Posts Tagged ‘1980’

Punch and Judy in 1980

February 8, 2016

I have shown Punch and Judy shows at Swanage a couple of times ion this blog. And here’s a third. This one dates back to 1980 which was still, just, the era of black and white photography, home processed.


My son would have been four at the time and I’m sure he was amongst the watchers. My daughter would have been there as well, but still unborn.

The shows follow a familiar format. But this looks quite remarkably similar to a colour photo I have shown before so I reckon both were taken on the same day. I used an Agfa rangefinder camera for black and white and, usually, Ilford HP4 film.

Of course, what is really good to report is that the politically incorrect, frightening and generally a tad nasty Punch and Judy shows still take place on Swanage Beach and long may they continue.


Amberley Chalk Pits Museum

April 5, 2015

Amberley is a very pretty little village in West Sussex. It has the good fortune to have a railway service with a basic  hourly service to London and the south coast. It must make it a desirable place to live.

And nearby, set in old chalk pits in the south downs you’ll find the Chalk Pits Museum which is now called the Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre.

My mother in law spent time volunteering in the café there, many years ago and had a mug as a sort of souvenir. The mug has now been passed down to us.


The mug gives a clue as to theme which was very much transport based. The other side of the mug gives the museum name.


We have visited the museum and I must have photos somewhere – but from pre-digital days. So for now the mug serves as the memento. From memory I should say it dates from around 1980.

On being a grandparent

August 25, 2014

Now this is a tricky question. Would I rather be me now or me as a much younger person? Of course there are many disadvantages to age. I was never the most agile person, but I am less so these days and, of course, I’m realistic enough to know that life doesn’t last for ever and, in terms of three score years and ten, I don’t have that many years left.

But against that you have to set the advantages. Now for me, being retired is the best job in the world. I’m just about as busy as I was when working but I am doing the things I want to do and not things I’m told to do or am supposed to do. Now that’s just wonderful. It’s simply fantastic that in the world of the volunteer, people say ‘thank you’ for the things you do. I’m afraid my experience of the world of work, and I hear it from many others too, is that being thanked rarely happens.

Part of the wonderful job is being a grandparent – and I recently gained a third one of these wonderful little children. But I’ll start by looking back 34 years to the birth of my daughter who has produced the new grandchild.

My daughter was born 5 weeks premature and was quite a tiny scrap and needed an incubator for a while. The joy of the occasion was mixed with worry and of course, back then there was no such thing as paternity leave. Somehow I had to manage work, getting 3 year old son cared for and hospital visits to see wife and babe – 20 miles from home. It was all a tad stressful.


There’s daughter in her incubator and its obvious all turned out well or daughter wouldn’t have just produced her second child.

But birth of grandchildren is such a wonderful experience. For mum and dad I’m sure it’s stressful, as it was for us back in 1980. But for grandparents it is just an occasion to enjoy.

So her we welcome little Evie to the world. Did I say little? She’s nearly twice the weight her mum was.


Now aint she gorgeous.

I get to thinking about the changes in 34 years. I took black and white photos then because I could get home and process them myself. This enabled me to distribute images quite quickly by what we now often call snail mail. I had colour photos of Evie within 10 minutes of her birth despite being 100 miles away. My daughter has already taken some ‘arty’ black and white shots. Interesting how the young find them arty and those of us who grew up with nothing better see nearly all of them as ‘a pity’.

Of course, back in 1980 I took colour photos of our baby girl, but they had to be sent off to the processors and then sent back – a substantial wait.

Back then the relatives abroad had to wait for photos to be sent overseas on the slow, lumbering planes of the day. That took ages. Gosh, communication is so easy these days.

But I still have no answer to that original question of would I prefer to be younger. I reckon I enjoy life much more now – but long may it continue.

A mixed bag from father

September 20, 2013

Do you remember those happy days before electronic communication was all the rage? How we used to enjoy the postman calling and delivering a nice, newsy, chatty letter.

Or maybe then, as now, a small package would arrive. Back in 1994 a small envelope arrived from my father. It had treasures inside.

Now I’m not a stamp collector but this row obviously appealed to me.


My father’s note was correct in its assumption.


1980 was the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, with its famous loco, Rocket. The Post Office issued a trains-worth of stamps.  Let’s enlarge a couple of them.


But there was more in the little envelope than just the stamps dad had come across whilst tidying up.


This is a photo wallet with adverts for Selo film.


My dad wrote…


If my father had access to the web of today he’d know that Selo was an Ilford brand and did indeed survive World War Two.

Dad signs off with typical humour for seventh January.


Charlotte Dundas

May 18, 2013

The Kennet and Avon Canal rises up its 29 locks into Devizes – locks which in the bad old days were utterly derelict but from Devizes, heading east, there was a 15 mile stretch with no locks – The Long Pound. This stretch held water but with virtually no flow on it, it was always very weedy. However, it was an ideal stretch for trip boats which could raise money to help save the canal. One such boat was known as the Charlotte Dundas. In the early 1970s, my wife and I were volunteer crew on the little boat which could carry up to 28 passengers.

The name, presumably, was chosen as the same as an early steam boat – the first one that really worked, but Dundas was also the name of the first chairman of the Kennet and Avon Canal Company.

Our Charlotte Dundas was a paddle boat – she could cope with weeds in a way screw driven vessels could not. The power came from a diesel engine and transmission was hydraulic. She was entirely double ended. Turning Charlotte Dundas just involved removing the tiller from one end and walking it around to the other. Here she is in 1980. We are not the crew. My wife and young son are on the towpath looking on.


In fact the boat had been modified a little since our day. The far end had weather protection by 1980. Back in the 70s it had been entirely open to all weathers.

The boat has just slipped away from Devizes Wharf. I guess the steersman, standing on the back is just tidying his mooring rope. Paddle wheel drive and slow speeds made for hard steering. We always had a person ready to assist by reversing one of the paddle wheels if need be. Maybe controls had been altered by this time for when we crewed old Charlotte, one person was always by the central engine house to manage the paddle wheels.

Charlotte had a flat bottom which made her rock and roll very easily.

Times change. Once the canal was open, better boats could do the trip work. I’m not sure where the Charlotte Dundas is now.