Herself gave me a new radio for Christmas, a Roberts’ Revival, a retro set that is meant to look like one of the transistor radios from the 1960s. I turned it on, half in hope of hearing Tony Blackburn or Jimmy Savile. Didn’t Jimmy Savile have his Old Record Club every Sunday lunchtime? Then there used to be Annie Nightingale’s programme which used to begin with a song called ‘Lazy Sunday Afternoon’, or something like that.
I pondered the radio, it is the second one Herself has given me. I still have the last one. The tuner doesn’t work very well and I meant to get it fixed. I haven’t had it very long. I got it for Christmas in 1982. I remember getting a packet of Staedtler pencils from her as a ‘stocking-filler’, I’m not sure if any of the pencils have survived, but the packet is around somewhere, I kept it, for sentimental reasons.
It suddenly struck me that twenty-five years was not very long. It was the last Christmas before we were married. We were both still students in England, Herself in Manchester University and I at the London School of Economics. I had turned 22 a couple of months previously, Herself was 21.
There are no memories of Christmas but Herself came for New Year. We went to Salisbury on the train on New Year’s Day, a big Southern Region locomotive pulled the train from Yeovil Junction. I bought Philip Toynbee’s “Part of a Journey”, it is still on my bookshelf, it does not seem twenty-five years since I read of his recovery from depression. It was an important book for me.
I never did do all the things I had planned, the world slipped by before I had time. But I have my radio and the BBC and my copy of Philip Toynbee and for a moment God is in his heaven and all is right with the world.