Thursday, 4 February 2010

Did they have the wheel when you were young, Daddy

WARNING - nostalgia ain't what it used to be alert

I had one of those conversations with one of the daughters yesterday. 'Did you have a car, when you were my age?' she asked. For a moment I thought this was an 'I'm 16 tomorrow, so it's time to be saving up for the following year,' type hint, but in fact she meant did we have one in the family. It must, she mused (as I drove her back home from an after-school event) be difficult to manage without a car.

As it happens, we did have car, even when I was young, but it got me thinking about what we didn't have in the first few years of my life, including:
  • A fridge or freezer (until 10)
  • Central heating (until 11)
  • Duvets (until 15)
  • A colour TV (until 15)
  • A TV remote (until 12, and that had a wire)
  • Computers (ever)
  • Internet (ever)
  • Mobile phones (ever)
  • Microwave (ever)
  • Dishwasher (ever)
  • Garden furniture (ever)
... and no doubt much more. But we wuz 'appy. It's remarkable how central to existence many of these things seem now. The daughter was particularly shocked by the lack of fridge (not that this is more important than the internet and mobile phones, but she knew we didn't have those in the stone age). What did we do with frozen food? We didn't buy it. How about milk? We kept it in a coolish pantry, and got a new bottle most days. Brought, of course, by the milkman.

The wonder of nostalgia means I can even think of aspects of not having central heating that were appealing. The excitement of waking up to find frost on the inside of the windows. Even now, when I'm ill, I pine for a fire in the bedroom, which we only used to have when someone was ill. (Of course, I conveniently forget how COLD it was anywhere except a few feet from the fire.) But realism says that even if all those things don't make me happy, I would miss them now. (Except, possibly, the garden furniture.) A blog, for instance, wouldn't be the same, hand written and stuck up in the window of the house. So, on the whole, I approve of progress.

Despite appearances in the photo, we didn't live in a field, that was taken up on t't moors. Sadly, yes, that is me with my Dad.


  1. A simple click on auto levels will revitalize that image.

  2. Sorry, I don't understand the comment.

    If it's referring to the rather odd colour balance, I left that on purpose, as the picture is taken from an old slide, and I think gives it a suitably dated look.

    It's just a shame that there are no cars in the picture - when you see cars from when I was that age, you'd be convinced it was during the Second World War. (NO IT WASN'T.)

  3. It was very much the same in my own family Brian: we didn't even have a phone until I was 13. But also, we had no double glazing, fitted carpets, shower, electric kettle, microwave, automatic washing machine, dishwasher, electric blanket, supermarkets, motorways .... and yes, you're right, we managed just fine without any of those!

  4. ahh.. and that is something I had to answer to my cousin, who although he is only 11 years younger than I am is gobsmacked more often than I thought, when he asked "how did you meet your friends without a cell hone" [eh, decided on a time and place and actually showed up on time?]

    only blackandwhite TV until I was 8, no remote ever, microwave and electric kettle? not so much. But we did have both fridge and freezer but no washer and dryer (only sharing). and of course, no computers or dishwashers. I still remember when my mother got the computer when I was 16. wow indeed.

    (and to think I was born in late 1970ies... I guess somethings changed quickly? And we did eat a lot of lentils and beans...)