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Archive for the ‘Memories’ Category

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Posted by Big Boo on July 11th, 2011

C&AI have very vivid memories of the dreaded clothes shopping trip when I was growing up. If either my sister or myself needed new clothes for any reason (e.g. new school uniform, grown out of old clothes, needed something for a special occasion) then the shops in our local town were usually next to useless, so the weekend meant a trip to the next biggest town about 15 miles away.

I think we loved and hated those trips in equal measure. Of course there were the good shops (i.e. toy shops and for me, computer game shops) that we got to look around as well, but the biggest part of the trip was going round the various clothes shops, which at that time usually included a visit to C&A.

C&A was a huge shop selling clothes for every possible member of the family, from babies through to grandparents, so it always seemed an extra long trawl as you had to negotiate the racks and racks of women’s clothes, up the escalator to get to the children’s clothes.

Then we’d try to find something both ourselves and our parents liked, and which the shop also had in the correct size, then go and try them on (hopefully in the changing rooms, though there was the odd indignity of having to try something on in the shop itself) before then taking the items to the till to pay and have the giant security discs removed.

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Real Brick Building Sets

Posted by Big Boo on June 20th, 2011

Building BricksHere’s an old toy I have very dim memories of from my youth, so much so that I’m not even sure I remember its real name. I believe it was called Link, though it may have been spelled Linq instead, or indeed I might be completely wrong about the name entirely.

What I do remember though is that I wanted a set and never got one.

Basically Link (if that was its name of course) was a kit that allowed you to build houses out of real miniature bricks held together with cement, or at least something close to cement that was safe for kids to play with anyway.

You built up your model house exactly as if you were building a real house, laying the bricks in courses then slotting in windows and doors (assuming you’d left the right size gap of course) before putting on the roof, which I’m sure involved gluing little roof tiles together, though whether you had a wooden frame to build against like in a real house I’m not sure.

I think this is a toy that must have died out in the Eighties (or possibly late Seventies), but was extremely popular with little lads and lasses across the country during the Fifties and Sixties.

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Twenty Pence Piece

Posted by Big Boo on May 13th, 2011

Twenty Pence PieceWhenever I look at a handful of UK coins there’s always one coin that stands out most to me, and that’s the twenty pence piece. I have a bit of a soft spot for this particular coin, simply because for me, it was the first big change to UK coinage that occurred in my life.

The humble 20p coin tumbled into our pockets on the 9th June 1982, and was introduced, believe it or not, because there were concerns that the amount of loose change people had to carry about was getting too heavy! The thought process was that the twenty pence piece would reduce the number of ten pence pieces that had to be in circulation.

Like it’s bigger comrade the fifty pence, twenty pence coins are seven sided, and they are made of Cupro-nickel, in a ratio of 84% copper and 16% nickel.

One of the reasons I have such fond memories of this coin is that when they first went into circulation, our entire family decided that we would save up every twenty pence coin we got to keep for spending money on our next holiday. We used to keep them in a little metal tin money box that had a lager logo on it (Carlsberg I think it was), as these were a craze at the time. Sadly I forget exactly how much we saved up now…

On a sadder note though, the introduction of the twenty pence piece was also the beginning of the end for two other pieces of UK currency. Firstly, the half pence coin was removed from circulation in 1984, and then the one pound note followed in 1988, after it had become unnecessary thanks to the introduction of the one pound coin in 1983.

More recently the twenty pence coin made news headlines when a batch of new coins were issued in 2008 that did not have the year of issue inscribed upon them. This was a mistake and the Royal Mint put out a recall notice, apparently offering £50 for each coin returned. However, some more enterprising people who ended up with one of these mistake coins put them up on eBay for sale, and have made a quite tidy profit in the process, some going for £100-200 or even more!

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What Happened On The Day You Were Born?

Posted by Big Boo on April 11th, 2011

historic newspapersWhat do you get for the Child of the 1980’s that has everything? A 3D TV? Too expensive! Some new socks? Come on, no one enjoys getting socks for their birthday. How about a newspaper from the day they were born?

A great idea, but it’s not like you can just pop down to the newsagents, pop your money on the counter and ask for a copy of The Mirror from 1983 is it? They don’t tend to keep newspapers in stock for more than, let me see, a day?

Never fear, for Historic Newspapers are on hand to provide exactly this service. They have a vast archive of just about every big UK newspaper you can think of, dating back in some instances to 1810, so even if you’re buying for a Child of the 1880’s (unlikely I know) then you are probably still in luck.

It’s a great idea for a present, not just for birthdays but also for anniversaries of special occasions, or simply something to buy for yourself so you can find out what was happening in the world on the day you were born. I certainly have no idea what the big news was on my birthday, and I think it would be fascinating to find out.

And don’t go thinking that all you’re getting is a copy. No, Historic Newspapers sell original copies, so you can be sure that you really are buying some pages from history! With a range of presentation options, you really are sure to find something to suit that person who has everything.

Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Wheelie Bins

Posted by Big Boo on March 28th, 2011

Wheelie BinsInspiration for things to write about on this site sometimes comes at the most unlikely of times. The other day I was throwing away some rubbish in our wheelie bin when I suddenly caught notice of the number “1985” built into the plastic of the lid. I must have opened and closed that bin lid thousands upon thousands of times by now, and yet this innocent little number had never caught my eye until then.

All of a sudden I was reminded of when our household took delivery of our shiny new wheelie bin. We take them for granted now but for some reason I seem to recall there being a lot of moaning and groaning amongst the various adults we knew about these new fangled bins.

It shows has resistant to change we must all become as we get older. I’m sure there were complaints about the bin starting to smell from being reused too much, or that they would start to break and need replacing, and maybe even the indignity of having to drag your bin back up to your house after it had been emptied.

Having grown up with them I can only see them as a Good Idea. They are far more sturdy than an old plastic refuse sack, or black bin bag as we always used to call them. If the lid of our bin is anything to go by it was made in 1985 meaning its now over 25 years old and its still in excellent condition (if perhaps a little smelly, but just keep the lid shut and its not a problem!).

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Velcro Fastening Trainers

Posted by Big Boo on March 18th, 2011

Velcro TrainersVelcro has to be one of the most useful inventions of the 20th century. It can be used to fasten together all kinds of things, including clothing, bags, wallets and just about anything that requires two things that need to be repeatedly joined and un-joined. Perhaps most surprising though is that whilst I personally think of it as being a fairly recent invention, it was actually invented in 1941!

I’m not sure if they first appeared in the Eighties or perhaps earlier, but I distinctly remember trainers appearing that were fastened by Velcro and immediately on seeing them I wanted a pair. After all, who wanted to mess about with laces, which kept coming undone, when you could slip on your trainers and have them fastened in seconds?

Eventually I got a pair, once we had managed to locate a pair that were reasonably priced as most of the initial versions were made by the big names in trainers and so had price tags which my Mum wasn’t prepared to pay (and to be honest I can’t say I blame her either).

I forget which manufacturer made my pair of trainers (they were probably unbranded ones to be honest, a sort of shoe shops own brand) but I did love them dearly. They were dark blue in colour and the Velcro fastener consisted of a U shaped strap which was fed through two oblong metal rivets. You just needed to pop in your foot, pull over the strap and push it down and you were done. Brilliantly simple!

Whilst Velcro trainers are still available today (as are Velcro fastening shoes for that matter) you don’t tend to see them about quite as much these days for adults, though for kids they are still very popular given that young children can find tying laces pretty tricky.

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Rainy Primary School Lunchtimes

Posted by Big Boo on October 1st, 2010

A Rainy DayWhen I look back at my days at Primary School one of the things that I always remember enjoying was when it was tipping down with rain at break and lunch time. Whenever it rained everyone would have to stay in the classrooms and find something to amuse themselves with, so here I present some of the things that were popular to do when it rained at my school.

Take a look and see if you remember doing any of these, and I’d love to hear of any other favourite ways of passing the time when it was raining you might have had.

Paper Aeroplanes: Making something that flies out of paper is always good to while away a few minutes, and wet lunchtimes usually saw a great many paper aeroplanes lying on the floor when lessons resumed.

Groups of friends would get together to see who could make the best looking or furthest flying plane, although it has to be said most people usually fell back on the good old reliable paper dart, perhaps with a little cut made at the back and the paper pushed up to form a tail fin.

Fortune Tellers: Sticking with the paper folding theme the Origami Fortune Teller was also a good time filler. Once you had made your own little future predictor you then went around the classroom telling as many people as possible that they either loved the kid who nobody liked, or that they smelled like poo. Ah, kids eh! What comedians!

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Football Team School Bags

Posted by Big Boo on August 25th, 2010

Adidas HoldallThese days most kids probably have a school bag decorated with a picture of whatever the current most popular TV show is (so for the boys it’s probably Ben 10 at the moment, and for the girls maybe still High School Musical, or perhaps Hannah Montana) and that bag is probably a rucksack.

Back when I were a lad though, it would have been more likely to be a holdall style bag (or possibly a leather (or leather effect) satchel when you first started school – I bet they’re hard to track down now). For the girls this would probably have been pink or another girly colour, possibly with a picture of a horse or pony, whilst for the boys it would have undoubtedly been a football team bag, not dissimilar in style to that shown above, which is actually a currently available retro styled bag.

Now, I was never really into football. Sure, I had the odd kick about but since my Dad wasn’t a footie fan he never passed it on to me like many father’s do to their sons. When I first started going to school though, I suddenly discovered that most boys were big football fans, so in an effort to try and fit in I thought I had better start to show an interest too.

Most of the boys at my primary school would have had a holdall with their favourite football teams name on (and perhaps a picture of a footballer, a football or the clubs emblem). Most were also colour coded to the chosen team’s football strip as well.

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