I’m home!

Went to New Zealand for a month to stay with YD and family. It was absolutely excellent. Very hot. Swimming in the sea is normal (did that a LOT). So is factor 50 sunscreen and a sunhat and covering up in the sun (in fact strongly advised).

It’s very relaxed there, although it’s stuck in the 50s in some ways. I didn’t see one single homeless person or beggar, no litter or graffiti, and there seems to be huge awareness of and responsibility for the environment, and despite the racism and inequality, a sense of what social justice means.

Expensive though. It’s so far away from anywhere they have to grow, make, or import everything. The fruit and veg are enormous! and delicious.

It’s a bitch of a journey though. 30 hours door to door each way, and then there’s the jet lag to deal with. Feeling slightly more normal today – today is the sixth day since I arrived home.

Here are some photos. When my head has returned to its normal state I’ll write more.

1950s childhood continued

We had 45 rpm and 78 rpm records. Also 33 1/3 rpm, which were quite new.rca45 You can see that the middle could be pushed out if necessary to fit the record player. And the records could be stacked one on top of the other and would drop automatically when the last one finished playing. The arm would lift, swivel back to the start position, and wait for the next record.

There was no such thing as stereo, CDs or video recorders/players.
we recorded onto cassette tapes.
only black and white tv until I was about 12, when the first crappy colour tv came out.bwtv

This is almost exactly like the first tv I can remember .

We watched (“Watch with Mother”) The Woodentops, Andy Pandy, Bill and Ben, and, wait for it, Muffin the Mule.

We listened to Listen with Mother on the radiogram (below).radiogram

There were no games consoles, no personal computers, no printers.
We played board games or outside in the garden (not out the front, not allowed).

Early working years

Everything was typed by hand and with carbon paper (which was messy atypewriternd dirty) inserted between the sheets to make copies.

There were no photocopiers or fax machines. We used Roneo Gestetners to make more than 3 copies. That involved typing, very hard, on a wax sheet with a carbon sheet behind it, facing upwards, so you could see what you’d typed. Mistakes were corrected with special fast-drying liquid wax.sheet

Then you had to ink the drum, affix the wax sheet carefully, wrinkle free, to the drum, load the paper, and turn the drum fast and hard, by hand, until you’d made enough copies. Hard work.

Instead of fax machines, we had Telex machines. You could type the message straight in, but it was more efficient to type it onto a tape, then feed the tape through while you were actually connected.telex

This is exactly like the one I used to use. It was in the most important secretary’s office.That’s it so far folks. More if I can remember any.

When I was small

  • we didn’t have wall to wall carpeting in every room. There was a strip of lino round the edges, or in the hall and up the stairs, painted or varnished wood. My sister and I had to polish these edges.
  • we didn’t have central heating. There would be ice on the inside of the windows on a winter morning. My dad would come in and light the gas fires in the bedroom.
  • it was considered normal for us, at junior school, to catch the bus to and from school, including crossing a main road.
  • it was also considered normal for us to go to the shops alone aged 7+ (also including crossing a main road).
  • our phone was made of black Bakelite, with a fabric cord, and a dial. The number was ACO 1807.phone
  • for a while we had a “party” phone line, which meant sharing with the neighbours, so if they were on the phone, we had to wait till they’d finished.
  • all my mother’s friends were to be referred to by the honorific “Aunty”, even though they weren’t related.
  • when we visited my mother’s friends, my sister and I were expected to go and play with their children, even if we hated each other. The adults were to be left to talk about adult stuff.
  • we had “high tea” which was usually boiled eggs and a jam sandwich, at about 4.30 pm every day.
  • on Saturdays we had fish fingers for lunch, with mash and peas. Every Saturday for as long as I can remember.
  • we caught the bus or walked everywhere for years, until my mother was given a car at Christmas by my dad. It was a surprise, and was parked two doors up, in their garage.
  • there were two postal deliveries, every day. “Second post” arrived after lunch.
  • telegrams were still being delivered. Nobody ever wanted to receive one because they were associated with bad news.
  • all typewriters were “manual”, not electric.
  • computers were the size of an average house (or so it seemed to me as a small child). Secretaries felt threatened by the advent of word processors, which were marketed as replacing typists of all sorts.
  • taxis were considered a special luxury treat.
  • we ate beef dripping on bread as a treat.
  • stuffed hearts were a regular meal, as was liver and onions (delicious!).
  • I wore bodices instead of vests. They had little sleeves and buttons which did up at the front.
  • you weren’t considered “properly” dressed unless you were wearing a petticoat.
  • Sunday best included a white hat and matching white gloves.
  • Sunday school was mandatory (to give Mum and Dad some time alone I guess).
  • I didn’t know my parents went to bed, at all, until I was about 5, because they were always up and dressed when I went to bed or woke up. One night I woke up and did wonder why it was all dark, and my Dad found me stumbling half way down the stairs.
  • Dad wore “long johns” in the winter – long underpants to keep him warm – and a string vest all year round.
  • mobile phones hadn’t been invented – weren’t even a twinkle in anybody’s eye.
  • we were smacked with a ruler at school routinely.
  • Mum smacked us if we were naughty at home. It was considered perfectly normal.
  • I once heard Mum say, on the phone to one of her friends, when explaining why we did all the housework, “Why have daughters and bark yourself?” (instead of “why have a dog and bark yourself”). I wasn’t impressed.
  • the fashion for mothers was big full skirts, and when they went out (to the shops or whatever), lipstick was mandatory. No other make-up, just lipstick.

Can’t think of anything else right now, but if anything else occurs, will continue . . . .