Saturday 4 July 2015

The Saturday List #78 - The best things in life when I was growing up in Mill Hill

Tonibel Ice Cream - Started in Burnt Oak!

I've not done a Saturday list for a while. This one was sort of triggered by a comment my son made. We were chatting and he said "Dad, when you were a kid, they didn't have mobile phones, did they?" I replied "No". He said "How did you ever get to meet up with your friends or do anything then?". I had to explain that you'd see people and make arrangements and stick to them. He was bemused. This lead me to start thinking about how things have changed and that made me think of all manner of things. Here is a list in no particular order, of some of the best things in life, that at the time I used to get excited about.

1. A big Ice Cream cone from Tonibel in Burnt Oak, with a 99 flake in it and with raspberry source on top (the vans were fun, but the shop was a Mecca!)
2. A big cream cake and a hot chocolate in Chowens in Mil Hill Broadway.
3. A Chinese meal with my family at the Chinese restaurant on Burnt Oak High Street.
4. Sitting at the front of a train from St Pancras to Mill Hill, when the driver left the blackout blind up and being able to see the end of Belsize tunnel emerge as the train went through it.
5. Getting the paddling pool out in the back garden during the long summer holidays
6. Tobogoning down the Bunns Lane slope of Mill Hill Park in the winter.
7. Going to H.A. Blunt and sons and buying Airfix model aeroplanes to make.
8. Climbing up the trees at the bottom of my garden and building bases at the top
9. Scrumping the apples and nicking the loganberries from Mrs Grovers garden next door
10. Visiting Callis Bike shop in Mill Hill Broadway.

There are many, many other things as well, but these were the first ten that came into my mind, so they got on the list. I don't know who else remembers the Chinese restaurant in Burnt Oak. As I recall, the outside was painted blue and inside the lights had chinese style lanterns on, I used to lve the hot plates with candles in. These days we are too "sophisticated" for such gaudy items, but I used to love it. I can remember when my brother Frank got married and moved to Chelmsford, he announced that he'd found a "better chinese restaurant than the one in Burnt Oak". He cited the fact that they did this amazing dish called "Spare ribs".  We went to visit him and they were delicious, but it wasn't the magical palace that the Burnt Oak restaurant was. Shortly after, my folks got all snobby about it and stopped going there.  You'll notice that 2 of my list are in Burnt Oak, which partly explains my affection for the place.

I wonder what my kids would put in their blog, when they are 52 years old recalling their youth?

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Your recollection of your train journey reminds me of when I was a small boy living in Fife. It was always a great treat to get the train to Edinburgh. It was one of the old diesel multiple units in which there was a view over the driver's shoulder, and 'driving the train' over the Forth Bridge is something I'll never forget.

Thanks for the memory - even though it's not of Mill Hill