EDitorial ± 26-Feb-2003

Lido Dido

I'm Ed Broom of Broomhill Road. And if I had a penny for every time someone had been bright enough to point out the connection, I'd have 97p. Playing word association with an Ipswich native, you say the name of my road, they'll say Broomhill swimming pool. 'Cos I've got a pool at the top of my road: haven't you?

Then yesterday, on Tuesday 25th February 2003, my eye was rather caught by the front of the local Evening Star newspaper, shown below:

Plug set to be pulled on pool

Under the heading "Doomhill", with the byline "Plug set to be pulled on pool", the report starts like this:

Broomhill swimming pool in Ipswich is unlikely to ever re-open to the public. The pool will be shut this year while Ipswich Council looks at the future of swimming facilities in the town. And today the council's leisure spokesman admitted it was difficult to see it ever re-opening.

View of the pool looking up towards the top of Broomhill Road   Part of the pool building adjacent to the lane that runs between Broomhill Road and Sherrington Road

At this point I should mention that the pool is:

  • open-air
  • unheated - most Ipswich people can vouch for this
  • open only from May to September

Also, this isn't exactly the first time that the pool has been threatened with closure. Five years ago there was much um-ing and ah-ing over whether to repair some serious leaks. The talk now is that to have a long term future, it would need to be totally rebuilt. At a cost of nearly £3million. Yikes!

Rather tatty closed entrance to the pool

Going back 25 years, there were two open-air pools in the town: Broomhill and Piper's Vale, both constructed in the 1930s. But the coming of the Orwell Bridge forced the disappearance of Piper's Vale, leaving just the one lido.

Would be a great shame to see it go, since it provides a home for stacks of kids on hot days in the summer holidays. Like, I suspect, a lot of town residents, I've not been in since I was knee-high. But it's good to drive up the road (to turn around - it's a cul-de-sac) of a late summer afternoon and see some brave soul venture out on the high diving board. Sometimes they go back, sometimes they jump.

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 21-Feb-2003

Colour Of My Parachute

If I was the type that noticed these things, I'd remark that winter seems to be slowly blooming into spring, and that Mother Nature is awakening from her slumbers. But I'm not, and that kind of language is rather too opal fruity (Starbursty, if you will) for these pages.

Still, while lopping bits of tree earlier this week, it felt good to be out with the sun beating down on my Maine New England fleece. Baa!

Enough with the discourse: let's see some priddy colours captured out at the in-laws this past Wednesday:

Swingball bat much used by the boy   Plastic sheep resembling a giant maggot   Reverse of Ella's favoured Gap fleece

Reverse of father-in-law's superbly practical top   Close-up of the Barbie bike   ELC swing seat

It's good to touch the green, green grass of home   Several oranges: enough said   Side of the little barn

Rear of a Fiat Coupe   Side panel of a Renault Megane Scenic, much in need of a wash   Wendy house wood

Quite pleasing to the eye, ay what?

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

Paint the whole world:

  1. Haliborange
  2. hey look, old yellow's leaving
  3. soylent green, nasty stuff
  4. smart old blue he took the Milky Way
  5. black and white and red all over

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 12-Feb-2003

Thinking Time

Pop quiz: know your lyrics? Given a couple of clues, namely that (a) the line below is from a Christmas number 1 single, and (b) it's approximately ten years old, can you name the record?

His philosophy of life will steer him through

Because I know you'll peek (as the great Oscar said, "I can resist everything except temptation"), I've relegated the answer to the footer of this page.

Most of what I know about philosophy comes from that Monty Python drinking song, the one that includes this verse:

John Stuart Mill
Of his own free will
On half a pint of shandy was particularly ill

Terribly useful to be able to recall the full lyrics if, say, someone's holding a gun to your head and threatening to pull the trigger unless you can name at least ten philosophers. OK, not the greatest example, but, in the current high-security climate, you can't rule anything out.

All that I know most surely about morality and obligations, I owe to football --- Albert Camus (shirt from Philosophy Football, a highly recommended company)

I've got my old French teacher to thank for the remainder of my philosophical awareness. Doing A-level (natch), a sizeable part of the course was taken up with French literature, during which we studied a variety of works by authors I'd never heard of, including:

  • Anouilh: dramatist; wrote Becket, filmed in 1964 with Richard Burton
  • Gide: had to rely on the translated version of The Pastoral Symphony
  • Maupassant: king of the short story; famed for "le mot juste"
  • Sartre: Mr Existential
Donc alors, we were reading up on Jean-Paul Sartre one lesson and taking turns to read aloud. I was OK until presented with the name of "Camus", which stupidly I pronounced to rhyme with Seamus. Mr Hill nearly hit the roof. Camoo! he shouted, Camoo! Such a moment tends to stay with you.

I warmed to Monsieur Camus, first name Albert, when I discovered that he'd been partial to a game of footy, putting on the goalie's jersey for the Algiers University team. To cut his long story short, a case of TB forced him into sporting retirement; he put pen to paper, writing The Plague and The Outsider among other works; he died, aged just 46, in a car crash.

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 5-Feb-2003

A Family Affair (Part 2)

Two years back I wrote about looking into my dad's family tree, and how my dad's dad was one of eleven children. I'd also discovered that the father of these eleven, my great-grandfather, was named James Broom. Well, with Time On My Hands (TM), I've been able to find out a wee bit more.

Thanks to the now-working-pretty-well 1901 online census, it was straightforward to find James ("foundry painter") and wife Ellen in Potter Street, Ipswich, with seven children, aged from 16 down to 1.

Trickier to look up was the 1891 census, but there's James ("brickmaker") & Ellen at Waterworks Street, Cook's Yard, still in the town, with just the three oldest kids, aged from 5 down to 3 weeks.

Don't know where I'm going wrong, but I can't find him in the 1881 census, even though this is available on CD-Rom and therefore electronically searchable. Frustrating.

The Old Cemetery, Ipswich

Got stuck going backwards, so decided to head forwards instead. Using the Kelly's directories on the shelves of Ipswich Record Office, I found James Broom in Waterworks Street as of 1934, and not there in 1935. He'd have been in his 70s by this time, so I went to the local registrar in the hope of obtaining a copy of his death certificate. Which they had, and which I picked up this very afternoon:

  • when & where died : 16 March 1935, 14 Shackleton Road
  • age : 74 years
  • occupation : 3 Samuel Court, Rope Walk, Ipswich; retired painter, general engineering works
  • cause of death : heart failure, acute bronchitis
  • description of informant : NE Baldry, daughter, present at the death
So, the old boy had a good innings by the sound of it! Next step this pm was Ipswich cemetery to see if they could locate his gravestone. I gave the details to the very obliging lady at the desk, and she returned several minutes later to say she'd found it, but there were two slightly peculiar things:
  1. also in the grave with James were Ellen Broom, who'd died only three months earlier on 15-Dec-1934 aged 71 (another long stayer), and Martha Broom, only 14 when she'd died on 7-Apr-1914
  2. the site is a public plot, i.e. not private, i.e. not purchased, so grave isn't marked in any way

Unassuming unmarked plot that's home to James, Ellen and Martha

In the photo above, that patch of grass in the foreground between the two marked graves is plot X-21-12, the final resting place of James Broom, his wife Ellen, and poor Martha, one of their seven daughters. May they rest in peace.

Be seeing you!