Wednesday, 18 July 2018


Regular long-term readers may recall me mentioning my family's custom of visiting my maternal grandparents every Sunday afternoon for tea, and their itchy, red bed-settee that we used to sit on as I read whatever comics I'd taken along to while away the hours.  As is no doubt obvious from the name, the settee (which looked just like a settee) could be folded out into a bed to accommodate visitors who might have to stay overnight for whatever reason.  Indeed, one Sunday night in their previous home in Rutherglen, we were astounded to find on the point of departure that a thick impenetrable fog had descended, making it impossible to see and resulting in us having to stay until the next day.  The bed-settee was pressed into service, and I'd imagine it fulfilled the same function for others on the odd occasion.

It's amazing the amount of comics I associate with that settee;  issues of TV CENTURY 21, DETECTIVE COMICS, BATMANSUPERBOY, SUPERMAN, FANTASTIC, WHAM!POW!, MWOM, and just about any other title you care to name.  I'd always take at least one comic with me on my visits, perhaps acquired on the Saturday or that very day - or even through the preceding week.  I liked to dwell on my comics, immerse myself in them, drink in their four-colour or monotone magic, and lose myself in the fantastic fables they presented in their palpitating pages to a receptive readership.

The years passed (as years do), and eventually my grandparents moved into an old-folks home.  Amongst other things, we took possession of their itchy, red bed-settee, which sat in my brother's room for several years in two different houses.  When he eventually got his own flat, he didn't take the settee with him and it was left to gather dust in his old room.  Again, regular readers will perhaps remember that, after four years in another house, we returned (sans sibling) to our former abode, the one I now inhabit.  The settee moved back with us, but unfortunately, we had acquired so much other furniture in the four years we were away that there was really no room for it and, sadly, it was soon quietly dispensed with.

Even today, while poring over some of my old comics, I'm suddenly reminded of the old bed-settee, and realise that I'd once read whatever comic I'm looking at on that very settee, more than two-thirds of my lifetime away.  I've got a slightly blurred photo somewhere of me sitting on the settee, with which I hope to adorn this post (if I can find it), plus a couple of other random snaps of it shortly before its enforced 'retirement'.  A few of the comics are the original ones I had back then, and several are later replacements, but I'm struck by the fact that, in some instances, I read the originals and their replacements while sat on that same red settee, many years apart.  It's now been gone for over 30 years, but sometimes it still seems like part of my life - especially when I'm reading comics or annuals that I remember reading back in the '60s, '70s and early '80s, sat on that sadly-missed, itchy, red bed-settee.

Now here's another question:  Is there an item of furniture, or anything in fact, that your mind returns to whenever you're re-reading a comic or book from your long-gone youth?  Do you suddenly give a sigh at the thought, and wish that you could have it back again, and regret, as I do, that for almost every new purchase in our lives, an older possession, representing so many memories and associations, must sadly be 'sacrificed' at the altar of acquisition in order to accommodate it?  Do tell.

Above, the disassembled parts of the settee, a couple of months or so after moving back to my present abode.  Ah, the memories that the sight of it evokes.  The top photo was taken in the previous house, but I remember the settee in my gradparents' possession from several of our houses before that.  (Incidentally, tired and grumpy-looking as I may look, I was still only in my 20s in that pic.)  I should also mention that the settee was only itchy because of the material it was made of, not because it was 'unclean' or anything.  I mainly remember it being itchy from when I was a youngster and still wearing shorts, because then the bare skin of my legs came into contact with it.  'Twasn't so bad when I started wearing long trousers (at the age of 20 - he joked).


And below are some of the comics I associate with the settee.  I'll add more from time to time as I remember them.


TC said...

There are several comics that I associate with weekend and/or holiday visits to my late maternal grandparents' house. They had a couch/sofa/settee and two reclining chairs in their living room, and I associate certain comics with certain times and certain pieces of furniture.

So, I might say, "I read Spider-Man #45, Archie #170, and Tales to Astonish #88 on a Saturday, sitting on the couch," or, "I read World's Finest #159, Hawkman #15, T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #7, and Undersea Agent #4 on a weekday during summer vacation, sitting in the easy chair on the right, by the window."

But my memory could be playing tricks with some of the dates and locations.

Kid said...

It's refreshing to learn that I'm not the only one who makes associations like that, TC. I may add scans of some of the comics I remember reading on the settee when I can get the time. One of them was the issue of Detective Comics that first featured Archie Goodwin's and Walt Simonson's Manhunter, another was a DC Special that reprinted Kirby Challengers Of The Unknown strips.

Oscar Dowson said...

Rapid scrolling made me think that was a pic of Kenny Everett.

Kid said...

You know how to hurt a guy, OD. Don't see any resemblance myself - I'm handsome.

(Nurse - he's hallucinating again.)

Colin Jones said...

My (maternal) grandmother lived a mile or so from us and every Sunday me, my mother and my sister visited her and we had Sunday dinner there. My gran made a scrumptious Sunday dinner including mint sauce made from mint grown in her garden. I don't associate any comics with my visits but my gran had a colour TV and I remember watching Joe 90 on her TV in the early '70s.

Kid said...

I associate Stars On Sunday, Stingray, Captain Scarlet, Sunday Night At The London Paladium, 'Til Death Us Do Part, Doctor At Large, ITV Wrestling, and a whole load of other TV shows over the years with my grandparents ground-floor flat, CJ. I also saw the pilot episode of The Six Million Dollar Man there in the early '70s. You should've seen my gran watching the wrestling - who knew pensioners had such an aggressive and violent streak? Funny how we both visited our maternal grandparents every Sunday, eh?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...