Today I’ve been listening to an audiobook called Jubilee by Shelley Harris, part of which is set during the time of the silver jubilee in 1977, it certainly evoked memories for me not just about the jubilee but about my own childhood during the mid 70’s.
After my mum gave birth to me in the early 70’s the family moved to a Close somewhere in Stafford. The street was lined with houses that petered off to the left on one side, if I remember correctly. The unusual thing about that street for me and I’ve not seen it since was the white pavement and road, it wasn’t the usual grey and black of our roads and pavements today, since looking it up on google it looks fairly different now.
On some weekends my sister and I would go to the local fair for a bit, on the Saturday, mornings would be spent watching the tv, various cartoons and perhaps eating some space dust one of the many treats from the local sweet shop. Either my sister and I or my dad and I would trudge up there, I vaguely remember an incident when my dad and I walked through the subway or tunnel out to where the shops were and two lads on bikes came perilously close to me and my dad telling them off. Once there I would look wide eyed at all the treats on offer I remember coming away with Spangles I think lime or the cola ones were my favourites at the time. I think sherbert dips or dib dabs were my other treats from there, for the life of me I can’t remember what else they sold there. Sometimes on a Saturday my sister and I would go to the local park, I don’t remember much being there at the time apart from a slide and a couple of swings. I remember us both in not very good moods singing nobody loves me, everybody hates me… We used to attend a local hairdressers on the same street as the sweet shop, but my mum was not pleased when she felt the hairdresser had ruined my then curly hair as it became all straight. She then had a lovely hairdresser who would put rollers in my hair with pins in to try and curl it.
Sometimes other children would be round and we used to play in the garage area I think just outside the side door to our house, I had a little orange car that I would drive around or a little blue and red trycycle. Outside in our garden in the summer time I would sit with a large yellow bowl of my mums and remove pods from garden peas, which I would find rather therapeutic now. I remember us having a street race and I either fell off the thing I was riding or was upset because I came last, I certainly had a few bruised knees those days!
I remember a party we had and Rod Stewarts Do you think I’m sexy was playing either from the stereo or the telly. Some evenings my dad and I would watch Star trek on the telly or one of my favourite programmes at that time Monkey. Equally I remember Saphire and Steel another great programme. Unfortunately I was plagued by nightmares as I watched the armchair thriller and some other horror movies as I didn’t always go to bed when I should have done.
I remember my cousin teaching me to read on a magnetic board with magnetic letters and bringing home Peter and Jane books then Janet and John books, followed by Enid Blyton books. But my favourite reading was the Mr men books, hence the image of the mug my mum bought me, in which I used to drink hot chocolate or Ovaltine.
Our tea or dinner times would include tinned salmon with potato and peas, sometimes my mum would bring something from the bakers who I found out later may have been distant relatives, Victoria sponge, éclairs, meringues. My mum would sometimes do jelly and ice cream. I used to have trouble eating, so either my sister would play aeroplanes with me, or my mum would give me a dose of minidex. I remember the crisps were not in these foil wrapped packets you get now, oh on they were in flimsy bags and not that much choice of flavours then either.
Well what I can remember of the jubilee was us having a party at some neighbours house where there were many children and adults, I think I sat at the top of the table. I think triangular party hats were worn and the plates were union jack plates. party blowers and balloons were the things of partys in those days, the balloons weren’t as fancy as they are now, but yes definitely some pops and fizzy pop too. I tended to drink lemonade in those days. At the time of the party our family had not long come back from abroad, so I think that jubilee party was in the August, as I was going to be starting boarding school in the September. I don’t think I wore red white and blue though. .
70’s music always reminds me of warm summers, I vaguely remember standing outside the front of our house hearing I’m not in Love by 10c blaring from the lounge or kitchen, the charts I would record on the stereo on a Sunday on tape, which used to be recorded on my dads open university tapes which he would get very cross about if he discovered I’d used them whoops. I would often tape myself singing or doing things, play with cars or my weebles or read some of my sisters Jackie comics even though I was not the right age to read them I had the reading ability to read them. I remember reading Jane Eyre which I found rather chilling at the time, I don’t think it was quite the adult version though. My particular children’s’ comic was called Twinkle which I loved.
What is my most abiding memory of the 70’s though well something I alluded to earlier, I suppose for me it will always be the music, from the bad soul album being continuously played on my parents stereo, to the gentle tones of Demis Roussos, played on my little tape recorder to help me sleep at night. Music got me through anything and everything. the other abiding memory is the fact we weren’t always in the UK, but I may write about that another time.