Postcards from Slough
Postcards from Slough

Postcards from Slough and the media

Anne Diamond radio interview

Radio Berkshire 22 September 2015

On a Friday, but I can’t remember which one, I received an E-mail from by a guy called Chris who identified himself as a researcher for the Anne Diamond morning show on BBC Radio Berkshire. In his E-mail he asked me to call him by telephone to arrange a studio interview on Anne Diamond’s radio show.

 

I was quite pleased because Anne Diamond is a particular favourite of mine. She often appears on the mid-morning Channel 5 current affairs programme The Wright Stuff, sometimes as hostess. What I like about Anne is that when she starts to give an opinion, I may disagree with her initially, but when she finishes, I may still disagree but I find myself thinking in a very different way.

The researcher Chris told me that there would be three slots between songs for the interview with a wind up at the end of the half hour. He suggested that I concentrate on historic stuff. I took his advice but I was to come to regret this. I think Chris perceived Postcards from Slough as a history of Slough but it isn’t. It is a website about my hometown. Looking back, I wish I had chosen the subjects myself and emphasise the diversity of the website reflecting on the diversity of Slough.

 

The day of the interview came. I set up Satnav and began my journey to the BBC Radio Berkshire which are based in a large house north of Caversham. In trying to avoid central Reading I took a countryside route which was a bad decision. There wasn’t much traffic but whatever car I was behind, the driver seemed reluctant to get to where he or she was going and drove at 20mph below the speed limit everywhere.

 

On top of that, Satnav became temperamental especially as we approached Reading. ‘We’ meaning me and Mavis, my name for my Satnav.

I arrived at the house and I parked my car in the rain-soaked car park which seemed to be miles away from the house. I dashed through watery air to get to the studio reception just in time to be almost completely out of breath.

 

I was soon taken to meet Anne in her studio and settled for thee interview which was conducted in breaks between songs. I used my crib sheet to help me talk on my three subjects.

 

  • Sir William Herschel and who were important in science especially astronomy;

  • Ostrich Inn where sixty murders were said to have been committed by the landlord and his wife in medieval times

  • Charles Dickens who rented a house in Slough for some time ostensibly to be near his publishers, Bentleys who based at The Mere, but actually to provide a home for his young mistress Nelly Ternham

     

    The half hour went smoothly. Anne was charming as was her production team John and Michelle. During the last song there was just time for some photos and for Anne to ask about the ladybird pin badge that I was wearing. Then we said our thanks and goodbyes.

The half hour went smoothly. Anne was charming as was her production team John and Michelle. During the last song there was just time for some photos and for Anne to ask about the ladybird pin badge that I was wearing. Then we said our thanks and goodbyes.

 

On my way home I tuned in to Anne’s show and they played a snippet of my interview. It took me a few moments to recognise my own voice and I hated it. When I got home I played the whole interview on BBC iPlayer and with some disappointment at my voice.

 

I reflected on the event. It had been dull grey wet day and the journey had been awful there and back. I was breathless and damp as I went into the waiting room of the studio and I couldn’t help thinking that I had chosen the wrong subjects. I also realised that my radio voice was terrible.

I looked for positives and went philosophical. The thought occurred to me that it is better to have a poor radio voice than it is to have no radio voice at all.

 

Oh and I met Anne Diamond today. On balance, life is good.

Slough Express letters page

None of the photos appeared in any of the original letters

Slough deserves ‘proper museum’

Published Slough Express 22 February 2013

I read with interest the article about the Hawker Hurricane factory site (Memories wanted of Hurricane site, February 15) and I believe that it’s time that Slough had a proper museum.

 

Slough has much to be proud of in its history. It is true that the Hurricane shot down more enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain than all other forms of defence put together.

 

They were mostly bombers so the aircraft was responsible for preventing many bombs, friendly or otherwise, from falling not only on the town, but also across the whole country.

 

This must be a better answer to Betjeman’s ‘friendly bombs’ than writing defensive poetry. The development of radar just over a mile away at Ditton Park, which was part of Slough at the time, also shows the town’s contribution to the war effort.

Hawker Hurricane G-HURI, marked Z5140/H-AC, to represent one of the defenders of Malta.

Part of the Langley airfield became the Ford factory where the first Transit vans were produced.

 

The success of the Transit was such that it rapidly outgrew the factory. It was also the site for the production of the Ford GT40 which won the Le Mans 24-hour race in the 1960s.

 

Astronomer Sir William Herschel was a Slough resident and had a telescope near Windsor Road.

 

He was an important astronomer who not only discovered the planet Uranus but also catalogued much of the night sky.

 

Gerry Anderson produced the TV series Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Stingray on Slough Trading Estate, which has its own history of course.

Stingray from the 1960s Gerry Anderson TV series of the same name. This image did not appear in original letter.

Other points of interest in the boundaries of Slough are the Ostrich Inn, third oldest pub in England; Slough Railway Station, specially designed by Brunel as the first royal station; and the Charles Dickens connection.

 

There is a lot more to Slough than even these things and I think the town should start to recognise the significance of the town before the developers, welcome as they are for the prosperity they bring, completely bury the history and soul of Slough.

Blame weather, not Jubilee River

Published Slough Express 31 January 2013

I read the letters concerning the floods at Datchet and Old Windsor posted in last week's edition of the Slough Express. I live in a low-risk area of the flood plain but I feel a great deal of sympathy for the victims of the disaster.

The path that connects Cippenham to Eton Wick and the field adjacent to it were very flooded.

Quite understandably the letters blamed the Jubilee River flood relief scheme but the true cause was the unusually inclement weather. The amount of water that flowed into the Thames and Jubilee at Taplow would have been equal the amount flowing out of the system at the other end above Datchet with the addition of local rain and a few ditches feeding the system on the way.

 

In other words, under the recent conditions, the amount of water involved in the floods in the area of Datchet and Old Windsor would have been the same with or without the Jubilee. What is needed are more schemes along the many parts of the Thames that are prone to flooding.

An Environment Agency team taking a necessary and well-deserved break from their emergency work.

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