Toys and Games

I will start this entry by reeling off some of the toys and games I remember best from my childhood. Board games, card games and jigsaws featured largely in our toy cupboard. When the board games started getting tatty it was lovely to get a new one for Christmas – or better still, a Compendium of Games which would have five or six games in one box. Ludo, Lotto, dominoes, draughts and Snakes and Ladders were played in every home, Two card games we loved were Snap and Happy Families. Image result for 50's toys and games UKImage result for 50's toys and games UK LUDO

We (me, my brother and my sister) also played for hours with our toy cars. Matchbox, Dinky and Corgi cars had lives of their own in our imaginations and were so real to us. We played mainly outside with them and when they became scruffy, or sometimes just because we fancied a change, we repainted them with Airfix model paint. 50’s and 60’s toy cars are collectors’ items now. Ours, if they were still around, would be worth nothing!

We also passed hours very happily playing imagination kids as children always have, on crafts, dolls and teddies, spotting things, collecting things riding our bikes and climbing trees. Some things don’t change but a lot has! As well as girls (my brother too) being taught to knit and sew, craft sets were very popular gifts. Boys were expected to be creative with Meccano and Airfix, girls were given cork work, embroidery, basket=weaving, raffia and embroidery sets.

One toy I absolutely loved for several years – yes, kids did make things last in those days! – was my David Nixon Magic Set. I must have driven everybody mad showing them the same tricks over and over again. For a while I really thought I would be a magician when I grew up.

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I haven’t covered everything but I hope I’ve brought back a few memories for all you kids of the 50’s and 60’s. If anyone is reading these posts!!

TV and Radio

Well, I say TV and radio but until 1962 it was all radio for us. We got our first TV when I was 11 and we had just one channel – BBC1. Radio programmes I remember are Forces’ Favourites which was always on while we ate our Sunday dinner. Children’s  Favourites on a Saturday morning – was it Uncle Mac who presented it or am I confusing two programmes? Mum and Dad used to listen to Round the Horne and the Navy Lark. If I was ever at home during the day such as in the school holidays, my mum would be listening to Housewive’s Choice, Mrs Dale’s Diary, Eileen Fowler’s keep fit programme and Woman’s Hour. My earlier memories from pre-school days are of Listen With Mother. That theme tune still thrills me when I hear it.

    

Before we had a television in the house we sometimes congregated at a home with a TV to watch a national event such as a royal wedding (Princess Margaret in 1960, for example) or funeral. Once we had a TV I can remember other people coming to our house to watch events and Princess Alexandra’s wedding was one of them.

We kids were too old by then for the pre-school TV programmes but in the school holidays we loved to watch Watch with Mother. Television was such a novelty it didn’t matter one bit that Rag, Tag and Bobtail, The Woodentops and Andy Pandy were aimed at 2, 3 and 4 year olds.

Here are some early television programmes I remember enjoying –

R.C.M.P., Whirlybirds, Garry Halliday, Noggin the Nog, Sketch Club, Tales of the Riverbank, Zoo Quest and What’s My Line?.

The blog begins – with food!

Hi everyone! I set this page up months ago and have been too scared to start. So . . . .  I am just going to dive in and get it going. I will tart it up at some stage with fancy backgrounds and pictures but for today I’ll begin by telling you all about it.

I was born in 1951 which means I turn 64 this year. It occurred to me recently that those of us who were kids in the 50s and 60s are now in our 50s and 60s. I thought it might be fun to share thoughts, memories and ideas which we kids of the 50s and 60s all have in common. I’m not going to do fashion just yet, there is already a lot of stuff on the internet about 50s and 60s fashions. I will be looking at radio, TV, events from the news, school life, cars, books and so on. More ideas welcome at any time! But this first post is going to look back at food.

Who remembers being given bread and butter to eat with every meal? I think this was a hangover from rationing when food had to be padded out. Shop cakes were a luxury and we bought them when somebody was coming to tea. I loved Battenburg and Angel Cake. Home baking was for the family. Milk puddings were very common – rice, semolina, ground rice, tapioca even macaroni. We were given jam to stir into these milk puddings. Posh puddings came in packets – lemon meringue pie mix and Creme Caramelle. Cream came in tins – evaporated milk, condensed milk, Carnation and later, in a packet, came Dream Topping which was the ‘whipped cream’ favoured by many for the top of trifles (these could also be bought as a dry mix in a packet).

  

Pasta also came in tins, except macaroni which, as I’ve already mentioned, was a pudding. The only pasta I ever came across in the 50s was Heinz tinned spaghetti. I don’t remember ever having rice as part of a savoury meal in the 50s, it was always a pudding.

I will finish with a random list of other foods which were everyday items but seen less commonly now. Fray Bentos pies, corned beef, tinned salmon, Shipham’s paste, tinned Mulligatawny soup ( a rare treat in our house and a change from Heinz tomato soup), spam, spam fritters (loved them!), luncheon meat, Hovis, Nimble, Lemon Puff biscuits (which made all the other biscuits in the tin go soft and taste of lemon!), Camp coffee and tea leaves instead of tea bags which arrived on the scene later.

I hope this has rung a few bells, struck a few chords, raised a smile or two. My next post might continue the food and drink theme or I might dip into something else. Who knows where this will take me?