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One for the Oldies


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Using an older paper yesterday I spotted this small article. 

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His earliest holiday memory was a shocker, I had to re read it thinking I'd read it wrong, I often think how much simpler things were in the 80s but this is on another level, as if Enid Blyton had written it.

So have the Oldies got any similar stories/memories from their youth?

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It must be difficult for the younger folk to relate to those times (1955). Looks like Nick Hewer and I are the same age. It wasn't that long post-war. Food rationing ended in  1954. Many families shared rented accommodation. We did. Fortunately it was my mothers sister and her family but with a tyrannical maternal grandfather in the attic. A bit like the Adams family without the humour! My dad was a panel beater. I was lucky. I had a dad. Three of my mates didn't because their fathers never returned from the war. For most there was certainly no spare cash for holidays, you made good with what you had.

Fortunately I joined the Scouts. I went from Cubs to Rover Scouts leaving aged 18 yrs. We didn't realise it at the time but it was team building and getting on with people you wouldn't necessarily choose as a friend. And camps were your holiday. But, as Nick says, many of the things we did then would cause problems for today's  parents. For example, We went to camp in a removals van. Kids and kit all lumped in the back. No safety belts. We used to build tree platforms to test our rope work and sleep up in the trees, roped in. We'd try and cross rivers with poles and rafts with no buoyancy aids - they didn't exist. Rock climbing with sisal ropes. We even scaled the Avon gorge adjacent to the Bristol Suspension Bridge in Ex WD daps/plimsoles "Made in Pakistan" . We built fires, yes, real flames lit by matches, we were considered responsible to use them, and cooked on open fires. Carried at least two knives - one practical one like a green river knife, and one for show- generally a bone handled job. Sometimes also the exWD clasp knife single blade and Marlin spike. We did night hikes at 16-17yrs unsupervised. A compass, map, plan and a bivouac bag. Most of it not allowed today what with insurance policy conditions, HSE, and knife laws. Good memories and I'm happy to have had that experience.

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in the 70's and 80's I used to cycle all over with friends and go camping (or wild camping as it has become known in CV times) with the only thing my mum knew would be food would be missing from the cupboards and I wouldn't appear again until Sunday. I wouldn't let my son's do that nowadays

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6 hours ago, Bobba said:

Carried at least two knives - one practical one like a green river knife, and one for show- generally a bone handled job. Sometimes also the exWD clasp knife single blade and Marlin spike. We did night hikes at 16-17yrs unsupervised. A compass, map, plan and a bivouac bag. Most of it not allowed today what with insurance policy conditions, HSE, and knife laws. Good memories and I'm happy to have had that experience.

Sounds brilliant,  I can imagine the phone calls if one of my kids turned up with a pen knife

6 hours ago, discobob said:

in the 70's and 80's I used to cycle all over with friends and go camping (or wild camping as it has become known in CV times) with the only thing my mum knew would be food would be missing from the cupboards and I wouldn't appear again until Sunday. I wouldn't let my son's do that nowadays

If that happened these days the search would be on the news.

The days of going out and not coming back till your hungry are well gone.

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Growing up my friend and I always used to cycle anywhere we fancied. 108 miles to Anglesey etc. Culminated aged 15 when we got on a plane and cycled through 5 European countries to catch our flight back. It was a great holiday, didn’t really know where we were going we just went. The whole of Europe was on a single page map - just major cities shown as dots, no mobile phones, no bank cards. We ran out of cash a few days short and so getting back to Paris for our flight home after a few weeks was a slog. Always remember my mate got propositioned by a paedophile in a hostel in Germany, it was very funny at the time but then trying to then sleep whilst the bloke was still in the next bunk....😳

Avoided big hills but were still doing serious miles each day during mid summer. Came back with a great tan and powerful legs, got a girlfriend and 20 years later haven’t been on my bicycle since 😢

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Mum and her sisters often went on train rides unaccompanied from Chester to Cornwall in the 1950's at age 11 or so.

In the 70's I would be out on my bike aged 10 and be in the next village 5+ miles away and my parents would have no idea where I was, often as not I'd be back before being missed. Summertime was picking strawberries all morning on piecework then off to the shop in the village that had a whole board of various penknives which we would buy without question aged 7 or 8. It was normal and the penknives were classed as toys. It really saddens me that knives are so demonised these days as to me they are a symbol of a happy childhood.

Aged 10 I had an Opinel and two flick knives from France, Dad bought them when we were on holiday over there. Had a massive Swiss Army knife for my 11th birthday (still got it) and BSA Mercury for Christmas the same year then a .410 to go with it. Rarely had enough money to buy carts for the .410 though. Had various sheath knives, Nazi daggers and British bayonets at about the same time, still quite a few knocking about from the war. Only cost a few quid and plenty advertised in Exchange and Mart (remember that :D)

All of this was considered completely normal

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🙂 I remember Exchange and Mart well, as it is where I bought quite a few bayonets as a lad also, still have a couple. 
An aunt in Stockport used to put my sister and me ( aged around 9&7 ) on a bus at the end of the summer hols, with instructions to ‘make sure’ we got off in our home town, and a mate and me used to bike to Penrith and back on the A66 quite frequently, as young teenagers. I wouldn’t let my kids anywhere near that road at the same age! 
We once biked over the Fells and moors to Kendal; took us a fair few hours, but the return journey was a doddle as a local copper picked us up just outside Kendal, shoved our bikes in the back of the police van, and dropped us off at home. Sorted. 🙂

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i remember when PC Sutherland grabbed me and my mate outside the pub for smoking.....he handcuffed us to the village bench whilst he went inside for a half....hoping that my father would find us cuffed to the village bench....and give me a good hiding.....we were both bricking it....but for some reason he didnt go to the pub that evening...........

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I have never figured out how severe the crime had to be before "Copper Dodd" increased the severity of his punishment beyond the threat of "if I catch you doing that again you will get my foot up your backside".

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55 minutes ago, 39TDS said:

I have never figured out how severe the crime had to be before "Copper Dodd" increased the severity of his punishment beyond the threat of "if I catch you doing that again you will get my foot up your backside".

My village copper was George Chalenge got caught by him scrumping, I'd parked my bike against a wall and used it as a ladder to get over into the orchard. When I tried to get out the same way the bike had gone and george was waiting, after scraping my knees and losing most of my apples the definitive question came.--------- Now Alan do you want me to deal with this or should we go and tell your father? Ho no George you deal with it please! BIG MISTAKE!!!!! after being cuffed round the ear with his leather gloves that I was told latter had 3d bits in the fingers, my ear was ringing for hours. On Sunday dinner time after my father returned from the pub and his domino game with guess who I got another clout in my outer ear for getting caught!!  Ho thy were great days and I loved every minute of my youth.

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In the 1950s, aged about 8 or 9, I would often cycle miles out into the Staffordshire countryside, returning home only when hungry, or spend all day fishing in the local canal with a sandwich for lunch.

That all ended at age 10 when I was put on a train from Birmingham to Bristol, alone and caught the bus to Wells to go to boarding school, where there was no freedom.

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I had a go at biking again for a period about 10 years ago to work on my fitness. It was great down in Swindon in the week as the area around it (I was staying just off the A420 to the East) was excellent with lots of trails and quiet roads - I even braved the 420 a few times in the summer evenings.

However, when cycling back home (after I had finished down there) on one of the few routes (flatish) from our town (towards Wrexham) I had a very close incident in an extremely narrow part with dual carriage way where two cars were racing each other side by side, with me on the road in front and no space for me and two cars to be side by side- I had to throw myself on the pavement to stop from becoming a statistic - I haven't been out on my bike for more than the odd pedal - nothing on main roads which round here definitely limits you.

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Until I passed my driving test i cycled to do nearly all my fishing, this included dawn fishing for salmon, and night fishing for sea trout. I had to save up to buy a lamp for my bike, but rods tied to the cross bar, and waders in a back pack, down the river i went. However one occasion sticks,  i caught two cracking sea trout, and i was unable to cycle home, as the weight of the fish put me off balance. Fair play to Mam, she met in the village and took the fish home....thank God for the emergency 10p i carried for the phone!!!

Cheers

Aled

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An interesting thread.

As a country boy I was out all day long most days. Lunch and dinner weren't on the menu so to speak and I often went all day roaming the countryside with no food and nothing to drink. My parents either weren't worried about my whereabouts or never showed it. There is a difference.

 

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I don’t think I’m that old but I spent much of my childhood a similar way to what has been described. I was given my first Swiss Army knife for my 8th or 9th birthday which I still use now. My first air rifle when I was 10. Me and my mate used to go down to his uncles allotment to shoot squirrels, rats and pigeons. During the summer holidays I was out from my parents going to work and couldn’t get back in until they returned from work. We used to bike around with a fishing rod and basic gear in a backpack. Made dens, bow and arrows, swam in ponds, scrumped apples, went hedge hopping, around bonfire night we would go around everybody’s bonfires and nab their wood for our own and at Christmas we subjected the village to door to door carols for some money which proved to be very lucrative, average of 50p per house and a house every few minutes added up quickly. I would return home filthy everyday, my mother would make me stand at the door and strip down to my pants to go straight upstairs for a shower, making sure I didn’t touch any walls or doors on the way.

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Cracking thread, can't stop smiling/laughing - been there and done it. Obviously, one had one's penknife and air rifle but sometimes making a hide or the retrievel of a shot rabbit from the undergrowth could be difficult. I told my father that I was pretty sure I could break the school high jump record on the coming sports day. 'Do it and you can have that machete you've been on about' was his response. Little did they know it, but on that day the competition never stood a chance. Still have/use it although the canvas sheath has long gone and the wooden grip has just now split and needs looking at. Good old Exchange and Mart. Giving a 12 year old that this day and age doen't bear thinking about.

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40 minutes ago, JTaylor91 said:

 go straight upstairs for a shower, making sure I didn’t touch any walls or doors on the way.

Bloody hell - you had a shower - right posh one here guys 😆

I still have my first air rifle - an old .177 Dianna which was my Dad's when he was lad - so is about 65 years old now

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38 minutes ago, discobob said:

Bloody hell - you had a shower - right posh one here guys 😆

I still have my first air rifle - an old .177 Dianna which was my Dad's when he was lad - so is about 65 years old now

Even the water was warm and I occasionally used soap.

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I still remember the days of cycling down to the local lakes to fish when I was young in the early to mid 90s, rods taped to the frame of the bike. Most farmers of the days then didn't mind people fishing the old farm lakes for pike perch, tench and rudd etc. so long as you didn't leave a mess or light fires. Gone are those days sadly as the youth and general public now cannot be trusted to be responsible for themselves 

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40 minutes ago, dodgy dave said:

are the old red carbolic soap used for every thing

and IZAL toilet paper..........wretched stuff...(medicated)...........it had printed on every sheet "now please wash your hands"......would have been better if it said "now please wash your finger".........cause that is what invairably happened using it

Edited by ditchman
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47 minutes ago, ditchman said:

and IZAL toilet paper..........wretched stuff...(medicated)...........it had printed on every sheet "now please wash your hands"......would have been better if it said "now please wash your finger".........cause that is what invairably happened using it

and if you had a curry the night before it was like trying to mop up gravy with a plastic bag!!

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6 minutes ago, discobob said:

and if you had a curry the night before it was like trying to mop up gravy with a plastic bag!!

aint that the truth...............christ it was awful.............who ever invented it got a Nobel prize for it no doubt

 

the only...and i mean only thing it was good for was putting a bit on your  hair comb and playing the theme tune for Z Cars

Edited by ditchman
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2 minutes ago, ditchman said:

aint that the truth...............christ it was awful.............who ever invented it got a Nobel prize for it no doubt

 

the only...and i mean only thing it was good for was putting a bit on your  hair comb and playing the theme tune for Z Cars

My grandparents had it in the downstairs loo - as that was what guests used - fantastic lovely people who tbh were equal care givers to my mum to me growing up - but weren't very sociable to people coming into their home!!

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3 hours ago, JTaylor91 said:

I don’t think I’m that old but I spent much of my childhood a similar way to what has been described. I was given my first Swiss Army knife for my 8th or 9th birthday which I still use now. My first air rifle when I was 10. Me and my mate used to go down to his uncles allotment to shoot squirrels, rats and pigeons. During the summer holidays I was out from my parents going to work and couldn’t get back in until they returned from work. We used to bike around with a fishing rod and basic gear in a backpack. Made dens, bow and arrows, swam in ponds, scrumped apples, went hedge hopping, around bonfire night we would go around everybody’s bonfires and nab their wood for our own and at Christmas we subjected the village to door to door carols for some money which proved to be very lucrative, average of 50p per house and a house every few minutes added up quickly. I would return home filthy everyday, my mother would make me stand at the door and strip down to my pants to go straight upstairs for a shower, making sure I didn’t touch any walls or doors on the way.

I'm in my 40s and did as you describe,  but we were always home for tea, I couldn't imagine being told head for say Wales and we'll see you in a few days 

I well remember we'd come down and the decorating stuff would be out, that was the signal,  eat and get out, and when you returned it was 'if its white its wet'

Certainly couldn't say to my kids now off you go for a bike ride on their own, roads are far too busy these days 😥

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