How Times have changed
DO YOU REMEMBER?
This article came about because my grandson asked me what was my favourite DVD and CD when I was a boy. We then went onto discuss other changes. Health and safety, and the political correctness mob would have had a field day.
Our cots were painted with brightly coloured lead paints, which we sucked on and chewed whenever it took our fancies; there were no steriliser kits or cleaners that killed 99% of all know germs. We tore up newspapers to thread and hang behind the toilet door, and Izal toilet paper was sheer luxury.
We walked to school, carried our own pump-bags and satchels if there was a bus, then we would spend our bus fares on sweets. Kicked stones and cans along the way and generally just wandered home after school.
It was great sport to jump on and off buses whilst in motion, swinging around the handrail on the rear platform. Smokers of course were confined to the top floor. now kids need an army of adults to organise their games, but played cricket, football, hopscotch and many more with an adult in sight to tell us the rules. What time is it Mr. Wolf was one of my favourites.
There were no supermarkets, [thank God] just proper shops, that would deliver your order if asked, usually by a lad on a bike. He would not wear a helmet, knee pads, flak jacket, or high viz vest, and invariable his brakes needed adjusting. Shops always smelt great, a mixture of open boxes of biscuits and coffee being ground fresh. Butter was cut to size from a large unrefrigerated block, so was beef lard. Hams and sides of bacon dangled from chrome plated racks and were taken down when needed. The staff were polite and had good manners they referred to customers as ‘Sir or Madam’, and they did the walking around the shop to fill your basket for you. Mum's would put on 'a bit of makeup' to nip down the shops, Lord they would have died at some Mums dress now.
One day a week, you took your spending money and went to the sweet shop, a place designed as near to kid’s heaven as possible. Penny trays and long lines of bottled sweets made the visit perfect. Do you remember these sweets; milk bottles, gobstoppers, pineapple chunks, sherbot lemons, and everyone's favourite, flying sauces?
In summer, we played out all day; our Mums had to call us in for tea. There were no videos or DVDs to watch, we used our imaginations. We shared a bottle of pop and took the empties back to get a penny on them.
We drank from streams and hosepipes, ate dripping sandwiches and jam on bread, treacle and thickly buttered fresh bread. Sometimes, instead of school dinners, we’d go to the local confectioners and buy a small loaf; then we would eat the soft, white inside and fill the crust with chips. Fish and chips shops did not open until 8 pm and we would eat our suppers out of newspaper as we walked home from cubs or scouts or youth club.
If you fell and hurt yourself, it was your own fault we did not immediately ring a solicitor for advice. We had fights and fallouts but we sorted it out ourselves usually behind the bike sheds, where you also got your first sex education lessons and learnt to smoke.
If you were thin, fat, tall, short, wore glasses, had red hair, blonde hair or brown hair, if you were Christian, Jewish, Muslim or anything else then someone would call you names; we did not run to our teacher and say we were being bullied we just called someone else a few names back.
We built bogeys out of old pram wheels and broken boxes and then we would find the steepest hill we could to whizz down. If you didn’t have a bogey but did have a grassy hillside then any piece of cardboard or plastic sheet made a great sledge. We played cricket with corky balls and no leg guards, conkers had shoelaces through them and you regularly got your fingers rattled. We built tree houses and rafts and wig-whams from old tablecloths; we fired catapults and throwing arrows across any open land. If your parents were out when you got home, the neighbours would keep their eyes on you, and feed you if necessary.
Paper- rounds were the only source of income, you walked for miles with a great heavy bag and boy did you get a telling off if you missed one house on your round. i had a job for the local coalmerchant, smashing great chunks of the stuff with an old lumphammer.
England was first in music, fashion, design, and we even won the World Cup; with footballers paid £20 a week. Some not that much if they played for the smaller clubs.
Sportsmen and women still believed in fair play, I watched a footballer this weekend; who is probably on 30,000 a week roll about on the floor holding his face as if he had been hit with a hammer, the replay showed that he not even been touched; not in our day.
You could leave a job Friday and have another by Monday, because we had manufacturing companies, not just offices filled with people doing…what. Dustbin men emptied your bins, you bought your gas from British Gas and the Electricity from you regional supplier. You pressed button ‘A’ to talk on the phone or ‘B’ to get your money back, the only adverts were for the local shops.
No one swore in front of children or women, if you did you had to apologise, and I’m talking in industry too. People could express themselves without using foul language to fill in the gaps. Respect for yourself and for others was the key rule, respect for authority, the police, your teachers, your parents, your friends; it may sound corny now but it was a far better place to live.
We produced some of the best problem solvers and innovators that have ever lived, technology accelerated away because people were not afraid to take risks and did not have to fill out things in triplicate and be risk assessed before they made a move.
You knew politicians would lie to you but you didn’t think that they were stealing from your back pocket at every opportunity, just to feather their already overstuffed nests.
Things were not perfect by any means, it was tough at times, there was nothing like the amount of welfare support, family allowance was only for the second child. Kids in my class could not always afford socks, or a coat for the winter.
If you are not old enough to remember any of this, then you missed the best bit, if you know what I’m talking about pass it on to a friend before those do-gooders try to have it wiped.
It was not all perfect, there was a lot that was wrong, but we did not have the media constantly hitting us around the head with the problems and blowing everything out of proportion.