For blogs with less than 300 Followers

For blogs with less than 300 Followers
Thanks to Hestia's Larder for this delightful award.
(For Blogs with less than 300 Followers)

Friday, 5 November 2010


Morning Sun - 1952 (Edward Hopper)

1952 in Scotland was a strange and alien place compared with New Zealand in 2010.

Everything appeared grey. 

The buildings, no matter the original colour, were a uniform grey/black, caused by almost a century of coal smoke.

People were grey.  You don't get a lot of sunshine in Scotland, and sun-bathing was not accepted as being quite proper.  Holidays in foreign climes, where the sun actually was strong enough to cause tanning, was only for the rich.

People were grey, they didn't wash much.  A weekly bath was enough for most.  Showers were virtually unknown.

The clothes were grey.  Or blue, or brown.  Men wore no other colours, except for their ties.  But wore grey coats.

The food was grey.  Everything was cooked thoroughly.  Vegetables were boiled almost to a pulp, meat was cooked well done, 'just to make sure.'  ( There were cases of parasitic infestation caused by eating beef and pork which were contaminated with worm cysts)

Everything appeared primitive to our modern eyes.

Deluxe model (note gramophone player underneath)
TVs were just starting to appear in middle class homes (Oh yes, the class system covers the country like a grey and cloying smog), were only in black and white, and the BBC only broadcast for about 12 hours each day.  Radio was still a very popular medium.

Phones were clumsy and made of Bakelite.  The rotary dial was great for local calls, but you had to use an operator for trunk calls to England and abroad.  Mobile phones just didn't exist.

All food was bought fresh.  Wives had to go shopping at the local stores almost every day.  Refrigerators were just coming into the price range of the upper working classes.  Food rationing was finally being phased out.

Chicken was expensive.  They were not intensively reared, and actually tasted of chicken.  A roast chicken was often the centerpiece of a celebratory meal, like Christmas.

National Service
National Service was compulsory.  The education system reflected the military hierarchical structure.  Classes were regimented, discipline in schools was very strict.  Religious services were also compulsory in schools. No excuses, you attended or else.

School leaving age was 14, although many stayed on.

State schools were divided into two types.  Grammar schools for the academically able, and Secondary Moderns for the rest.  Trade skills were pre-eminent in the curriculum of the Secondary Moderns.

Latin and Greek were compulsory in the grammar schools.

University entrance was difficult to obtain.  Only the top 5% academically (or the rich) went for a degree.

Cars were expensive.  Only the middle and upper classes could afford to buy and run them.

Air travel was only available to the wealthy.  A return trip to the USA cost about 3 years pay for a working man.

Smallpox was still a major killer in Asia and Africa.  Smallpox (and TB) vaccination was compulsory.  You had to produce a smallpox vaccination certificate for foreign travel.

Computers were very large, very expensive, and were found only in Universities, Major businesses and Government.  They used valves (transistors had been invented, but not yet in mass production), and could only be operated by trained personnel, using teletype machines for input and output.

It wasn't all bad.  There were some advantages to living in 1952.

No antibiotic resistant bacteria.
No international terrorism.
Allergies and Asthma rates are very low compared with 2010.  It was a natural environment, with no massive influx of synthetic chemicals.
Polite behaviour was expected and enforced.
Any adult could discipline any child (within reason)
Corporal punishment was common in schools
Capital punishment was still used for murder
Unemployment was less than 3%

The reason I'm rabbitting on about 1952 is that it's very important to me.

58 years ago today, I was born in Scotland, in a wee town called Lanark

Have a nice day

Unfortunately I've got to go to work.

Unfortunately I've only received one bloody birthday card.

I don't bloody believe it.  58 years on this f*cking planet, and I get one, ONE card
From my dear daughter.
My beloved's in bed sound asleep, and I didn't even get a bloody card from her.
I'm pretty sure there will be one from her when I get home tonight, but at the  moment I'm wallowing in self-pity.


God help any kid who steps out of line today.  My self-pity is looking for a target.


  1. Happy birthday TSB (not the arena, the Scotsman). There'll be a card from me this morning - that'll make two.
    You're well loved.

  2. By the way, TV didn't show up in NZ until the 1960s.

  3. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!! I hope you have a fantastic day inspite of the lack of cards and the having to work - at least the sun came out to shine on you on your birthday.

  4. Happy Birthday TSB. 1952 was a great vintage. It also produced Richard (of RBB) and me.

  5. Also, can't believe you didn't celebrate your birthday by having a scantily clad young lady on your post wishing you a happy birthday in her bikini made of icing, or popping out of a cake - what happened??

  6. Years ago when I was manager of a large wine and spirit outlet I was called away upstairs to head office for a bogus meeting. I was wondering what the hell that was about and when I came down the stairs back into the shop the staff had installed a huge birthday cake in the middle of the showroom. Staff and customers were all standing around and waited for me to approach it. When I did the top burst out and out jumped the company receptionist wearing a skimpy playboy bunny outfit (not an icing bikini). It was a good birthday treat. Sexist I know but what the hell, she was gorgeous.

  7. Curmudgeon - She must have liked you a lot to do that for you! I would do that for someone that I am keen on knowing a little better. Any more birthday surprises from her later that night after birthday drinks?

  8. Not that night but we did end up going out for a while. There was also another woman at head office that I was attracted to. Unknown to me at the time this woman and the bunny woman had an arm wrestling contest over me. Bunny won.

  9. Thank you all for your kind commnets, and to Richard [of RBB] who gave me a card.
    I finally ended up with 4 cards, an email and a text.

    Fflur, of course, what an opportunity I missed. Don't worry, I'll fix something up.

  10. Thank you Holte. I try and keep myself in shape.
    You know, running for 20km a day, swimming at least 50 lengths evry weekend, complete abstinence from alcohol and tobacco, low-fat high veggie meals.
    I try, but completely fail.
    I lie a lot.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Site Meter