Saturday, 28 February 2009

Shopping in the past

The shops of the fifties all had their own aromas and sounds and even if you closed your eyes you could tell what shop you had entered. The obvious one was the bakers with the smell of freshly baked bread and sausage rolls, with the delicatessens a close second with the aroma of spices and smoked or cured meats.
The paper shop has a smell of newsprint and the magazines with their glossy covers have an aroma that I can't describe but is there just the same and then there is the butcher with the smell of raw meat and blood, and the dairy with the smell of fresh milk and stinky cheese.
These shops are still around although getting scarcer as every year goes past, thanks to the supermarkets which despite their bad press are a very handy way to shop and you can sometimes still catch the aroma of freshly baked bread as you pass their bakery department but, the atmosphere in some shops of the past will never be recreated as they and their traditions are long gone.
Lipton's shops sold cold meats and other accouterments and once you had purchased your goods and handed the money over to the assistant she then placed it into a round container and shoved it into a tube and on the press of a button you heard the noise of pressurised air as the container shot up the tube to the office above where the cashier would take out the money and put in the change if any and WHOOSH! Back down came the container to the assistant who then gave you your change.
Sugar flour and the likes were measured on scales with a tray on one side and the weights on the other and you could watch as they swung up and down until the correct amount was required then the shopkeeper would tip the contents into a brown paper bag and wrap it up as neat as you like then your mother would put it in her leather shopping bag that was always carried around with her. (no plastic bags in these days) That is just a small sample of shopping in the past and if it was as interesting today , maybe the men might not find it so boring when they have to go shopping with their wives or partners.(Just a thought)
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Friday, 27 February 2009

The basic car of the fifties

Photograph taken by myself on 16 Oct 2005 at t...Image via Wikipedia

My first memories of cars was one belonging to my grandfather (on my mothers side) as being from quite a poor family we could not afford one of our own.
I would be around four to five years of age so the design and make did not register to well at that time but other things did.
The body was sort of rounded and looking at vintage cars now it could have been an Austin of some sort. I remember the inside of the roof being covered in canvass compared to the padded plastic coverings they have progressed to. The seats were hard, uncomfortable and unadjustable so if you were short legged you would carry a cushion to place at your back to let your feet work the clutch and brake pedals and the accelerator of course. The lights were dim and the indicators were little arms that popped out between the doors which also had a dim light inside them for night use. Brake lights were nonexistent so the driver had to keep his wits about him at all times. The dashboard was hard metal with few dials making it look very bare and the thin gear stick was in-between the two bucket front seats. A small rear window made vision very poor and the front windows had wipers but no washers so if the windscreen got muddy the driver had to stop and wash them with water and a cloth that was carried with them. Reliability was a cause for concern even in new models if you were traveling any distance, so everything from water to oil etc had to be checked regularly to avoid overheating of the engine as there were no gauges and warning lights then and the underpowered engines tended to struggle at the best of times.Grease nipples were placed at certain places around the moving parts and they had to be attended to also. These are just a few things that made motoring more difficult, maybe more interesting to some in days gone by so when you jump into your car the next time just pause for a moment and appreciate the progress the manufacturers have achieved to make motoring a more pleasant and less hazardous experience for us. Now I wonder what can we do about the new problems, like traffic jams and the like????

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