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.


20 thoughts on “A Touch of Nostalgia: Part Two

    • Hi Talli. Great to see you here. Beer soup …mmm just the thought makes my mouth water. Basically a winter soup made with beer (preferably stout), milk, eggs and believe it or not, custard powder! Will have to do a blog about it soon if I can tease the recipe out of my mother.
      All the best.

  1. What wonderful memories. At the Saturday morning cinema we used to sing about being the ABC Minors. We had Corona pop delivered every Friday in glass bottles with elaborate pull over tops to seal them. I loved Jubblies. I used to suck the orange out of it and be left with white ice. And as for the rag and bone man, we had one who came down our street and I’ll swear he used to shout, ‘Diddly Dad.’ I suppose I’ll now never know what it really was.

    • Saturday morning at the fleapit. Wonderful days indeed, Rosalind. Have posted a link on Twitter and on my FB page to the ABC Minors song for a giggle. And I used to do the same with Jubblies.

  2. Thanks for the great reminders, Kit. Although I’m Canadian, my grandparents were British and I can recall them reminiscing about many of the same things. Before the advent of television, practically every family in this country would be found gathered around the radio on Saturday evening listening to hockey night in Canada. It was a national event! Aren’t we fortunate to have such an abundance of good memories?

  3. I remember all of that. Our rag and bone man gave us a balloon for the rags. No selection boxes for us in our stockings at Christmas. It was an apple, an orange, a sixpence and a book. Happy days. What about the Black and White Minstrels on Saturday nights, not PC any more. Then there was Juke Box Jury, and Metal Mickey for the kids – they loved it. I can also remember singing ‘Run Rabbit Run’ at the Saturday morning movie show. Oh, and I still hang washing on the line, you can’t beat it.

    • Yes, Chris they were fab TV programmes. Thank Your Lucky Stars and Open the Box and the list goes on. My biggest thrill at Christmas was getting a new dress or pair of shoes. I had two older sisters, identical twins, I had to wear they cast-offs and thus had too of everything! And we used to boo and hiss at the baddies at the cinema.

  4. I do remember the rag and bone man but I would have been very young. I was born 1969. I also remember taking bottles back to the shop to get money back and being able to spend it on a bag of sweets. That was a massive treat and as there were 3 of us, it was usually a treat we shared.

    Something that always sticks in my mind was at Christmas time when we used to be inundated with selection boxes and would empty them all into a bag then share them between us all. I used to love doing that and still do today, even though Amy is an only child (it means I can delve in too, lol).

    CJ xx

    • Ha ha, the rag-&-bone man. Nowadays it’s called recycling! I heard rumour they’re making a comeback.
      Wouldn’t be Christmas without a selection box or two. My daughter’s an only child too. She used to give Dave & me the sweets she didn’t like and keep all the nice ones to herself, especially the Smarties.

  5. Oh, that’s a great post, Kit. I remember so many of them and it seemed such an innocent time, as you say. Used to love playing street games (with few cars around), watching Sunday Night at The London Palladium and I remember the rag and bone man. used to go to the ABC Minors at the cinema on a Saturday morning. And we rolled hard boiled eggs down a hill at Easter!

    • Hello Rosemary.
      What is frightening is I can recall the song we used sing at the ABC Minors each week, not all the words, but most definitely the tune. They don’t make variety shows like London Night any more sadly. Now we’re plagued with amateurs on X factor etc. How times have changed. At Easter we played hunt the eggs in the garden.
      Thanks for commenting.

  6. I love all this, it makes you realise just how much the world has changed! Especially remember the Jubbly’s from school days – and wrestling (Billy Two Rivers, Jackie Pallo). The Ladybird clothes label had a wonderful pale yellow T-shirt with palm trees and Arabs riding camels on it when I was about 10. A time when there were porters at railway stations who actually carried passengers’ luggage. Champion the Wonder Horse, Rag Tag and Bobtail, The Wooden Tops, Andy Pandy, Bill and Ben! Bus conductors on buses. A time when a big blockbuster movie would have half the town queuing round the block to see it – where I lived, Lawrence of Arabia ran for three weeks!
    Booths in record shops where you could listen to the music before you bought it. There is so much more, I could fill pages – there Kit, see what you’ve started!

    • Gosh, Audrey, I remember it all so well. Watch and Listen With Mother. I shall have to dig up some more memories. Why is it we seem to crave these happy reminders so much?

  7. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Life gets busy and we forget what it was like before the age of information exploded. My memories in the US aren’t much different from yours.

    I remember staying over at my grandmothers and getting to stay up late to listen to “The Shadow” on the radio. And, hanging the wash out on the line and the sun kissed smell when we brought it in.

    • Thank you Lavada. Don’t remember The Shadow, presumably a US programme but certainly having washing on the line is a novelty for me as I don’t possess one. But certainly remember that wonderful smell of the laundry when dry, especially as we helped Mum fold the sheets.

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