Mum, Joyce, with Sable

Mum, Joyce, with Sable

My adopted Mum, Joyce Ramsey, with Sable, my first (of five) German Shepherds and the best behaved.

Another 50 year anniversary - Chris Ramsey; 'At that time; the Teenage Years'.

After supporting Attlee's reformist post-War Labour government, Joyce and Tom Ramsey got into property - buy a home to live in which was dilapidated, then renovate it. Hence they entered middle-strata prosperity, and for me going home was like visiting a building site. The Daily Telegraph became the daily newspaper in the household during the 1960s and it was a great source for discovering upcoming events - festivals (Drugs! Shock, horror), and demos against Apartheid and the US/Vietnam war. So off to London I would go of a weekend - Grosvenor Square in March 1968 as a sixteen year old sticks in the memory. Joyce decided that if I was going to be a journalist-cum-political activist, it might be an idea to steer me on a better course than rioting outside the US embassy, so she got me a stringer post with the Tory-supporting local Western Gazette (the Gutsache, as it was affectionately known): Tom was posted to Yeovilton Royal Navy Air Station at the time. My first job for the Gazette was doing the PR for the local Tory party - cheese and wine parties, stocky (male and female) 40 year olds flirting with potential slender toyboys (Me! Given recent revelations, I was in more danger than when hitchhiking around Europe, or at my boarding school). There were no political discussions at their meetings. John Peyton, the local Conservative MP, became Transport Secretary in the Heath government elected in 1970. The breathalyser test had just been introduced and prior to his Cabinet appointment, Peyton was aye at gatherings when I was doing my 200 words, getting bevvied and driving home afterwards (both of us; separately). Since 1970, I've passed seven breathalysers: sadly I've failed three.

I spent six futile months tracking Peyton, waiting for him to drive home pissed. I wouldn't consider grassing off many folk, but the Transport Secretary seemed too good an opportunity to pass up, plus I was on a high after bringing Westland Helicopters out on strike over exports to South Africa, I'd completed Ten Tors trudging fifty miles over Dartmoor, my pal Jake had led an occupation at Warwick University and another pal Nick had joined the John Dummer Band. With John Peyton's promotion came a chauffeur-driven car home - what a bastard.

PS: The strike didn't go down well with Tom and Mike, my brother, like me both working at Westlands at the time. Joyce was interested when I told her on a trip to England in the early 1970s that I was down from Scotland for a London meeting and that I was on an editorial board with Herbert Morrison's grandson. Morrison served as Minister of Transport during the 1929-31 Labour Government. He was defeated by Attlee in the Labour leadership election, but served as Home Secretary in the wartime coalition. Joyce was less than impressed to learn that his grandson was a certain Peter Mandelson, that we were both in the Young Communist League. I often wonder what happened to Peter ...
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Mum, Joyce, with Sable

Mum, Joyce, with Sable

My adopted Mum, Joyce Ramsey, with Sable, my first (of five) German Shepherds and the best behaved.

Another 50 year anniversary - Chris Ramsey; 'At that time; the Teenage Years'.

After supporting Attlee's reformist post-War Labour government, Joyce and Tom Ramsey got into property - buy a home to live in which was dilapidated, then renovate it. Hence they entered middle-strata prosperity, and for me going home was like visiting a building site. The Daily Telegraph became the daily newspaper in the household during the 1960s and it was a great source for discovering upcoming events - festivals (Drugs! Shock, horror), and demos against Apartheid and the US/Vietnam war. So off to London I would go of a weekend - Grosvenor Square in March 1968 as a sixteen year old sticks in the memory. Joyce decided that if I was going to be a journalist-cum-political activist, it might be an idea to steer me on a better course than rioting outside the US embassy, so she got me a stringer post with the Tory-supporting local Western Gazette (the Gutsache, as it was affectionately known): Tom was posted to Yeovilton Royal Navy Air Station at the time. My first job for the Gazette was doing the PR for the local Tory party - cheese and wine parties, stocky (male and female) 40 year olds flirting with potential slender toyboys (Me! Given recent revelations, I was in more danger than when hitchhiking around Europe, or at my boarding school). There were no political discussions at their meetings. John Peyton, the local Conservative MP, became Transport Secretary in the Heath government elected in 1970. The breathalyser test had just been introduced and prior to his Cabinet appointment, Peyton was aye at gatherings when I was doing my 200 words, getting bevvied and driving home afterwards (both of us; separately). Since 1970, I've passed seven breathalysers: sadly I've failed three.

I spent six futile months tracking Peyton, waiting for him to drive home pissed. I wouldn't consider grassing off many folk, but the Transport Secretary seemed too good an opportunity to pass up, plus I was on a high after bringing Westland Helicopters out on strike over exports to South Africa, I'd completed Ten Tors trudging fifty miles over Dartmoor, my pal Jake had led an occupation at Warwick University and another pal Nick had joined the John Dummer Band. With John Peyton's promotion came a chauffeur-driven car home - what a bastard.

PS: The strike didn't go down well with Tom and Mike, my brother, like me both working at Westlands at the time. Joyce was interested when I told her on a trip to England in the early 1970s that I was down from Scotland for a London meeting and that I was on an editorial board with Herbert Morrison's grandson. Morrison served as Minister of Transport during the 1929-31 Labour Government. He was defeated by Attlee in the Labour leadership election, but served as Home Secretary in the wartime coalition. Joyce was less than impressed to learn that his grandson was a certain Peter Mandelson, that we were both in the Young Communist League. I often wonder what happened to Peter ...
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