WARD'S WORLD: Good old daze
Is nostalgia a thing of the past I asked myself recently as there was nobody else about at the time as I must admit I long for those days when we didn’t really know - or want to for that matter - about things happening or might well be going on in another part of the world we live in via a screen, either hand-held or bigger, but this was well before zombiefication set in full time over the past decade or two as people now seem to know more about somebody thousands of miles away rather than their own next door neighbour - or is that not trendy enough?
Its not so long ago that it was the simple things in life that went on around us that mattered as a sort of ‘social media’ then was the corner shop or similar where you went in, say, for a quarter of a pound of ‘dolly mixtures' (assume this would be elevated to being a hate crime nowadays - ‘dolly mixtures’ or a gender issue at least in this present world today) or ‘wine gums’ (nowadays only in moderation and how many units at a time) but in the process you learnt about your immediate neighbours, hangers-on and their antics, which or when some had died or were thinking about it but undecided but were on the short or back order list.
Mrs Stevens down our the road had a sister but as sisters they were basically inseparable; indeed many were surprised when they both got married to a gentleman, one each of the male gender, but in later life Mrs Stevens was adamant that being the eldest sister she had to ‘go first’ as in the ‘popping their clogs’ situation but sadly her younger sister sort of beat her to it but she never forgave her for that it was rumoured, but all agreed who attended her service that she had a good send off, despite going ‘first’ and without giving ‘proper warning’ beforehand.
You may have laughed or smiled at the last paragraph but in another instance somebody else died in our road with the funeral duly arranged, however the ‘bush telegraph’ gave the time, date and the final destination of the dearly departed’s final journey would be taking but - somebody pointed out is was a Thursday afternoon situation.
Apart from half day closing in the shops around the area, it was also the same afternoon that a local football league held their match (although bearing in mind some of the teams were made up from the shop staff or general employees, it was not to be unexpected) and so the funeral was duly moved from two thirty to the earlier half past ten kick off time in the morning.
The Nostalgia Coffin Dodgers Cricket XI is just going out to bat but with an eye out for the cheese and cucumber sarnies
About three dozen or so turned out to see Cyril off that morning as provided by the Co-op funeral service with the full time score being a two-two draw for the football match that followed on that afternoon that Cyril sadly did not attend.
Stan, one of the linesmen, was so fanatical about the game, having been a player in his prime but now ‘running the line’ due to getting on a bit, could remember (?) the match where there was a one nil draw, which must have been impressive to say the least and possibly would have given the average millionaire, well paid football pundit, something to really chew over.
A footnote - quite literally - was Cyril’s widow, a member of the local Co-op, being quite taken aback when she got her ‘divvy’ (dividend) a while later as it also included the cost of the funeral service but as she had never seen so much ‘divvy’ money before, she bought a stair carpet with it plus chrome finish stair rods.
A more happy and carefree time as the idea of hot tubs, flat screen tellies, trendy coffee slooping or drive through haggis parlours were but fanciful daydreams then as people were happy with stair carpet and chrome stair rods plus the occasional bag of chips with half a scoop of batter bits slung in but with no overriding warning of artery blockage or clogging to follow if you ‘overdid it’ which possibly meant a full scoop of batter bits as opposed to half.
Another aspect of the local, realistic social media was the weekend cricket match in the local park or sports ground which comprised of assorted teams gathered from either local works, factories, shops or just neighbours getting together to form a team.
This was quite an innocent, fun (unless losing) event as it filled up a Saturday or Sunday summer's afternoon, which at times often went into the evening, depending on the match’s progress or the weather as I remember them mostly as sunny days and evenings back then.
One slightly amusing side was the home-made ‘catering’ that one family seemed to have taken it over as their own domain so to speak or rather nobody else could be bothered as they were on a par with the likes of the (then) British Rail buffet offerings but twice as deadly as if the ham and tomato sarnie didn’t get you, the cheese and cucumber breed might have caught you out by surprise.
Admittedly the prices were not exactly at Savoy Grill levels but it was the actual overall food that gave some cause for concern - mostly visiting teams or ‘guinea pigs’ as they were referred to by the home teams, with the regular visiting sides bringing their own prepared sandwiches - but was mainly due to the ‘preparation’.
Edie and her daughter had somehow managed to be able to cut the ham with so much precision as it was almost transparent as they could nearly make a quarter of ham turn into about a dozen sandwiches or thereabouts from a sliced thin loaf of bread.
Nowadays this skill would be sidelined for use in laser guided weapons systems fitted to aircraft, guided missiles or cutting out precision ‘Sale Now On’ signs in furniture showrooms but with the added note the ‘Sale Must End Monday’ of course.
We also had a primitive form of recycling as this covered the fluid drinks section as in glass bottles as in those days a deposit was charged on a glass bottle and when taken back to its place of purchase, you got the deposit back as opposed to nowadays where the final resting place for many such bottles is a hedge row or ditch along a road as it's seemingly easier to throw it/them from a moving vehicle.
Nowadays this has gone full circle in some respects as there are bottle banks where you can throw bottles in but as it requires physical effort as in loading them in their vehicle then driving off to the bottle bank so perhaps it’s easier to throw them out into a hedgerow or ditch along the way, who knows?
Interestingly there was never, as far as I can recall, a similar deposit scheme for champagne, wine and spirit bottles so perhaps the chances of those being cleaned, recycled then refilled again was nil - so quite wasteful if not shameful.
Meanwhile the Nostalgia Coffin Dodgers Cricket XI is just going out to bat but with an eye out for the cheese and cucumber sarnies - just in case.