The Fords and the Holylands

Not the best of photos, it is a low res one found online. In fact I found it totally out of the blue, when researching my Great Grandma Maud Holyland (Née Harnett-Ford). It shows the wedding of her sister Gladys May Ford… for some reason my Great Grandma is the only family member listed as a Harnett-Ford.

I’m supposing the photo was taken at Saint Michael All Angels Church on Melton Road in Leicester. It was where my Great Grandparents married in 1915.

So only guessing, but I think that Maud is second from the right. The facial resemblance to my Grandad Holyland is striking. Also think the little girl on the right is her daughter, my Grandad’s elder sister, Grace. Then I’m supposing the old bearded gent is Maud & Glady’s father, Josiah Ford. So my Great Great Grandfather. He was from Foleshill near Coventry. For some reason he moved to Wolverhampton where Maud was born. Not long after the family moved to Leicester. Maud met my Great Grandad Simeon Norman Holyland there, who was a local man.

So this is an extra special find, as I didn’t have a photo of Maud or of Josiah.

Off to Sandtoft…

By September 1996 I had left the Midland Fox bus company, leaving in October 1995 after 5 years with them.

I carried on attending bus rallies with them though, in 1996. On a visit to an event at the Sandtoft Trolleybus Museum near Doncaster, we stopped off at some services on the M1.
With us we had two guests from Germany. My friend Dirk from Marburg and his friend Volker (who is pictured with me), who was a bus driver for the local company Stadwerke Marburg.

For my last year with the company I used to organise the sales for rally visits, while Paul Swann, the Garage Manager of Southgates depot in Leicester provided and drove the bus.
After having left, Paul carried on organising these visits, which I carried on going to into 1997/8 – if my visit to the UK co-incided with one (I left to live in France in August 1997).

It’s a knock out – Leicester City Football Ground

During my time as a Marketing Assistant at Midland Fox, in May 1992,a special “live” edition of Stuart Hall’s “It’s a knockout” was organised for charity. The venue was the old Leicester City Football Ground at Filbert Street, now long gone.

Staff from Midland Fox put together a team to take part, if you worked for the company see if you can recognise any of the faces. My ex colleague, Roger Hartopp was there to record this event.

Video © Roger Hartopp.

Getting down that thar mast…

My Dad was a keen CB’er and then Radio Amateur (“Radio Ham”), in fact his Dad had also been a Radio Ham from the early 50’s until the early 60’s. His Dad was a foreman in charge of fitting radios into aircraft at Beagle-Auster in Rearsby in the 60’s.

Somehow my Dad had “found” various scaffold poles, no idea where from, to construct a mast in our back garden. When he passed away, I had to find a way to dismantle it.

In the end I badgered my friends Dwayne, Andy & Richard to come and help me. Eventually with some trepidation they turned up. I think all of us were scared of it falling on us at first – you can see the look of relief on their faces when it actually didn’t.

I dismantled it afterwards and the whole lot ended up down the tip… A sad moment, but I didn’t like the idea of it falling onto surrounding gardens…

End of an era…

Victor Reginald Nelson – 1945-1990

In memory of my Dad born in Enderby in 1945 and passed away at Glenfield Hospital in 1990 of lung cancer.

Now the serious stuff is out of the way…

My Dad was in short a clown but also the person I respected the most when I knew him. Luckily for me, he taught me right from wrong, compassion, consideration, manners and also passion for the things I am interested in.
He was my support through difficult times and my best friend. Sometimes I don’t think I live up to him, but if I did, that would be about enough for me.

Growing up I didn’t know as much about his family as I did my Mum’s. Both his parents died young in their early 50’s (I’m 50 as I write this). His Dad worked in the aircraft industry and was a radio ham, he was born in Nuneaton like me. He died in 1967.
His Mum was a shoehand when she met my Grandad and then a housewife in charge of my Dad and his two elder brothers. She was born in Enderby like my Dad and passed away in 1971 when I was about 18 months old.

My Dad left school aged 16 in 1961 (he often told me that “Runaway” by Del Shannon came out at around the same time) with an O level in Art and not a lot else. He started work as a patternmaker, while taking a City & Guilds at Leicester College in that subject (I think that was Charles Keene).
In the early 70’s he became a CNC machinist at Jones & Shipmans in Braunstone. Was made redundant in 1983.
For the last 7 years of his life he looked after my Mum, or rather stayed with her to make sure she did nothing silly.

Those last 7 years were difficult for us as a family, but in getting into CB radio and then studying for a City & Guilds in radio (he was studying morse code for his A licence when he passed away), then becoming a radio ham like his Dad, he met many friends who helped us through. Without them life would have been very hard.

He deserved so much more in life, but never got it.
In hindsight I realise now he always put me first…

Madrid and Segovia

During our stay we also visited Segovia, to the north of Madrid. A lot of the landscape we saw travelling through Spain looked very dry and barren. However towards Segovia it seemed very green.

Other views in the collage are the Real Madrid stadium, the parc del Prado and the view from the hotel room I shared with Wayne. The student who was always top of our class.
The “view” very similar to a lot of Paris appartments… usually a few of other appartments surrounding and interior courtyard. Yippee…

For most of my stay in Madrid I ended up sleeping on the floor in another hotel room with a couple of friends. This room had a view looking towards Atocha station.


After the name on some T-shirts we had made. It was also MAD…

When I studied for my BTEC National Diploma in Graphic Design at Southfields College / Leicester School of printing, a trip to Madrid by coach was organised in our second & final year.

This was by coach from Leicester to Madrid, so the journey down became a bit hellish. Long, uncomfortable and after the Pyrenees very hot. Even in May.

At the time, back home, my Dad was ill – although at the time we didn’t know it was lung cancer. So I suppose either I was naive or just oblivious. The innocence of youth? He was to pass away on the 13th June.

Meanwhile in Madrid practically none of the itinerary arranged by the course tutors, went to plan. I think they also saw it as an opportunity to let go a bit. Indeed some of them went off to nightclubs with the students. Wouldn’t happen now…

Only one visit happened, which was to a local graphic design college, who weren’t expecting us.
Oh and we visited the Prado Art Museum… but in reality we only spent 30 minutes there, before discovering the open air bars in the park next door. We survived mainly on McDonalds and our own-made sandwiches… Oh and Cerveza…

The time was full of memories, I think those on our course were very cliquey so I hung round with the same people and didn’t really talk to a lot of others on the course. Others did like-wise. In the main it was a class divide… inevitable in the graphic design field. To this day I hate cliques…

After a visit to Segovia… my one main memory was of the weird top of the class lad, called Wayne running while pushing a trolley from a supermarket we had stopped at, towards the coach. It was piled high with packs of beer… Need I say more? :o)

1990 – Going to Madrid

Back in May 1990 I was in the second year of my BTEC National Diploma in Graphic Design course at Leicester School of Printing (Southfields College).

In May that year we made the very long 35 hours journey by coach from Leicester to Madrid, on a trip organised by our tutors. The idea was to visit the Prado art museum and a local graphic design college – and have some fun in between…

This photo shows me with two fellow students at Dover, before our crossing over to Calais. I can remember it like it was yesterday. Fast forwards to 2018 and our car broke down at about the same spot, just as we got the call to board our ferry to Dunkirk.

The last photo of my Dad…

My Dad never liked having his photo taken, so I have relatively few pictures of him. This one was taken about a year before he died, in the back garden of the house we lived in on Woodland Drive, Braunstone. I treasure it.

1987 : Old Bosworthians

A selection of photos from the 6th form party held at The Old Bosworthians Rugby Club, Leicester Forest West. Hard to believe this was so long ago.
I feature in one of the photos… Was 16 and it was only the second time I’d gone out somewhere.