Walking on Sunshine!

This has to be one of fave ever songs. I love it's infectious, upbeat tune and the way it transports me back to my lovely childhood. That is exactly what I did. I walked on Sunshine! Well, more like ran! I had such a happy, carefree eighties childhood. We didn't even have to wear a uniform in our Junior, Infant and Nursery schools. It is always great to look back into the past with those rose tinted glasses on but I did enjoy it!

I feel so lucky to have been brought up in the era where neighbours were more than just people who lived on your street. They were an extension of your family. You practically saw them everyday. Adults were like Aunts and Uncles and the kids were your cousins. We loved on a street with terrace backings where we played. People were in and out of each other's backyards and you could hear every argument in their kitchens, whether you wanted or not! I actually married 'the boy next door so I didn't need a Sat Nav to find him!
It was fab playing out in a large group of girls and boys of all ages. We had long, hot summer's filled with cricket, rounders, football and all kinds of team games. We'd climb anything going: walls, trees, railings and so on. The girls fluctuated from being tomboys with ripped jeans and mucky knees to prim and proper ladies, walking their babies in prams around the block. I adored my babies and my pram. I loved going to John Britton's toy shop on Shambles Street and climbing the stairs slowly, wondering what new toys they would have. Dentist visits, especially the more painful ones, were followed by a trip to this favourite shop, packed to the rafters with amazing toys!
We would play out in the evenings on school days and at the weekends. The best days were the Summer holidays, where six long weeks stretched out tantalizingly. We stayed local because we were lucky to have so many places to go. When I look back now at some of these places, I just smile. We used to play all over: on the backings, on the two pub car parks, the High School field and the local park. The two places that make me laugh were the Valley of Death and the dog muck field. We actually gave them those names!
Two pastimes of the eighties were roller skating (which developed to booting) and perfume making. The first resulted in many bruises and pebble scarred hands whereas the second resulted in being stung, prickled by nettles and caked up in mud. It was all worth it though, for that sweet smelling potion proudly placed on the window sill. See. I told you. Those rose tinted glasses. Our jam jars would sit in the sun, all forlorn, the rose petals limp but we would have such sweet smiles on our faces! I love this quote from 60s 70s 80s kids.

Back in the Eighties, where practically everybody knew everybody and you could leave your door unlocked, there was a massive feeling of community and security. I was part of the Sunday school and youth club. We'd have social family events that were brilliant. I fondly remember the Games night that always finished in the game four groups, one in each corner. Each group had to rush to the table in the middle with different objects. Everyone would scramble in their handbags, purses and wallets for money and other things. The best was at the end where the oldest person had to carry the youngest to the table. Loved it! I was also in the Brownies, then Guides and we had such a fantastic time. I have so many people to thank for running these amazing clubs voluntarily.
One of the best days where the Community was amazing was the street party for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981. It was a sunny July day and everyone was excitedly buttering tea cakes, filling vol au vents and putting far too much sherry in the homemade trifles! The kids were running about, getting under the adults' feet and pinching the yummy crisps set out in bowls. Each house had red, white and blue bunting blowing in the breeze. We all ate, chatting away while Eighties music blasted out from someone's record player. Then, the tables were put to one side and everyone started dancing, laughing along to dads showcasing their groovy moves. What a fantastic day of solidarity and friendship. I found this fab picture on Pinterest of a wedding street party.

I have a bucket load of fantastic memories from this era and can't cover them all. It was about family, friendship, having adventures, being outside with nature, being carefree and looking forward to the next day to see what your next venture would be. We'd sometimes take a bit of a picnic to the field or park. Our local park back then had two paddling pools which were amazing! I remember the thunder and lightning being so terrifying a few times while we were out. We'd settle under the big tree, sheltered from the pouring rain, telling stories of how people had been struck on golf courses with nowhere to hide.
It wasn't all outside playing. There were evenings in Autumn and Winter where we would play with dolls. I loved the Strawberry Shortcake scented dolls and their pets. I loved every one of these. As I looked on Pinterest for pictures, I was reminded of the miniatutes and the large baby! I can smell the scents coming put of the pictures! My Little Pony and Barbie too, of course. I went through phases and the light up Gloworms were one such phase.

There were teddies also and my fave to collect were the Care Bears. I remember one with a rainbow on its tummy. I love the quote for what Care Bear I'd have now as an adult!

We played for hours at shops and offices, using the old fashioned telephones no longer in use. I loved dialling the numbers that took forever!
We loved reading and writing. We'd play at libraries and I'd love date stamping the fronts of the books. I'd read anywhere. I loved Enid Blyton books and saw myself as one of the Famous Five sleuths. I dreamed of going off adventuring with Timmy the dog and lashings of ginger beer. I think the modern take on these Famous Fives is so funny and must get round to reading some soon! That made me laugh. Five on Brexit Island. I never knew there was a sequel where they want to leave!

I also loved Malory Towers and wanted so much to go to a boarding school like Darryl, playing lacrosse, swimming and having midnight feasts in our dormitory. I seriously kept asking for this but it never went ahead! The other series of books I remember wity warmth are the Milly, Molly, Mandy books set in the 1950s. I loved the whole nostalgic feel to these books, always starting with a little map of the village, showing where everyone lived and the amenities. I loved the idea of a blacksmith and a little village shop. The family and her friends were always drawn in a row at the start of the book too.

It would be lovely to be Peter Pan, or Petra in this day and age of political correctness! It would be fabulous to stay stuck in a time warp in the Eighties, where you had the whole day ahead to climb trees, play rounders, collect as many sticky buds on your jumper as you can,  go on a bike ride, make daisy chains, play Two balls and master your handstand technique. However, We do grow up. Well in body, maybe not in spirit! I am still that posited little girl in the pink card I clutching my teddy, looking up at the camera, saying "Cheese!" to this lovely lady who has finally found her Prince. (A photo my friend recently shared of us at the street party, on Facebook!) I would like to time travel back but just for a day maybe. I love this quote off Pinterest.

I may have matured in years and moved on with my life but just a smell or a saying quickly transports me back to those halcyon, childhood days. Great word that. Probably featured in the book, Cider with Rosie, one of my fave books retelling the 1950s childhood of Laurie Lee. It's such a heart warming book, filled with fascinating characters and events you can visualise. You can even hear the characters talking, as if they are sitting next to you. I love the two grannies who live in the same house. One below and one up top. They can't live with each other, nor without. The stories of the charabanc bus that went up and down the streets filled with interesting folk are fun too. It also makes me think of the book about Spit Nolan, the champion trolley racer as he sped down the road in his handmade wooden trolley. As I read this, I pictured him racing down Cemetery Road in town!

I am so grateful for all these memories and having the childhood that shaped me to be the adult and parent I am today. We were spoilt. Not with material things but with attention and with the chances to let our imaginations run away with us. I didn't go abroad until I was 13 but I don't feel missed out. There were so many gorgeous places here for day trips and week long holidays. We didn't have the latest gadgets but we didn't need them. We had fresh air and laughter. We had a blank canvas of long days to be filled with imagination and exploring. There were sad times and the odd fall out with friends but they don't make it to my Childhood Tapestry. Only the best memories do.


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