I know it might come as a surprise, being as no mention has yet been made but but Christmas is apparently just around the corner. (Only joking, QVC first mentioned Christmas in June!) Being as it's been a particularly harrowing year I've decided to treat myself to a special present in this festive season. Rather different and mind bendingly more expensive than presents received in my far distant childhood in the years after the war. (No, not The Great War, honest!)
Much prized as a little boy was a small cannon, three or four inches long that fired matchsticks, much to the alarm of the family cat. Similarly prized was a John Bull printing outfit (excellent for printing rude words out of sight of inquisitive adults) and a Subbuteo football set (the figures were made from pressed out 'cardboard. (Such were the limitations regarding the availability of suitable materials years after a costly war.) Dinky toys were always much prized (I remember especially a 'dustbin' lorry.) 'Rupert' annuals were always eagerly awaited prior to Christmas and any child lucky enough to receive a Hornby train set was indeed favoured. The 'rich' kids in the village proudly peddled their bikes in full view on Christmas morning. My family was not so wealthy, my first ever bike, from a richer relation, was by virtue of passing the Eleven Plus; even that was in fact second-hand! The good old days? What do you remember of childhood presents, my friends. What in particular will stay in the mind forever?
A joke I remember from childhood concerned a poor boy from the village. "And what would you like for Christmas?" asked the father.
"Something to wear and something to play with" replied the young boy.
And on opening his only Christmas parcel the boy was bemused, but not over surprised to find a pair of trousers with the pockets cut out! (My apologies for my lack of taste but our village humour often lacked the 'niceties' of our more sophisticated, urban cousins.)
I suppose the most obvious changes in life since my childhood has been in the amazing advances in technology, affecting virtually all aspects of our lives. This blog post is delivered via a computer. Yet I remember writing in school with a pen, replenished with ink from an inkwell set in the school desk. Which might suggest I know about computers, which I emphatically do not. I can use one, just about. So my latest purchase, delivered next week, will really test the old grey brain cells; I've ordered an iPad. A 32 gigabyte, iPad Air with retina display. Not that I understand any of this. I'm now entering the world of the computer geeks, and I don't even know what an app is! I've never been one for technology. Unless you count the Meccano sets we boys (Very sexist were our childhoods after the war) had for Christmas. Very limited sets, unless you were 'a rich kid' in which case your set would build astronomic engineering projects, cranes for instance not much smaller than the real thing.
But I'm looking forward to the iPads arrival. Not that I'm completely clear as to what an iPad can do! Any advice or encouragement welcome! Time will tell, you're never too old to learn or so they say. Famous last words? I hope not!