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Banana Chat – meet Maureen Austin

My name is Maureen Austin.  I guess that the Chief Banana, aka my grandson Matt, was only trying to be fair by asking both of us to fill in his Banana Chat!  He tells me that it was because it was the centenary of the end of World War I  and he wanted two people that had experience dating back and who were alive during the war (I think he means he wanted two older people, although I hasten to add that it was the Second World War and I was under 5 as I was actually born 3 days after war broke out!!). I was born in Welwyn Garden City as my mother was evacuated immediately after war was declared. My father was a volunteer fireman during the war and my mother a post woman. I then spent 60 years in the East End of London, apart from being evacuated for two years during the War, and have only now moved about 15 miles further east.

We attended High Beach in Epping Forest on Sunday as part of the Armistice commemorations, something originally started by my husband’s father after the First World War and has continued every year since. The sacrifices that the young men and women made during both World Wars and subsequent conflicts were truly unbelievable and none of those young soldiers could ever have understood what they were letting themselves in for when they left home to go and fight over 100 years ago.

(Related articles: Henry Austin – Banana Chat and Lest We Forget….)

What is your favourite joke?
Why did the chicken cross the road…. To get to the other side. (The old ones are the best!)

What makes you smile?
My grandson Matt, when he is messing around

What is your favourite good news story?
Advances in the survival rates of premature babies. My niece’s grandson was recently born very prematurely.  The advances in technology nowadays make the chances of survival much greater than they were, even in recent history.

What inspires you?
The Invictus Games and the courage of those competing to battle back from adversity.

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
Eradicating childhood illnesses such as malaria.

If you could have one superpower what would you choose and why?
To have a nice singing voice.

What is your favourite food?
A roast dinner

What is your favourite drink?
Cup of Tea in the morning.

If you are going on holiday what luxury item would you take from home?
My mobile phone, although according to my family I never turn it on!

If you could make one law, what would it be and why?
All children should have access to free education and water.

Give us a random piece of information about you that people wouldn’t know?
I was evacuated during the war and lived with a family in Haddon near Peterborough for two years.

What is your favourite phrase or saying?
All is fair in love and war …

What cause, project or event would you like to promote?

Marie Curie and Air Ambulance are the two charities that I support each year

Who is your favourite music artist?
Matt Monroe

Who is the person that you feel has shaped your life most?
My Primary School teacher Miss Cockayne, as I spent two years in her class being a September birthday (they changed the rules!). She got me through the 11+.

PJ’s or Not?

Hot or cold?
Medium

Cat or dog?
Dog

Blue or pink?
Pink

Tea or Coffee?
Tea

Glass half-empty or half full?
Half-Empty

Night out or night in?
Out

Pizza or pasta? 
Pasta

Biscuits or cake?
Cake

Wine or beer?
Wine

Football or rugby?
Football

Cinema or theatre?
Theatre

Gym or TV?
TV

Naughty or nice?
Nice

Silver or gold?
Gold

Tent or hotel?
Hotel

Bath or shower?
Bath

Starter or pudding?
Pudding

Sheets or duvet?
Duvet

Love Island or Game of Thrones?
Neither, definitely prefer Miss Marple!!

Finally, apple or banana?
Banana

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News

Lest We Forget …

This weekend saw commemorations to recognise the centenary of the ending of the First World War.

On Friday evening we attended  “Beyond The Deepening Shadow” at The Tower of London and heard the Last Post played by the lone bugler and saw the lanterns lit in memory of those who gave their lives. A moving and fitting tribute to the fallen and one that will have evoked many memories and thoughts within all generations. It was certainly a powerful symbol of remembrance.

On Sunday the country fell silent for two minutes at 11am as millions of people around the world marked those 100 years since the end of World War 1. Around the country many people paid respect in their own way. We at Banana Crumble attended a gathering at High Beach in Epping Forest, Essex. This is a tradition dating back 99 years, that first Remembrance Day in 1919 when my grandfather attended in memory of his brother who had died at the Somme. On Sunday two of the group were attending for their 70th consecutive year, one of which was my own father Henry Austin. With our Chief Banana, Matt in attendance, it meant that we had three generations of our family at the same event for something that the fourth generation (my grandfather) had started 99 years ago! Henry Austin was the subject of our Banana Chat last week. To read his interview please click here.

I hope that this will continue for generations to come ensuring that we do not indeed forget the incredible feats of bravery carried out during both World Wars.

Lest We Forget – a phrase that encapsulates our desire to remember the past tragedy and sacrifices made by so many young men. The phrase itself originates from a Victorian poem, entitled Recessional, written by Rudyard Kipling in the 19th century.

The full poem:

God of our fathers, known of old, 
Lord of our far-flung battle line, 
Beneath whose awful hand we hold 
Dominion over palm and pine 
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, 
Lest we forgetlest we forget! 

The tumult and the shouting dies; 
The Captains and the Kings depart: 
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice, 
An humble and a contrite heart. 
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, 
Lest we forgetlest we forget! 

Far-called our navies melt away; 
On dune and headland sinks the fire: 
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday 
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre! 
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, 
Lest we forgetlest we forget! 

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose 
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe, 
Such boastings as the Gentiles use, 
Or lesser breeds without the Law 
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, 
Lest we forgetlest we forget! 

For heathen heart that puts her trust 
In reeking tube and iron shard, 
All valiant dust that builds on dust, 
And guarding calls not Thee to guard, 
For frantic boast and foolish word 
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!

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Banana Chat – meet Henry Austin

Hi, I am Henry Austin. Whilst I was born with the name Henry, you will see below that I have been called at least three other names during my life (very rarely was Henry used, apart from maybe when I was being told off when I was younger – not that that happened very much of course!!!).  I was a child during the Second World War and remained in East London throughout.  It was certainly an experience, particularly with the doodlebugs heading towards London across the Hackney Marshes!  With 100 years since the end of the First World War coming up this Sunday I think it is really important that we continue to remember the amazing sacrifices carried out by those young men.  On Sunday I will be attending our own very special gathering at High Beach in Epping Forest, something that I have done year in, year out for over 70 years now.

I am the Grandfather of Chief Banana Matt and I am immensely proud of all that he has tried to achieve with Banana Crumble. He has invested his own time and money in to the venture and, whilst not making money himself, he has enabled nearly £5,000 to be raised for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust – a fantastic achievement. I really hope that he can get some backing to continue this on for a further year and beyond. Well done Matt.

What is your favourite joke?
Patient: Doctor, I have a major problem, I keep going to the toilet at 3am!

Doctor: That isn’t really a major problem?

Patient: Yes it is, I don’t wake up until 3.30am!

What makes you smile?
Posing with a banana stuck under your nose and seeing how many other people have done the same.

What is your favourite good news story?
Recent news from Peter and Sophie Holmes of their successful trek in the Himalayas raising money for Cystic Fibrosis.

What inspires you?
A good night’s sleep, it sets me up for the next day.

If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
No more war.

If you could have one superpower what would you choose and why?
The Power to unite the world.

What is your favourite food?
Crab. The smellier it is the better

What is your favourite drink?
A good pint of bitter

If you are going on holiday what luxury item would you take from home?
My iPad, I’m 85 but wouldn’t be without it!

If you could make one law, what would it be and why?
You are not allowed to carry weapons of any sort, to prevent so many unnecessary murders

Give us a random piece of information about you that people wouldn’t know?
Whilst my real name is Henry I’m also known as Harry, Squibs and Sonny.

What is your favourite phrase or saying?
I’m not asleep, I’m just resting my eyes

What cause, project or event would you like to promote?
Brittle Bone Disease, a lifelong genetic disorder that causes your bones to break very easily. There is no cure, but treatment is possible

Who is your favourite music artist?
Frankie Lane and Shirley Bassy

Who is the person that you feel has shaped your life most?
My old Governor, Noel Mander (NP Mander Ltd, church organ builders in East London). He always knew what I wanted to do and never argued with me.

PJ’s or not ?

Hot or cold?
Hot

Cat or dog?
Dog

Blue or pink?
Blue

Tea or Coffee?
Coffee

Glass half-empty or half full?
Half empty

Night out or night in?
Night out

Pizza or pasta? 
Pasta

Biscuits or cake? 
Cake

Wine or beer? 
Beer

Football or rugby? 
Football

Cinema or theatre? 
Theatre

Gym or TV? 
TV

Naughty or nice?
Naughty

Silver or gold? 
Gold

Tent or hotel? 
Hotel

Bath or shower? 
Shower

Starter or pudding? 
Pudding

Sheets or duvet? 
Duvet

Love Island or Game of Thrones? 
Neither, I prefer Antiques Road Show!

Finally, apple or banana?
Banana

Have you signed up to Banana Crumble yet?

Sign up today for FREE for your chance to win £25, £50 and £100 each and every week. Sign up takes 2 minutes. All unclaimed prizes get donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. By signing up, reading, sharing and liking our articles, you are helping us raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust! Thank you!