Though my dad's mum had died before I was born, his father continued to live in the house they'd bought on a leasehold back before the war. It didn't look like it had changed at all in the intervening decades - barring the removal of the Morrison air raid shelter which once doubled as a dining table.
The furniture, the decor - there was even a big, iron, range in the kitchen... I see these reality shows where families go "back in time" to spend a couple of weeks living like we did in the 30s, 40s or 50s... and just think "Oh - it looks like Grandad Rose's house".
My maternal grandparents' home was similar. They lived in a little rented bungalow with those lace doily things on the backs of their sofas, a pantry full of powdered mustard and custard, and a mangle in the garden, which I presume my nan used to wring out clothes, rather than flatten rats. My grandad had been a mechanic and chimneysweep - he still had his old brushes in the shed, should he ever fancy clambering up on the roof for an impromptu Cockney sing-a-long.
They had single-glazing, and in winter the house would get savagely cold - with frost on the inside of the windows. Getting from one room to another was a case of legging it between pockets of warmth, provided by a number of paraffin heaters placed in doorways. Most of the time, though, we just stayed in the kitchen, where the coal fire was always burning.
I remember my Nan getting up before dawn most mornings to prepare it for the coming day. We'd fetch in the coal from outside, I'd help her brush out the ash from the previous day's fire, scrunch up some newspaper as a firelighter, add some kindling, and then the coal. There was something comforting about the semi-ritualistic way we'd go about it.
I've no doubt that their life was tougher in lots of ways than we have it now - I mean, they lived through a full-on World War for pity's sake (though the closest my grandad came to action was hiding in a tank - albeit a watertank - from some Germans).
The Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War, recessions and rationing and energy crises... the 20th Century wasn't easy. But, I speculate, much of that felt like a step up from having bombs dropped on you... and between those moments of historic awfulness we made progress.
Massive advances in medicine and communications, the advent of the Welfare State... an increase in leisure time - not to mention the social changes which took us closer than ever to equality for all.
I don't think it's entirely nostalgia talking when I say that in a lot of ways it feels preferable to where we find ourselves at now...
I get that our perspective, our frame of reference, is narrow and blinkered. We don't have first-hand experience of Then, so all we have to go on is Now.
So, it might simply be a lack of perspective, or rose-tinted spectacles, which cause me to see the Then as a simpler, less chaotic time.
I know that's probably not true, and that it's probably this sort of dangerous yearning which allows people to buy into slogans such as, say - to pull one out of a baseball cap - "Make America Great Again".
And yet, when I woke up this morning, I instinctively slipped into the same ritual behaviour I've been performing every single morning for over a year now; becoming fully conscious by anxiously reading news stories about Donald Trump, and seeing my biggest fears unfurling hour by hour.
And for some reason this morning it made me think of the contrast between how I start my day, and the way my nan would start hers; literally burning the previous day's news to provide warmth.
That newspaper would arrive around breakfast time, my grandad would scan it, fold it over, and spend most of the rest of the day working on the crossword. I envy that pace, that slowness. I feel like I'm trapped in a hamster wheel of ceaseless electronic information.
Our news screams at us from every screen, recycled and analysed, and spun to the point of irrelevance until the next news bomb drops. It's exhausting - it has been exhausting for a while - but the pace at which events are moving now is giving me the bends. Plus, it's all so relentlessly bleak.
It's becoming harder and harder to face the world with flippancy or humour. I started this year with the intention of using Digi2000 as a light-hearted antidote to everything bad, but... I can't. I've tried, and I can't find it in me. Not until we're on the other side of this.
You don't need me to recap or dissect everything that's happening in America right now. It has become starkly clear that Donald Trump and his closest advisers are attempting some sort of fascist coup of the most powerful nation on the planet. With each day, with each early-morning trawl of Twitter and newsfeeds, feeding my fear with more reasons for it to exist, it becomes clear that Trump, Bannon and the rest are determined to roll back so much of the progress that my grandparents lived through.
Fortunately, there is hope... and that's the rock that I'm clinging to right now.
For every unilateral dictate or befuddling lie from Trump, there is resistance.
People are coming together, being united, by this administration's actions and intentions. Republicans and Democrats alike. Nations around the world have united in their condemnation of Trump - however tepid that condemnation may be <COUGH>Theresa May<COUGH>. It's honestly beautiful to witness. Once again, last night, tens of thousands of people around the world stood up and said that what America is trying to do is wrong.
They might all have different reasons - some might be worried that Trump's selective Muslim immigration ban makes the world less safe (which it does), or that it'll damage America economically (it will)... but the basic message is this; whoever you are, whatever you believe, wherever you come from... the majority of us accept you.
THE PC STICK
Political correctness gets a lot of stick; it frequently gets taken too far, becomes too aggressive or condescending, and damages its very purpose.
Yet even when that happens, political correctness has to be better than the alternative; what it exists for is to say that we are all - beneath the trappings of social inequality and the wholly artificial system we've created - equal. Fundamentally, the aim of political correctness comes from a place of compassion and selflessness.
Trump and his administration are gilded scum floating on the surface of the world, lacking empathy and seeking only to bolster their own fragile, self-interested, agendas. They're the worst imaginable representatives of the West. And from my point of view - of male, white, straight, privilege - I don't want others around the world thinking I'm like that. It seems, mercifully, that I'm not alone.
The protests, the resistance, feel to me as much a way of saying "I'm actually really nice" as they are a way to exert political pressure.
After I wrote a piece last week condemning the on-screen punching of the white supremacist Richard Spencer, I was asked whether getting punched in the face last summer had led me to have sympathy for him. Quite the opposite - I hope it hurt him as much as it hurt when that 'roided-up rotter smashed me in the face.
My opposition to it wasn't because I felt sorry for him, or because I think we should all go out and hug a Nazi. It was entirely because I felt the punching helped his cause, and had seemed to bring out an ugly side in those who were celebrating it. I suspect Spencer wore his bruise as a badge of honour, and - indeed - many who are far smarter and more informed than me have offered similar opinions.
But no. For me... getting punched had an unexpected consequence. It showed me - in the actions of everyone who came to my assistance - that the good in this world does outweigh the bad.
The compassion and kindness I was shown completely overshadowed what had happened - I found it was impossible to have any anger or resentment towards my attacker in the face of that. He'd actually given me a gift, and being punched didn't matter. What mattered, the thing I took away from it, is that a lot of total strangers were nice to me.
For all the bad that is pouring out of Trump's executive order pen right now, as terrified as I am at the thought of Breitbart's Steve Bannon taking a seat on the National Security Council, what we are witnessing in the opposition to that should give us all hope that people - the majority of people - are good, and kind, and passionate about their compassion.
That's what's going to get me through this.
THE PUNCH HEARD AROUND THE WORLD - BY MR BIFFO
THE DIGITISER2000 FRIDAY LETTERS PAGE
HALF-LIFE 3 AND THE GULF BETWEEN CREATOR AND FAN - BY MR BIFFO
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