Saturday, 27 February 2021

Saturday Story

I hope you're excited to find out what letter my stories are based on this week?

It's T.  T for television, technology, truth, treasure, thoughts, talent, travel, teaching, time.

The last 70 years has seen amazing leaps in technology.  Some forms have come and gone in that time.

As a child in the 1950s, the radio is one the main form of technology, with the fledgling BBC television just becoming popular.   My parents bought me a radio when I was about 7 years old.  Some of their friends thought it was wrong to buy it for me. But I loved Saturday nights when I went to bed and listened to Variety Playhouse and then Saturday  Night Theatre.  I'm pretty sure I must have fallen asleep during the latter as it didn't end until 10pm.

In the daytime there was Workers Playtime and  of course Listen with Mother.  Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin!  And on Saturday mornings there was 'Uncle Mac' introducing children's favourites.  Who can forget Max Bygraves singing 'You're a pink toothbrush'. Or other records including The Laughing Policeman?  Or Nellie the Elephant?  Or The Teddy Bears Picnic? But my favourite was How much is that doggy in the window?

Sundays were favourite listening to the radio as a family.  There was Two-way Family Favourites, The Goons, Round the Horne and The Navy Lark.  Quite often on a Sunday afternoon my Dad would take Mum and I on a mystery trip.  This involve him driving us around the country lanes of Warwickshire and Worcestershire and listening to Sing Something Simple on the radio.  We used to call it Sing something Sinful.  There were always Fox's Glacier Mints and it seemed like every week we ended up at Tardebigge.  We probably didn't!  However on the day Roger and I got engaged we went for a walk and guess where we went!  Yep! The canal locks at Tardebigge.

I went off to college in 1967 which co-incided with the BBC changing the Light Programme and the Home Service for Radio 1, 2, 3, & 4.  And now there's Radio 5 Live, 6 and 6 Xtra.  The first song on Radio 1 was Flowers in the Rain.


Now I hardly listen to the radio.  Just Classic FM when I'm in the car.  And I haven't been in my car much the last 12 months!

As I said the television was just becoming popular in the 1950s.  The televising of the Queen's Coronation in 1953 caused a rise in purchases.  The screen was tiny, the box was big and the pictures were in black & white.   As a child I watched Andy Pandy, Muffin the Mule and Bill and Ben.

And there was Billy Cotton's Bandshow - which had moved from the radio to television in 1956.

I don't remember when we got a television that received ITV.  The channel started in 1955 but we certainly didn't get it early on.   I remember going on holiday with my parents and my cousin Hilary, who sang me the adverts that she had seen.  In particular the Esso Sign means Happy Motoring.  I don't ever remember seeing it so I was quite surprised when I watched it on YouTube this week.

One thing that came, went and is now returning are vinyl records.  My cousin had a Dansette record player in the early 1960s. It played records at different speeds: 78, 45 and 33rpm.  We must have had something to play records on at home because I remember buying my very first record in 1961: Are you sure?  The Allisons came second in the Eurovision Song Contest with this.


There were reel-to-reel tape machines, and then tape cassettes and the inevitable trying to record the top 40 from Radio Caroline on a Sunday night!

I remember in my late teens being taken to visit the computer room at a local insurance office.  It took up almost a whole floor of the building with all its metal cabinets and whirring bits!  It had less power and memory than a current smart phone.

I saw one of the first mobile phones in the early 1970s.  It was about the size of a housebrick and the guy was carry the battery with it.  That was about the size of a car battery.  Maybe it was a car battery!

The BBC Acorn computer was introduced into British schools in the early 1980s.  In my last full time teaching job I was responsible for the computers in the Junior school I worked in.  I got lots of training.  And fortunately when I was a Girl Guide (see last Saturday's post) I was taught how to type.  Who would have thought that back then that our smart phones would be pocket sized and be so powerful?

I've only scratched the surface of all the technological changes that have happened during my lifetime.  I haven't even mention video and PVRs!

What memories do you have?

Thanks for joining me today

Tuesday, 23 February 2021


Recently we were watching a fairly mundane travel documentary about a train journey in Bavaria.  It started in Augsburg and I felt that we had been there.  When I looked on this blog I couldn't find a post about the visit although there is this post with three photos.  I looked on my computer and behold there are lots of photos.  Be prepared for some armchair travelling.  It's really the only kind these days!!!

I hope you enjoyed our look around Augsburg today.  Thanks for joining me.

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Saturday Story

What letter story will I tell today?  A, P & V are done, so that leaves another 23 letters to choose from!

Queen's Guide presentation.  How about the glasses!

Let's look at Q today.  What Q words can you think of?  Questions, quotes, qualifications, Queen, the Queen, Queen's Guide, qualities, quality time, Quality Street, quarantine, queue, quilt, quinquennial.

Isn't quinquennial a beautiful word?  I found it in the dictionary.  I didn't know there was such a word.  Apparently it means recurring every five years.   The only example I can find is from the Fixed Term Parliamentary Act in the UK that says that there should be a general election every 5 years.  Unless of course they call another one in between.   Sorry!  Off down a rabbit hole.  That's what comes of reading the dictionary!

Let's go back to my list and find some relevant stories.

I have lots of qualifications.  A teaching certificate, a B.A.(Hons) and a Masters degree (M.Ed). Sad to say that the degrees were about proving that I was capabale of getting them.  My grammar school teachers had said I wasn't good enough to go to University.  They also said that I shouldn't apply to a London Teacher Training College.  However I did ignore the last piece of advice and went to Southlands College in Wimbledon, London.  But after leaving college I got it into my head that I needed to prove myself.  This was before people talked about being 'enough' but I expect it is the same thing.  I did my first degree part time with the Open University and my masters part-time at Warwick University.  However I never told the school what I had done so I'm not sure what it proved and to whom.

Standing on a manhole cover to stop my heels sinking into the grass!

I also got photography qualifications and creative embroidery qualifications.  And at one point took the Mensa exam. And got in!

The day I received the letter telling me I had completed my masters degree my dad asked me when I was going to start my Ph.D.   And I took up the challenge and looked into doing a Ph.D in children's literature at Worcester University.   And then I came to my senses!

I didn't need to prove myself.  I didn't need more qualifications.  What I needed was just to be me.

But it's hard when you've always been performance driven.  I try now to be a 'being' not a 'doing'!

I expect there are other Q stories but I'll leave you with a quote from Charles Schultz:

'Don't worry about the world coming to an end today.  It's already tomorrow in Australia.'

Thanks for joining me today