My first loves…


Ali's son Sam with Miss Great Britain Hello there, and thanks to all of you for your kind advice and comments on the collapse of the holiday company we booked with. I think we've come off rather lightly having read some of your stories, and although nothing to report as yet, we're still chipping away…

I am rapidly realising – having spent more time than usual in the company of my youngest son – that I am falling behind with the latest additions to the English language. I had an inkling when we were at the car show last week and phrases like 'peng at two o'clock' reached my ears over the throaty roar of a Bugatti.
'Peng' is apparently how you describe a lovely looking girlie – the two o'clock bit I could just about understand! :) 'Poom' (pronounced the same way as room) is another word used to illustrate a female of fine fettle, or 'top totty' as the more senior members of the crowd were heard to mutter…

Here's a photo of Sam with No. 1 Peng – Miss Great Britain - 'Wannabe Poom' speaks for itself, and no I'm not going to get onto my soap box and start rattling on about these words being detrimental to women, as I know as well as you do, the boys are leagues behind when it comes to our descriptive powers! 

I've just about got my head around 'Cougar' (Peng ladies of 50 years and over) having had my Lucy raving about the TV series starring Courtney Cox - and quite frankly if that's the title given to Demi Moore for marrying Ashton Kutcher, I'm all for it! (not sure if it counts for me as Colin's only two years younger…)

Young love, younger love, whatever, I thought it might be fun to spend a bit of time remembering our first loves – based on a hilarious and lovely missive posted by Una on my blog the other week. She spent most of the summer of 1976 shinning up and down a drainpipe, so she could  sneak off and meet her boyfriend. Her mum and dad were clearly unimpressed, but then as she later realised having recounted the story, she was only 14 at the time!! 

My first love

I'm embarrassed to admit that I was only seven when I fell in love for the first time. His name was Stephen, and he had blonde hair and freckles. He invited me to tea and we had strawberries and ice cream. After a little pause in the proceedings, he asked me if he could kiss me… a little forward you might think for just seven years old. But thinking on my feet, I agreed, but only if I could have more strawberries… :) 

The next time I gave my heart was when I was 11 to John who played the trumpet in the school orchestra. He used to play 'Speak Softly Love' from the film The Godfather to me, and in hindsight, his brilliance with a brass instrument should have given me a clue as to the severity of his kiss when he lunged at me whilst walking home from school! No strawberries this time and an experience something akin to having a sink plunger glued to your lips, which left me no alternative but to push him in the nettles…

Saved by the fire extinguisher…

Then there was Nigel… I was 14 years old, he was 16, and we met in Arundel, Sussex, while I was there on a Girl Guide camp. It was a camp unlike the other ones I'd been on, as instead of tents we ended up sleeping in a rather large village hall! If you thought sleeping on a tarpaulin on the ground was uncomfortable, try floorboards! 

Not that I slept much, as my mind was full of Nigel – with his mousy hair, green eyes, and more freckles!! I used to sneak up to the loft to meet him and we had our first kiss there, with the sun filtering through the dormer windows… ahhhhhhhh! Actually I have to thank my friend Anne for saving my bacon on that one, because Captain was onto us, and to try and divert her attention, Anne let off the fire extinguisher! I managed to sneak back into the hall, and was actually praised for all my help in clearing away the foam… incredible eh?! :)

Falling for an older boy

I grew up a fair bit over the following two years and apart from a very painful crush on a certain gorgeous boy at school, which was not reciprocated, I held back in my search for true love until I met Veljko. He was Yugoslavian, and worked in the restaurant where I washed up on a Sunday.

I was 15 and he was 19, and like Una's parents, my mum was not best pleased! She didn't ban me from seeing him, just gave me a curfew of 9pm, which didn't give us much time as I had to catch the 131 bus from Molesey and then another one to Hampton Wick! 

He had brown hair, blue eyes, and a moustache – which I thought was very grown up :) He had a pet name for me which sounded very romantic when said in his native tongue. I thought it meant mouse, but found out later it was actually Rhino! That aside, we went out together for nearly a year and then his parents moved down to Wiltshire and he followed them.

It was all very sad at the time but as the weeks passed, and the sun came out heralding the summer of '76, I knew I had the whole of my life ahead of me – and entire days to spend in the sun at the Upper Deck Swimming Pool! – I never looked back :)

Oh.. apart from the day I put plasticine in my bikini top to try and add to what I didn't have, which was fine while I was sunbathing on my back. Not so good when I turned over and it squashed out of the cups!!

That faux pas aside, I bet there are some of you reading this who are still with your first love, but if you can remember that first kiss, or heartfelt 'I love you', then do tell… it'd be great to share :)

Have a great week,
Love Ali xx


  1. Rosalyn Claydon August 3, 2010 at 12:02 pm -  Reply

    Dear Alison, as always a lovely blog and lots of memories. I was a bit of late starter when it came to boys to shy to ever let my feelings show. But oh the summer of ’76 having just left school and faced with day after day of sunshine and yes the Upper Deck Swimming Pool. Memories of being truly carefree and happy. take care love Rosalyn x

  2. sue August 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm -  Reply

    Oh Ali I do so love reading your posts you are one funny lady! I met my 1st love when I was 14 in the summer of ’76 we were together 8years and then parted, I was heartbroken, but life went on, married had kids, divorced after 18years and then…met the 1st love again, who, hopefully will now be my last love!

  3. anne jones August 4, 2010 at 5:34 pm -  Reply

    Ah first loves, those young heady, heart stopping moments in time. I shall never forget my first real love. I.d known him for a year or so, a class member at school, but had never spoken to him, considered him a introvert, whacky and an ethereal hippy type. got talking one day, we were among a few left from our year in school while everyone else was away on a school retreat. I was in my rebellious, I,m different phase. Well we just clicked, so alike in many ways, and both able to talk deeply about things without feeling silly. I could not wait to be with him, and when he eventually asked me out to see The Jam in concert I was over the moon. He seemed so surpised I said yes, it was so romantic. We went on the train to the concert in Liverpool, sat through the gig, walked back, sat next to eachother on the train all the time I was willing him to take my hand, make contact in any way, he kept me wanting, the atmosphere was intense. the train rolled into the station I was getting of first he was going onto the next station, still nothing, the train rolled to a standstill, still nothing, I thought I’d blown it. I got up to go and said goodbye, when suddenly he pulled me back and gave me the most wonderful kiss, I just melted on the spot. I was floating as I got off the train, I think I skipped out of the station, talk about ending the date on a high. I shall never forget that kiss, even though the relationship did not last long, he ended it suddenly without warning. You broke my heart Mr Stuart Kendrick, if you are out there, hope you feel guilty!!!! Even though I went on to have further relationships, have married the wonderful Phil (silver anniversary next year), have two great children, I have never forgotten Stuart and wonder at times what he did with his life as he dropped out of school, am I sad???

  4. Susan August 4, 2010 at 6:31 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    What was in the water in the summer of ’76?! Sue what a lovely story and here’s hoping he is your last as you say – how romantic. Ali fab young love stories and great topic! Hope you saw my comment in your last blog about your green belted dress. It really suited you and also your lovely elegant up-do’s. Stunning! Have a great weekend.
    Susan x

  5. Pauline Johnson August 4, 2010 at 7:06 pm -  Reply

    Alison,talking of the english language,I go on facebook and keep in touch with my two eldest granchildren being 19 and 13 yrs old and it takes me all my time to decipher there blogs,oh dear it does make me feel old.My first love was in 1954 I was twelve,we used to stand on the corner in the freezing cold,I saw him on and off for the next few years until I married in 1961,next year (please god) we celebrate our golden wedding, I have never seen my first love since but often wonder what happened to him XXXXX

  6. alison keenan August 4, 2010 at 10:15 pm -  Reply

    Ros, I think there should be a film made called The Summer of ’76, and I reckon between us we could write it!! I was really sorry to hear they’d closed the Upper Deck and then built on that lovely sunny bit of land….time moves on, but the Thames is still rather cold to swim in, however hot the day! Some great shared memories, thank you :) Love Ali xxxx

  7. alison keenan August 4, 2010 at 10:19 pm -  Reply

    Sue how romantic! ! That’s amazing for you both to have met up again all those years later, having been married and had children, and to find those feelings were still there! You clearly were meant to be together and knowing how difficult divorce can be, it’s wonderful that this one is forever :) Thanks so much for sharing that with us, love Ali xx

  8. Joanna Downey August 5, 2010 at 11:24 am -  Reply

    Hello Alison, your blogs are quality and would be best-sellers if published. I met my first love when I was 8, his name was Robin Wilson and he put PVA glue on the ends of my plaits, when my Mum saw the mess I got the blame for letting him do it! I loved him so much I didn’t care and was quite happy to have my hair cut into a bob. Next day everyone said “Now he’s your boyfriend” oh what bliss… As was the Summer of ’76, it seemed to last forever and I know so many who lapse into a seasonal nostalgia when it’s mentioned! It is the one I judge all Summers by and the students at school find it really funny when I talk about it. To me it seems so recent, I was 17 and I had just met the wonderful man who’s been my Husband and Best Friend for nearly 32 years and so far he’s never put glue in my hair love Jo

  9. Julie August 5, 2010 at 8:03 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    I remember my Daughter’s first love-she was in reception class!!
    One day all the Mothers went to collect their offspring,the Teacher came out and asked two Mothers to stay behind-another Mother and me. She explained that Rhys had been sick all over my Daughter Rebecca’s coat(it was a red paddington bear duffle coat-trust couldn’t machine wash it!)she refused to wear it from that day to this-even though “Nanna bought it” This is when the trouble started,Rebecca started having nightmares,she kept seeing Rhys in her bedroom crawling the walls,appearing everywhere etc-very strange and frightening. It became so bad she wouldn’t go to school,I informed the school of this and their answer was to get them friendly and sit next to each other-that was it we couldn’t part them. They’d come out of school holding hands(all of 3/ 4 years old?) and going to each others house for tea nearly every night. She even talks about it now and says that was the nicest coat she ever had!It’s strange but since that day she’s always got on better with boys than girls.
    Love Julie,take care xx

  10. Mrs Janet Jones August 6, 2010 at 2:37 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali,my first love is my husband of 28 years! We met at school when we were 14 and went out together for 6 months(that was such a long time when you were 14!) To cut a long story short we met up again when we were 18 and got married when we were 21. He is my best friend and my soul mate we have been through lifes ups and downs but have always been there for each other, and I pray long may it continue.
    As always a warm and funny blog(especially plasticine in your bikini top). You really should consider writing a book.Any news on the refund for your hols?
    Take care, love Janet xxx

  11. alison keenan August 6, 2010 at 7:28 pm -  Reply

    Anne Jones you had me in the palm of your hand reading that!!! Fabulous recollection of a first kiss, and I hope that Stuart – should he ever find out about your heartbreak – will feel mightily sorry :( Delighted though that you mended said heart and gave it sensibly to lovely Phil, and I wish you both a very happy Silver Wedding Anniversary :) Thanks for writing Anne. I loved reading your comment, as I’m sure everyone else will too. Love Ali xx

  12. alison keenan August 6, 2010 at 7:33 pm -  Reply

    Susan, it must have been the Waters of the Upper Deck swimming pool that caused so much unrest during the summer of ’76!! So sorry I forgot to reply to your complimentary comment last week – I too loved that dress! It was from Casual and Co. so I’m very much hoping we might get it back. Glad you like my ‘up-do’! I’m rather liking it too, and so much easier than having to faff with the straightners etc! However, when I get back from my week away I think I may have to have it tidied for the autumn! Keep in touch Susan, and thanks again – as always – for writing, love Ali xx

  13. alison keenan August 6, 2010 at 7:42 pm -  Reply

    Jo, I hope he never does put glue in your hair either! :) What a lovely recollection and how marvellous you are still with the man who stole your heart all those years ago. It’s funny as you say how recent it all seems, and how we still about it to others as though it was just yesterday…. to me the memories are still as clear :) It must be strange for you to look at those students who are 17 or so, and equate their lives with your own at the same age. I find I often do it with my own children – although life is very different in many ways for them, and they would never believe it was ever really THAT young :) Here’s to the next 32 years with your best friend Love Ali xxx

  14. alison keenan August 6, 2010 at 7:48 pm -  Reply

    Pauline, I take my hat off to you for keeping in touch with your grandchildren with Facebook! I like to stick with my blog here and I’m an avid texter. I think my children would be horrified if I could read what’s on their ‘Wall’ sometimes!!I think it’s excellent that you’re right up there in the 21st century and I’m sure your grandchildren think the same :) Loved hearing about your first love, and it interests me – while reading through some of the other replies – to find that most women wonder where their first love is now. I’ve yet to find a man who was even curious!! Let me know when you’re Golden Wedding Anniversary is and I can send you a card :) Love Ali xx

  15. alison keenan August 6, 2010 at 8:01 pm -  Reply

    Julie that’s lovely! Actually the school’s way of dealing with the problem i.e. head on, to me is definitely the best. How sweet, that they became such good friends, and what lovely memories she must have too. I had bright red duffle coat years ago, and my sister Jenny had one too. We used to wear them when we were collecting the money for Poppies in November. Wore it till it looked more like a pelmet!!! :0 thanks for writing Julie and love to you and yours, Ali xxxx

  16. iT August 6, 2010 at 10:37 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali, there were a few odd words bouncing off my walls yesterday when I wrote you a lovely, long blog only to hit a button and see the lot disappear before my very eyes. This Peng, Poom Cougar was spitting feathers I can tell you, but couldn’t let your lovely blog go unanswered as you are always kind enough to reply. Peng, Poom, Cougar, how funny is that?
    It is lovely to see Sam looking so well. I think the smile on Sam’s face says it all. I think the words ‘cat and cream’ come to mind.
    I must say I am so impressed with everyone remembering the names of their first love. I’m in my early fifties and I can’t remember what I did yesterday let alone remember the names of people from forty years ago. This Cougar has been racking her brains though and I’ve finally come up with two. My first real infatuation was with a very much older man. I was probably in my early teens and the man in question was ‘Rowdy Yates’ or Clint Eastwood as he is better known. Crikey, I am going back a bit aren’t I? He was so macho and I would sing along at the top of my voice to the theme tune. I bet we all did. I can still remember the tune and words today so perhaps this Cougar’s memory isn’t as bad as I first thought. I still think he’s a hunk today.
    My second love was a boy who I shall refer to as TL. He was a skinhead and me and my best pal thought he was the bees knees. We would dress to impress in our two tone key hole dresses and drool when he walked down the street in his Ben Sherman, two tone trousers with braces, Cromby coat and big red Dr Martin boots (wow, it’s all coming back to me now). I’m definitely on a roll. His boots were so big that they would appear at least two minutes before the rest of him. They gave him a lovely swagger though or ‘ten to two feet’ as my mum would say. We only ever got to speak on a casual basis and I was devastated when I learnt that he was madly in love with Tara King of Avengers fame.
    Anyway, the year of 1976 was a lovely year for me too. It was the year I married my lovely husband and tomorrow (7th August) we celebrate 34 years of blissful marriage. I love him dearly and really don’t know what I would do without him. I was only 18 and I think a lot of people thought it would never last. Well, never say never that’s what I say.
    Take care, Gail xxxxxxxxx

  17. mandy August 9, 2010 at 9:39 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Love reading you blog, but your subject today has touched a real nerve. I have recently been reunited with my first love (26 years after last seeing him when we left school). I had a mad crush on him at school but never had the nerve to speak to him, and if he glanced at me I am sure I must have turned a lovely tomato shade. However, the Christmas before we left school I received a christmas card from him (given to me by his mate!!) it was lovely there was a heart which he had drawn with both our names inside! I never realised at the time that he cared and was certainly never brave enough to actually speak to him so by the time we left school that was it no contact and he never knew I felt the same (I have kept the card all these years!) Anyway towards the end of last year out of the blue I received an email from him via the web site Friends Reunited. I replied but never expected him to keep in touch, to cut a long story short we have been emailing ever since and have met several times and now realise we both felt the same at the time and still do now! However, he is married as am I and we both do not want to upset our families but we have to see each other so we meet occasionally (right or wrongly!!) but I do feel that life is way too short and opportunities should be taken life is full of regrets!

  18. alison keenan August 10, 2010 at 7:25 am -  Reply

    Well Gail, it seems it’s not just technical ineptitude that we have in common, you Cougar you!!! The number of times I’ve written my blog, and pressed a button, which removes it from the face of the earth (or into drafts I realised, having spent at least 40 minutes one morning re-writing it!) Dirty Harry was a little too adult for me, but I do remember ‘The Outlaw Josey Wales’ and longing to be Clint Eastwood’s movie partner, who uttered the famous line “….show me…!” And from film to fashion all in the same reply…Ben Sherman, Cromby coat, Doc Martin boots – steel toe caps?? I only ask, as the boys at my school had them, purely to irritate the teachers and dig holes in the parquet flooring I seem to remember we had in the assembly hall! The best bit though was learning that while I dreamed of meeting Mr Right in the summer of ’76, you were actually marrying him! How wonderful to have known when you were just 18 that it was forever….I just hoped it would be … :)Congratulations to you both and I hope you had a fabulous and fitting celebration for your 34 years together. Truly appreciate you keeping in touch, as I’m sure all who read your comments are too. Have a lovely week, and I’ll be in touch on my return from Rhodes! Love Ali xxx

  19. alison keenan August 10, 2010 at 7:49 am -  Reply

    Hi Mandy, and thanks for writing this week. It seems, from reading some of the comments over the weeks,that you’re not alone in being reunited with someone you knew years ago. My frikend Ros met her husband Chris at our school reunion, and there was a funny moment there when I saw a a chap I’d had a minor crush on, who had been so painfully shy, we hadn’t ever spoken either…Boy had he changed, and it was lovely to finally say hello – although we ALL found it hard to believe how different he was! That’s the incredible thing about the internet and some of the social networking sites that have been set up, they actually make it possible for us to catch up with our past….although on a purely personal note, I’m not too sure that past and present work too well together…Thanks as always for writing Mandy,and take care, love Ali xxx

  20. alison keenan August 10, 2010 at 7:59 am -  Reply

    Janet, so lovely to read your comment,especially having got to know you a little over the last year through this blog, and I’m delighted that what worked for you at 14 still works now!!! You’re right abou six months being a long time then. Those lucky enough to be ‘going steady’ used to refer to their relationships in hours, days and weeks, and now you have 28 years under your belt :) Do hope you’ve had chance to see your son a little more this summer, and that you’re continuing to get stronger. Here’s to the next 28 years – I have no doubts it’ll continue :) What’s the secret???? Thanks for your lovely compliments – maybe this autumn will see me start my novel… I’ll need something to fill my time once Sam’s at Uni :) Take care Janet, Love Ali xx

  21. alison keenan August 10, 2010 at 8:02 am -  Reply

    Oh and Gail, you were right about Sam and the photo – it was on his facebook page within minutes of being taken!!! Reminded me of a snapshot of me with the actor Trevor Eve when he opened Burger King on the Charing Cross Road!! I kept it for years in my jewellery box :) Ali xx

  22. alison keenan August 10, 2010 at 8:37 am -  Reply

    Dear Janet, I also meant to add that nothing as yet has come from our application for a refund on the holiday… I’m told it takes a least 14 days from receipt of the claim form for an acknowledgement so hopefully they have responded by the time we get back. Thanks for asking, love Ali xx

  23. Lynn Hind August 13, 2010 at 12:55 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali all i can say ooohh the summer of 76 was heady+my fav phrase totally windswept+exotic! now im just blooming intresting lol,i met my first love brian then incredibly handsome, we dated for years then he went to sea+he came back changed,it broke my heart,but he give me lovely bittersweet memories, sadly i found out a few years back he had died of drink related liver damage,often the case i guess when men where at sea with nothing to do to socialise,aparantly he had married,divorced and his sister had found out where i lived+ sent me a mangled old photo of us both,apparantly, hed carried it in his wallet for 34yrs with “what if and wonder” written on the back.i always think of him on a hot summer day in july when he first kissed me,ah ali young love eh lol love your blogs they mean alot as you “let us in” on your life..thats a credit to you m”love talk soon love Lynn xxx

  24. alison keenan August 19, 2010 at 4:15 pm -  Reply

    Lynn, a beautifully bitter sweet memory you’ve shared there, and as you say to me, it’s wonderful that we can all have a little look into each others lives – thank you for that :) I’m glad Brian’s sister cared enough to let you know that what had been real for you and he then, was something he always valued and hung onto…. And it’s lovely that your everlasting memory will be of that first kiss on a hot summer day in July…. I hope you’ve made plenty more lovely memories since then :) Lovely to hear from you, love Ali xx

  25. filiz cemal October 13, 2010 at 10:10 pm -  Reply

    Well done Alison, you did a great job on Breast Cancer Aware night, despite Craig constantly interrupting you and talking over you and irritatingly woop wooping every two seconds. You were very professional and dignified. You were great, thanks for a pleasant evening.

  26. Deirdre Costello October 17, 2010 at 1:40 pm -  Reply


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