More British Art Deco And Modernist Buildings

I found some more!

A platform shelter on the London Underground System.

The 1930s Abbey National Building. Brighton, Sussex.

Hotel Monico. Southend-On-Sea, Essex.

An Art Deco Cinema in Dudley, West Midlands. (Shortly before demolition)

Smart Art Deco apartments in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex.

The Rotunda Restaurant. Brighton seafront, Sussex.

A large house in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

The Ocean Terminal. Used for cruise liners in Southampton, Hampshire.

A fully restored Modernist house in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex.

A newly-built house and plans, North Norfolk, 1933.

Branscombe Hall: Part Twenty-Six

This is the twenty-sixth part of a fiction serial, in 791 words.
My thanks to Sue Judd for the use of her photo.

Gregg handed me the flowers and tried to lean in and kiss me. I turned my face away and his kiss glanced across my cheek. Norma handed me one of the bags, “Better dish up the fish and chips while it’s still hot. I’m just popping back to the car to get Gregg’s overnight bag”. I walked into the kitchen with the food and the flowers, ran some water into a bowl in the sink and rested the bouquet in there. The plates and cutlery were already laid out on the table, and I told Gregg to sit down.

Norma came back inside, closed the door, and placed the overnight bag by the stairs. The atmosphere was awkward, to say the least. She broke the silence. “Gregg’s been telling me about his new job, it seems to be going well”. I looked across the table at him. He had lost weight, and had dark circles under his eyes. His clothes were unironed, but seemed to be clean at least. There was something about his eyes I didn’t like, and I avoided his gaze.

It was resentment, that’s what I could see in them.

He only ate half the meal before he started talking. “You know I’m sorry, Alicia. I am going to get help, see a counsellor or something. Once i get some cash behind me in this new job, I will be able to get out of my rented room and find somewhere better to live. Then when I get my driving licence back next year, they might train me up as a heavy goods driver, and that is even better paid”.

This was the perfect time for Norma to talk about us giving him money. I didn’t reply to Gregg as I waited for her to bring up the subject. But she said nothing. So I told Gregg I was pleased for him, and that training to be a lorry driver might work out well. I would have liked him to apologise specifically for hurting me physically, but it seemed he wasn’t going to do that. Norma cleared away the plates and came back from the kitchen with a bottle of wine and some glasses. She poured drinks for me and her, then turned to Gregg with a smile. “What about you, Gregg? I have some Vodka in the kitchen?

That was his chance to turn down a drink, and tell me he was going to give up his drunken ways. But he didn’t of course, he just nodded.

Suggesting we sit on more comfortable furniture, Norma came back with a glass containing a large measure of Vodka. She sat next to me on the sofa, and Gregg took the armchair opposite. I was getting frustrated that we hadn’t mentioned paying him off, but I trusted Norma to choose the right time. Meanwhile, Gregg waffled on about how he was going to change, save money, and eventually hope to be accepted back by me. I wanted to tell him he was delusional, but sat in silence. Every time he finished his drink, Norma took his glass into the kitchen and topped it up. We still hadn’t finished one glass of wine, and he had easily had four huge Vodkas.

His voice started slurring as he went right back to our first date, his time in The Falklands, and how badly he felt he had been treated by the Army. I had heard it all before, and kept looking round at Norma to will her to mention the pay-off. But she didn’t. I was very worried that he would turn violent once he started talking about Julian Branscombe, but for whatever reason he chose not to mention him.

Just after nine-thirty, it looked to me as if Gregg was going to drop off to sleep. Norma walked across the room and shook his shoulder. “One more drink, then I will get the sofa made up for you”. She went to the kitchen and came back with more Vodka. Obviously sleepy, he downed the drink in one and sat back in the armchair, his head lolling around. Norma indicated that I should get up, and she made up a rudimentary bed on the sofa with one pillow, a sheet and blanket. Hauling him up out of the armchair to his feet she helped him over to the sofa. He flopped out on it and went to sleep immediately, still wearing his shoes.

Confused, I whispered to Norma about the fact she hadn’t mentioned any money. As she switched out the light she didn’t look at me as she replied.

“That can be sorted out in the morning. Let him sleep”.

Branscombe Hall: Part Twenty-Five

This is the twenty-fifth part of a fiction serial, in 760 words.
My thanks to Sue Judd for the use of her photo.

At the time, I thought Norma’s plan was pretty lame, and couldn’t see it working. But then I had no idea about the ace up her sleeve that she didn’t want me to know about. There was something very calm about her that night, and that transferred to me. She went over it again.

“So, ask your dad to use his contacts to find out Gregg’s address. I will drive there and talk to him. I won’t be angry, just let him know that you want to meet him to talk things through. I will tell him you want me to be there in case he becomes violent, and also that he can stay overnight. Sleeping on the sofa of course. I will bunk in with you in your bed in case of any funny business. During the evening, we will offer him a lot of money to leave. It doesn’t matter where he goes, but he cannot stay in this county. Believe me, I will be persuasive. You have money, your dad has money, and for that matter I have savings too. It will be enough to buy him a flat somewhere, and a fresh start away from us”.

When she had left to go home, I was unconvinced. Would Gregg take money to leave me alone and never come back? He might, but I doubted it. For him it was a pride thing, a masculine thing. I was his wife, and as far as he was concerned it wasn’t up to me to say the marriage was over. To humour Norma, I agreed to try her idea, and the next morning I rang dad and asked him to use his Rotary Club or Masonic Lodge contacts to find out Gregg’s address. I didn’t tell him why, and he didn’t ask.

With so many Freemasons in the Police, it didn’t take long. I had the address by three in the afternoon, and rang Norma at work to give it to her. She seemed pleased. “Not sure when it will happen, but I will give you plenty of notice, Alicia. You stay off work until you feel better, let me know if you want me to get you any shopping”.

That Autumn was terribly wet. It rained non-stop for days and I was glad not to be out in it.

I was left wondering just how much money Norma had in mind. In those days, you could buy a nice little house in Essex for thirty grand, probably less for a decent flat. If she offered him fifty to go, we could cover that easily, and he would have enough to get by on for a year if he didn’t find a job. Any more than fifty, and dad would have to dip into his investments. As he was saving those for me, he could be convinced to use them to get rid of Gregg if it came to it.

Late October remained wet and dismal. But I went back to work that month, albeit with this crooked nose.

One afternoon, Norma came into my office, speaking quietly.

“It’s going to be this Saturday. I have arranged with Gregg to come and see you, told him it would be to his advantage, and didn’t elaborate. I am going to pick him up on the slip road to the bus station in Gloucester at six that night. I will get fish and chips on the way back for us to eat, so no need to cook. You have to be strong, Alicia, promise me you will be strong”. I promised.

Okay, I was scared, I admit that. Even with Norma there, Gregg could easily beat up the pair of us if he went rogue. I was trembling all day Saturday, and I didn’t bother to dress up nice or wear any make-up. I didn’t want him to get the wrong idea and think it was all back on. By five-thirty I was pacing the room, even though I knew they wouldn’t be there until around seven. I soon tired of looking out of the front window, seeking solace in a glass of white wine to calm my nerves.

By the time Norma’s car pulled up on the driveway in front of mine, I had the jitters, big time.

He was carrying flowers, and Norma was holding two carrier bags. As they walked to the door, I opened it and stood smiling in the doorway.

But I wasn’t smiling inside.

Retro Music 66

Anyone who has known me all my life will tell you that I am not a great fan of Elton John. I don’t like to watch him perform, as he always seems rather creepy to me.

However, there was a time when I liked him quite a lot, a time before he was as hugely popular as he is now. Prior to his second album release in 1970, it was going to be distributed by the record company my dad was working for at the time. He brought home a sample copy of the single that was taken from the album, and I listened to it carefully. After a few days my dad asked me what I thought of this ‘new singer’, and I told him he was going to be huge.

The single released from the album was this one. It wasn’t a huge worldwide hit, far from it. But definitely a taste of things to come.
(And it is not an Aretha Franklin song, she recorded a cover version.)

Holy Moses I have been removed
I have seen the spectre he has been here too
Distant cousin from down the line
Brand of people who ain’t my kind
Holy Moses I have been removed

Holy Moses I have been deceived
Now the wind has changed direction and I’ll have to leave
Won’t you please excuse my frankness but it’s not my cup of tea
Holy Moses I have been deceived

I’m going back to the border
Where my affairs, my affairs ain’t abused
I can’t take any more bad water
Been poisoned from my head down to my shoes

Holy Moses I have been deceived
Holy Moses let us live in peace
Let us strive to find a way to make all hatred cease
There’s a man over there
What’s his colour I don’t care
He’s my brother let us live in peace
He’s my brother let us live in peace
He’s my brother let us live in peace

Written by: Bernie Taupin, Elton John
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group
Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

Four years later, he released a single that I really liked. In 53 years, these are the only two records of his I ever owned.

Branscombe Hall: Part Twenty-Four

This is the twenty-fourth part of a fiction serial, in 760 words.
My thanks to Sue Judd for the use of her photo.

Norma refused to tell me what her idea was, but gave me a hint. “I have a plan, but it involves us meeting Gregg. You have to trust me on this, Alicia”. I told her that I trusted her completely.

With my nose swollen badly, and two black eyes, I wasn’t about to go into work. But I felt that it was time to involve my dad, as I couldn’t allow myself to keep lying to him. On the Sunday, I drove over to the house, and as he opened the door I quickly told him not to be shocked by my appearance. I could have used my key, but felt my injuries were a big enough surprise without just walking in.

During the time it took me to outline everything that had happened with Gregg, I managed not to cry at all. He went from furious to frustrated, but had to agree with me that the police were going to do nothing, given my failure to report him the first times, and his alibi now. Being dad, he told me to take unlimited time off, and to let him know whenever he could do anything to help. He suggested adding better locks to the house, and changing my car so Gregg wouldn’t recognise it.

That seemed very sensible, so I agreed that he would send a locksmith on Monday, and also have a new company car delivered next week, the old one being taken away at the same time. Trouble was, once it was parked outside my house, Gregg would soon work out it was mine. Dad also said he was going to ring a couple of men he knew that had connections with the Council in Gloucester. “See if we can’t make them put pressure on the police. At the very least, they could stop Gregg if they see him driving that Fiat”.

I turned down his offer of moving back into the family home, telling him that I was determined not to let all this nastiness stop me from enjoying my own house. I was actually more worried about him than myself. Although he wasn’t that old, I hated the thought that it would affect his dodgy blood pressure, and give him a stroke, or worse. But he seemed relieved that I had confessed everything to him, telling me that since Gregg’s return from The Falklands, he had been worried about me.

Before I left for home, I hesitated, wondering whether or not to tell him that Norma had some sort of plan to sort Gregg out. But I didn’t tell him, not wanting to worry him further. I got home and didn’t even bother to check the driveway or the house. If he was coming for me, then let it happen. Telling dad had been a weight off my shoulders, and I soaked in the bath that night drinking a large glass of wine and wondering if my nose was broken.

Oh, it was by the way, hence why you can see it is still crooked now.

The young locksmith asked me no awkward questions, but suggested a complete change of locks, just in case anyone had made a copy of the keys. I agreed to all his recommendations, including a mortice deadlock cut into the door at the front, and in the kitchen. There was also a device installed that stopped the metal patio doors being forced open. He said he had been told to send the bill to the auction house, and left me with three sets of keys. I was going to give one of those to Norma when she came to see me.

It wasn’t until the following day that they came with the new car. I was surprised to see what my dad had ordered for me. It was a Ford Capri, but with the large 2.8 engine and fuel injection. I presumed he wanted me to have lots of power if I needed to escape at any time. Compared to my old car, it looked very sporty and swish.

Three days later, Norma came over after she finished work. She brought me some groceries and other things I had run short of, and I cooked us a simple dinner. Once we had eaten and talked about everyday things as well as my new car, she poured me a glass of wine and told me to sit down and concentrate.

“Listen carefully, as we cannot write any of this down”.

Branscombe Hall: Part Twenty-Three

This is the twenty-third part of a fiction serial, in 760 words.
My thanks to Sue Judd for the use of her photo.

The man from the garage told me that the tyres on my car had been let down without being damaged. They put air in them and returned the car to work for me. There was still going to be a hefty bill for the low-loader though, charged to the company account. If Gregg was trying to get me to notice him, he was doing a good job, as well as making me very angry with him.

That Friday, we held the very last of our auctions for the items from the Hall. It was common knowledge that work was starting on the Country Park the first of next month, and the builders planning to convert the place into luxury flats had already screened off the building and the land that would be used for the golf course. Perhaps because it was the last sale interest was high, and it did much better than we had expected. After sandwiches and coffee at work before we closed up, I was looking forward to getting home and relaxing.

On my driveway, I locked the car and dropped the keys. As I bent down to pick them up, a hand grabbed my head from behind, and pushed it into the side of the car with great force. Before I could scream or do anything, it happened again.

Three more times.

Sitting on the gravel with blood streaming from my nose and tears rolling down my cheeks, I managed to find the keys and get into the house in a half-crawl. I reached the phone and dialled 999 for the police, telling them I had been attacked, and was bleeding. Then I rang Norma, who said she would be right over.

For the rest of that evening, I felt I was in a dream. The ambulance arrived ten minutes before the police car, and they patched me up, suggesting I go to hospital. When the police came, I blurted out that my estranged husband had attacked me, and gave them his name and a description. I didn’t know his address of course, but told them he was living in Gloucester, and might be driving an old battered Fiat. When Norma arrived, I sent the ambulance away, telling them if I needed the hospital, Norma would take me.

Norma’s face was like stone. “This time, you are going to prosectute. Did he say anything? Did you see him leave? What was he wearing?” She fired questions at me so fast I didn’t have time to answer one before the next one was asked. Eventually, I just broke down in tears and said nothing. It was a good hour before I could make sense and explain to Norma that I hadn’t seen who attacked me as it had happened so quickly and nothing had been said. She helped me get properly washed and cleaned up, shaking her head at how swollen my nose was. But despite her suggesting I should, I didn’t want to go to hospital. The police had said they would try to find Gregg and let me know what happens next.

It was almost midnight when someone from the police rang. They had found Gregg, which implied they must have had dealings with him at the new address. Trouble was, he had a cast iron alibi, backed up by two men who also rented rooms in the house. They all told the police that they had been drinking in Gregg’s room since just after six, and none of them had left Gloucester. The officers confirmed that all three men were very drunk. One of them was also the registered owner of a 1971 Fiat.

As I had not seen my attacker, and Gregg had his solid alibi, it was decided not to arrest him. The woman on the phone was sympathetic, but also realistic. “He would never be charged, Mrs White. It’s your word against his, and he has witnesses, which you sadly don’t. Are you even certain it was him? To be honest, it could have been anybody”.

When I told Norma what the police had said, she nodded. “Just as I suspected. Even if you had lied and said you had seen him attack you, that alibi would have meant no charges. But this has got to stop, it really has”. I was crying again, and told her I didn’t think it would ever end. She put her arm around me, and replied in a measured tone.

“Leave it to me, I have an idea”.

Retro Music 65

Most of you will have heard of Nina Simone. Singing Gospel, Jazz, Blues, or Pop, she covered every genre in her long career. One of the first of her records I remember hearing was ‘My Baby Just Cares For Me’. I was around 8 years old when the jazzy song was released in Britain, and my dad had a copy that we used to sing along to.

It was many years later that I discovered that this was a cover version of a song from the musical ‘Whoopee’, from 1930. I found the Jack Payne version from that year, and realised that Nina had adapted it very well to her style. However, I still had a soft spot for the original.

Here is the 1930 version

And this is Nina’s version, originally released in 1959.

My baby don’t care for shows
My baby don’t care for clothes
My baby just cares for me
My baby don’t care for cars and races
My baby don’t care for high-tone places
Liz Taylor is not his style
And even Lana Turner’s smile
Is somethin’ he can’t see
My baby don’t care who knows
My baby just cares for me
Baby, my baby don’t care for shows
And he don’t even care for clothes
He cares for me
My baby don’t care for cars and races
Baby don’t care for
He don’t care for high-tone places
Liz Taylor is not his style
And even Liberace’s smile
Is something he can’t see
Is something he can’t see
I wonder what’s wrong with baby
My baby just cares for
My baby just cares for
My baby just cares for me
Source: Musixmatch
Songwriters: Gus Kahn / Walter Donaldson

Branscombe Hall: Part Twenty-Two

This is the twenty-second part of a fiction serial, in 775 words.
My thanks to Sue Judd for the use of her photo.

I could smell the alcohol on him even as he approached me from behind. Instinctively, I got into the driver’s seat and locked the door from the inside. Gregg pressed his palms against the window, leaning forward and shouting.

“Just talk to me, I only want to talk! I’ve got a job, starting next Monday. It’s in a warehouse in Gloucester, good money”.

Without replying, I turned the key and started the car. He walked round to the front of it and folded his arms, almost daring me to run over him. Of course, he had forgotten that only the house where I had been was at the end of that lane, and I had to reverse out. Reversing as fast as I safely could, it took him a few moments to realise, and then he started to chase the car. But he had left it too late, and I was able to swing out onto the village main street before he caught up. As I drove away at speed, I noticed an old battered Fiat haphazardly parked at the junction.

My heart was racing as I headed for home. He must have borrowed that Fiat from someone and followed me, but I hadn’t noticed it on the way there. Why would I? He was banned from driving, and had no car. The last thing I had been worried about was Gregg following me.

With the chance that he would drive to the house, I went to Norma’s instead. Fortunately there were no police cars around, as I was driving well over the speed limit all the way. I told Norma what had happened, and she calmed me down with a cup of strong tea.

“He is taking chances to get to you now, Alicia. Driving a car when he is banned and has been drinking, he would get in real trouble for that if he gets stopped. You are going to have to seriously consider reporting him to the police, or at the very least see your solicitor and get an injunction against Gregg to prevent him from harassing you”.

She was talking sense as always, but I really didn’t want it to go that far. If he had a new job, he might get his life back on track. Even though I had given up on our marriage, I didn’t want to be the one to ruin his life by reporting him. He was doing a good enough job of ruining it on his own. It sounds silly now, telling you this, but I suppose I was still soft hearted at the time.

Despite Norma’s offer to stop over, I was determined to go home. If I saw the Fiat anywhere near the house, I would phone the police and to hell with it. I could not allow Gregg’s behaviour to dictate where I went, or stop me from living in my own house. Norma told me to phone her once I was safe inside. “Lock everything, all the windows too”.

There was no Fiat, and I actually managed to get a good sleep, which surprised me. I looked outside before leaving the house though, just in case. Ready for work, I checked all the locks twice before leaving.

But I didn’t get very far.

All four tyres on my car were flat. They didn’t appear to be damaged, but had no air in them at all. It had to be Gregg, I knew that immediately. Back inside, I rang for a taxi, and also phoned the garage we used for all the auction house vehicles. They said they would pick up my car on a low-loader, inspect all the tyres, and let me know later by ringing me at work. By the time the taxi arrived, I was angry.

Using an unoccupied office at work, I spoke to our solicitor on the phone. I outlined the events of the night before, and the flat tyres. Reluctant to mention any violence, I did tell him about the slap during dinner. I told him I wanted to arrange an injunction to stop Gregg coming anywhere near me. His reply was less than encouraging.

“Did anyone else see him approach the car, Alicia? Are you even sure he drove the Fiat there? Witnesses would be essential, or he could deny everything. I doubt anyone saw him letting down tyres in the middle of the night, and as for the slapping, I’m afraid you should have reported it to the police. As things stand, there would be no possibility of an injunction on that evidence”.