Do any of the Brits here remember attending the convention at Wembley stadium in 1969? I was 6 (& 1 / 2 ) and I have a few vague recollections.
We traveled on a specially chartered train from Glasgow central station that stopped along the way and by the time it arrived at London was full of JW's. If that train had crashed there would not have been a dub left in Scotland. I think I remember the now infamous Ronnie Hunter on the train many years before he got himself recorded behaving like a prick at a jc in Bishopbriggs I recall it was the old fashioned sort of train with individual compartments and a corridor so you could walk all the way from one end to the other, which I did - all the way to Kings Cross.
We had been given an address for our accommodation by the "rooming department" but when we arrived following a long walk and lots of, "are you sure this is the right way" type of conversation that always helped dad's mood, the poor woman knew nothing about it! She reckoned a relative had signed her up as a joke, mum was not laughing. So Dad and mum and me and big sis aged 8 ( 1 / 2 ) and much more mature than me as she kept reminding me, trudged all the way back to Wembley carrying bags for a family of four for a six week adventure (mum was nothing but thorough when she packed) naively imagining it would all be sorted out in a jiffy. When we arrived there was a queue of similarly afflicted witnesses that stretched back to the midlands. We stood in line for hours, well mum and dad and mature big sis did while I make progressively longer expeditions around the hallowed home of football. Ah the dreams of playing at Wembley in my George Best "sure shot" boots with little coloured patches to show the aspiring star where to kick the ball!
The next thing I remember is when they admitted defeat and decided nobody else was getting new accommodation today. It was mid-summer and getting dark so it must have been a long wait. We were herded into Wembley arena, an indoor venue adjacent to the stadium where we waited for more hours to her our fate. It was finally announced that we were all going to be transported to local kingdom halls for the night - woo hoo I thought, sis looked disapproving taking her cue from mum who looked ready to walk home to Scotland. I have a memory that is so vivid of getting onto a coach to go from Wembley to a local hall and of seeing all the bunk beds set up in the kingdom hall.
The next day we got taken back to the stadium to join the same queue, we British do love a queue you know, we even know how to spell queue! This time we got assigned a new address with an older couple who actually had agreed to take visitors. They turned out to be very nice and were great hosts.
It was around this time that the film "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" was in the cinema and I had been given a brilliant model car with wings that popped out when you pulled the lever and all the little people who fitted in the seats. That little car was never out my hands during the whole six days of the convention. A couple of years ago I saw in in a museum, it was worth a bloody fortune, shame I tried to make it fly once too often.
The crowds at the convention were immense. The sessions were endless with six days of morning, afternoon and evening talks. I remember on one occasion I played the only trump card I had to get a break from the boredom when I told dad I need to go to the toilet - NOW! Despite an exhaustive "can't you wait until the interval" enquiry I was standing firm, I couldn't possibly hold on. We struggled through the long row to get out and eventually found a toilet with yet another queue. The moment came and despite closing my eyes and emptying my mind it became clear I was not about to empty my bladder any time soon. Dad was not well pleased with my little ruse to get out for a walk and I didn't dare try that one again.
Away from the tedium I remember going on a Thames river cruise on evening. I am sure it cost my parents a small fortune for the whole debacle, it was probably our holiday for that summer. It was the last time all the dubs in UK gathered at the same venue at the same time.
This little film from Pathe News shows a few seconds of the baptism at the Ruislip Lido