When this evil virus started I thought that there would be a lot more babies being born this Christmas or early next year. After all, what else is there for people to do?

Aside from watching a great film or reading a really good book, what else can take your mind off all that’s happening?

And what about all the singles out there?  How are they going to meet during this surreal time of social distancing and self isolation?

It was hard enough in my youth when we couldn’t meet people online because there was no online.

One of my first jobs was working as a copywriter at Dorland Advertising. I was nineteen years of age. One of the very early assignments I had was to write a 10 second TV commercial for the Goblin Teasmade. (Did you know it was Goblin who invented the vacuum cleaner?)

The ad opened on a dark screen. Then the sound of a kettle hissing and a whistling noise, followed by someone’s hand as they poured themselves a cup of tea. Then came the voice over, “Isn’t it time you woke up to a Goblin Teasmade?”  A brilliant use of 10 seconds if I may say so.

The problem with working as a copywriter is that you end up believing your own ads.  I bought a Goblin Teasmade (no freebies, sadly) and used it at home.  Instead of waking up to the sound of a kettle boiling, I woke up to the smell of something burning. My Teasmade had shorted and nearly set my bedroom alight.  I didn’t learn the lesson though. Years later, at Wasey’s, I worked on Philips electrical products and wrote press ads for the Philips Ladyshave. Yes, I bought one.  And I still have the scar on my leg.

Coming back to Dorland and dating.  I was asked to write copy for one of the first dating programmes.  This would be done through direct mail – what we all used to call junk mail. That’s one of the good things that has disappeared with the advent of digital media. No more rubbish piling up on the door mat. And, if any of my former Watford advertising students are reading this – yes I know I taught you how to write for direct mail. But none of us liked it, right?

My colleagues suggested that the best way to write an ad for a dating agency would be to test it out for myself.  So I duly filled up the long and complicated form.  Interests, hobbies, politics, height etc etc. It didn’t ask about my taste in music or what I liked to read.  It did ask if I had a religious preference. Did I really want to meet a born again Christian? So, I put Jewish. Not so long later I was informed that they had only been able to find me one date. Was I that difficult to please? It was more than likely that they only had one other Jewish person on their list and I had been matched to him.

We met outside the entrance of Dorland.  He was nothing like my idea of a desirable date. What’s more he was not that much taller than me – and I’m five foot one and a half. (That half is crucial – the Queen is five foot one.) But, yes, he was Jewish.  He explained to me that it was a Fast day (who knew?) and so we couldn’t have lunch. Would I minded if we took a walk around the park instead? So we did. And I bought myself a sandwich when I got back into work.

A lifetime later, when I was the mother of three and OH (other half) and I were at a party (Mel – you may remember this) a guy I didn’t know spoke to me.  “Are you Andrea?” he asked. He reminded me of the day we had met and walked around the park. To my astonishment he said, “I have never forgotten you!” If that’s the case, I replied, why didn’t you ever ask me out? You weren’t frum (strictly observant) enough for me, he answered.

So, back in the day, where did a young girl go to meet the opposite sex?  We went to parties. Not necessarily a party to which we had been invited. But any party. So, on April 26 1969, on the same day as the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race ( I don’t suppose that will be happening this year) I went to a party to which I had not been invited. My friend’s older brother’s friend was holding a party. We gatecrashed. It was the thing to do then.

When you think of a party, you imagine loads of people madly dancing, drinking and having a great time. At this party a handful of people were sitting on the floor playing Monopoly.  Don’t get me wrong. I like Monopoly. But if you’re not playing, it can be very tedious to watch. And you can’t meet people that way.

My friend and I sat on the sidelines watching the door in case anyone halfway decent should come into the room. Another half an hour, we said, and we’ll go home. How about, I suggested, that we say hello to the next two boys who walk into the room? In those far off days it was a very bold and forward thing to do.  Sure enough, a short while later, two boys walked into the room.  One of them was tall, handsome and had a very fine beard. I had always been drawn to beards. We said hello and he asked me to dance.

We adjourned to another room where there was music playing. I remember it was Good Vibrations sung by The Beach Boys. We danced. We laughed. We chatted. We kissed. He saw me home.

Reader, I married him.





© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems



  1. A lovely story Andrea!
    Re Teasmaid…I bought my parents one when I was about 20 (and they50/62). I thought it would allow them a lie in rather than my dad having to get up every morning to make a drink. However, I had not banked on my dad actually liking the getting up, the routine etc. I think they probably used it once and then…? Who knows where it went?!


  2. What a lovely blog to write on your anniversary weekend. I had always thought your friend said you’d each kiss one of the next two boys who walked in the room? Your version, the true version of course, is much more elegant! Thanks for blogging it x


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