MEMORIES THE WAY WE WERE
British couple Ann and Gerry were living in Saigon, Vietnam, in 1995, when their son Alistair, 19, came for a visit.
Ann recalls: "A work colleague of Gerry’s invited Alistair to a snake restaurant one night. Snake is all that you eat. You choose your snake from a tank, it’s then taken away and killed. Then the honoured guest is presented with the heart to eat .Alistair was the honoured guest. He was given the heart just seconds after the snake was killed. It was warm and still beating as it slithered down his throat. The number two honoured guest gets the liver.
"Then there is a three-course meal, all snake. They eat all the snake, even the skin.
"Alistair takes after me. He could eat for England and has a cast iron stomach. But when he came home, he looked terribly white and said he was going straight to bed. The next day, his colour was back. He told us he felt physically ill but that he knew to refuse was an insult.
"Gerry’s friend told us that some Vietnamese are not as accomplished as Alistair was. He never blinked when he ate the heart."
Wynn grew up in Glasgow. During the Second World War, the docks at Clydeside were a key target of the German bombers. Her family had opted to have an *Anderson bomb shelter in their garden where they could go when the air raid sirens went off. Wynn doesn’t have a sweet recollection of being in the shelter.
"The people across the road chose to have a brick shelter instead of a steel shelter and when the raids started they didn’t feel safe inside it," she recalls.
"They asked my mother if they could come into ours and she said yes. The woman across the road had the most awful BO. Every time a bomb went off she would cry, "Holy Mary, Mother of God," and wave her arms around as she crossed herself. This would happen every 5 minutes. The stink was terrible.
"Sometimes we were in the shelter all night. It was unbearable. My sister and I told my mother we’d rather be bombed than be in the shelter with her."
*The Anderson shelter, designed in 1939, was made of galvanised steel panels and could accommodate six people. It was buried 4ft deep in the soil and the roof was covered with soil. They were issued free to UK householders who earned less than £5 a week.
IN DEEP WATER
Anna, from Gateshead, England, went on a memorable excursion while on a cruise holiday in the Caribbean a few years ago.
"It was a specially-built submarine that took you 140ft under the water. I was very nervous to start with but it turned out to be a fabulous experience," she said.
"I didn’t know what to expect. We were down for about 45 minutes and I saw fish and fauna I’d never seen before. The crew on board pointed everything out. It was great.
"It brought back memories of the time I went on a real submarine. My husband served on one in the Royal Navy. On one visit, the wives were allowed on board for a few hours. It only went a few feet under the water. It was an experience but very claustrophobic."
SKINNY DIPPING SURPRISE
In the summer of 1969, a British couple were hitchhiking their way to India and stopped off in Corfu, where they slept on a beach.
"The first morning we were woken up by the sound of very loud music," Ann said.
"We wondered where it came from because the beach was completely deserted – this was before Corfu was developed. Then we saw an old fella walking along the beach. He looked like Robinson Crusoe, with his trousers cut off at the knees. He carried a great big ghetto blaster on his shoulder.
"He befriended us and told us his name was Pepino. He had built a shelter on the side of the cliff. Each morning about 10am, three men came down from the village to meet him and he buried them in the sand up to their necks. Apparently it was a cure for arthritis.
"He invited us for dinner one night. He had no kitchen, just a black, cast iron pot on a fire. He cooked us a stew. We called it Pepino Stew."
Pepino had more surprises in store for the couple.
Ann recalls: "One night we were skinny dipping in the moonlight. No sooner were we in the water, than Pepino came along, pulled his clothes off and came in with us."
Rose recalls have an unsettling dream.
"A voice kept repeating, ‘Don’t go near the water’. It said it three times. I was worried because the next day, I had promised to take my two children to the swimming pool. I was apprehensive and never left their side for a minute. When we got home, I was so relieved and thought it was my imagination.
"The next day we went to Druridge Bay, Northumberland. The kids wanted to go in the sea. We were going down to the water when I saw a sign: ‘Man of War Jellyfish. Don’t go near the water’ You can get a very poisonous sting from them. I remembered my dream. I think it was a premonition."
It’s said every bride looks beautiful on her wedding day. In Linda’s case, her dress was muddy, her hair was a mess and her face was blotchy. Here, she tells what happened:
It was December, 1976. I lived with my parents and brother – and our very spoilt beagle Rusty. With all the comings and goings at the house, it was decided to put Rusty in a boarding kennel for two nights. On the day before the wedding, the kennel owner came to the house, picked up Rusty and drove 15 miles to another village to collect another dog, then took them both to the kennels.
"On the morning of the wedding, I was washing my hair when the phone rang. It was the shocked kennel owner who said Rusty had escaped - he’d chewed through a wire fence and jumped through a window.
"I immediately broke into floods of tears. My mother lay me on the bed and put cucumber rings on my eyes to calm the swelling, as my tangled hair dried on the pillow. I had to be coerced into getting ready.
"Minutes before leaving the house, there was a shout from my brother: a bedraggled and exhausted Rusty was limping along the street, covered in mud and smeared with blood. I ran out and he used his last ounce of strength to jump up, putting his muddy paws on my wedding dress.
"The car arrived so there was no time to sponge the mud off. I was a mess but relieved he was safe. To this day, I don’t know how he found his way home."
Thanks for reading and don't forget to keep reaching for the stars