Neville John William Day 7 March 1922 - 26 November 1990
Dad and the Coronation
Morning of Saturday 30 May 1953 Neville Day marches into the kitchen carrying a large and clearly heavy cardboard box and deposits it upon the kitchen table.
Mother, Neville's eldest son Robin and I gather around, surprised and curious as to the contents.
The box duly removed and to our surprise it's a television.
Particularly surprising because, as Mother quickly points out, the house has no electricity. As neither does the rest of the village.
"Follow me." Says Neville and off we all duly trot towards the farmyard some fifty yards behind the house. In the corner of the yard stood a new small asbestos sheet clad shed. Inside the shed we were introduced to a single cylinder Lister diesel generator. "Wow!" being the only appropriate exclamation.
"For the chickens." Neville explains. "To keep them and their chicks warm next winter."
The rest of the day was spent uncoiling a couple of thirty yard rolls of insulated cable and slinging it between trees and hastily erected precarious posts, leading all the way to the house.
Monday morning and a man turns up in a van with an enormous ladder to fit a rooftop TV aerial seemingly as big as a set of rugby posts to our chimney. I since worked out the complete TV installation cost as much as a workman's wages for six months. Life was good for us in the early Fifties. Through no fault of Neville Day whatsoever it didn't last. Less than a decade later we were almost bankrupt.
Tuesday 2 June 1953 we all sat around the flickering 14" black and white screen of our state of the art Ekco TV. To watch HM Queen Elizabeth's Coronation, with tea, shortbread and biscuits. She wasn't facing bankruptcy!
Neville married my Mother on Saturday 15 August 1953 and thus Neville Day became my Stepfather. At 5' 8" tall not a giant of a man, but in my eyes he will always be so.
Almost two years later, on 5 August 1955, my half sister Suzanne was born, at home in the farmhouse. I was sent away to stay for a week with Grandpa and Nana Day in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, six miles down the road, for that happy event.
Chris Latham-Smith 2022.
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