Not perhaps the most inspiring headline I have ever dreamt up, but then again neither is our town at that witching hour unless you enjoy wandering around with a camera round your neck.
It is easy for me as I happen to have spent almost five decades in this town doing just that as well as earning a living in Havering and Barking and Dagenham media as a photo-journalist and latterly deputy editor of the Romford Recorder and editor of the Barking and Dagenham Post. Not that it makes me anything other than very lucky as it is the best job in the world and the most interesting, for this town has a lot going for it, not counting the traffic wardens of course, but that is another story.
While on the Recorder I produced a special supplement on the history of Romford from the little crossing over the river Rom to one of the major influences on outer London. First as the major Market town where herds of cattle, pigs and sheep beat their way to cobbled town centre with cattle pens and apparently 16 pubs to keep the drovers amused hoping that their stock was bought and they were able to stagger home with a full purse.
As you can imagine Wednesdays and Saturdays were quite volatile and noisy for a quite stroll, but the atmosphere was amazing. Not that I was there I hasten to add, but we had our own flower girl who became a legend in her own right. Nelly Sims and her husband Harry kept their shop in the old arcade a few steps up from Golden Lion corner where most of the populace always seemed to gather.
Never one to refuse the limelight, Nelly was a focus for kindness, giving and the wildest sense of humour ever seen. She was a friend to everyone generous to a fault and most walking by usually got a little buttonhole as a gift. Of course returning late for one of her spectacular bouquets which needed two hand to carry and a man with a red flag to clear a way through shoppers, but she was a real treasure.
So there you have it, a very brief to introduction of times gone by when the Licensing laws were in force and lunchtime in the Golden Lion came to an abrupt finish at 2.30 in the afternoon with the photographic units retiring to the darkroom to spend a few hours sobering up by creating the unusual examples of their art.