Shorts down on Baden-Powell scout show

Hastings17Joseph Ineichen (1899 -1977) was my grandfather! The London born Joe left a considerable number of articles at the house journal of his long-life place of work, Lloyd’s of London.

In 1970 he recalled how his life developed from age 10 and to adult life. He joined Lloyd’s at age 14. One can but imagine the feeling of the time, a period that lead to the First World War and then saw the horrors of this butchering conflict that did all but dignify the human race!

As a boy of ten my grandfather recalled how he entered the newly founded Scout movement. For my grandfather the nearest troop was the 8th Westminsters. But he and some friends preferred to start a rival group to the Baden-Powell organization and formed the General Buller Scouts! This was the consequence of events during the Boer War that these boys had taken notice of and stand for.

After a number of activities by this group, a call was made at Joe’s home from the scoutmaster of the 8th. The rebel, Buller half dozen boys, accepted to try the Baden-Powell organization.

Later on they were given carbines without bullets or bayonets- But still! A full and complete show was given before General Baden-Powell himself at Caxton Hall in Victoria Street. At this event my grandfather was told by B-P that he did not approve of boys carrying firearms. His greatest misfortune during that event happened however when the boys did a show of bridge building. “Carrying a baulk of timber, the top button flew off my shorts and down they came to rest about my ankles”.

The following year Joe was promoted to playing the drum and this musical talent in the family is not shared by anyone else as far as I know. We also learn from Joe’s article, on the Lloyd’s log, that many of the scouts were approaching military age and with “old patriotic spirit found their way to the recruiting centres, some never to return. My elder brother… (William Hatchard) was in the 2nd London Fusiliers, went in August 1914. It was on the Somme in June 1916 that a German trench mortar cut short his life at the early age of 21”.

Even Joe would later be called for army duty but that story will be told another time. There was still time and opportunity for some fun as the published picture shows on an outing to Hastings in 1917 with Grandfather Joe standing on the right!

Hopy, the beautiful Russian girl

armenian

After meeting the Portuguese I started to move away from the City and naturally from Barnes that was a quiet place and a bit far from where the action was.

The new contacts meant that it became logical, practical and economic to move together. It all started with late nights in the West End mainly on weekends, that gradually increased in intensity as I started to make some money working in Discotheques.  I’ll have the opportunity to come back to that subject, but now I am more interested to describe my first real love affair.

Most boys aspire at doing their debut with a female partner as soon as possible and it is of great importance that this is a positive experience. It is certainly a nervous one! It is an advantage if this girl should be a bit older and more experienced.

Living at West Cromwell Rd 3 we had Gilberto Matos and Tony (the Setubal guys).  Opposite them lived another Portuguese, Rodolfo Fonseca. He was studying automobile engineering and was a few years older than everybody else. Truth is, we thought he was ancient, being around the age of 25. At any rate everybody got along with Rodolfo. He was social and we had great fun at his place. We just didn’t let him in on our nightly excursions!

He kept a tight watch on the females and had spoken several times about this beautiful Russian neighbor living in our building, on the top floor. I was obviously interested and thought of her, as well beyond my reach. But she was nice and curious and before long I was invited to her room and discussed many questions and shared common interest in languages and cultural matters. She was older than me and spending her time in London, getting educated. But what was the story of this sophisticated Russian with long black hair?

It turned out she was Armenian, not at all Russian, and had lived in one of the emirates where her family lived. In the Christmas period of 1970 we became a couple to my friends’ amazement and my own great sense of accomplishment. I was in love, but it wouldn’t last!

Fashion and politics

King's Rd

Needless to say if you were young and lived in London you couldn’t miss King’s Road, Chelsea.

This was one of the London streets where the sophisticated liked to come and show off. There were plenty of boutiques, pubs and restaurants. I have some vivid memories from my time in London that I can associate with King’s Road. Mário Soveral and I certainly went there quite often in late summer- autumn of 1970.

How did I bump into Mário? Well quite naturally… My mother knew his mother the actress Laura Soveral. Laura could very well have taken lessons at the British institute, so when they came to London it was only natural that they should get in touch with me. As Mário was a little younger than myself-he sometimes called me “Papá Pinheiro” – I was seen as someone who could give him support and calm him down a little! Whether this is his picture I do not know as I have lost track of him, but am convinced and hopeful that he will get in touch with me, as I have initiated a search all over Portugal to get hold of him.

It was in King’s Rd that I was invited for lunch with Laura and her husband José Maria. We went to one of many small posh restaurants along the street. We got into talking about the situation in Portugal and I clearly remember criticizing the regime and the relatively new Prime Minister Marcelo Caetano. I noticed that José Maria tried to say that things were developing and a process of democratization had been launched. -Yeah, sure…Was my comment! When we left the restaurant Mário had the courtesy to inform me that José Maria was the son of Portugal’s dictator Marcelo Caetano.