A simpler time

I love this quote from the author of Little House on the Prairie. Enjoy the simple things in life. As I remember, that's just exactly what we did as we were growing up. Those halcyon days of childhood! Always loved that word when I've seen it written in books!

I'm off again, being all nostalgic, thinking back to a simpler time, before the growth spurt of technology and social media took over. I'm wearing those rose tinted glasses again but my goodness, things just seemed simpler then. I suppose, as kids, we had less 'stuff' to pre occupy our minds; our minds were freer to enjoy basic play and outdoors fun. I have to laugh at this quote as I'm now part of a generation that says, 'the good old days', when referring to their childhood!
I am proud to be from Barnsley; I am so proud of my roots and my working class background. I'm also proud of the tine I grew up in, the 70s and 80s. We grew up in one of the best streets of Barnsley (I'm biased) with the backings full of happy kids calling on each other to play. We all knocked on each other's doors. There were no mobile phones!

Or, like the next quote shows, we'd have our fave hangout spots, so if folk were out, we'd know where to look for them.

We'd be out for hours, sometimes all day, exploring in the sun, wind and rain. All weathers! The most exciting times were being caught out in the thunder and lightening. I remember being very wet and very scared, sheltering under the big horse chestnut tree on the High School Fields, then making a run for it home with the rest of the group, hoping for the best! We'd go back home when either our tummies were rumbling, our mums were calling us in or the street lights came on! That's why the long, warm Summer days were the best!

There was a sense of comeraderie between our group of kids. Most of us lived on the street, or neighbouring streets and a lot of us had a sibling in the group. The ages ranged from 8 to 12 and we all looked out for each other. I still know a few friends I grew up with on my street and it's great having that history.

I love both these quotes from Pinterest.

It was great being part of a unisex group as my friends and I could be tomboys, climbing trees and walls, riding bikes, playing ball games, pond dipping and den making. We'd get mucked up and happy! I can't believe the names of where we played, such as the Dog Muck Field and the Valley of Death! I love this Pinterest quote and I'd love to go and build my own den where I can sip G and Ts and read books all day! Actually, Newmillerdam have created a space for den making, with materials, as you walk around the lake and it's fab!

We spent so many hours outside, incorporated in nature. My friends and I would collect daisies and make daisy chains or place buttercups under our chins to see if we loved butter. We'd also pick rose petals and create what we tbought were lovely smelling jars of perfume! My fave was blowing the dandelion clocks either to tell the time, or to see whether he loved you or not. I'd check bear the end hoe many breaths to make sure I ended on, He loves me! A bit like when I see a magpie and I remember my gran saying, 'One for sorroe, two for joy.' Again, I look at it twice so it aleays ends on joy. I was one of the kids who followed the rhyming sayings, 'Tread on a square, you marry a bear. Tread on a line, you marry a swine.' We took all this very seriously, even at such a young age.

My best friend and I at Junior school, after doing as many handstands as we could manage, we'd lay on the grass on the bankings and just watch the clouds go by. We'd point out different shapes and laugh at the funny answers we came up with. Sometimes we'd search for the elusive four leafed clover, but we never found it. This Pinterest quote did make me laugh. Perhaps they do!

There were so many other playground and home games and I absolutely loved skipping games, two balls, pop sock ball and hopscotch. I think we should have retro games parties for adults, fuelled by wine and beer. I have tried to climb a very high slide in high heels and tight skirt though so perhaps we'd have to dress more practically! Hopscotch! I loved the smooth, wooden square we used to throw onto the numbers and I proper struggled reaching numbers 8 and 9!

We also went roller skating, then booting down the very steep hills where we lived. We all wore down the breaks on the front! Like, the quote below, we did just keep rolling! Normally it took a wall to stop us! Our filled in velour suede boots were divine after our metal skates! We'd wear our snazzy leg warmers too. I never went to one but I'd love to go to a Retro skating disco, like in the 70s and 80s. Penistone Leisure centre do one on a Friday night for kids which looks fab.

Back to climbing trees. When I looked up climbing trees on Pinterest, I was shown many posts about the benefits of 'risky play'. All our play was risky! My friend was accidentally shot in the neck by a dart; I broke my arm on a climbing frame; I got concussion on holiday in Devon; my best friend's tooth was chipped in an accident. The list is endless. We learned from taking these risks though. And we gained confidence. We were allowed to take risks. Perhaps the health and safety side of some things did need looking at but we were given much more freedom then to explore our surroundings and find things out 'the hard way!'

When I look at the next quote, I wonder if this is where I've been going wrong. I need to start climbing trees again and running through sprinklers. Or just running? I'll pass on the handstands and cartwheels though!

I loved the sense of community growing up; everyone knew everyone. A lot of our dinner ladies were neighbours, so you behaved really well at dinner time too! How times have changed in many areas. There are still pockets of streets where most families know each other, but in this busy, modern world, a lot of people, us included, might chat to a few and just say hi to the others.
Coffee mornings have changed too. I  remember the mums of the street, popping round to each other's houses for a coffee and a chat. Now, we tend to get in our cars and meet at the local cafe bar for morning coffee or afternoon tea, swilled down with Prosecco. The house parties havr changed too! I remember my mum going to Tupperware parties and U was very curious about these! I ended up  going to one about a decade later and we had a laugh! A bit different to the Pampered Chef one we went to where we just afforded some raffle tickets! A bit different also to the Ann Summer's parties too! In fact, at my last one of those, all I got was a strip of raffle tickets Thank you very much!

The nature of the local pub has changed too. We had two local pubs next to each other and it was a real treat to go to the serving hatch on a Friday or Saturday night. We'd knock on the frosted window and the landlord or landlady would open it. A whiff of beery smoke and the sound of laughter would hit you from the tap room. I'd politely ask for a cola and a packet of Beefy Seabrooks crisps. We'd sit outside and feel we were being naughty that we'd been to the mucky pub!
Our local amenities were very good too. We stopped local and had a greengrocers at the top of the street, where we'd take our empty Ben Shaw's bottles back, in exchange for 5p, I think! My favourite was pineappleade and I smelled that same smell the other week when I drank a passion fruit gin and tonic. It proper took me back!

We also had four corner shops where we'd go for our 10p mixes, or run and get a bottle of milk and a few penny chews with the change. Or Hubba Bubbas. You could really blow bubbles with them!

As well as the amazing retro sweets like Palma Violets and Sherbety Dips, I remembet the ice lollies and ice creams from the Ice Cream van. We'd have ice cream cones with nuts and juice or different flavoured lollies. I loved the Cidet, Lemon and Lime and Cherry Brandy.

All four shops were named after the owners, all of them very friendly. Now, only one of these remains and it sells lovely Thibo coffee from a machine. We are lucky where we live now with our corner shop. In fact, we have too much to choose from as two fantastic pubs are now mini supermarkets! It is sad to see the local pubs going though.
Our local parks and fields were places to play and we'd be there for hours and hours. We had a few local parks and playgrounds to choose from and we were lucky we had Wilthorpe Park right outside our school. Most people would congregate there after school before they then walked home. The playground at the bottom was amazing with one of the highest slides I can ever remember. This Pinterest photo brings back so many memories.

This photo does too. How high is that slide? Crikey! Not sure that would be allowed today!

When I was really little, Wilthorpe Park had two paddling pools and I loved the wooden, old fashioned, enclosed seating that isn't there anymore. They were painted light blue and white.
Our local parks were very community based. We used to have amazing, packed out Spring and Summer fairs on Churchfields. My fave part was the wooden swing boats.

Our school fairs were brilliant too. I have to admit that they still are as I go as a parent! We always win on the bottle stall so what's not to like? Schools and village halls used to hold fab Bring and Buy/cake sales and jumble salesthat we loved going to. Probably why I love places like TK Maxx where you have to rummage but come away with amazing bargains!

Holidays were simple too. Most of our family holidays were spent on the East Coast and I love visiting the places again as all the memories come flooding back. We spent much time in Bridlongtom and Hornsea but always went exploring to the other bays. Caravanning was fab and we stayed with family on two sites. The Brid site was right next to the cliff top and the beach. We'd take the dinghy down to the sea and spend all day on the beach with a picnic. We'd then walk to the shower block to get ready for the evening. We loved going to the clubhouse at 'the top', to the slots. Probably why I love watching the quiz show Tipping Point now! We'd dance to the DJ, playing all the cheesy songs like 'Superman' and 'Agga Do'! Some evenings were spent driving through to other places like Scarborough and Flamborough with the lighthouse. I always loved to see the twinkling harbour lights at night and to fall asleep in the car on the way back.
Caravan holidays always had some rain! What a fantastic sound, the rain on the caravan roof  while you were tucked up in your sleeping bag! On colder, rainy days, we'd get the cards out! We'd play for money- coppers and 5ps! Newmarket was my fave with the four horses in the middle and it still is my fave now when we play. This nostalgic Pinterest photo brought some memories back of caravanning!

I also love these photos of preloved vintage caravans in use now. Such fab, retro colours and patterns!

We used to go to Filey with my gran and this place is extra special for that reason. When we revisit, it's just as lovely and quaint. We walk the same route as we did with gran, eating the delicious fish and chips from Burlingtons and sitting in the gardens with all the beautiful flowers, the seagulls at our feet, trying to grab a piece of fish. The Rockpool at Filey is still amazing and the toilets, or Superloos are so clean! Worth paying for!
We also visited the West coast and my grandparents loved Blackpool. We'd drive through on the front at night, in awe of the Illuminations and the trams that were lit up.

I always laughed at the Kiss me Quick hats too. One of my fave old photos is of us all sitying on those old fashioned wooden deckchairs. Apparently, my dad took that long taking the photo, a seagull left him a lovely present on his jacket. That's happened to me a few times. It's supposed to be a sign you're coming into money. Yeah right! This Pinterest photo of the beach with the tower in the background is ace! I can smell the smells and hear the sounds like it was yesterday!

Birthday and family parties were so simple too in that they were mainly at home and your parents sorted the cake and put on a fab spread with sausage rolls and vol au vents. They provided the party bags too! My 8th party was brill and I remember this one the most. My dad brought the record player outside and we kept playing 'Come on Eileen' that my cousin bought for me. I have so many fantastic memories of family parties too. These pictures from Pinterest definitely bring back amazing memories!

I have always loved buffet food and I remember the cheese, pineapple and pickled onion cocktail sticks! Especially when they were made into a hedgehog using a pineapple!

I love many stories and books from this era for their simplicity. Joyce Lancaster Brisket wrote about Molly Molly Mandy and her friends, Little Friend Susan and Billy Blunt who lived in a lovely little village and all their adventures revolved around their houses, the school, the village pub, the Blacksmith's forge, the Big House and the village pond. I used to love opening the book to the village map and drawing it in pencil.

Another nostalgic read and nod to bygone days is Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee. What a gorgeously detailed account of life in the 1950s. So simple the life he described, yet in so much lively detail. I can still picture the charabanc bus going up the hill with all the people on it and the two grannies who lived next door.

My final choice of book is Spit Nolan by Colin McNaughton. I remember reading this to my Year 6 classes and they loved it when Spit and his friends were racing down the hill on their go kart trolleys. I'd picture them racing down the steep Cemetry Road in Barnsley. The Year 6 children went on to design their own champion go karts! This nostalgic photo shows kids having fun! Everyone piled on!

How much more simple was it back then in the 50s and 60s, and even earlier. I'm only remembering things from the late 70s. I still remember having a telly with only three channels and being excited when we got Channel 4, then 5! How many channels are there now? Choice is a very good thing but sometimes I can feel overwhelmed with what to watch and listen to next!
As you can see from my blogs, I have a love of my childhood and it makes me so happy reliving these events. I read some quotes on Pinterest about nostalgia and growing up and I loved the ones that pointed out that when we look back, we don't necessarily remember certain toys or material things, we remember events, people and our feelings from that time. This is so true.

I remember my brother having a Vic 20 computer, then a Commodore 64. I was more interested in his little, yellow space onvader game which was such a simple game by today's standards. But then, I was the child addicted to Solitaire! There is so much techology now for children, they can be overloaded with Playstations, X boxes, Wiis, Ipads, computers anf so on. This quote is so important as it is key to keeping it simple. Role play, charades, pen and paper games, playing cards and dominoes are just a few of the old fashioned games that we carried on because everyone can join in and they don't cost a fortune.

As I write this blog, I'm reminded of the Keane song, 'Somewhere we only know'. The lyrics fit this blog so well.
'Oh simple thing. Where have you gone? '
We used to know all the pathways like the backs of our hands!
We sing this song in the choir I'm in and I love it.

It might be an age thing with me, but I am harking back to a more simpler time and I'm ready to enjoy a more simpler time. You get to a point where you don't want any drama anymore. Leave folk to it!

I have to finish with this fab Pinterest quote. Just what were we thinking?


  1. Love it!! Agree with everything you have put. Life did seem simpler then. Hope our grandchildren and great grandchildren will think the same!

  2. Glad you enjoyed it! I do love putting my rose tinted glasses on! ����x


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