Looking over your shoulder at times past.

Who would think it’s almost the end of May.

At the time of writing this it’s blowing a gale, raining and just +6.5c outside.

We all tend when we try to remember the weather years ago to go back to when we were a child. You know that time when the sun always shone in the day and it only rained at night.

Looking back I remember in the 1960’s when we had a big freeze over several winters and especially the big freeze in 1962/63, it was cold for ages.

But despite it all we still walked to school every day, the buses ran and people just got on with things.

One thing I remember is passing the local shop, you know one of those places that stocked everything, and all the staff knew where everything was. Outside was a metal rack that held glass bottles of pop (Soda) and these had frozen so much that the tops had been forced off and they were on top of about 3 inches of ice that had been forced out of the bottle. They sat there like large coloured pencils with an eraser on the end every day for ages.

In those days for heating and hot water we had a coal fire and a back boiler which supplied the hot water for a couple of radiators and for washing etc. Nothing fancy like heating upstairs. I remember my father carrying in buckets of coal from the coal shed and lighting the fire each morning, he got it down to a fine art. Our house was an end terrace and I can remember waking up in the morning with ice on the inside of the bedroom window and condensation frozen on the wall down the stairs.

But the funny thing is we never bothered about it as far as I can remember.

A ritual we had every Friday night was for my mother and I to go to the local chip shop for three portions of fish and chips, the order never varied. We did that every week come rain or shine. Our treat on the way back home was a hot fishcake each which we ate straight out of the paper. Nothing in my mind could beat eating that fishcake as we trudged home through the snow or the rain. In those days the fish and chips were wrapped in newspaper, these days that’s not allowed. People would take their read newspapers to the chip shop and get a couple of pence for them.

It was a rarity at least where I lived to have a telephone in the house. The nearest public call box was about half a mile away and that’s where you went if you wanted to call anybody who had got their own phone, quite often when you got there you would join the end of a queue waiting to use it. It seemed to be always the same people as far as I can remember. Now with the age of the mobile phone that call box has long gone as have many round the country. But in those days they were often a social gathering point for learning the local news, gossip and scandal.

I also remember something which seems to have disappeared these days and that was that we knew all our neighbours, we may in some cases not get on with them but we knew them and in times of trouble we would always help each other. That as I say seems to have gone now.

During the winter because of the fact that almost everybody had coal fires going was that we had some really thick fogs or smog because of them. Some nights even with the street lights on we could not see ten feet in front of us and standing under a street light we could not see the next one either way. It was an eerie feeling standing in the fog not able to see far but sounds carried and you could speak to somebody across the road who you could not actually see.

Now as I sit back in my nice warm centrally heated home office and sit looking back in time I am not suggesting we go back to how it was, if only for the simple reason that you can never actually go back to how things were, and if you try and recreate it you’re always without exception disappointed.

So take a bit of time to look back and enjoy your memories they are the most precious thing you have.


One thought on “Looking over your shoulder at times past.

  1. Love the subtitle of your blog, it had me laughing. I also loved your story abotu the fish and how good that tasted. I feel like I can tast it and see the oiled newspaper, like it’s in front of me.

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