Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1993 – 40th, MR2, M People, Mrs Doubtfire

I cannot remember a time when music and movies where not a part of my life.

1993 – 40th, MR2, M People, Mrs Doubtfire

It is 1993 and in the February I hit the big 40. At the beginning of the year, I looked at my wish list as most of us do before hitting a milestone birthday. One of my top ‘things to do before I am 40’ was to own a racy little number.

As a teenager I had a number of boyfriends who owned sports cars. Whilst they may have anticipated something a little different when I suggested that we adjourn to the car park at Clarence Parade after a date, they were disappointed. I only wanted their car keys! I had spent many a happy hour in a Triumph Spitfire or a later model TR4 doing circuits of the car park.

I did not get my official driving licence until 1980 and had driven for both work and pleasure in the intervening years. We had enjoyed many road trips when living in Texas including across from Houston to New Mexico, a distance of 650 miles without stopping except for gas.

I had returned from Houston with one of my most prized souvenir; a 1985 dark grey metallic Mercury Topaz. Despite initial problems finding unleaded petrol when we returned to the UK with it 1987, I had driven happily for the last six years. I was lucky to find a mechanic who was an American car fan who would come and pick it up from my office in the Docklands, service and deliver back to me by the end of the day.

As I approached the big day in February, I happened to mention to him that I was thinking of selling the Topaz and buying a sports car so wanted mine in tip top condition. He looked off into the distance for a moment before suggesting that we do a swap.

Turned out that he had a MR2 Mk1 that he drove and he had recently had a baby and wanted a family car. He loved my Topaz and the price was around the same. Bingo… Two days before my 40th I was a proud owner of the small but perfectly formed MR2 in black with a T-bar sunroof. I was in heaven.

There was not much room in that little car but I loved driving it and although I have had another MK 2 since then, one day, provided I can get in and out of it; I will be looking for a reconditioned MK1 to drive into the sunset in.

Both of us were working flat out but I would listen to the radio and tapes on the drive from our home in South Woodford to the Docklands. That year the charts seemed to be all about love.

Whitney Houston had three hits that year in the charts; I Will Always Love You, I’m Every Woman and I Have Nothing. Meat Loaf I’d Do Anything For Love, UB40 I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You, HaddawayWhat is Love, Elton John and Kiki Dee with True Love and to counteract all the lovin’ was Gloria Gaynor and I Will Survive! Others songs were about travelling including Billy Joel River of Dreams, Pet Shop BoysGo West, Lenny KravitzAre You Gonna Go My Way. I was an M People fan so I have chosen One Night in Heaven which combines both love and travel! MPeopleVEVO 

Buy M People Music Amazon

As you will have gathered if you have been following this series is that film was very important to both David and I. This year was particularly good for movies and included Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List, Philadelphia, The Piano, Groundhog Day, Mrs. Doubtfire, The Firm, Sleepless in Seattle, Indecent Proposal, Farewell my Concubine (stunning), The Age of Innocence, Alive and Tombstone.

One of my favourite clips from Mrs Doubtfire includes Robin Williams doing the vacuuming. This by the way is a great way to exercise!

Buy Mrs. Doubtfire. Amazon


Thank you for joining me on this walk down Memory Lane and I hope you will join me again tomorrow for more. Sally

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1988 – Hydraulic failure, New Zealand, Wind shear and Gold Panning.

I cannot remember a time when music and movies where not a part of my life.

Memories are made of this 1988 Hydraulic failure, New Zealand, Wind shear and Gold Panning.

For the first few months of 1988 both of us were working hard at our individual jobs and getting know the people we worked with as well as our neighbours. I was promoted to Advertising Sales Manager at the paper where I worked which was gratifying but added an element of pressure to the job. I enjoyed that and set about building the classified sales team for the weekdays and introducing a telephone sales team in the evenings and weekends for cars and property.

It was the end of the summer before we knew it and we both felt we needed to go for a really good holiday. We had spent time in the Alps both in summer and winter and loved it, but we suddenly realised that we had a huge amount of air miles accumulated with Continental Airlines. It was coming up to our anniversary so we decided to go as far as our air miles could take us first class.

Believe it or not we could go to New Zealand and back and we duly booked our flights to coincide with our Wedding Anniversary in November.

The journey would turn out to be one that has stayed in my memory for the last 28 years. Flying first class was of course amazing and the flight to San Francisco was a delight and I even managed to lay flat for a good nap. We waited for an hour for our connecting flight and found that we had the two front seats in the upper cabin and buckled up for the flight to Hawaii where we were due to refuel. We arrived late that night and we were both a little jet-lagged by this time… We dozed as they refuelled the plane and then returned to our seats for take-off.

It was fine for the first couple of minutes as we ascended into the dark pacific skies until they tried to lower the wheels. Then the huge plane began to judder as if it was about to fall out of the air. At first I put it down to turbulence and David even dropped off to sleep again. However, I soon realised something was very wrong and woke him up again.

Then the captain came on the intercom and announced that we appeared to have suffered hydraulic failure and there was no indication that the wheels were up or down or locked in either position. We would now be circling Hawaii for 90 minutes dumping as much of the fuel we had just taken on board as possible. David felt there was nothing he could do about this so went back to sleep!

I sat white knuckled for the entire time and spent a terrifying five minutes in the brace position as we landed. Thankfully the wheels were still locked down and we arrived safely. We then spent four hours waiting for the repairs to be completed and they then expected us to get back on the same plane!!

Having landed safely in Auckland we spent three days exploring the City of Sails including the fascinating aquarium and took a trip on a boat made entirely of recycled Coke cans.

As you can imagine despite all the thousands of miles I had flown in my lifetime around the world, I was rather nervous about flying so soon after the recent incident. However, we were booked into a hotel in Queenstown on Lake Wakatipu and had to take a flight to Wellington on South Island and then to Queenstown. The problem was the planes got smaller and smaller and eventually we were on a rather bumpy flight in a tiny prop aircraft.

It was worth it however as you can see from this amazing photograph of Lake Wakatipu and we threw ourselves into the activities. Jet boating at breakneck speeds, hiking the surrounding area of amazing geographic diversity and enjoying a spectacular lake cruise on the TSS Earnslaw which is a vintage steamboat brought overland and reconstructed on site. The ship took us to the other end of the lake when the captain appeared in dressed for another job entirely. His first mate was a sheep dog and they showed us how to round up a flock and then shear them. Brilliant day.

One of the highlights was dinner for our anniversary at the now closed Treetops restaurant where the brave could climb a staircase into a tree for their dinner. We stayed on ground level thank you very much and the seafood was stunning.

One of the activities offered was definitely more up David’s street than mine. White water rafting did not appeal especially as it meant wearing a skin tight rubber suit! It was a beautiful day and the ranking for the route was moderate. David headed off and I enjoyed some sun shine on the balcony of the hotel. Unfortunately within a very short space of time the danger ranking for the white water was upgraded to the top of the range and since the trip was captured by photographers along the route here is the evidence. David is the guy in glasses in the middle of the raft as they rescue passengers from another that had capsized.

Bungee jumping was not at its peak at the time but here is a bridge that the more adventurous and later tourists could jump from.

A gentler and potentially more profitable activity was gold-panning and we spent a very pleasant if unfruitful afternoon sifting the bottom of this alleged laden tributary off the lake.

We had a wonderful time and I tried not to think of the return flight and the potential hazards of flying. We boarded the plane in Auckland and were a few rows back in the bottom cabin this time. All was uneventful with a routine refuelling stop back in Hawaii followed by a peaceful flight to San Francisco. However, as the plane came into land we were suddenly slewed sideways and the plane started to climb rapidly accompanied by shrieks and screams from the passengers (and a couple of flight attendants!)…We had experienced wind shear and had to go around twice before we could land.

When we arrived back in the UK I announced that my flying days were over for the time being and threw my passport in a drawer.

With work and various other outside activities music took a bit of a backseat but here are some of my favourites of 1988. Kylie Minogue I should be so lucky and Locomotion. Phil Collins – Groovy kind of love, Belinda Carlisle Heaven is a place on earth, The Hollies – He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother, Whitney Houston One moment in time, Pet Shop Boys – Always on my mind, Elton John Candle in the wind and the amazing late Robert Palmer with She makes my day. Robert Palmer Youtube

We did get to the movies at the weekend and would make a day of it by having lunch on Saturdays around Leicester Square and then hitting the cinema. The films of that year were not all great but the ones that we did see included Rain man, Die Hard, The Accused, The Accidental Tourist, The Naked Gun, Cocktail, Dangerous Liaisons, The Big Blue, the brilliant A Fish Called Wanda, Gorillas in the Mist, Cinema Paradiso, Rambo II and Beaches with a song that has become an anthem.

The divine Miss Bette Midler with Wind beneath my Wings.

Buy Beaches: Amazon


I hope you have enjoyed this walk down memory lane with me to 1988 and will join me again next weekend for the next installment… thanks Sally


Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1964 – West Side Story – Maria – Tonight

I cannot remember a time when music and movies where not a part of my life.

South Africa 1964 – West Side Story 

Having tea on our stoep in Newlands 1964

When we lived in South Africa we did not have television or a record player but my parents had a wireless in their bedroom and they would listen to music sometimes in the evening and certainly would get the BBC World Service for news from home.

The only source of music was therefore the musical films that my father would bring home courtesy of his role as Film Officer at HMS Afrikander. Last week I wrote about my first crush for Lt. Joe Cable and the love of the songs from “South Pacific” and this week I look at 1964 and the turn of another of my favourite musicals.

West Side Story


“West Side Story” was released in 1961 but by the time the cans of film had cycled around to Cape Town it was 1964 and our life in this amazing country was in full swing. I was attending the local Afrikaans school and was doing well with my language studies. At weekends my father would pile us into the car and we would head to the beach or up to the Ceres Mountains where we would stay in rondavels and swim in the icy cold water of the camp swimming pool.

The curry and film night had become a monthly fixture with couples who lived in our neighbourhood, mostly other naval colleagues of my father.

As usual I watched the musical through the crack in the living room door, trying not to cough as the cigarette smoke from all the dinner guests filtered as designed around the opening. In those days it was more unusual if someone did not smoke and it is no wonder that I took the habit up myself by age 14.

Anyway back to West Side Story. The original Broadway musical had been inspired by Romeo and Juliet in 1957. The adapted film was directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins and starred Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, Russ Tamblyn and the wonderful George Chakiris as Bernardo head of the Sharks.

I was entranced by the cast, music and the dancing and it confirmed my ambition to become an actress especially in musicals! (You never know I might still manage that….)

There were so many memorable songs from the film that it is hard to choose just one and as with South Pacific I took it upon myself eventually to learn the ones that I loved most. These included Maria, I Feel Pretty, America, Somewhere and the wonderful, Tonight.

Here is a recent version of “Maria” from the versatile Julian Ovenden  courtesy adam28xx 

And “Tonight” from the soundtrack

Buy the film: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK


Thanks for dropping in and I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane.. next time we return to England where my father is stationed near Preston in Lancashire for two years… very different from sunny South Africa.