The last few days have
seen us say
Goodbye to a Queen, who, come what may
Was an inspiration to everyone,
Whose example positively shone.
Fifty years ago, just yesterday,
Or so it seems, only seconds away,
A loved King died at an early age,
His picture on every papers page.
A school-girl aged thirteen was I
At a secondary school called Luton High
Twas only for girls as things were just then
But Leighton Buzzard had boys too we ken.
Fifty years ago we were quickly assembled
The flag was at half-mast and children trembled.
We sang the national anthem and
God Save the Queen was strange, unplanned.
We all went home and had a rest
The radio just did its best to play us music all day long
That was solemn and serious, sombre and strong.
The King then had to lie in state
Just like the Queen mum, having to wait
While people, queuing all the night
Went past the coffin, a wonderful sight
As it was draped in a special way,
Open to company, night and day.
Then later came the Coronation
Great excitement in the nation
And in our small family
To see it we bought our first TV.
I had seen one before you know
With a water-filled lens in front and so
All the pictures on the screen
Were tall and thin or shrunk and mean.
Our TV was a splendid sight
With its clear pictures all black and white
And when the programmes werent on time
Or something was wrong with the broadcasting line
Then we watched a potter making pots
Or waves on the beach....or just white spots!!!
The programmes often started at two
And it was 10.30 before they were through
The only channel was BBC
There were gaps in the programmes twixt two and three.
Life in the fifties was different from now
More peaceful and slow like and less of a row.
Not many cars on the road like today
With the rush and the tear and the noise and the fray.
I remember our first car
a black Morris ten
The sun-roof was plywood, the seats leather then
The air rushed in through some holes in the floor
Brilliant in summer but in winter a bore.
The clutch went in Cornwall one hot summer night
My father was quick to discover our plight
He made all us youngsters get out and not stop
Their pushing uphill till the car reached the top.
And then when the lighting was ruined by heat
My father was not one to stay in his seat
Hes off down the road and then back there he stamps
And we go home, our way lit by three cycle lamps!!!
In an old Picture Post from one nine five two
I noted some adverts of interest to you.
A Hoover Electric Washing Machine
Was just what you needed to keep your clothes clean.
The Pulsator action was perfect and so
Your washing would have an amazing white glow.
The black and white picture of this new machine
Showed clearly and really Im not being mean
That although it did washing in soap as explained
The rinsing and wringing was still done by hand.
For there on the top, at the front was a mangle
Which clearly possessed at its right side a handle.
My mum had a copper, by gas it was heated
She boiled all the whites until dirt was defeated
She scrubbed on a rubbing board all ingrained dirt
She rinsed and she mangled each last sheet and shirt
And then it was all hung out on the line
You prayed for a dry day all windy and fine,
For if it was raining indoors it would go,
All over the fireguard above and below.
So that if by the fire you wanted to sit
The message was clear to just forget it.
And then Walls Ice Cream caught my eye in The
Delicious and also a food with the most
Amazing ability to stay quite firm,
For as much as a two, or a three hour term.
To ensure this you had to carefully fit
Layers of newspaper all around it,
And after two hours or even three
It would be just right to eat for tea!
We children knew much better though,
All we who to birthday parties would go.
The ice cream certainly kept its form
But was rather nastily soft and warm.
Back in those days and down our street
No-one had fridges to cool their meat
No-one had freezers to keep their bread
Or butter, milk or meat and veg.
The ways of keeping things were few
Canning, pickling and drying too.
Heinz beans however then existed
And as you know they have persisted.
The Post had
other ads I trow,
Which seemed the same as those seen now.
The sauce HP improves all meals
(Including those that come on wheels).
Sanatogen drunk in good measure,
Would, it said, make housework a pleasure.
Candle-lit meals for important guests
Would be vastly improved with added zest
If you always used Batchelors food in tins,
Far less effort, and it always wins
The hearts of your guests, or so it said,
But I dont know, its just what Ive read.
Last but not least (I carefully
Can women save the world? it said
If women a better status seek
In the Daily Mail the very next week
A series of articles would be written
About vastly improving the lot of women.
Twenty eight leading women thinkers
Thought that many were wearing blinkers
Insisted The man-made scheme of things
Should be remoulded, of all things.
Well have they all achieved their aim?
Admittedly all things arent the same
But is our lot the one we sought?
Ill leave you with that little thought.