session with them and see how I get on!

50) Keep in touch more with family and friends who live away

I have some amazing family who live down south or up north.  I love them dearly, but I am a nightmare at keeping in touch.  This year I really want to make sure I check in with them more often.  

Sometimes we leave it too late.  I don’t want to have any regrets.

So, as you can see this is a very long list. I’m realistic that some of it won’t happen, but it is good to have dreams and ambitions. I think it makes us more proactive.

Follow me throughout 2019 to see how many I can tick off!

Happy New Year.





Warwick & The Mop!

So, I actually think I’m one of the luckiest people, to have been born and bred in such a beautiful place as Warwick!

It’s true what they say, you can take the girl out of Warwick, but you can’t take Warwick out of the girl!

I know I am probably going to be accused of seeing my home town in rose coloured specs, but the thousands of tourists that visit it every year, must prove something !

Now when I say I’m a Warwick girl, I really am!

I was born in my parents bedroom, which looked out onto the Lord Leycester Hospital! My bedroom was on the back, facing the garden! Behind our garden wall was Warwick Castle! It doesn’t get more Warwick than that!

Growing up, I have so many fond memories! I’ve never taken any of it for granted. That’s probably why, I found it so hard to move 8 miles out of town 2.5 years ago!

Yes it has changed a lot over the years. There are a lot more houses for one, but the foundation of Warwick is still there!

So what makes it so so special ? Where do I start?

  • Warwick Castle
  • St Mary’s Church
  • Lord Leycester Hospital
  • Mill Street Garden
  • St Nicholas Park
  • Warwick Racecourse
  • River Avon
  • Great canal walks
  • The town centre
  • The Mop

I used to also love the dolls museum, which is now integrated into the Military museum in St Johns.

My grandfather was the Verger at St Paul’s Church, and my grandmother, and later my uncle the church wardens.  Myself and my 2 brothers were members of the church choir, with my brother making head boy and I head girl.

We attended choir practice twice a week, and 2 Sunday services, plus weddings etc.

7 of my mothers brothers, were also active members of the local St John’s Ambulance, as was I.  We would cover many local events such as the race meetings, fetes and charity events.

My grandfather and father were involved in building the bumper cars and ghost trains, that were used at the mop, as well as the helter skelter and some other ride at St Nicholas Park.

So as you can see, my family were all part of the foundation of Warwick in the past, which is probably why it runs through my veins.

As a child, the most visited places for us were the racecourse and the park!

The racecourse was just a few minutes walk away. As we had a dog, it was the perfect place to go for daily walks. I rode my bike around it, and even learnt to drive a car on some land next to it. Sadly that land is now flats!

On race days, we would go down for the last race, when it was free! We used to collect left over glasses. If you were lucky you might even find the odd £1 note on the grass! Accidentally thrown away by someone along with their betting slip!

We used to do our cross country running around the race track at school too!

St Nicholas park was where we spent most of our 6 weeks holiday during the summer when we weren’t away. I don’t know about you, but I only ever remember hot summers back then!

There was an open air paddling pool in the middle. Mum would pack a picnic and off we would go for the day!

I remember just playing and enjoying the outdoors in beautiful weather.

As we lived so close to the castle, we often would walk through the outside of the grounds ! I’d never actually been into it until I worked there!

I was so over the moon to land my first full time job there! It was in the offices and accounts department. We were based just next to the main ‘apartments’.

It was the foundation to who I am now! In those days, everyone who was senior were known as Mr, Miss or Mrs. There was no way I’d acknowledge them by their first names !

I was also made very aware of the importance of talking ‘properly ‘! Thankfully I think I pronounced most words correctly ! In particular ensuring you put an ‘r’ in words like castle, path, grass etc!

One of my fondest memories is Mop time ! Most people outside of the area have never heard of the Mop!

It’s basically a travelling fair, which comes to Warwick for 2 weekends around 12th October every year!

Where we lived at the top of a hill, I could sit in the bay window, and watch all the lorries moving from their temporary home on the racecourse, up to the town centre to assemble their rides!

I remember shouting excitedly to my parents as I watched the ghost train, bumper cars, waltzers etc go up! I couldn’t wait to go up and see them!

I probably have an even greater passion as both my grandfather, and father built ghost trains and bumper car rides !

The first weekend, the Mop was opened by the Lord Mayor at 12 noon on the Saturday. It would run until 10.30/11.00 pm. There was always a pig roast around by the Globe Hotel!

The second week the Mop was open Friday and Saturday from lunch time until about 10.30/11.00 pm. This was called the ‘Runaway Mop’!

We used to save our pocket money, and I also remember my grandparents giving us extra.

We would go up as a family early evening, with our pennies in our purses! Eyes wide open !

I remember the smells like it was yesterday ! Candy floss, toffee apples, hot dogs and burgers ! Even the diesel smelt good from the generators!

Then there was the noises of the rides, and children’s laughter, adults screening as some of the bigger rides went faster and higher! Multi coloured lights and music filled the air! It was a time of pure joy!

Everyone always seemed happy when you walked around ! It seemed to always dry and crisp too !

We would walk around wondering how to spend our money ? The ‘hook a duck’ was always a good one, as you were always guaranteed a prize! In those days you could win goldfish ! Now I know why we had a pond in our garden !!

There were also amusement arcades! My favourite then, and now is still the machine that forms the t.v programme ‘Tipping Point’. In my day though it was pennies or 2p!

Now a days it’s all changed! The rides are bigger and more expensive ! They still have a few old favourites though, such as ‘hook a duck’. You still get the same smells and noises!

To me it’s still magical. It’s been part of Warwick for so long, I hope it never stops !

Here is a whistle stop tour of 2018 !

https://youtu.be/gKZNI6265J4

The History of the Mop

The tradition of Warwick Mop, goes back as far as King Edward III, when he granted a legal charter that it be held in the town centre! This was a time when even the Castle, as it stands now was still being built, and certainly before Lord Leycester was even a twinkle in his daddies eye!

The date is believed to be linked to when harvesting was done, with Stratford Upon Avon having the Mop on the 12th!

So for those of us who think it’s a modern thing, and to some a nuisance, it is steeped in over 700 years of history!

It is said that the first Mops were set up for hiring labourers, and for employers to meet and have fun!

In those days it was different types of stalls, rather than the big rides you associate with fairs today!

Workers would be hired on a trial basis. The runaway Mop, the second weekend, gets its name from the fact that either the employer, or worker, could back out of the arrangement they had made!

The money they earned during that week was then spent on the stalls, or for some, the pub!

No-one really knows for sure where the word ‘Mop’ came from, however it is thought to be linked to a symbol worn by labourers.

The pig roast, or ox as it also was then, provided food as well as warmth. Whilst we still have this tradition now, the money raised is passed on to charities!

Rides came along later with the industrial revolution, as has continued to evolve. In the early days, it would have been peddle power! Now they are so sophisticated.

I for one think it’s important that we keep these traditions alive for generations to come !

The next Mop in Warwick is 19/20 & 26/27 October!

Go along and support it if you can! Even if you don’t like the ride, (I’m not a fan), walk around, listen to the sounds, smell the air and soak in the atmosphere.  Let it take you back over 700 years to a different time.  Ultimately, the purpose of having fun is still there! So open your mind and enjoy it.