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Memories of Alvar Lidell

The following memories have been contributed by his only son, Marcus.

Dear Whirligig,

Firstly the history - is it generally well known that he was of pure Swedish extraction ?? His parents were Swedish immigrants who lived in Wimbledon, and he was therefore a naturalised Englishman born and raised in London.

Also he had an elder brother Yngve who pursued an illustrious teaching career at Clifton College, Bristol, where he was first the housemaster of Dakyns House - (now Mobberly's) - and later deputy head of the school before he retired to run a sub-Post Office in Moorlynch nr. Bridgwater in Somerset (single handed !). What a great character he was - known affectionately by the boys as "the Yak" - he used to visit the family home in Northwood every Xmas and delight us kids with all kinds of songs accompanied by himself on the accordion.

But forgive me, I digress................   The main anecdote I would like to share with you concerns Dad's "memory". Newsreaders in those days were of course just that, and nothing else. And when they had finished reading the news they were left with a wad of paper typewritten on only one side.

Now during the war years, everything was naturally in short supply. So nothing was disposed of until nothing else could be done with it - unlike our ghastly modern world where people throw away televisions and cars if they go wrong and need fixing.......

Anyway, to cut a long story short, Dad used to keep his old bulletins, fold them by four, and store them one at a time in the inside pocket of his jacket. And he would write on them - usually in pencil in case anything needed changing or was updated - everything that he wanted to remember. This wad of folded paper therefore became his "memory", and if he ever mislaid it around the house there would be total panic stations until it was found, usually by my long- suffering mother who specialised in finding things. In fact one of her definitions of a wife and mother was "someone who can find things when they're definitely not there !"

It's a great story, isn't it, and straight from the source.   The other snippet is much shorter, but good fun as well.   In those days there was a manufacturer of milking machines called Alfa Laval, and some people used to think that was Dad's name, perhaps because Alvar (being Swedish) was a hard one for them to pin down. He even used to get fan letters addressed to Alfa Laval which caused much mirth !!

I hope everyone enjoys reading these stories as much as I have enjoyed remembering them.

With best wishes,

Marcus Lidell.

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