It’s amazing what you can find online!

Back in the mists of time (well, 1972) one of our English Lecturers at Chichester College of Further Education issued a plea for some of us to take part in the search for Miss Chichester. He’d offered to help out in the event and was really worried there’d be no contestants! Doris Hare was appearing at the Festival Theatre and was head judge. Belinda Mayne, daughter of actor Ferdie Mayne became Miss Chichester, and yours truly, one of the two runners up!

We had the most amazing time attending all sorts of events some wonderful, some slightly weird. I have a memory of distributing wilted cornflowers to slightly bemused recipients at St Richards Hospital.

Our dresses were made by a wonderful seamstress from Fishbourne, white velvet for Belinda, orange, with huge white lined sleeves for the two runners up. I still have the dress in the attic. Nope, no way I can get it on these days!

I’ve never understood why I have no photographic evidence of any of the events! However, a bored moment last night had me searching on line again and look! Hidden in the crowds (and behind the other runner up…very ashamed I can’t remember her name) and really only recognisable by the orange dress and floppy hat, the only proof I WAS there! Not the best quality, but a precious memory!

Where were you living when you were seven? What can you remember?

I know, it should have been five, but I found pictures, of when I was seven!

And if this stirs some memories for you – go on, share them in the comments box or email me – lets reminisce together!

Smiling, at seven, for professional photographer, Dad in his studio. Hated it when he entered photos of me in the Chichester Photographic Clubs annual competition!

For me, home was Hillfield Avenue, Selsey. Dad had fairly recently left the Marines and opened Selsey Photographic, mum sold handbags there, too (it’s now a tattoo parlour!).

It was home and shop, with a developing and printing works in what I guess was meant to be the garage. I remember it being dark….our love affair with lighting wasn’t much in evidence in the fifties but brown furniture was!

After a while the shop moved up to the High Street and we moved to live, to Latham Road, but it’s where we were when I was seven.

One day, thinking I was on my own in the house, I heard strange noises from the cupboard. Dad had decided to develop some wedding photos there rather than the workshop and was working his magic on rolls of 35mm film in his dark room. Opening the door let the light in…the wedding photos were ruined….disaster all around! Must be where my horror of having to open closed doors comes from!

Patrick Moore would bring in his pictures of the planets for developing and we’d all gaze in astonishment at the results! Well, to be honest, the adults would, my seven year old eyes got a bit bored with all the blobs!

Sir Patrick Moore….always gloriously dishevelled, gloriously enthusiastic and kind

In 1960, foreign holidays were an unimaginable dream, and finding time to leave the business almost impossible, but Mum, Granny and Grandad and my brother, Paul did head off for a few days to Butlins in Bognor, with Little Bo Peep outfit made and packed!

Fancy dress competition at Butlins…the highlight of the holidays in 1960!

Main memory? The door to door salesman that came often with is brown suitcase of delights produced a glorious red cardigan with, oh, rectangular shiney buttons. Must have been the start of a love affair with haberdashery! I can spend HOURS on button websites!

I still have the hand puppets, bear and dog, that I saved my pocket money up for and bought from the newsagents a few doors down, although they could do with a visit to the Repair Shop!