Monthly Archives: October 2012

Do You Remember When…………….

Jan 12th 2009 I published this item in Dickiebo blog.

Do You Remember When…

All the girls had ugly gym slips?

I’m not at all sure that they were ugly! I knew quite a lot of girls who looked rather nice in them. Not to mention the fact that my four sisters wore them also!

When 3d was a decent allowance?


3 pence was, to me, the base unit of currency. Most importantly of ‘everything in the whole wide world’, it bought 2ozs of sweets! Nothing, simply nothing, could have been so precious. Even though they were ‘on ration’. It was also my daily dinner-allowance. You see, I couldn’t stand school meals, and dear mother had little money to give me for lunch, so 3d was it! I could either have a 3d bag of chips from the Windsor Cafe in Swansea, (which is still there), and was sheer bliss, OR buy a cake from Eynon’s (usually an Eccles cake because that was the most filling!) which cost 2d, and then I would have 1d to go home by bus rather than on the Mumbles train. Oh yes! The bus picked up the girls!

All your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done every day and wore high heels?

They did, too! Miss Rees, our primary school head teacher, stood 10 feet tall in her high-heels, and had the mandatory ‘hair-in-a-bun’. A gentle yet terrifying woman. How can you be both? Don’t ask me – only a proper teacher knows that. And that, they were.

They threatened to keep kids back a year if they failed. . . and they did it! 

Proper teachers. Proper schools. Decent kids.

NO P.C./Socialist Targets/Multi-Cultural Crap/Totally Irrelevant Subjects. When we left school behind, we could all read, write, spell, add-up, and knew right from wrong.

When a  Ford Zephyr was everyone’s dream car…to cruise, lay rubber or watch the girls… and people went steady?

Cars were all different in the early days. We would know every make of car and they were gloriously different in shape. Nowadays they look very similar indeed. Not that there were many around. We could play in the street all day and perhaps not a single car would pass! Imagine that now! And, as for people ‘going steady’. Well, they did. It was like a kind of duty. Everybody had to have a ‘steady’ or he/she wasn’t normal. One of my sisters split with her long time steady after going together for umpteen years, – he also came from our little village. Thereafter, all my mates would ask me, in hushed voices, ‘What happened?’ As if I would know!

Lying on your back in the grass with your friends?
and saying things like, ‘That cloud looks like a… ‘?

Yea. We did this a lot. The boys and, of course, sometimes the girls – dependent on what we were playing! The picture reminds me of both Caswell Valley, and the donkey field down Marytwill Lane. Both were regular play spots. Caswell Valley would be a sea of blue, from the bluebells, which the girls would pick by the armful. Vandals! Casting my mind back now, the biggest difference between then and now is undoubtedly the sheer quiet of the time. Even the birds singing seemed almost like an intrusion then. Come to think of it, Underhill Park was also in this bracket. Mustn’t leave that out.

Playing cricket with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game?

Most of our time was spent playing either cricket or football in the street. With there being no cars to worry about, this was quite enjoyable. We never had this many kids though. Come to think of it, we probably didn’t have that number in the entire village. Adults to help? I don’t think so. What on earth could they possibly have known that we didn’t? One day, one passing idiot adult said that we get 2 points for kicking the football over the crossbar! Hmmmph!

Who can still remember the Coronation, Mr Pastry, 6.5 SpecialThe Army Game , Sunday Night at the London Palladium, Emergency Ward 10, the Lone Ranger, Hancock’s Half Hour, Trigger and Sergeant Bilko.

How Many Of These Do You Remember? 

Ahhh, sweet cigarettes. AND they did not require ration coupons, as I recall. Dixon of Dock Green! I met Dixon (Frank Warner) in later life, and on Sundays, we would spend lunchtimes in a pub in what was Paddington Green – or ‘Dock Green’ as it was known in the films.

Coke in bottles. When I was in the RMP in Hong Kong, I was, for a time, our Unit Rations NCO. One of my tasks was to ensure that the coke machine was always full. It was refrigerated, and when you put your money in, a bottle would drop out with a right old bang. How they never broke I don’t know. Good glass in them thar bottles!

Coffee shops with Table Side Jukeboxes.

When I was a young cop in Soho, I would stand outside Chas McDevit’s coffee-bar, the Freight Train (named after his hit record) listening to the juke box. Brill. Helen Shapiro and Rikki Nelson, etc. (And I must mention my big fav, Clarence Frogman Henry!!)

Telephone numbers with a word prefix…( Mayfair 3489). Party lines.

I shall remember, until the day I die, sitting at that old. old switchboard, answering, “Victoria 1113, Police Rochester Row.” Implanted on my brain. There was a lot to be said for the old system and certainly some numbers were far easier to remember. When B used to work at a Recording Studio as a young girl, her boss would love to ask her to telephone one of his friends at his place, the 100 Club, at 100 Oxford Street. He was (is) a jazz musician, Humphrey Littleton, and converting his telephone numbers into letters, his number was HADAPIS! One red-faced B!

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