Saturday, 25 February 2012

Nostalgia Ain't What it Used to Be.

I have been writing for several years concerning life between 1945-1959 as I saw it. (aged five to twenty.) Hopefully it will be published as an ebook in the near future. I must admit I'm quietly excited though the technical side is way beyond me. I thought some might be interested in a couple of extracts from the epilogue. I wonder what readers from overseas make of it. And the younger ones amongst you! Any memories of your own from way back? Considering I seem to have followers from all over the world it would be interesting to compare notes!

'It is often the more subtle, little things in life that indicate the passing of time, ‘the way it was.’ Whatever happened to Spangles, where and when did they go? And the blue bags in crisps or trolley buses complete with poles. Buying shoes entailed having your feet x-rayed, not to be recommended, but an innocuous event at the time. Less aggressive, better mannered times, when AA men saluted and all stood up diligently in the cinema when the National Anthem played. Plus the audience probably knew all the words of ‘God Save the Queen’; Pakamacs, hair nets and head scarves; Blakeys and packets of five Woodbines; Capstan and Player's Full Strength. When cars had side indicators, most goods you bought were marked ‘Made in Britain and the upstairs on double-decked buses was full of smokers.

Change is subtle and sometimes is only remembered in retrospect. How many, myself included remember mother holding us firmly, spitting on a hanky and rubbing furiously inside our ears, painful and humiliating if friends were present!

Gone forever the days when breaks between television programmes meant interludes that fascinated almost as much as the programmes themselves. The potter’s wheel and the pot that was never to be completed; the little white kitten that played forever; plus the soothing effects of Angel Fish or windmills; and my particular favourite, the ploughman and his horse, ploughing for eternity. And who could forget Sunday dinners with Cliff Michelmore and Jean Metcalf on the wireless and evenings with Jimmy Clitheroe and ‘Sing Something Simple’ with Cliff Adams.

Small mainly unimportant changes but evidence of transition nevertheless. I remember black jack fruit salads, Pontefract cakes, sticks of liquorice and the grapes in Carnation and tapioca puddings. Bread and dripping, deliciously salty and cod liver oil and malt extract spooned out with regular monotony; semolina,  Spam, which stood for SPiced hAM, yellow fish and Little Miss Muffet junkets; dandelion and burdock delivered by lorry once a week; Where did they all go, and perhaps more important, when? Spanish root that dribbled disgustedly down your chin and sticks of real, jet black liquorish sticks, a magical laxative.

Continued next week.


Julie said...

I'm loving this, I'll be sure to tune in next week. You're a little in front of me regards age. I didn't start out until late 1959, but reading this post gave me a warm glow as I remembered blackjacks and fruit salads, liquorice laces and blue bags of salt in packets of crisps.
We always seemed to be in the car coming back from somewhere when 'sing something simple' was on the wireless.
My early TV viewings (when it had warmed up) consisted of 'watch with mother' and 'Andy Pandy', I thought he was a girl. And who these days would believe we got up off our bums to turn the telly volume up or down and over to view all 3 (in my day) channels? And fixing the horizontal hold meant giving it a whack.
Thanks for making me smile and remember :)

Ruth said...

Ah, the memories! I remember that little blue bag in the crisps; and many of the other things you mentioned. I remember our first telly and having to wait for it to warm up. Thanks for the memories, Ken!

Expat mum said...

One thing I do remember about Spangles is that if you sucked them till they got really thin, they would also get quite sharp. Especially if a little hole appeared in the middle and you were silly enough to stick your tongue through it.

Rosalind Adam said...

Lots of amazing memories there. Don't forget Sing Something Simple and Round the Horne. And one of my favourite chocolate bar was the Five Boys Bar. I seem to remember the wrapper had five boys' faces with different expressions.

Grumpy Old Ken said...


Had forgotten horizontal holds!


And warming up!

Expat Mum

Are spangles still going?

Rosalind Adam

strangly enough dont know Five Boys Bars. Will look them up.