Still boldly going!

17 Jul

I pride myself on my memory – that and my intelligence are what I have going for me, mostly!

Oh, the body isn’t THAT bad! Some of it is still too big and some of it is still too small (Stop right there! I mean my FEET – size 10 for a height of 6 foot 4 inches means I come to a point and it’s a wonder I don’t fall over a lot) but most of it works as it is supposed to most of the time. I suppose at 63 years of age that’s as good as it gets!

Nevertheless, it is my memory that stands me in good stead when doing quizzes and having the recollections that form the basis of many of the almost 280 posts on this blog since it started in 2009.

Many people seem amazed at my ability to recall in tiny detail quite obscure matters such as things that happened in my schooldays which ended 47 years ago this week.

As an example, during one of my volunteer sessions at the Peterborough Library recently I was asked to locate some of the books shown as “missing” in this year’s stocktake. One of these was the Collected Works of the Satirist and Author who wrote under the name of “Saki”. Sure enough it was missing from the fiction shelves under “S” but without even realising I was doing it I went to the letter “M” and sure enough, there it was. When asked why I looked there I explained that I knew Saki’s real name to be H.H. Munro. So they asked me how I knew THAT and I explained that one of our English Literature set books had a “Saki” story in it and the teacher had mentioned his real name.

“But that was nearly 50 years ago” they said. “So what?” I replied.

I don’t know just how my brain goes about indexing and cross-referencing things I experience, making so much of it accessible to me – IT JUST DOES! And, as I said at the start, I am immensely proud of it.

All of which makes it all the more annoying when I have occasion to look something up and some detail makes me realise that my memory of it is not strictly accurate.

I mentioned an example of this about 3 years ago when I found that an episode of a radio comedy programme was not aired until 4 years after I left school while I could clearly recall discussing the jokes in it with my classmates (the ones that had any kind of sense of humour, anyway).

That could not have happened, so why do I THINK I can remember it? If you want to read it for yourself you can find it here:

And it has just happened again!

I was watching the 2009 J.J. Abrams’ reboot of “Star Trek” and the fact popped into my head that the original TV series was first made and shown in 1966. The Mathematics Division of my mighty intellect soon calculated that this was 50 years ago and I resolved to give it some sort of celebrationary mention in a blog post – this one!

If I may, I would like to digress here and go down an apparently unrelated path.

In the early part of 1967 I joined the 3rd Ipswich Boys Brigade Company and was then aged 14.

I don’t recall the exact date I joined but I know it was before 14th August because on that date I was in a Boys Brigade tent in a field near Hadleigh in Suffolk and that was the date that all the Pirate Radio stations were driven off the air by the stuffy and repressive government of the day. Except, of course, for Radio Caroline whose bold defiance of the Marine (Broadcasting) Offences Act 1967 was heartily cheered by all of us in that tent when they continued after the midnight deadline.

The Boys Brigade football season that began in September 1967 and ran until (I think) April 1968 was the first one where I played for the 3rd Ipswich BB and I continued to do so for the 1968/69, 1969/70 and 1970/71 seasons at which point I had to “retire” having reached 18 years of age.

Now, as with the tent and the partial demise of Pirate Radio, I have a very clear recollection of those teenage Saturdays and how they unfolded.

First off, my mother would try to bulk me up in the winter with a massive plate of Stew and Dumplings or, in warmer weather, with Sausage & Mash followed by Bread Pudding and Custard! It was a wonder that I could move on the pitch at all – opposing players must have run into me and bounced!

After that dinner I would cycle to our Church Hall (in any weather), cycle with the team to the match venue (in any weather), play for 80 minutes (in any weather) then reverse the process (in any weather).

When I got home I would have a long soak in the bath – I was usually pretty muddy – followed by Bread and Jam for tea while……. watching “Star Trek”!

That’s why this wasn’t an irrelevant digression and that is where the memory problem arises.

You see I have convinced myself, to the point of absolute certainty that the routine I just outlined took place over that entire 4 year period of my “footballing career”.


When I looked up some basic screening details I was expecting the USA/UK TV situation to be as it is now – that is, popular shows come to the other side of the pond maybe a series (sometimes only a few episodes) behind.

Obviously that wasn’t the case in the 1960s because when I looked closer I found that all three series of “Star Trek” comprising 79 episodes in all had been shown in the USA before we in the UK got to see a single one!

In fact it was 12th July 1969 (the week before I left school) that the BBC started showing episodes here – so the discussions about it with Sci-Fi minded classmates could not have happened either. They must have been with Sci-Fi minded Boys Brigade friends instead but that is not so likely AND it’s not how I remember it!

However, it does explain one tiny mystery for me.

If you follow the link I gave you earlier you will note that the episode of “I’m Sorry I’ll Read That Again” that it refers to also concerns “Star Trek” and I was at a loss to explain why they were doing a skit in 1973 about something that had ended several years ago. With what I know now I can see that as far as the UK was concerned it was still pretty current and, therefore, fair game for a “send up”.

So, for us Brits it’s not yet 50 years since the Grammar Nazis started screaming about “Split Infinitives” and how the words in the opening titles should be “Boldly To Go” and not “To Boldly Go”!

Personally I still love “Star Trek” in all of its incarnations and I still love to happily split infinitives – whatever THEY are!

So, Happy 50th Birthday to Star Trek.



Posted by on July 17, 2016 in Ipswich, Schooldays


4 responses to “Still boldly going!

  1. Vincent

    July 20, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Our similarities and dissimilarities (is that a word?) are interesting. I THINK I was TALLER than you at Copleston High (I was taller than EVERYBODY then) however, I only topped out at six feet TWO (I’m barely six ONE now). I too fill size tens (UK). I too started writing on WordPress in 2009 – but I’m approaching a THOUSAND posts right now.

    And around this year’s end, all those records I started collecting from jumble sales, junk shops and markets in those days (and audio- and video-tapes I recorded later) will have garnered me TWO HUNDRED MILLION HITS on YouTube! I’m big in the USA and reach everywhere else, from China to Chile (engage smug mode).

    Are you on Twatter? I’ve done over a thousand twatts (mostly to try and attract YOUNG traffic to m’columns here) – but only have about fifty followers (and I suspect half of those are spam) so you can’t win them all…

  2. Vincent

    July 20, 2016 at 10:49 am

    P.S. Oh – but to REALLY wallow in smugnitude (DEFINITELY not a word) I currently have approximately ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY thousand WordPress hits! And that don’t include m’book and two short stories – another fifteen thousand-odd – making nearly two hundred thousand hits for my WRITTEN stuff (no-one READS anymore – my audio-visual pieces have literally a THOUSAND times more).

    Then again, unlike your good self, I RETIRED some years back (burned OUT, to be truthful) while you’ve been WORKING. So I’ve had a lot more TIME to build up an Interweb presence.

    So keep on pluggin’ my old friend!

    • Alfie

      July 20, 2016 at 10:53 pm

      You are welcome to claim “smugnitude” (a measure of degrees of smugness) because, according to my spell/grammar checker, I invented “celebrationary” in the article above! Wow. We are surely making our marks on the world of literature, aren’t we? Max would be so proud!

      • Vincent

        July 22, 2016 at 12:54 pm

        I LOVE doing this! Another of my words: “Diskify” – to record something onto a disk. Use it in good health!


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