A Touch of Nostalgia: Part Two

In conversation with friends recently, the subject of things we miss arose. Not so much the people we no longer have with us, but those little things that shaped our lives, taught us values and respect for others, and helped make us who we are. From things we don’t see any more to the sweet confections and food of our childhood and places visited, always remembered. It wasn’t so much the things themselves we missed, we realised as we chatted, it was those days of families being together, sharing, and making our own fun and amusement in the times before computers and mobile phones and ipods and televisions in every room. Good days. Days of innocence, of security and comfort. Days of our youth. Here are some of the items that came up:

  • Roast chicken for Sunday lunch, a once-in-a-blue-moon, rare treat
  • Listening to the radio together. Family Favourites, The Navy Lark, Billy Cotton Band Show whilst we ate Sunday lunch; Children’s Favourites with Uncle Mac of a Saturday morning; and those we listened to on our own, usually under the covers in bed at night: Radio Luxembourg and Radio Caroline
  • Ice-cream soda in Rossi’s Ice Cream Parlour
  • Saturday morning pictures
  • Frost patterns on the inside of windows of a winter’s morning
  • Bricks of ice cream wrapped up in newspaper: vanilla or raspberry ripple, Neapolitan or tutti-frutti
  • Refunds on lemonade bottles
  • The blue twist of salt in a packet of crisps
  • Taking quart bottles to the off-licence in the pub to be filled with ale
  • My mum’s beer soup
  • Queues outside a phonebox
  • Saturday afternoon wrestling and Sunday Night at the London Palladium on television
  • Frozen orange Jubbly that needed two hands to hold
  • Coffee Crisp bars, Picnic bars, Spangles, Jamboree Bags, Peanut Treets and Sherbet Dabs
  • Rock cakes and Viota fairy cake mixes with red and green glacé cherries and butterfly cakes with buttercream icing
  • Loose tea and the only instant coffee powdered Nescafé in a small tin or liquid Camp Coffee
  • Sitting around the coal fire with the family playing cards or board games on a winter’s evening
  • The Sunday drive, perhaps to Leith Hill or Virginia Waters or Epping Forest or visiting relatives for tea
  • Games in the playground: British Bulldogs, Farmer’s in His Den, skipping games, rounders and French cricket or Two and Three Balls, in the air or against a wall
  • The all the neighbourhood kids playing ball games together in the street, games such as Queenie Queenie or hide and seek in the front gardens, go-karts and races on roller skates, skipping games, sitting on the kerb playing five stones or jacks
  • Autumnal walks in Burnham Beeches or gathering chestnuts at Box Hill
  • Summer days out at the seaside, the whole family piling in to a charabanc to go Margate or Bognor, Southend or Brighton or bilberry picking at Devil’s Punch Bowl
  • The Winkle Man on his bicycle calling out on a Sunday evening selling cockles and winkles and mussels and whelks
  • The rag-and-bone-man
  • Prawns sold by the pint
  • Pop concerts held inside in auditoriums or theatres where everyone had a seat and at least six top names were on the bill
  • When hot cross buns were a once a year treat and Christmas didn’t start until December.

Do you remember any of these things or have special memories of others? Have I rekindled a memory or two within you you’d like to share, perhaps? I do hope so.

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