Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Reflections on Life

No blog to-date very lapse this week, but wasn't sure I had anything remotely interesting for folks to read. Then upon reflecting on my drive into work this morning I thought maybe I have after all. As a notable birthday approaches (60) :)next month I had cause to reflect on what life was like when I entered it in 1952 and beyond!! I can't believe how much change I have seen in my lifetime - mostly technological, but nevertheless something I think I now take for granted. These are some of the things that have come into my life almost without fanfare. Those of you a lot younger than me may not remember some of them, certainly not the people, and other things are probably items you heard about in your history lessons!! Lordy that makes me sound old but here goes!

Babies delivered by the local mid-wife. Common then. Hospital births were uncommon and only if your mother to be had complications!! No epidurals, just maybe some gas and air but generally nothing, just the usual hot towels and water and a lot of grunting and groaning!!
Cars were a rarity only one in our Close when I was growing up and that was a Ford Zephyr very grand! Usually without a radio and occasionally a heater, only luxury models had heaters!! Indicators were orange "arms" that came out of the car's side structures not lights on the front and rear. Hand signals were in greater use then whilst driving.
Steam vehicles still in general use.
Steam trains went out, Diesel & Electric came in - that WAS a shame!! and we lost a lot of our local rail tracks - thanks Mr. Beeching!!
Black and white television only (which we didn't have until I was 12 years old). One BBC TV station and only at certain times throughout the day with the "testcard" showing when no programmes were on. No regional TV at all.
No commercial radio only BBC.
Pirate radio stations i.e. Radio Caroline broadcasting from the high seas -late 50's early 60's what fun I had tuning into an illegal radio station in my youth!!
Only Banks & the Post Office savings, not Building Societies as we know them today.
New forms of street lighting.
Telegraph wires and poles disappearing and underground cabling used instead.
Battery farming for hens was to be the new vogue - Ugh!
New farming methods sweeping across the country i.e. Prairie fields and scrubbing out of hedgerows and trees with huge combine harvesting machines.
No such thing as a mobile telephone.
Telephone exchanges operated by ladies (whom you spoke to), with headphones who plugged you into other parts of the country when you wanted to phone somewhere other than where you lived. We did not have a telephone in our home until I had left home and was married at 20!!
Dialling codes were not in place (i.e. STD - Subscriber Trunk Dialling).
Post was delivered at least twice a day and sometimes on the same day.
Computers as we know them today did not exist. Lap tops were not invented.
Windows and any form of I.T software package did not exist for the general public.I.T. was not a common word nor occupation!
Computers operated in binary form, took up vast rooms, were several feet high & had massive tapes on wheels that spun around and around recording data.
Potato crisps were usually only "Smiths", with the little blue salt bag in them, generally plain, occasionally salt and vinegar. I remember when Cheese and Onion flavour came out, boy was that exciting. Oxo crisps made by Chipmunk was the only other flavour available and they were my favourite.
The baker delivered bread, the milkman delivered milk, the fizzy drinks man delivered drinks, the greengrocer delivered greengroceries!
Rag & Bone men collected rags and scrap from our door.
The man came around to sharpen knives, scissors and garden tools on a bike type machine with a "stone" on it for sharpening.
We bought proper wooden pegs from Gypsies who came to the door and she would read our palm if we crossed her palm with silver. If we had no money then she would give us a sprig of Lavendar for good luck.
The package holiday did not really exist for "Jo public".
Sweet rationing was still in place as a remnant from the 2nd World War.
Money was in pounds, shillings and pence. Decimalisation came in much later.
We had milk in the mornings at school provided by the Government but still had to pay milk money to the school every Monday morning. It was considered an important role to be "milk monitor" to issue the milk to your fellow pupils and collect the money to give to teacher!
We always had to have a front and back light when riding our bike otherwise we would get into trouble with the local policeman and always had to light them up at night or would get into even bigger trouble!
Saturday morning pictures for children at the cinema only used to cost 6d (2 1/2 pence).
Man landed on the moon and I was allowed to sit up and watch it. Space wars developed between Russia and the U.S.A to see who could build better and bigger and so on.
Space travel became a key feature over 20 years or so with various changes, the first monkey in space, the first dog in space, then man and then sending up the space station, now probes to Mars and other planets - remarkable!
Donald Campbell lost his life in Bluebird, after creating a great World Speed Record.
Marilyn Monroe was making a name for herself and then found dead - very suspicious!!
Judy Garland was a famous film star.
President Kennedy was assassinated, then other Kennedy's lost their lives -what a cursed family, how sad.
The Cuban crisis.
The age of Nuclear & the War fears. First Nuclear Power Stations being built. Ban the Bomb marches.
The "Cold War".
Oil & Gas rigs being built and towed out to the North Sea - massive gas & Oil explorations.
Flower power.
The Beatles and the fabulous 60's what a great time to be in - peace man!!
The Vietnam War.
Martin Luther King was assassinated.
Elvis Presley died.
Nelson Mandela incarcerated.
The Torrey Canyon Disaster
The Berlin Wall - all the history & numerous deaths associated with it.
The Falklands War and all the wars that are still going on!!
The fish (or Cod) war, miners strikes, power cuts in the U.K. and Margaret Thatcher the first female Prime Minister.
The Profumo Affair and Government scandals going on even then - nothing much has changed!!

The list is endless now I think about it probably all out of context too but that's what reaching 60 does methinks? How lucky am I to have been a part of history in the making? I must try to write it all down before I forget it! I bet some of you remember some of these things too and probably even more, isn't life amazing? Treasure those memories and remember to tell your family about them - you are their link to their history classes and their earlier generations - without you they wouldn't be here!!

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