Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Things I remember from being a kid ................... eating the crusts and the smell of Brylcream

Now there is nothing that really brings toasted bread crusts and brylcream together other than they belong to my childhood.

Raphael, 1993
Dad ate his toast cold which is how I still prefer it and he also cut the crusts off and in that far away time of the 1950s no food was left to waste.

So for what I always thought was a treat I got to eat the crusts suitably buttered and sometimes spread with ginger marmalade.

Not that there is anything over remarkable about that and I guess if you belong to that generation born in the decade after the end of the last world war eating the crusts along with listening to the Home Service on the wireless and catching a trolley bus was part of everyday life.

At which point I shall stress this is no trip down memory lane laden with nostalgic warm thoughts for a lost golden time.

Getting up in the morning in winter with ice on the inside of the windows, watching the one channel on TV and thinking that a tin of mixed fruit with carnation milk was the height of sophistication is a long way from how most of us live now.

That is not to rubbish those things just to say they are the downside of growing up in the 1950s.

Hair tonic, 1949
And here I will fall back on that familiar throwaway comment of my generation and I suspect all generations before me, “well it never did me any harm” and of course it didn’t.

Added to which with climbing fuel costs we no longer have the central heating on maximum, the one to a million TV channels still don’t deliver much I want to watch and I haven’t lost my liking for carnation milk.

Moreover I did use brylcream and for a while Old Spice after shave and deodorant.

All of which brings me to the thought for the day which is more a question on what my kids born in the 1980s and early 1990s will single out as the significant memories from their childhood.

I suspect it will include the Ninga Turtles, clockwork Nokia’s and a string of great achievements for their football team along with many more personal ones that I will never know about.

Nokia 3310, 2000
But at least they were spared bombsites, of which there were plenty within a short walk of Lausanne Road.

By the mid 1950s all had been cleared away and made safe but they were still there continuing to be both  an ever present scar on the landscape  and reminder of our  recent past.

But they were our adventure playgrounds.

Some like the old crypt of St Mary’s round the corner were a meeting up place where complete strangers shared a candle to explore the labyrinth of corridors.

I never told my parents of such adventures and I know that my own four will not have told me about theirs.

All of which just leaves me to add that the trigger for all this was the pile of crusts that were left after making egg soldiers for someone's breakfast and a conversation about children's toys.

Many of these we still have including a sack full of leggo, and my old 3310, and a collection of Beano comics 1984-1994.

But the brylcream we don't have, not that I would need it these days anyway.

Location; sometime from the 1940s to the 90s

Pictures; Raphael, circa 1993, advert from the 1949, and my old Nokia 3310, 2000,  from the collection of Andrew Simpson

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