1970-Winter Beacon








It may be Winter in Goodmayes, but it’s SUMMERTIME IN SOUTH AMERICA


FREDA WINAND, one-time chairman of our Family Church and Leader of our Junior Department, now teaches at an English school in Buenos Aires, capital of sunny Argentina. Like schools over here they have broken up for the holidays . . . the only difference being that there it’s the long summer holiday . . . and she will not be going back to school till March! She had her winter holiday in July – and as you will read later.

Meanwhile, by kind permission of her family at Goodmayes, we publish some extracts from her letter home …


Home from Home

“Talk about home from home, the school is about the same distance into Buenos Aires as it is from Goodmayes to London. The most noticeable difference is that the trains run at all hours and always seem to be crowded.

“My first Sunday the senior mistress showed me where the nearest English-speaking church was, which is closest to the Baptist outlook. It was an American church called the United Community Church. It was very pleasant inside, with a carpet from wall to wall. It was quite a nice service and afterwards the congregation went out and had coffee on the lawn.

“At very long last I found the Baptist Church, which turns out to be almost as attractive as the Methodist one I went to but the people are more friendly. It’s called the ‘International Baptist Church’ and is mostly attended by Americans, a few English, and some Argentinians.”


Going the Wrong Way

“Some roads here at certain times of the day – usually the rush hour – become one-way streets. The other day we were walking along one of these roads just after the time for changing, and the police had held up an almost endless line of traffic because they were going the wrong way in a one-way street.

“There are thousands of buses here known as ‘collectives’. You can stand on a corner and wait no longer than two minutes for your number bus to come along. You get on, hang on for dear life, and if you are going to church, say to the driver/conductor ‘dies y siete’ (seventeen) and in the short time it took you to say that, the bus is a considerable distance from where you got on. When I have made the longer journey into town I have found that I am inclined to get into a vibration rash, as parts of the roads are cobbles.”


Winter Holiday

In July, Freda spent a 10-day winter holiday at a place called La Rioja, north-west of Buenos Aires, beyond the town of Cordoba. And on this trip she wrote …

“We travelled through country which had a lot of big cacti and rocks. Some little towns we passed through were just like the Wild West – with horses and pony traps tied up outside the buildings instead of parked cars.

“We had a trip into the mountains which was very interesting. Especially as we saw some real Andean horsemen going out to hunt alpaca & vicuna. I undid one of your rolls of papers and a ‘Woman’s Realm’ while we were in the bus travelling across the dry Pampa.

“In the Inca, an area [where] they grow a lot of oranges and sugar cane, we went for a short excursion and I saw the first sugar cane I have ever seen.”



Back again in Buenos Aires, Freda tells us something about the shops …

“There is a large self-serving shop here called ‘Gigante’ – pronounced ‘Hihante’ – which is like a Co-op. Woolworths and Marks & Spencer rolled into one. They even sell cars.

“There are lots of ‘gallerias’ like arcades. It’s very nice just looking round the shops in these gallerias and buying odd things, but if you wanted some particular thing it must be awkward, because you would have to go round all the little shops in the hundreds of gallerias for it.”


Guy Fawkes Night

“We celebrated Guy Fawkes night with baked potatoes and toffee. Guess who was making toffee at six o’clock in the evening? Luckily it was the best toffee I have ever made, as I discovered a shop which sells imported goods and I bought a small tin of English golden syrup, which was the equivalent of 10 shillings [50p].

… and with that account we leave Freda and her friends enjoying their toffee in the sun so many thousand miles away from Goodmayes, but many readers will think of her this Christmas and wish her well.


Page last updated: 5th February 2018 3:49 PM