Tuesday 3rd August 1993

Today we went to the play scheme up at the farm.  I hung around with Rosa today.  I like Rosa.  I did clay first I made a snake.  Then I did five wholemeal bread buns with Andrea in the house.  I had dinner with Rosa.  Then in the afternoon I made biscuits.  At quarter to three we tidied up and play parachutes in the front garden.  We rolled the parachute up so much then we bumped people on it.  Then Sarah gave us all a biscuit then we went home.  It was fun at Lower Shaw Farm. We’re going to the farm tomorrow.  I want to do juggling and paint my snake tomorrow.

I kept the clay snake for years but eventually it started to crumble, the tail snapped off and it ended up in the bin.  It’s one of the few things I’ve actually thrown away as I take after my Mum in the hoarding stakes.  I only recently threw away a pot which contained teeth I had removed when I was 12 but I still have the wisdom tooth I had removed early this year! 

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I’m not obsessed with teeth I hasten to add, I just like keeping hold of things.  I have nearly every birthday card I’ve ever been given, a shoebox full of bookmarks which I’ve been collecting since I was six, several old mobile phones and at least 50 balls of yarn.  I have eclectic taste to say the least.

I’m not in touch with Rosa but I know that she is now a successful entrepreneur running her own business Rosa Bloom ‘a travelling boutique which tours the UK festival circuit each summer, with its quirky collection of circus, burlesque, theatrical, vintage-inspired costumes, clothing, and accessories!  This online shop brings you a little taster of the finest treats from the Bloom collections. Everything contained within is exclusively designed by Rosa Bloom, and made by tailors and artisans in Bali, Indonesia, where Rosa Bloom works one-on-one with the producers, ensuring fairly-traded goods, made to a high level of detailed workmanship.’  http://www.rosabloom.bigcartel.com/

She channelled her eccentricities into a business, I’m just headed for crazy cat lady status at some point!

Monday 2nd August 1993

Today it was my dads birthday.  We got up and gave him our presents.  Then we rang the play scheme people.  And now we’re going to the farm on Tuesday and Wednesday.  We went to Town Gardens it was fun.  We saw an avairy it was lovely.

I’ve never been keen on early mornings so it shows how much I love my Dad that I got up at 7.25am during the holidays.  Although how reliable that is I don’t know as I couldn’t really tell the time until I was at secondary school.  I also had trouble with my shoelaces.  What I lacked in practical skills I made up for with a creative flair.  My Mum says I’m special.

Lower Shaw Farm in West Swindon played an important role in our childhood.  Nina went to kindergarten there, Adam used to play on the rope swing in the barn and we all went to the summer play scheme when we could afford it.  The Farm website notes: ‘Once home to seventy black and white cows, the farm is now a 3-acre oasis in an area of suburban development. It is run as a co-operative by residents Andrea, Matt, and a phenomenal team of helpers from near and far. Its outbuildings have been converted to meeting rooms, dormitories, and workshops. With its large vegetable, herb, and flower gardens, its shrubs and trees, its puddles and ponds, hens and ducks, black and white sheep, friendly pigs, and unspoilt areas for play and exploration, the farm has developed an atmosphere and character of its own. Its outer ramshackle appearance masks an inner order and warmth. It’s sort of wild, welcoming, and very nice!’

It really is very beautiful and still has children’s activity days along with cooking courses, yoga, crafts and Festival of Literature events, do visit if you can!

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Thursday 29th July 1993

Today we went in to town to buy my dads birthday presents we brought him a watch which was really nice.  We spent ages in the Body Shop looking for something else.  Adventually we brought an orange flannel an orange soap and fuzzy peach bath lotion.  We had dinner in Macdonalds we ate in the blondie park and there were some men who scared me.  We went to Queens Park and saw lots of fishes.  We did some shopping and came home.

I don’t know if my Dad particularly wanted to smell like a fuzzy peach – it hardly strikes me as a masculine scent.  This might be one of those cases where I bought something that I secretly wanted myself.  Maybe I had my eye on the watch too?  No, that’s not likely, I couldn’t tell the time at 10, I still struggle now!

Once again I’m complaining about being scared of something.  I don’t remember spending my childhood in a perpetual state of anxiety and fear, I think maybe I was trying to add some drama and tension to my life story.  The Blondini Park was what we sometimes called the rocks which were outside McDonalds in Swindon Town Centre – an area where the drunks used to congregate and obviously scare small children. 

You can see a photo of the Blondini statue being unveiled in 1987 on the excellent flickr site from the Swindon Collection at Central Library: http://www.flickr.com/photos/swindonlocal/6672481469/

I only ever remember it looking bashed about and covered in graffiti and this is probably closer to what it looked like in 1993:

The Link Magazine explains how the statue came to be there in first place: http://www.swindonlink.com/news/renovated-blondinis-unveiled-at-revamped-recreation-ground

In 2005 the rocks and Blondini statue were removed, a giant television screen stuck on the side of the car park and the drunks moved around the corner to Fleming Way.  Swindon Borough Council proudly declared the area revamped and named it Wharf Green (there’s no wharf/quay/docks/shipyards/water – and people say the Council doesn’t have a sense of humour).