It’s that time of year again where in spite of ‘Black Friday’, ‘Cyber Monday’ and retail mayhem I think about times gone by.
I was thinking about Christmas trees, from when I was small, Dad would be despatched to buy the tree and Mum would be frantic about needle drop before it
came in the door. In those days, early 70’s, you could only buy one species of tree; the one that dropped all it’s needles! Nowadays there are at least 50 different species of tree. Blue Spruce, Fraser Fir, Douglas Fir, Balsam Fir, Norway Spruce, Eastern White Pine, orange scented trees, white ones, grey ones and all with no needle drop.
Back in the day the tree didn’t come with roots just a sawn off stump and it needed to be placed in a muddy old bucket with brick support at the bottom to shore it up. It was then a family tradition to hold it up straight whilst Dad placed wedges of old offcuts of wood that he had secreted somewhere in the garage in order to wedge this tree in position. The bucket was wrapped in crepe paper and the tree decorating could begin. First, the lights needed to be checked – Oh the fun that was to be had with that, at least one bulb had worked it’s way lose in the past 11 months and 3 weeks and each had to be tested individually:
“Can’t we put the tinsel on?”
“Not until the lights are on!”
“Well can we hurry up!!” Younger family members wailed.
How many of us can remember the ritual of the Christmas pudding? The making of it in plenty of time for it to have it’s weekly ‘feed’, the boiling of it for at least 8 hours and peeking at it in the larder wrapped in muslin and waiting for the Big Day. Or the cake, the dried fruit, the candied peel and the glacé cherries, also fed with brandy, marzipanned and Royal iced. This is the first year I haven’t made one and I feel a bit sad, but no one likes it, apart from my Dad.
I was thinking about Christmas and it made me think of other things I’ve lost. I know for a fact that sitcoms were better in the olden days: ‘Butterflies’; ‘To the manor born’; ‘The Good Life’; ‘Citizen Smith’; ‘Just Good Friends’. Radio shows, I listened to Radio One a lot much to my parents disappointment: Simon Bates’ Our Tune is something I still miss today. Where are you Simon? Radio Two, Terry, Terry, Terry, you were always in my life! You introduced me to “Janet & John’ and I remember your producer, Paul, unable to control his mirth whilst you recounted the tale. Terry’s Old Geezers & Gals, we finally came into the 21st Century by adding ‘The Gals’. The satire of Dave Allen, I was 14 and smirking behind my hands because I shouldn’t know stuff like this and Mum & Dad were watching it too.
The hype over the Christmas No.1 and begging to be allowed to watch TOTP when grandparents don’t really approve of Slade.
Who can remember glitter eyeshadow and mascara? Charlie perfume and Aqua Manda? We had platform shoes, I had a really cool red pair. Flares, cheesecloth blouses, the Farrah Fawcett flick.
Oh the fun I’ve had this afternoon remembering this. Youngsters don’t know what they have missed.