Sunday, 29 May 2011

Memories of the past.

Was passing the time with an older generation couple the other day whilst waiting for a bus that's usually late.

They were talking about how the old old Concrete Bus Station in Walsall was much better in their opinion than the new one is now. Trolley Buses came up and with it various things about conductors, better behaviour on buses from everyone and community spirit. People who travelled used to know and look out for each other.

And somehow we got on to other things and it got me thinking about some things in my childhood as I was growing up.

There weren't many places with hot running water or even bath rooms. Just a tin bath that was fetched out once a week and put in front of the fire whilst water was boiled in whistling kettles and sauce pans. In my house several clean house bricks were put in to raise the water level so less water was needed. There wasn't the shower gels we have now but Carbolic soap usually green or white to get us clean. Was terrible if you got it up your nose or in your eyes as it stung for ages.

We had a Black and White 405 line TV with two channels BBC and ITV, the radio was valve and took time  to warm up and we were lucky has it had VHF (FM as we know it now) so we had a bit wider choice of listening. Although Sundays whilst eating breakfast it was "Ed Stewpot Stuart" doing "Junior Choice" which I always remembered he played "3 Wheels on my wagon". Funny how I got a Three wheeler later in life but those wheels didnt fall off. Lunchtime we were listening to "Two Way Family Favourites" as request were exchanged across the commonwealth" and after that comedy in the form of "The Clithero Kid" A bit like the Krankies of the 1970's then tea time was "Sing Something Simple" with the Cliff Adams Singers". Then at bedtime "Sunday Half-hour" a religious slot which is still running today.

Doors could be left open and once a week my Mom polished the step with Cardinal Polish (Red step) and on Mondays went in to the outhouse and did the washing using a dolly tub and Mangle to wring the water out of the clothes before putting them on the line. She then scrubbed the outside toilet out. It was the only toilet for us in those days as it was before modernisation.

It seems an age away now but was the norm then and of course places like the Black Country Living Museum  ( and the Birmingham Back to Backs ( are now showing the younger generation how life used to be.

Now we have hundreds of TV channels many in high definition compared with the original 405 and then later 625 line TV sets.

Music is no longer sold on 8 track tapes (in car players) casettes, reel to reel tape recorders (remember Grundig machines)  or vinyl (some specialist stuff still on vinyl). Everything is now digital and available for download.

We have hot running water and central heating in most places so no more raking the ash out of the fire and getting one started with firelighters and coal.

We have showers replacing a lot of peoples bath times so to speed things up and then there are microwaves, electric kettles, There was only one electric company (MEB in my case) and the Gas and Water Board.

I could go on but to some it may be boring but lets say we are more reliant on energy than we ever were. Things have certainly improved lifestyle wise over the years and technology has played a great big part in that.

Local neighbourliness has to be worked on more these days and its not safe to leave doors open so neighbours can just pop in as uninvited guests would take advantage.

Streets arnt filled with the same amount of children's laughter as they were because of the danger of cars and other vehicles as well as undesirables

But would I go back to the way things were? Not really as I've experienced that part of my life some good, some bad and some things in between.

I think the younger people around today will have their own unique experiences of what life is like now and although they can look at what things were like when I was younger, things move forward and you have to look forward cuz if you don't you will fall over and also miss the things that are around us and right under our noses in some cases.

Life is a challenge, our lifestyles and technologies will be talked about by future generations and to every generation there will be the so called "Good old days"

And I've now rambled on for far to long just like the bus I was waiting for the other day and then it went round the houses. Now thats a topic I will leave  to another blogger Phil Tonks (

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