I want a refund!

Or Blogging 101 – day, to be honest, somewhere between day 5 and day 14.

When I was younger it was a time of only three television channels, watched on such a small screen size that you wouldn’t even have it in your bedroom now. There was no way of recording the programmes let alone watching them on demand. If you missed it, you missed it.

Music came on vinyl discs that you put a diamond needle onto, to pop and fizz and bring you a warm sound from a gramophone machine that was bigger than your sofa and you had to warm it up by turning it on a few minutes before.

Washing was carried out in a twin tub. A machine where you had to physically pull the wet and steaming hot washing out of one tub into the other tub to spin it out. And beware your mum if you forgot to hook the drain hose over the edge of the sink. I remember the days when mum and I would stand in the garden and wring water out of the jeans by each turning in a different direction.

Cameras used film and you had to wait days for them to be developed only to find you hadn’t taken off the lens cap or every head had been cut off.

Bedding was sheets and blankets, that foreign invention the duvet was an European thing just like bidets and Edam cheese and German beer festivals. Our freezer was small as everything was bought fresh every few days, milk was delivered to your doorstep and get this, dustmen actually walked up and down the paths of Britain collecting bins and returning them empty. And chocolate was a treat and your nan kept a tin with Club biscuits and Viscounts in that only came out on Sunday. Oh and the shops! The shops were shut all day Sunday and half of Wednesday and you walked and cycled everywhere.

Weekends were spent going to watch football on a Saturday, after my dad had worked his Saturday half day shift and then later gather round the radio to get the full time scores. Dad sshhing us all as if he missed them he wouldn’t get them again until Match of the Day. Then the “Pools” which is why dad needed to hear the scores – we could be the winners of £100,000.

Everything was paid in cash. You saved for everything and accepted that if you couldn’t afford something you couldn’t have it. We rented our television for years and then when my sister and I started work we rented a video recorder. With remote control mind you, nothing cheap….except the remote was on a wire!

(Please feel free to comment with memories below in the comments section of the late 70s, early 80s – the past really is a different country)

Those were the days and I didn’t realise this blog would go in this direction. Which brings me to the title “I want a refund!” For years in the late 70s I avidly watched Tomorrow’s World. A fascinating science programme that showed the leaps in technology, the space race, Jacques Cousteau and all the electronics starting to come out of the Far East. One of their big things was that as our machines evolved (dish washers, tumble dryers, electric lawn mower, car washes, bigger faster aircarft) was that we, the humble man and women in the street would have more “leisure time”. Their picture of leisure time was said man and women sitting in deckchairs drinking some sort of liquid with an umbrella in it whilst a robot lawn mower made its way up and down their garden leaving perfect stripes and not hitting them.

Well that’s why I want a refund. Where is my leisure time? Where is my cool refreshing liquid with its umbrella? Where is my perfect striped lawn and my house maintained by a simmering army of robots? Why am I continually tired and rushed off my feet? Why do I have to watch my television programmes on a tablet, through an on demand service whilst cooking or cleaning or waiting for the kids to do their athletics or to come home on the train from school?

I want a refund. I have been sold a pig in a poke, a pup, a fantastical vision of the future that I fell for hook, line and sinker! Welcome to cliché corner!

We probably do have more leisure time. Time in which we are outside of our jobs but we have managed to fill every spare moment of our days. My kids don’t go and play on old bomb sites or run through the woods. They are more active than I was but they attend structured activity where I have to get them there and then sit for a couple of hours before driving them home. I’m sitting at athletics now writing this. (On my old tablet with wired keyboard) Two of my four get either a train or a bus to school instead of walking. We have to drop and pick up from the station every day. I coach a football team twice a week plus games at the weekend. My wife runs an athletics team which is twice a week and then a whole day of the weekend. My son’s football team plays and trains a distance away. We have family and friends to visit but also to keep in touch with via our social media responsibility……interestingly I’m ok with not going on social media every day whereas my wife really feels she’s letting her friends down if she doesn’t, ergo we all have a social media responsibility)

Taking part in Blogging 101 has made me realise all this, as I started well, writing each day with each new challenge and then I’ve got stuck with committee meetings and running kids around and trying to coach and running trials for our team for next season and my blogging has slowed to a “‘quick I have five minutes before the train arrives – write!”

So Tomorrow’s World, I don’t have a deckchair, there is no liquid with an umbrella in it, I don’t put my feet up and I definitely don’t have a robot lawn mower – I WANT a refund!


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7 Responses to I want a refund!

  1. belinda says:

    Oh wow, yes, I remember this. When you ran to pick up the phone every time it rang because you might miss an important call and there was no way of knowing who was calling. When the “seven dirty words” were banned on TV. And so on…

    • 1966colin says:

      Of course, the phone that sat in one place. No walk about or mobile unit. Ours was in the hall and you sat on the bottom stair and no one was allowed into the hall. And worse to save money it was a shared line – a party line – where a neighbour shared the line and if they were on the phone you couldn’t use it. Ah happy days!

  2. Heid says:

    Great post…just took me back to those heady days. Days when talking to a relative overseas meant waiting patiently for a response to come down the ‘wire’. I too have managed to get caught up in the frenzy of busy life and have barely looked or taken part in any blogs for the last week and a bit. So glad I landed on yours to start back with engaging in my leisure time!

    • 1966colin says:

      Thanks Heid, what a lovely thing to say and looking at your “About” where you talk about getting the thoughts out of your head – that is so why I need to write. There’s constant stories going around, being polished and made just right….and then I try and get them on paper and its all gone! So I’m trying to blog regularly to get my thoughts down. Keep writing especially as we don’t have to wait these days for down the “wire”!

  3. I often think about what the world would be like if we could get back to these roots. But here we are and we have to make conscious decisions on a daily basis to be intentional with our time and efforts. Keep blogging!

  4. Pingback: To gift or not to gift that is the question | 1966colin

  5. Kelli says:

    I seem to recall reading a children’s magazine (Scholastic I think) in the mid 1970’s discussing how wonderful the future would be because computers were going to make everything easier! No more 40+ hour work weeks, the computer could do all of the menial work, humans will only work 20 hours and have plenty of time for recreation!

    I recently had a discussion with my 12 year old nephew where he was lamenting all of his activities. From after school tutoring for math (because he was only in the ‘regular’ class and not the ‘accelerated’ class) to karate and other things that made my head hurt. I wondered when he had time to just be a kid and ride his bike and fall off his skateboard. Then I realized that none of his friends had that either. The culture has changed I think, and it may be our generation’s fault.

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