Original Is Best… Or Is It?

Isn’t it funny how things go full-circle.

The original, simplest versions are frequently the most enduring.  Other things come into fashion and then fade away.  Original is best.

Take watches for instance.  

I remember when a boy (Dale Autey was his name) created a mass of excitement in our junior school when he brought in the first digital watch any of us had ever seen.  It was one of those original LED jobbies… where you had to press the button to see the time in red numerals… no alarm or stopwatch or anything like that… it just told the time.

Just imagine it… 30 (they didn’t seem to bother much about class sizes back then… and teaching assistants hadn’t even been invented as a concept) of us sidling up to Dale almost begging him to allow us to press the button to see the time in red.

Dale’s Pulling Machine!
Image source: https://bit.ly/2CCpTAZ

But the rise of those watches were short lived… swiftly to be replaced by the LCD versions which became so ubiquitous.  

Initially they just told the time, the only addition to spice things up was a backlight.

Then they added an alarm, a stopwatch (did you used to play the game where you had to try to stop the stopwatch EXACTLY on 10 seconds too?  It was the precursor to the “stop the petrol pump exactly on £10.00… oh rats, £10.02…. I’ll put £15.00 in today…. £15.02…. drat and double drat (as Dick Dastardly would have said)… except you can’t pay that game on the toilet (my favourite location for the stopwatch game as a teenager!)

Oh it had a lap timer too.  Did anyone ever use a lap timer?

As time progressed and Casio came to dominate the genre they added in pretty well everything you could think of and that you didn’t really need… fully functioning calculator, World time in a gazillion cities, databank… I’m sure some had/have thermometers, altimeters, games, personal organisers… you name it.

The Ultimate Casio “
Image Source: https://bit.ly/325kWcU

Oh… and the bain of our teachers’ lives… the hourly chime.  After all, as the manufacturers clearly reasoned, how could anyone function in the 1980s without knowing exactly when the hour struck.

Digital watches were taking over the World.  The traditional watch with hands was dead.

Except it wasn’t.  And until a few years ago pretty well everyone had reverted good old-fashioned, traditional watches… with an occasional fashion flurry of digital watches rearing their retro heads every once in a while.

Now there are “smart” watches popping up.  Like Dale Autey’s watch on steroids… 

Bet they go the same way as their LCD predecessors… but only after they’ve made Apple, Samsung et al a shedload of money…

Not entirely unrelated, are you, like me, fighting the mobile phone fight?

I really like what my phone offers… I can send messages, read books, navigate… even make phone calls!  There’s pretty well nothing I can’t to on it if I want to.

But it’s like having a stalker… knowing exactly where I’ve been and when… asking me to review places I haven’t even asked it to direct me to (it just knows I’ve been there).  It’s getting completely out of hand… and it seems to get worse every day.

Maybe it’s me just getting old… but I don’t like it.

I need to get a non smart-phone.  

…once I’ve worked out how I’ll find the quickest route without resorting to physical road maps anyway.

Do you think that the “smart” in smart-phone and smart-watch is just clever marketing… brainwashing us into believing that these things are there to help us?

Want to know what made me start thinking about this “original is best” loop?  I was looking at my favourite writing implement… the humble wooden pencil.

At infant school when we used wooden pencils the next step up was the Pop-A-Point pencil. Remember them?  

I remember having one where each of the modules (I’m not sure what the proper Pop-A-Point terminology was for the plastic bits that held the leads) was a different colour.  It was very useful as a compact colouring tool… but the colour I wanted was generally in the furthest position to retrieve.  I soon fell out of love with that pencil as a result.

A Classic Pop-a-Point Pencil
Image Source: https://bit.ly/2WzS4bI

Propelling pencils then took centre stage.  The ones with very fine leads… about 0.5mm from memory. Leads that broke incredibly easily… or for me they did anyway!  (I know that you can still get these but their star seems to have waned a bit… except, I would think, in the circles where an ultra-fine, ultra precise pencil is required..)

For me, the best pencil is wooden one.  Simple, efficient, perfect.  Without the rubber on the end.  Why?  Because they seem to make those rubbers out of special “do not rub out but smear the writing and end up ripping the paper” rubber.  They are, surely, the rubbishest rubbers in the World!

What is it about using a wooden pencil just after it has been sharpened?  It’s one of life’s little joys.  That crisp, sharpness of the pointiest point…

And it comes with the added bonus of the fresh woody just-sharpened smell too… which, for me, is almost as good as freshly mown grass.

It’s the simple things… Do you agree?

Please Spread The Word!
  • Eileen McLean says:

    How nice to see you back. I’ve missed you and all your ramblings and jokes! 🤣 🤣

  • JohnC1957 says:

    Reading through the post, I know that I can agree with many of the points{pencil}.
    So glad you’re back so I can order before Christmas

  • Ali says:

    I had a pop-a-point but it was rainbow coloured wax crayon. Happy days. Loved that thing 🙂

  • Jojo says:

    Great to have you back Michael! I remember the pencil sharpeners that had some sort of vice thingy to attach to the desk, then you turned a handle and watched as a snake of wood and graphite appeared inside the smoky coloured plastic. Not to mention the great excitement when erasable biros came out, suddenly our homework looked much tidier!

  • Katie says:

    Not watch related as such but I do remember the excitement of looking through the Argos catalogue to choose my CLOCK RADIO for Christmas! Remember, the digital light of the time illuminating the whole bedroom practically and trying to find the right button to press when the alarm went off in the morning not to mention never getting tuned in to a radio station so all you got was some mind-blowingly stressful fuzz to wake up to!

  • Mahjabeen says:

    Excellent musings as usual. I never seem to be able to refill those propelling pencils even though you can buy refills for them

  • SCC says:

    I remember, in the late 70s, making Shrinki-dinks from rancheros bags grilled for a bit. Dangerous, smelly and gives a tiny but perfect representation of a crisp bag…

  • Kim says:

    Love a new pencil, the satisfying sound when it gets sharpened but the terrible frustration when you go too far & break the lead😕

  • Roy Wayne says:

    I really felt nostalgic reading this so I think we must be of similar age. Sweets also take me back to certain times of my life. Not just the “Quarter of” out of the jars but things long past such as Texan bars, Mint Cracknell, Spangles, Blobs and my favourite Bar Six. All hold individual memories for me. Happy times. I look forward to reading future blogs.

  • Uglybugly says:

    You say everyone went back to analogue ‘just a few years back’ but it was only 2 years ago that my nephew, then 12, told me he couldn’t tell me the time because my clock has hands and ‘I don’t know how to read that.’ No doubt about it, the smarter our devices get, the dumber we get.
    Also, do you remember the pop pencils with different colours in each segment for colouring in? An entire pack of pencils in one pencil?! Kids today will never know the joy of dragging a lesson on half an hour or more past its end because everyone was faffing about finding the right colours haha!

  • Heather says:

    Nice to see your back. One of the things I love is the slurp sound the the serving spoon makes as you put it in the trifle lol

  • Sandie Kelsey-White says:

    You are so right about the rubber at the end of pencils they do not rub out just smear it out!
    I liked the old things but I also enjoy/embrace the new too. I love my IPhone 7 but refuse to buy an updated one

  • Martin McMerkin says:

    Sharing a Red LED watch story.
    I had one, I was an early adopter before anyone else had heard of the term.
    It cost a bomb, it lasted just over a year and then just died.
    What to do?
    I used it as Air Rifle target practice. I killed it completely. It felt good as there was no way to get it repaired or replaced….. I won?

    Now I like a good old “With Hands” watch but that’s my fault; can’t see the digital displays with these old eyes. Boo boo!

  • Jenn says:

    I remember when a boy in our music class made the teacher storm out. She was trying to show us a video of a particular piece being played in concert. His watch was able to control the VCR…

  • Philip Greenough says:

    Hey Michael. Good to get your e-mail, it’s been a while. Yeah. I can relate to your whitterings, I got my first LED watch for my 18th birthday in 1977. 😁

    Your selection of nostalgia is great, but so is my waistline, so I’ve really got to be choosey about what I buy.

    Thanks for keeping the memories alive and long may they continue.

    Kind regards

    Philip Greenough

  • Refump says:

    What a trip down memory lane that was, almost as if I had written it myself. Unfortunately the digital watch that I had was stolen in a break in and I never got to show my friends the bright red time, but heyho nostalgia is a wonderful thing. Growing up in the late sixties early seventies, we didn’t seem to have a care in the world, winding teachers up to the extent of the board wiper hurtling around the classroom, following another piece of damp paper being projected on to the blackboard from a dismantled plastic biro, they were the days.

  • Ben the Cat says:

    Yes… But you can’t write “BOOB” On an analogue watch! 😉

  • Wendy Louise says:

    Some of the pencils had the leads kept in the end of the pencil,, but to get them out you had to empty them all out and have them rolling about everywhere! I loved sharpening the pencils at school on the desk sharpener! Was quite an honour to be asked to do that!

  • Esther says:

    Pencils, pens, stationary…. I remember a shop in our village that used to have the most amazing pens etc and it was such a small shop but I loved it! They crammed everything into it! Fantastically, it was right next to the sweet shop!! I still remember when a packet of polo’s was 7p and you could get 10 decent sweets or 20 smaller ones for just 10p!! Oh the 1/2p….only really useful for buying sweets and a godsend to children!

  • Alison says:

    Welcome back

  • Karen says:

    This made me smile, as Memories do. To make us think we haven’t the time to wind a watch and feel we have to rely on technology for everything is a shame. It has its place, and the young ones know no better, but the Grandchildren still love sharpening their pencils.
    Michael, thanks for a lovely read x

  • Rosie9111 says:

    What an innocent ramble through your memories! I grew up in a poor household. Our pencils didn’t have the rubber end…if we made a mistake we used a slice of white bread( that’s all we ever ate) to rub it out!.. I didn’t own a watch till I was 16…

  • Pauline Thurman says:

    It sounds daft but I always had my own pencil in the office and everyone knew it was mine because I was the odd one who preferred a 2H!!

  • Lindy says:

    I agree! I love a traditional pencil, much better for chewing the end! I loved pop up pencils too when I younger, had completely forgotten about them

  • Emma says:

    I have to agree to disagree with a pointy pencil as I love to write with one but I like it to be worn down rather than pointy! I feel it flows better that way ✍️🙂

  • Jacquie says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I love the fact that my young daughter is learning to write and draw and is now using them all the time. I can happily while away an afternoon just going through her pencil box and sharpening them all:-)

  • Kelvin says:

    You are too young it seems to recall the amazement of being given a watch that didn’t need winding!
    Good luck with this and not having to spend all your time filtering the inevitable trolls!

  • Carolyn says:

    Brilliant to have you back I have missed the nostalgia a great deal. I loved pop a pencil but as you say the colour you wanted was always at the back. I always had a wind up watch as a child and you guessed it I always overwound it 🙁

    Off the cuff bit of nostalgia here and giving my age away. Halloween brought to mind that when I was a child pumpkins were non existent at least where I lived in South Wales and we used to carve a swede using the insides for swede and potato mash with sausage and onion gravy – does anyone still do that?

    Anyway brilliant to have you back and great to have a forum to comment.

  • john murphy says:

    the sweet van at the to of my road,for a little van it had everything,milk bread butter,and or course sweets,like packets american hard gums scots clan,and of course vo vos to name but a few..

  • Sam says:

    Thank goodness you’re back 🥳🎉🥳🎉🥳🎉

  • Pauline Stroud says:

    Thanks for the blog. Definitely agree simple things were best.
    Brings back lots of memories too. How about fountain pens that took little cartridges of ink??? Used them at school but bet you can’t get cartridges now. Seem to remember it was a fairly universal “school type” pen too.

  • MJ says:

    The harsh blue ink rubber was worst… just destroy the site of error and bore a hole through the page.

  • Nicola Hourihane says:

    The smell of a struggling smoky Guy Fawks fire, slightly singed fingers from the sparklers , freezing cold hands and toes then put to bed only to sneak back up to the bedroom window to see the very last rockets heading up to the sky,
    Wonderful simple times

  • Andrew says:

    You’ve pretty much summed up my school days there. I remember being brought one of those original digital watches to make me go to a secondary school I didn’t want to – best decision I ever made. Who says bribing kids doesn’t work!

  • Danielle Paul says:

    Glad to hear from you after all this time Mr. Quarter Of!

  • John says:

    Well Michael, I’m first to reply and remember back in about 1974/75 when I saw my first digital watch – The Black Watch (rather sinister!) made by Sinclair, I think, a rectangular job, with, as you say, a button you had to hold down to see the time – utterly useless if you other hand was full – just a black, blank screen! But hours of fun spent pestering the boy who had it (no idea of his name). Hadn’t thought about it for years, until you brought is back to mind. Thanks.

  • Alison M says:

    Someone on Fbook was lamenting about how things were so much better when she was a kid and it got me thinking…was growing up in the 70s / 80s (or earlier than that) really better than what the kids have these days?

    This was my response;

    Back in the days when measles was rife
    When women stayed home and were merely “the wife”
    When blackouts were common and smoke filled the air
    When teacher pinned boards of asbestos without care

    Back in the days of terrible fashion
    Swirly wallpaper, curtains of purple passion.
    Where men wore ties that had names like fish
    And tatties and mince was a twice a week dish

    Back in the days of fire and miner strikes
    No health & safety, 3 gears on your bike
    Cigarette smoke for breakfast, lunch and dinner
    Men on soapboxes screaming “repent, you’re a sinner”

    Looking back to those days, full of defects
    I can’t help thinking of rose tinted specs
    Every generation thinks theirs was much better
    It isn’t, just different. Though summers ARE wetter!

  • Geoff says:

    e live in darkest Wales ( big lumpy HILL) so no signal cant use sat navs either we have real dial phones still , theres lovely Still yearning for ilco mints Geoff buckley

  • Ray Woodrow says:

    I totally agree with you, I’ve had all of the things mentioned above, in fact the calculator watch is in a drawer upstairs and still works lol, I used to use those pencils at school too, I used to have loads of sweets when I was a kid and my two favourites were Spangles and Glees, Spangles were the same shape as Tunes with the dip in the middle on both sides but they were fruit flavoured and the Glees were sort of like Skittles are today, but I think they were chewier, in regards to chocolate, my favourites were Mint Cracknell, Fry’s Five Centres the Amazin Bar and the little chocolate neopilitans that you used to get in a box, I really enjoyed reading this blog Michael and I look forward to seeing a lot more.

  • Alison says:

    I remember buying at Christmas a smoking kit made of liquorice for dad.

    Not very PC now

  • Claire says:

    When you started with the watch comment, it took me right back to when I used to try and sit as close as possible to a boy who had a digital James Bond watch, which played the theme tune. I think I got to press it once. The simple things in life…Now it’s all bills and mortgages!

  • Andrea says:

    I used to love the pen with the four different colours; it was the simple things that brought us the most pleasure. Green, red, blue and black all in one pen; the excitement and envy from your school friends (cue the saying we should get out more, but then we did didn’t we) x

  • Beth says:

    Love this ide

  • Carole says:

    Gotta totally agree with your musings. I was never into digital watches, very rarely wear a watch but when I do it’s a traditional watch. I also love writing with an old fashioned pencil, its always my go to writing implement and the great satifaction of sharpening it, love it.

  • Debbie says:

    I’d totally forgotten about Pop-a-point pencils! You’ve brought back some really fond memories. Keep them coming please!

  • Gillian says:

    Ah, digital watches. I had a Commodore LCD watch in the early 80s. Unfortunately the screen got damaged and veins of liquid crystal goop leaked across the face. I still have it lurking in a drawer though. I think it was that watch that sparked my interest in technology. Strangely, I don’t have a smart phone. They were a step too far for me.

  • Caroline says:

    Wow! This brings back memories. My aunty brought me a Swatch watch from America and it was my pride and joy. I am stationary freak and had a huge collection of erasers!! Some of them were fragranced!!

  • fanriffic says:

    I had Casio watches is middle school.But we were always surrounded by tech through the 70s and 80s so the transgression to smart devices and computing was easy for me

  • Ruth says:

    I am with you, things like on a Saturday would get 1 shilling pocket money straight down to local sweet shop buy a bottle of cream soda, 2oz loose sherbet, and some penny black jacks and still have change left but did not get it if did not do chores.

  • Jean Rainbird says:

    Remember all that you told us about there, I remember we were the first family in the road to get a television, oh boy did I have lots more friends, so many memories, my brother making a go cart, me, picking all Dads Sweet Peas and trying to sell them round the road for half a crown, I got 6d in the end and a good telling off, also my sister and me on our roller skates, speeding down the hill and grab the lamppost at the bottom, if we missed we would end up in the road, that’s something we couldn’t do with today’s traffic.

  • Kelly Glen says:

    I totally agree , life and the most basic things are getting over complicated. I’m a child of the 80’s and life was so much easier then with no mobile phones, social media and about a billion things we managed to live without.

  • Mark jones says:

    Like your self I remember all the things in your post but who rembers the Wrigley chewing gum machines that used to be out side your favorite sweet shop and the cadbury chocolate machines at the railway stations. l found a couple last week while sheltering from the rain in a little junk shop. If I had the transport I might have brought one.

  • Laura says:

    I used to love using the school pencil sharpener..the big one with the crank handle 😁

  • Funky Feet says:

    I so agree, I remember how very excited I was to get my first Timex(I felt so very grown up) and when those digital thingys came along I longed for my parents to buy me one only to find that just like today my technical abilities are zero and couldn’t even set the time.
    I do have a “smart phone” which continues to baffle me and on which I rarely make a call😂

  • Lesley says:

    I admit I loved a pop a point for the novelty value, but I agree nothing beats a pencil. I am now the mother of an almost 6 year old and I am teaching her the ways of stationery!

  • Howard Russell says:

    Michael, this is a poem I wrote 3 years ago as part of a fundraising effort for our daughter’s voluntary year in South Africa. Two evenings were 70/80s themed and I read this before a quiz. Enjoy!

    Cheers, Howard Russell


    Shutting the doors on the swinging 60’s, that’s where we begin
    The bells rang out for the 70’s and beckoned us all to come in
    Zooming off down the hill on a fab shiny red Chopper
    Or a slower mode of transport, an orange space hopper
    To the shops on Saturday morning, time for some treats
    Fruit Salad, Black Jacks, Spangles, all yummy sweets
    With 100 pennies to the pound, folk were in fits
    They were missing their tanners and their thru’penny bits
    It was farewell to four Scousers and Jimi, Janis & Jim
    It seemed life without them would all be so grim
    So we just got on with it, things wouldn’t be so bleak
    But then we ended up with strikes and a three day week
    ‘Don’t you change the lightbulb’ unions would shout
    ‘Sod Ted Heath, higher wages, everyone out’
    Lighting candles for power cuts we thought just magic
    We didn’t quite realise, but it was all really tragic
    Into Europe under Harold & suffering mega inflation
    Cap in hand to the Monetary Fund, what a state for a nation
    Labour and Callaghan floundered, ending up all at sea
    And after a discontented winter along came Mrs. T
    Miners striked again, there was such a lot of tension
    Of course Arthur sailed off with a nice juicy pension
    Vietnam, The Falklands, Ulster all fighting
    Brixton and Tottenham rioted, there was a bomb in Brighton
    Tiannamen, Beirut, the world continued it’s rift
    Then Gorbachev encouraged an Iron Curtain to lift
    Charlie Boy fell in love and Lady Di said “I do”
    Other disasters like Chernobyl made us shudder, feel blue

    Out of a test tube bounced a wee baby girl Brown
    And Concorde ruled the skies with it’s supersonic crown
    Something else soared high though not half as regal
    Our new goggled superhero, Eddie the Eagle
    Virginia crowned at Wimbledon during a Silver Jubilee
    Someone cried ‘I’m The Greatest’ Yeah, Mohammed Ali
    Under the five coloured rings there were no greater hits
    Than the magnificent 7 of swimmer Mark Spitz
    Further joy at The Olympics with Nadia’s perfect ten
    Then shocked in Seoul at a spaced out Ben
    Our four legged favourite Red Rum loved Aintree
    Jumping into history and hearts he won 1, 2, 3!
    In European club football English teams won lots
    But only cos their teams were half full of Scots
    Joyously Brazil sambaed with a mesmeric eleven
    And still a Brazilan sends men drooling to heaven

    Their were crazes galore driving our parents crackers
    Those orthopaedic’s nightmare, wrist busting Klackers?
    Were you a pinball wizard or a pacman king
    Or maybe space invaders was your big thing
    Were you so clever and could sort Rubik’s Cube
    Or completely at a loss and felt such a tube?
    Holiday snap’s would take eons to return plus some
    As Snow White was told, ‘one day your prints’ll come’
    Taping your fave sounds then was all the mode
    Today it’s a quick click. iTunes and download.
    News currently received comes at the blink of an eye
    Whilst papers back then gave us June scoops in July
    Boys opened the Sunday Post and didn’t half swoon?
    Were you daft over Daphne or her sister Maggie Broon
    Or maybe Farrah Fawcett, Blondie, Daisy Duke, Suzie Q
    Girls was it Marc, Donny or the Davids doing it for you?
    The lassies were well advised by Jackie, Bunty, Mandy
    Special tips on hot kissing and not forgetting acne
    Imitating our heroes that we watched on the box
    Maybe emulating that man with the Milk Tray chocs
    But before Channel 4 we could only watch three
    Beeb One, Beeb Two and your local ITV
    Blue Peter, Crackerjack, The Clangers, Magpie
    Banana Splitz, Summer Wine, Fawlty Towers, Bullseye
    Expert in martial arts, you saw an episode of Kung Fu
    But then you hid behind the sofa and missed Dr. Who
    Thunderbirds, Spitting Image and Python had their phase
    On the gogglebox back then they were all Happy Days
    Were you in love with The Rollers in your trimmed tartanwear
    Or was it all safety pins, zips and bright spiky hair?
    Those fashion statements we made following all the fads
    Girls acting like Sue Ellen with their great shoulder pads
    Guys thought they were cool in their flared white trews
    But tottered precariously on those high platform shoes
    And when we went out we all smelt very nice
    Wearing is she or isn’t she? or your dad’s Old Spice
    And oh how we thought we were all space age
    When perms and mullets were all the rage
    Sophistication we took to a dizzy new height
    Thinking we were big with our pints of Snakebite
    Hedonistic days when you could drink buckets more
    Half a lager now you’re anyone’s, maybe starting to snore
    Those long night’s of passion when you performed at a peak
    It’s a triumph sleeping through now your bladder’s so weak
    On the dance floor at the disco we didn’t half strive
    For Saturday Night Fever it was great Staying Alive
    Grease was the word with Travolta and Newton John
    Those pants Sandy wore were surely sprayed on
    Did you duel down the High Street after Star Wars?
    Or dare go in the water after being scared by Jaws?
    Superman, Dirty Dancing, Rocky, Rambo, Shampoo
    Then Harry Met Sally, what was on THAT menu?
    We were All Shook Up and there was Love Me Tender
    But then The King died and was returned to his sender
    Lennon had his last haircut and in New York he was slain
    And then Bob took his exodus, left us Waiting in Vain
    Abba conquered the world starting at Waterloo
    Fernando, Mamma Mia and Knowing Me, Knowing You
    Ziggy played guitar and Queen’s Rhapsody was a Killer
    Then along came Jacko and gave us all quite a Thriller
    Glams T.Rex & Wizzard. Mud, Sweet & Slade
    Acts galore, punks, new romantics, the amalgam Band Aid
    All those tunes you fell in love with, that made you believe
    Songs to checkout anytime you like, but can’t ever leave
    We wonder at life’s meaning and all the time that it spans
    But it’s actually happening now as we’re making other plans
    So we slide down the helter skelter at an ever faster pace
    Skeltering on & on, shaped by life’s eternal race
    At times looking back you may have felt a bit sad
    Yet many more moments that you’re so utterly glad
    Stepping backwards then forwards, experience we amassed
    Lessons of laughing & learning helped by ghosts from the past
    And we’ve lived to tell the tale, that’s most certainly true
    We’re just all born survivors that kept pushing through
    Our kids laugh disdainfully when told what they were missing
    Yet when it comes down to it all, can you beat reminiscing?

  • Kerry Way says:

    Like you, I dislike smart phones, especially the way you happen to mention to someone, you need to buy pillows… blow me, ads for pillows get fed through by some unknown entity… I wouldn’t mind buy do you think I can get an answer to a long term question…
    Perhaps you can assist…
    Who used to make the hard jelly snakes that were in the 1p selection of sweets ?… they had big heads, looked abit like a crocodile.
    For years I wondered why they disappeared
    Please, please can you help ?

  • Terry says:

    Great memories Michael, love the idea of the Nostalgic meanderings, my childhood was 40’s and 50’s. Early memory is hating beetroot at school dinners and bringing it home in my pocket, my Mum was not best pleased.
    Introducing grandchildren to some of my favourite ‘old’ sweets is a joy, watching them try ‘Spanish wood’ lol

  • Moira Cree says:

    I was born in the 50s. To me, a phone should make phone-calls (texts too if you must). If I wanted a portable computer, complete with internet I’d get one, but my bugbear is that every bank, shop, business assumes you own one of these and can’t deal with you until you do. I remember a time when if you came across a poem you liked, you got pencil and paper and copied it out. Now you Google it and download it to your phone.
    Oh, and I never post comments on forums either, so you’re extremely privileged.

  • Sophie George says:

    I bought myself a Casio watch (digital) as a birthday present for me lol. It was the same sort of watch I had at school and it brought back memories for me

  • Jan b says:

    Fabulous rambling- remember them all!! Memory for me? Spending ages deciding which sweets to buy with the few pence I had!! Black jacks frequently won!!

  • Kgs says:

    Love the smell of freshly sharpened pencils new and old books , paints and chalk and believe it or not School Dinners!!!
    Thanks for the memories

  • Peter Williams says:

    I agree totally about a sharp pencil, I use one every day and have a desktop sharpener. Yes it it a simple thing but brings something to my working day😃

  • Skelly says:

    I so agree. We saw an old fashioned telephone today and fell about laughing. You had to turn the dial for the number you wanted!!It brought back memories of us watching the dial back and forth — that’s when we were allowed our telephone time!! dad used to put a box next to the phone for us to contribute towards the phone call but , when we got short of pennies , we used to replace the coins with iou’s. Such simple things bringing back such strong memories

    Wish I could have added a picture to show what technology was really like — back in the day….

  • Sharon says:

    The thing I most remember when it comes to watches is the alarm on my dads. It played the yellow rose of Texas and I was in awe haha

  • Andrew Butcher says:

    Indeed – to HB or not HB? Meanderings of the sweetest kind and first things first, welcome back AQO, extremely missed. Was just thinking the other day, i wonder if we will ever see a Lucky Bag again? The old paper type with a Flying Saucer, a chew, maybe some sweet tobacco and licorice together with an awful gift clicker or magic card. I seem to remember my first one cost 3d and over the years they climbed up to a dizzying cost of 6d. Where are they now?

  • Jenn says:

    I remember the pens that had four colours. You clicked one colour down at a time. They seem to be making a bit of a comeback!

  • Claudia Smith says:

    My parents used to make Christmas magical. Not by spending a lot of money but by being creative. Mum was skilled at many crafts and would make a lot of my presents. Dad would find books in charity shops that fed my many interests. They both decided that buying Christmas crackers was a waste of money as it just left you with a pile of paper and a useless bit of plastic. So they used to make our crackers every year and buy gifts to go inside that only cost pennies but were useful. Mine were often items of stationery, such as pencils or pencil sharpeners. My parents both died in 2015 but as I continue to go through the contents of the house they lived in for nearly 55 years I often find these old cracker gifts, some of them 40 years or more old, and it always makes me smile that I’ll never need to buy another pencil sharpener and probably not another pencil either!

  • Sue Lahan says:

    You have just taken me right back to my school days, which was a fair few years ago. I remember getting a new pair of shoes all green and sparkly. Sound lovely don’t they. I thought I was the bees knees. Went to show them off at school and broke the heels off on a rope swing behind my friends house. Can’t remember what excuse I came up with but wasn’t allowed out for a while.

  • Jo says:

    Fab idea. Love the site and the sweets 😊

  • Mandy Webb says:

    Hello Michael,
    It was a lovely surprise this evening to open my hotmail and discover yours just waiting patiently thereto be clicked on and read.

    As I read through I began to nod just like that dipping bird toy from way back when (not sure of the year but they looked like they’d been designed by Jim Henson from the Muppets!) and find realise I remember some of the items mentioned.

    I’m also very pleased you chose a blog over social media (see I didn’t say the name that shouldn’t be named!) That ‘platform’ is a toxic hot bed that allows bullying, showing off (not in a good way) and blatantly allows harmful content and doesn’t believe in properly policing itself or members.

    Anyhoo, on a lighter note I thoroughly enjoyed reading your ramblings and I think most of it rings true regarding the ‘original is best’. However, some things do have to go full circle to establish the the first version was the best. Nothing wrong with that!

    Perhaps I should go and find my Rubik cube now I have nothing else to read!

    I do hope you get lots of responses.
    Kind regards

  • JGK says:

    I related to all the comments you made. It was a different time. When I was at primary school in Rotherham in the late 60’s the school still had inkwells …as in real ink and pens with nibs. Forsooth! The desks had inkwell holes on the top right. I was useless at writing neatly so ended up with ink all over my hand and I wasn’t even left handed!

  • Jo McQ says:

    Crikey. That brings back all sorts of memories. I remember being horrified to discover that, when in my late teens, my 7 year old neighbour couldn’t tell the time on an analogue clock. It was one of the first things I learned at school. As for digital watches, I only ever had 2 – the first, in the early 80s, had a light that lit it in such a way that you could hardly see the time! My second was a copy Swatch watch. Went back to old fashioned hands after that.
    With regard to mobile phones, yes, big brother is watching it – the first time I got one of those questions about somewhere I had just been, I looked out of the window to see who was stalking me!!!
    I loved a newly sharpened pencil too, but not if I’d had to sharpen it for ages because the lead (well, graphite) kept breaking just as it came to a nice point. Propelling pencils were so much better but you never got that moment of real sharpness. As for the rubbers, the only ones that were worse were some of those smelly ones in the mid 80s – in fruit shapes etc – which felt like they were made of plastic!

  • Leonard Eynon says:

    Mike, if you don’t mind me calling you that!
    The Wife says I should leave the past behind. How can you erase the best days of your life? I certainly don’t want to.
    Anyway, still got a digital Casio. Most reliable alarm clock you can get. Wouldn’t part with it. I had a beauty given to me as a Xmas pressy. Played Hey Jude and Yesterday Beatles classics, awesome piece of kit. Worth a few Bob now, if I hadn’t dropped it in a tin of paint,grrrr.
    You’re right about wooden pencils too. Sharpen both ends.you can’t go wrong. They sit snuggly behind you ear, so you can always find them ha ha. Don’t chew them though, yuck.
    Great idea with the new blog

  • Alison says:

    I loved this totally agree ✏️

  • Max says:

    I agree with what you written even tho I havnt read it all. I understand You so understendable should be also the complite lack of energy on this wednesday evening to comment any further (or maybe I will-added last). I will just say – I do agree – it is what it is, we all just push forward whole day and rest in the evening to …repeat. It indeed used to be better and dont let anyone tell you it wasnt – they say there always is a war every 70 years max – that is time it takes people to get frustrated enaught and do something about the world surrounding them – these days with all the technology and common daily little “joys” we are simply not appriciating anything – beeing simply boored – and thats because we dont know pain, hunger, we dont need to fight for anything – just do our jobs like bees in the hive. And thats why so many people are so nostalgic these days – they feel like they miss something – like something is out of place. There is nothing we can do about it – only “cure” is to learn to cope with it and do your best to “use” these happy times. I wish you luck and happines hopefully we as a humanity will find some different goal to set our minds on and give “things” a “reason” – I just hope it wont be war.

  • MARIA ROGERS says:

    It is the same with books, love the feel and smell of those pages, opening a brand new book, excited about what journey it will take your mind on. I know kindles are fab, I have TWO! Gone are the days when half my suitcase would be packed full of heavy books for a holiday, now a whole library contained on a slim lightweight tablet saves my luggage allowance. But I do still love a good ‘real’ book!

  • Gray Jolliffe says:

    I walked into Soho Italian restaurant at about 1pm and saw three of my advertising mates sipping bubbly and looking very pleased with
    themselves. They offered me a glass and said they’d just won the
    Sekonda Russian Digital watch account.
    It was the early eighties and these watches were magic even though you had to push a button to see the display.
    They were all proudly wearing one.
    Len explained they were timed by an atomic matrix on a satellite,
    and as a result were accurate to a millionth of a nanosecond every
    hundred years.
    So I asked them what time it was.They all looked.
    1.02 said Len. 12.58 said Bob. 1.04 said Mike. I had to smile.
    So much for nano seconds.
    My 50 year old Tag three hander is still going strong and is accurate to within five minutes give or take. Works for me.

  • Erica says:

    Hi Michael,
    Well done on creating the blog – you might be a techno-wizard after all 😂
    I love real pencils too, something very relaxing about writing in graphite on a real notebook!
    Erica (from Sydney)
    P.S. do you remember using calculators to spell things?

  • BashBrand says:

    Howdy and welcome to your new bloggy-… thing!

    While we’re on the subject, someone told me recently that ‘the smell of freshly mown grass’ isn’t grass’s natural smell, but a warning to other grass that it’s about to be cut. (True story.) What’s it going to do—run away? Answers on a freshly-sharpened lawn-mower blade.

    Hasty bananas…

  • Martin says:

    Wow all that brings back memories. I had the 1st hand held calculator in my school. My farther worked and lived in Holland and I used to spend time there during the summer holiday. When I was Fiveteen I worked for the engineering company he worked for as a holiday job doing basic office junior work. I saved enough to buy one of the 1st red led hand held calculators from Dixon’s cost me 199 guilders a fortune at the time, but my farther knew the European director and I got a 99 guilder discount. When I went back to school in the Uk after the holidays it was a marvel with all my mates, but it did eat batteries one set of 6 lasted about 20 minutes. Think I still have it somewhere in the loft may go hunting for it.

  • Shelly says:

    Hi I love the idea we can all chat without the dreaded Facebook. I do love your site as they have all my favourite sweets from my child hood.

  • Pete Wallis says:

    I had one of the watches with a stopwatch (and lap timer – which I did find a use for once or twice, but can’t remember what).

    We played a longer game though – stop it exactly on one minute 1:00:00 (it had hundredths of a second on it). I remember principally playing this game in Chemistry which probably explains why I failed my O Level Chemistry so spectacularly.

    Oh, and I absolutely loved Pop-A-Points too – you could modify them to fire the leads out like blow darts, or use the tube to fire chewed up paper around the classroom!

  • Jacqui says:

    Great memories of when life was so much easier !.its like rediscovering old favourite sweets .

  • Betty says:

    I remember a boy in junior school used to eat his wooden pencils n rulers i don’t know why !

  • Michelle says:

    I’ve still got my old Casio digital watch I dare not fire it up with a new battery incase it doesn’t work. I literally think my heart would break as I got it for my 8th birthday along with a red papermate pen. Those were the days

  • Graham says:

    Total transport back to my school days 🙂 And as for the petrol pumps, I’m convinced it’s a conspiracy by the big petroleum company’s! It’s always 1p over the amount I want, all thous extra 1p they’re getting 😠

  • Claire stickley says:

    I love the blog, it brings back so many memories, my husband and I were only talking about the Casio watch a few weeks ago, lol. It’s good to see you back, I’ve missed the update emails. Take care, claire xx

  • Michael Barlow says:

    I agree totally with all you’ve said, what I can’t believe in this day and age how a parent can justify spending £800+ on an iPhone which is out of date (according to the child) within a year and they only use a fraction of it’s capability. As for the pencil situation the amount of children who hated the eraser on the end of the pencil was phenomenal so the bought their own and not only bought them with their pocket money but collected them especially when they all had different smells. Kids don’t collect things nowadays apart from expensive gadgets.

  • Jan b says:

    Love technology and very happy with my iPhone but also have very fond memories of our childhood in the 50’s. Sweets were a treat. Christmas with an orange, nuts and a sixpence in the stocking. 4 fruit salad or blackjacks for a penny and liquorice was a penny too!

  • Tom C says:

    Thanks for setting this platform up Michael! Really looking forward to future posts / comments from the community.

    Unfortunately I’m of late 80s / 90s so my memories may not seem as nostalgic to some!

    However I do remember the pop-a-point pencils. Amazing how they were heavily used in the 80-90s and even today I’m sure!

  • Aileen Mitchell says:

    Ha ha. I took back to the shop, the first mobile phone I was given for Xmas. I didn’t want to be at everyone’s beck and call anymore than I already was. Then the iphone seduced me, and oh dear those screentime reports apall me. Did I really waste that much time!
    I was reminded of my Dad’s flat pencil. You know , instead of round, presumably so it wouldn’t roll of the table. Maybe it was more specific to his trade- painter and decorator. Anyway it wasn’t so easy to sharpen. You need a sharp knife.
    Then the memory of my little granddaughter deciding to try out her new pencil sharpener on her little finger🥺 that’s one I don’t want to recall 😳

  • Jay Bloggs says:

    I completely agree about the whole pencil debate; I have a set of pencils (wooden without the rubbers) ranging from 4B to 4H, I was one of those sad kids that knew what the B and H meant too! (and I’m not talking about cigarettes there).

    I also had one of the popapoint pencils, but I only ever kept normal leads in the pencil, I had a separate one for the coloured leads.

    I had a calculator watch too! I remember having to use a pencil or a pen to use it properly though! Now I’ve got a smartwatch and a smartphone and a smart speaker; while they are incredibly useful in their own right, I do wonder how we got on before them. My sister still uses a paper diary, we just had a discussion this past weekend about why she doesn’t use her phone, she prefers the diary and she always has it with her in her bag. Then followed a running comment about so where is your diary? (we were trying to arrange our next gathering) This one time she had taken it out of her bag to make room for more sweets!

  • Danny says:

    Original is most definitely the best, especially when it comes to sweets. It crushed me when Lions sold out to Maynards and the gums I enjoyed with my mum as a child became nothing more than different shaped wine gums. Even worse they got rid of the black liquorice and the lovely white pear drop flavoured one .
    Luckily I found this site and you made everything alright. I found my lovely Midget Gems and Sports Mixture as they were intended, jaw achingly chewy.

  • Jill says:

    Couldn’t agree more Michael. I loved the smell of freshy mown grass and freshly sharpened pencils but i think my most favourite smell was walking in the woods after it had rained. My chidjood was the 50s and 70s i remember sitting on the floor watching Tuesday Rendezvous when the beetles has their first tv performance and walking to Guides when i heard JFK had been shot. Thats all for now. Love your sweets. Jill

  • Jools says:

    Lol I remember my 4th year teacher in primary school got the first watch and when he would be reading the paper and enjoying a coffee Martin who sat next to the desk would try and creep his hand in to press the button and get whacked on the had with the whipper snapper (a small very thick ruler) Mr Patterson was quick lol. Oh the memories

  • Patrick Whitmore says:

    Without a smart phone I wouldn’t be able to read this marvelous monologue. Being born at the start of the 60’s. I’ve had the pleasure to witness some incredible events, but also the size of my favourite sweets shrink down to less then mini size and claim it’s still the same size. Look forward to your next ramble into the memories of our lives

  • Mole says:

    I had an LED watch for my birthday, and scratched the face the first day. Pop-a-point with multicolours can still be bought though they don’t seem to fit as well as the original. Welcome back

  • Linda says:

    Really enjoy reading your musings, I was born in the 40s so a lot of tech stuff goes over my head even when I master it the next time I want to use I’ve forgotten what I did, I remember using ink pots and blotting paper at school so a fountain pen was great when we were allowed to use one!!

  • Donna says:

    I agree with everything you’ve said especially about the wooden pencil. I remember that in infant school it was a really fat pencil and in junior school it was a grown ups skinny “proper” pencil. I used to love waiting to take my turn on the old fashioned handle turning pencil sharpener clamped on the teacher’s desk. Oh and not forgetting wax crayons, big fat ones, we’d cover a piece of paper in multi coloured lines and then go over it all in black so that we could scratch out a multi coloured picture.
    Kiddies don’t know what they’re missing with the smells alone 😁

  • Sue says:

    Well said that man lol ,

  • Michael McGowan says:

    Great to hear from you again. Seems like ages.
    As for pencils, my wife and I are off to Keswick soon which is home to the fabulous Pencil Museum. Well worth a visit if your around those parts.

  • Mosh says:

    Ah, smashing. A proper blog that I can follow with RSS and not miss a post – unlike f***book’s algorithms that never actually know what I want to read and when!

  • Tiny says:

    And in my day the pencils lived in a proper wooden pencil box (sliding lid, hinged upper level) along with the eraser and pencil sharpener.

  • Kate says:

    Oh I used to love Pop a Points. None of that faffing about with pencil sharpeners etc. Of course nowadays we can look back and despair at the amount of plastic involved!
    With regard to smartphones, I wouldn’t be without mine but my husband is perfectly happy with his (new style) Nokia 3310. The battery lasts forever and it does exactly what he wants a phone to do 🙂

  • Allison says:

    Well here I am, remembering that I had that exact Casio watch! Ah memories… especially of spending 10p on a mixed bag of penny sweets (2 or 3 for a penny) and easily making the bag last a whole week 😁

  • Kirsti says:

    Totally agree simple is best! We have normal watches and clocks in this house, but not sure we could live without Google Maps on the phone haha!
    All that school talk has got me thinking about the huge roller black boards we had at primary school! I used to love writing with chalk on a black board and now it’s white boards where you need half a bottle of Mr Muscle to wipe anything off!!
    Great blog, look forward to reading more!

  • Tony S says:

    What it must be to be young like you! I remember dip pens and inkwells at school – having to ask sir for a new nib and explain why the end was twisted or broken (well if you used them as darts they weren’t too robust). The ink was made up from powder, so at the beginning of the school year, your writing was quite dark, however, by the end of the school year your writing would be very pale as they had usually run out of dried ink and so watered down the remaining stocks to make it last. We also used blotting paper, so soaked blotting paper in the ink; stuck the inky mess on the end of the nib and flicked the pen usually resulting in the class swot having ink splatters on their neck or shirt collar (you only aimed at the back of them as you did not want to be identified). Someties we did use a rubber band as the means of launching the missile.

    However I remember my History teacher, Mr Magnus Catlin (What else would he teach with that name?); if he caught you eating sweets in class, he took them and passed them round the class telling everyone to help themselves, returning the empty bag to you. Needless to say, his was the class you did not eat in.

    Oh yes; Fruit Salads and Black Jacks at 4 for a 1d (penny)

  • Alan J. Griffiths says:

    Welcome back Michael !!
    Not a sweet, but sold in my local sweet shop……do you remember GLO JOYS ? It was an early ice lolly on a stick.. but it was not just a frozen ice lolly, it had a firm, but soft, texture and could be bitten into. I remember that they were sold in a removable paper wrapper. (?) I am talking about late 40’s early 50’s but I have not seen anything similar since. Just maybe I have not always been looking but with the modern proliferation of sweet treats nothing similar has crossed my path. What have I missed ?
    They were sold across the road from my junior school gates and lasted me all the walk home – about 15 minutes !! I lived in a suburb of NE London (Essex, but now a London Borough) and we then had electric buses (trolleybuses)…..so what else can we now look forward to coming back ? AJG

  • Liz says:

    Remember how excited you got when the big telly was pushed into your classroom?

  • Charlotte B says:

    Sometimes the simple things in life are the best. However, my first mobile phone couldn’t even send text messages. I would actually have to phone people. Oh the horror!

  • Anne Jenkins says:

    A trip down memory lane with you!

  • Mycroft says:

    A problem with the hourly chime on digital watches before the days of radio control or smart phone linkage, was that they were never dead accurate, and they all went off at different times – usually over a period of about at minute with the teacher getting more and more angry. My current watch is digital but with an analogue style display.

    Somehow I have ended up with two! smartphones.

    And, somehow, I have managed to break my addiction to ultra fine propelling pencils.

    As a yoof at school, back in nineteen hundred and frozen solid, I had a row of implements in my inside blazer pocket. They were a Parker 51 fountain pen (with blue/black ink), two ball point pens (one red, one blue), two pencils (one hb and one h) made by a brand that was famous at the time, but now seems to have disappeared, and something that looked like a pencil, but was, in fact, an extensible rubber.

    I was obviously the bee’s knees (or at least I thought I was).

  • Emma says:

    Indeed it is! What a lovely and funny trip down memory lane.

  • lesley mcauliffe says:

    yes as long as the lead is not broken all through and no matter how many times you keep sharpening it keeps breaking!
    Bring back the Frys five centres,

  • erusFar says:

    I agree with the sharpest pencil, I work in the control room for the Amb service and despite having left school 30+, years ago, I always always ALWAYS use pencil… I can usually be found with my pencil case full of freshly sharpened pencils. (I tend to go for 2H or 3H, so they stay nice and sharp for longer, seems to make my writing neater that way too) I also have a couple of 2B pencils, for doodling… A colleague bought me a pencil extender a couple of years ago, now that transformed my life…. and my pencils….

  • Lulu says:

    Yes…. 😊 what a lovely trip down memory lane!
    Now I’m going to put my phone down….. and read a book 😉

  • Gouranga says:

    I’m the opposite – I love technology, even though technology put me out of a job. I was a comptometer operator in the sixties and seventies. In those days the comptometer was the best calculator available in offices and you had to be trained and qualified in their operation. I was brilliant at it and it was quite a well-paying job! Then desk calculators were invented and a lot of the things we did on our machines could now be done by almost anybody with a brain.

    So I retrained as a shorthand/audio typist and I ended up in a fascinating (to me) job: it was a ships’ chandlers company with contacts all over the world. I was employed as a comptometer operator/secretary, I learned to operate a telex machine and a switchboard (one of those where you pushed a wire into the hole under the popdown flap to answer) and we had one of the first office computers which we had to type out punch cards for. With my love of machines and technology I was in techno heaven.

    Soon afterwards I had to retrain in word-processing for my next qualification. I had my first PC in 1984, my first mobile (a Nokia) in 1995, my first modem and email address in 1998. And I haven’t been without any of the above since then.

    However, I’ve never lost my love for red liquorice or jelly babies or shrimps, and that’s where your fine company comes in Michael.

  • Dave says:

    Seeing the man turn the street lights on

  • Mary says:

    Remember when a box a 64 crayons was the best thing ever?? And it had a really bad sharpener built in? Those were the days… Am still looking for an old wall mounted manual rotary pencil sharpener, my kids have never seen one.

  • Patrick Carswell says:

    I remember the Pop A Points too fondly…me and my best mate Neil made a tiny catapult in science and pinged the leads at the girls until our teacher caught us..lol…

    I also remember the Tough Man challenge to see how many packets of StarDust you could take in your mouth until you foamed up and had to cough it all out….hehehehehehehe….
    I also used to get money from my Gramps on a Sunday to go and buy a quarter of Tiny Tots from the shop and we used to sit together and watch Thunderbirds together ….great days as a kid ..

  • Kerri says:

    Talking of watches, you reminded me that, in the early 80s, my cousin had a digital Knight Rider watch. It played the theme (albeit in a very shrill, tinny manner). I was so, so jealous, despite the fact that it did nothing but display time and play a tune. They remade Knight Rider but the original was far better. And my sweet of choice in those days was a coconut nest (they were brown, white or red) and had peanuts in them.

  • Mili Nash says:

    It is comforting that others can remember things that I do. It makes me chuckle and wish for a simpler time.

  • Jenny says:

    Ah so many memories in this…. queuing for the big school pencil sharpener. Can you imagine doing that now? My first ever Casio watch then ditching it for a Swatch, then going all old school back to my Scooby Doo watch which I wore into my 20s 🙂
    Glad you are back xx

  • Corky. says:

    Loving the ramblings.
    My mate at school had a talking watch. Funny as hell. Same as you, sitting around asking him to get his watch to tell us the time.

  • Marc says:

    I just walked back from the shop and an old car drove past with the petrol smell. I love that smell!

  • Chrissie Baker says:

    Reminds me of those pens which had four colours in them. Contained within a plastic blue and white case it put the power of a quick biro colour change by way of a flip of a sliding mechanism. One pen in the school pencil case instead of four differently coloured….

  • Marc says:

    PS – I like your opinion of Facebook. I hate it too.

  • Gail Newman says:

    Love your meanderings! Takes me back to my childhood and reminds me of a life when simple things were appreciated and are now remembered fondly.

  • Rebecca Harden says:

    Where’s the JOKE at end of the e-mail!!’nn

  • Louise says:

    Couldn’t agree more! Just last week (let down once again by network outages and mobile phone map apps) I resolved to dig out my trusty A-Z book for all future London navigations. So user friendly! You can mark you page, highlight the route and the battery never runs down. Sometimes less really is more!

  • Sharon says:

    Hi Michael,
    I have to agree with the love of pencils! Sharpen it up (twist it fast to start then slowly for the final flourish to avoid the freshly exposed lead from catching in the end of the sharpener). I have one of those mechanical ones too but only as it came as a set with a very nice pen. I like stationery.
    After moving to Cornwall a few years ago, I rediscovered the love of a washing line.
    For years I had been seduced by promises from various tumble dryers. Also, I don’t think there is a softener sheet/liquid/ball I haven’t tried and yet, I was chasing a dream. Anti static, reverse tumble, cupboard dry, iron dry, summer meadows….I would read the bumpf, take it home, kid myself it was the best thing since, well, sliced bread, (another story) then fall out of love with it when I would come to the conclusion it was no better than the last.
    Then the move Cornwall. Where to put the tumble dryer? Kitchen? No room. Utility room? I couldn’t seem to find it. Garage? Out of bounds unless it was made by Honda or Triumph. Shed? Too many useless gadgets in there already. So it was goodbye tumble dryer, hello whirly washing line. I haven’t looked back.
    No beeping, no wondering what to do with the other half load of washing while I dried the first half, no artificial smelly chemicals purporting to smell better than nature, cheaper electric bill and a break down repair usually involves knotting a bit of line. All in all, a much better option than the modern beast!

  • Julie Leonard says:

    I remember sitting in class surreptitiously playing on my Tamagotchi. You could guarantee that I would have it taken off me and told that I could have it back on the Friday.

    • Sue S says:

      I used to babysit my daughter’s Tamagotchi when she was at school I looked a bit odd playing with it/feeding it whilst shopping in Somerfields! Well I was about 30 at the time 😂

  • Wendy Steele says:

    Couldn’t agree more Michael. It’s like buying a bath or a sink. You now have to buy the hole!! Why the heck a bath or sink doesn’t come with a hole in it I do not know.
    And it’s the same with taps, I can remember when I first got married 33 years ago and we were doing up an old house. So needed a bath, taps etc etc and coloured suites had just come in and white taps. We thought we were so cool! Until, that is, I said to the chap in the shop that I wanted both taps to have the red spot on, being a staunch Man U supporter I didn’t want a blue spot on my taps thank you very much.
    At this point I was wondering why my new hubby was slowly backing out of the shop.
    But then realised I was obviously blonde for a reason as the chap in the shop pointed out that the red was for hot……..and the blue was for cold!!
    See! They should have kept it simple and then I wouldn’t have looked like a plonker!!

  • Steven says:

    I don’t own a smart phone. A regular mobile phone is good enough and less stressful. I don’t wanna be on the internet all day long. I still have an I-Pod for music and that’s just as good as playing music on a phone. I do have a smart speaker at home because it’s like having a personal jukebox and (until the price rises) saves me a fortune in CD’s. I also like the internet for renting films and watching YouTube (but via a TV, not a phone!) I guess we’re classed as old-fashioned Michael. But living your whole life online is kinda sad.

  • Ricki says:

    I agree on the pleasure of some things like sharp pencils and yes, I used to fill the tank of my car like you did, stopping the fuel gauge at 20 DM, later 20€.

  • Mrs DJ says:

    I love your post, I had forgotten about the first digital watches and pop a point pencils. I agree on the pencil front, you can’t beat a freshly sharpened wooden pencil. I remember buying pencil toppers. Do you remember the woodpecker that was on a little spring and it used to wobble and peck down the pencil while you were writing or drawing.

    I remember watching why dont you in the summer holidays and seeing a girl who had been collecting novelty rubbers, that had me from the word go and from then on I drive my Mum mad for every novelty rubber available but they were never for using just for collecting and taking to school so that we could all sow what we had bought at the weekend and then smell them as they were scented with strawberry, cherry, chocolate or washing powder.

  • Mrs Rita Jolley says:

    I too must be a dinosaur as I write letters using an old fashioned ink pen and get a lot of compliments about my beautiful handwriting. A lot of people today can only use text speak even when talking, what a shame.Life may have been slower but was it so bad? Do you remember Jack Frost in the winter leaving his pretty patterns on the inside of the windows? We had no such thing as central heating in most homes. A coal fire in the living room and watching the sparks fly up the chimney and trying to see patterns in them. The sound in the summer of a lawn mower being pushed back and forth not the whine of todays models. The joy of being a 50’s child free to go out on your bike with sandwiches and a bottle of squash and come home for tea having been out in the fresh air for hours. Playing with conkers and marbles, do children still do things like that? Climbing trees and getting scraped knees , jumping in puddles to see how big a splash you could make. Then there were the sweeties, lollies that seemed to last for ages, gobstoppers that you took out of your mouth to see what colour it had got to. Walking in fog imagining people had disappeared as the fog swallowed them up as they passed you by.Simple pleasures long gone now unfortunately.

  • Mrs DJ says:

    Sorry about the couple of predictive text errors in my post

  • hazel says:

    I remember all the items mentioned above. I loved my coloured pop a point pencil only problem was if you lost a colour you were stuffed. Today I regularly use an original ordinary pencil and love a new sharp point. I can’t stand fb or smart phone that spy on you. Love the post made me giggle and reminisce. Thank you for not doing it on any of the popular platforms. Will be popping by to shop soon. Take care

  • Di says:

    I remember when I was wee I loved Fry’s five centres, really wish we could get them back. x

  • Lusitania Kent says:

    I mourn the demise of cursive handwriting… While professionally obliged to churn out 100+ emails each day, married to the keyboard of a laptop or tablet, I still thrill to hold a beautiful ink pen in my hand and commit bold strokes to quality paper. There is nothing quite like it… I even look forward to writing out Christmas cards and dashing out those once-a-year catch-up letters to those of an age not to be accessible via social media. I think that GCSEs and A levels are still largely handwritten exams, but, for some time, I haven’t met a young adult who seemed to have developed handwriting beyond that of an average 7 year old from my good old days… but there are millions who could type this same message in seconds without even looking. Writing is indeed a dying art.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Sadly ‘reading the clock’ – a proper clock numbered 12 through 1 and all the way round to 11 then 12 again – is a lost art also
      When I started school in April 1957 I could recite the alphabeth, write my full name, read the clock, count to 20 and knew my address – not so sure kiddies start school so well prepared these days 🤔

  • Paul says:

    Do you remember the school ink pens you would have to go to the teacher to get a new nib when you’d pressed too hard on the desk and the inkwell would last forever and never need refilling

  • Sandra says:

    Does anyone remember the 10 coloured biro…. Found one the other day and just had to have it. Memories ………. brilliant…..

  • diane white says:

    Midget Gems take me back some 60 years. The shop where I bought them could let us have all black midget gems which I love. they remind me of good school days, my mum and dad and how it was to be a child back then – brilliant

  • Ruth Chenery says:

    So good to think back and remember. Loved all these things.

  • Liz says:

    Hi michael
    When I was in junior school oh back in the day or during the war as my kids would say ( late 70s). I used to buy a packet of Spangles. Can you remember them?

  • Kevin says:

    Nostalgia at it’s best…and actually got me thinking of old watches that I had when growing up.
    I rarely wear a watch now as an adult due to having the right time on the mobile….but as a child I went through lots of ‘gimmick’ (although at the time…they were the bees knees!) watches.

    Put a huge smile on face remembering them and finding images of them on a google search.

    A few of my favourites was a James Bond watch that played the theme tune on the hour, a transformer watch that unclipped from the wrist carrier and transformed into a mini robot


    But my all time favourite watch was the Seiko Data 2000…..Oooo that thing didn’t do much…..but attach it to your keyboard and you thought you were the worlds greatest geek LOL


    So thank you for the nostalgia….really made my evening 🙂

  • Dianne Simpson says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. There is also something very special about sharpening a pencil.

  • Leslie Shram says:

    As someone who uses technology all day, whilst being a carer for my mum I like the stop/start I can apply to tv and radio ( it’s not a podcast, it’s def the radio) and I still tape the telly, even though it’s digital recordings. But you need a simple watch and proper pencils.I used to draw and sketch and the electric sharpener reduced the pencils to nothing. I ended up with a proper olde fashionede school teachers pencil sharpener, screwed to the table, and on holiday in Minnesota found a real glass ink bottle sized pencil sharpener like my old music teach had. Sharpener in the lid and shavings fall in the bottle.Smells wonderful when you empty it. And you look silly with a plastic pencil behind your ear.

  • Kim says:

    The joy of getting pencil crayons for a present, all the bright colours, and the knowledge of all the art you where going to create.
    I don’t get the same joy using an app to colour, where’s the joy of carefully picking colours, going out of the lines !! No old school for me when it comes to colouring in 😀

  • ant says:

    Did you have the Casio calculator with crap Number Invaders game? Or the (actually fairly decent) Boxing game, a kinda Game’n’Watch precursor. Or if you were super posh: the Casio VL-Tone!

  • Deborah says:

    I too am not keen on the do everything mobile phones. I have a basic one because I’m afraid I will become one of those people that can’t even go to the loo without it attatched to my hand, it’s scary how that one device holds all your personnel data and your life I suppose. I remember the pop a points they were really good I thought, until you as you said the one you want is somewhere in the middle of the pencil.
    Don’t think I ever found a rubber that didn’t leave a smudge once you used it lol.
    Today people don’t wear watches as much as they only have to look at their phones for the time. I actually made a conscious decision to buy a wrist watch here this year , and now I can’t be without it.
    I know things have to change and progress but it’s sad that just normal one on one communication seems to be dying.
    As you said simple is best, like recently in a supermarket i was able to buy 5 sherbet dib dabs for a £1,I was so excited, took me right back to simpler times , as a treat after junior school, when you walked home with your mum and had a conversation about your day, without a mobile phone getting in the way.
    That’s what is magical about childhood sweets they conjure up so many different memories.

  • Lorraine says:

    Totally with you on the sharpened pencil!! And the scary smartphone. One thing I won’t give over to technology is reading. Nothing beats opening up the first page of a new book, staying up to late for “just one more chapter” and woe betide anyone one turns down the corner of a page in one of my books 😄

  • Maria Kitsis says:

    Do you remember Spanish gold sweet tobacco!? I think it was made from coconut and brown sugar – Maria Kitsis, grandma

  • Teresa says:

    All so true! If you were really lucky, you’d have used a sharpener with it’s own ‘built in bin’ which you’d probably bought yourself as a souvenir from a school outing!

  • Joanne Pearce says:

    As you get older you realise how much has disappeared. 50p used to get you loads of sweets from the shop which again have mostly disappeared. Do you remember pacers?


    You asked for some ramblings/memories of sweets/days gone by… well here’s mine… short and sweet (see what I did there?!) …..Milk Bottles Gums….the ones with loads of powder and so much sugar and sticky gumness, that your teeth would be stuck together for ages! …………….. sorry, I got lost the moment then….. if only I could scoff away without a care in the world like I used to, but alas, no more ….’a moment on the lips, an absolute age of constant exercise and dieting on the hips’ ….. it’s not fair! (yes, I have just stamped my foot) …… well, there it is, a short, sweet ramble… thanks for taking the time to read it.

  • Bertie says:

    I hated the black and yellow school pencils, I always wanted the plain wooden ones which were only available in WH Smith’s aling with the good old tablet rubber. Staedtler was the mark of stationary perfection

  • Christine says:

    Ahh if only to be transported back to the 90s….

  • Rosalind says:

    I had 2 smart phones then decided I was tired of having a phone that spent half its time updating itself and storing all sorts of rubbish I didn’t need or want so I bought a yellow Nokia 3310 [I think!] which I love. I keep it on silent so I can ignore it for hours at a time.

  • mark pearson says:

    Yes have to say that I love the Gold Dust and I also go for the Jawbreaker fireballs. There were loads of jawbreaker candies which I loved can you not get any more of them? I am also a rock fan so sticks of rock are a favorite. I also remember sugar eggs, very small about 1cm in size with a sugar costing and a soft inside

  • Fiona says:

    I love writing with a proper wooden pencil, so satisfying!!!

  • Natalie says:

    Remember using calculators to spell words? Shell oil was the start point but then soon became rude words with lots of giggling

  • Pault says:

    The thing that irritated me about digital watches was that people forgot how to tell the time.
    No longer was it twenty five to six, but five thirty five or, ooh five rather than five past!

  • Sue says:

    The bit where you try to get exactly £10 and then £15 worth of fuel made me laugh – so true – do that all the time!!
    Love the memory of the smell of freshly sharpened pencils at school too.
    Will recount a memory or two of my own when I have more time.
    This blog is a great idea – I think it will be very popular 😀

  • Richard says:

    Early calculators, turning them around and spelling shell !Fun days!

  • Brian holme says:

    I buy Merry maid caramels every Christmas.they were always the sweets I got from the little shop next to the local cinema,to find them again has been brilliant.

  • Sandra says:

    Love your first blog….where did this word ‘blog’ originate anyway? I had never heard of this until I got my first iPad. Now everyone is blogging. Anyway, just to say that I think your idea is excellent and I look forward to hearing more ‘blogs’

  • Elizabeth says:

    I think this is a super idea, I will have to sit and think about a topic I can share, one day
    Whilst here though, i will just say how pleased I am to have found a ‘retro’ sweets supplier.

  • Anne smith says:

    Its funny how a smell or taste can transport you back in time. Wish you could still get mint crackling my dad used you get us kids a bar every friday and my mum got a bar of milk tray its maddening you can get them in australia but the companies who make tjem say there isnt a market in britain for them which is crap

  • Sarah says:

    The big old sharpeners that you wound with a handle ……if you went too far you had a seriously reduced pencil

  • Jane WT says:

    Blakeys – whatever happened to them? They were such a ‘thing’ when I was at junior school. You used to buy them on cards from the cobbler – before adding an s made it an expletive…. and then we would pick them off the card and place them on the floor and stamp on them – hard – so the sharp little nails would embed in our heels and then we could parade up and down the pavement ‘ticking’ like a soldier on parade. Still I guess they went the way of all our dangerous pleasures – down the road of health and safety along with the other cobblers……

    • Kimkim says:

      I’ve still got my school loafers with blakeys on. They are 37 years old and still going strong – clip clop, people stare at me as i clod hop along. If only they knew…. Originals at their best!

    • Jay says:

      In the North East we used to call them seggs Jane.

  • Susan Kay-Attwood says:

    Always love reading the emails from aquarterof.

    You can still get none smart phones. Nokia still do some.

    It took me a while to move over to a smartphone but you’re got to agree they’re useful. To quickly check something or find where you are in a town where the map isn’t quite detailed enough.

    Back to a quarter of. Is there a way of buying sweets from you without a plastic bag? I don’t want a jar each time either.

  • Jan says:

    Loving the new blog! So pleased to receive a newsletter today, I have really missed them.

    Pop a point pencils were dreadful. Nothing beats a proper pencil. But you need a separate, good eraser too, not a silly tiny one on the end of the pencil!

  • Sara says:

    I have to admit I’m an iPhone freak I do everything on it, but life can get so confusing sometimes the simple thing on getting a new phone years ago you had to ask everyone for there number now you have to figure out why the friend you give your old phone too is getting your text messages. Bring back the days when you had to fight with your sister to use the phone and then having to drag the cord through the hall into the coat storage so no one would hear you and the days of recording the charts on Atlantic 252. Seriously hate to see what the next few years bring. And I still consider myself to be young

  • Steve says:

    I have book marked for now, a bit busy but look forward to following this one.

  • Helen says:

    I miss the really simple things….I miss playing a board game because there were no such things as computer games….I miss being able to go and get 10 penny sweets and now I don’t think such things exist…I miss being able to go out without a mobile phone because they didn’t exist and now no one goes out without their phone….I miss that I could go out after breakfast and play out and not come home until dark and now the world is too dangerous for children to do that….don’t get me wrong, I love the internet and all the technology and all that it can offer but things were simpler and less harmful and I had to think for myself when those things didn’t exist…and sometimes I really miss that….

  • Peter Taylor says:

    Simple things in life.

    For me it’s that really good cup of tea. Made in a pot or a mug, makes little difference, but that REALLY good cuppa. The flavour is just right, there’s almost a natural sweetness to it.

    I’ve taught many how to make a great cuppa (secret is freshly boiled water and to let it brew a good three minutes!) and many have said to me years later it is a skill that has stood them well.

    A really great cup of tea.

  • Jules12 says:

    I tend to agree Michael. Whilst developments can be helpful they aren’t necessarily better or nicer

  • Peter says:

    I have taken to adult colouring in recent years. I have many (thousand +) coloured pencils which I use and switch sets frequently.
    I have also used modern types of media – felt tip pens, Berol fine and broad nib pens, gel pens (which seem to run out almost before you start to use them), and more. However, in my opinion there is nothing better than the good old colouring pencil.
    In this respect I feel original is best – much like the traditional sweets you sell!

  • Bee says:

    I still have my first pocket calculator. No memory and red display like the watch. My dad limited us to 2 time checks on the watch to save the batteries.

  • Ian says:

    You must be younger than me !! Those first digital watches came out when I was 18 !! I remember primary school days when ,for instance we would run about daft at playtime, even in the rain. Result was we were all back in the classroom after the break like a herd of cattle with the steam rising off us.
    Remember the penny bubble gum machines that sat outside of the corner shop. ? Well who remembers sticking a bit of bubble gum on the penny to hold it in place and get multipiple supplies of bubble gum :):)
    And remember the Beech Nut chewing gum machines? Two packets for the price of one every fourth penny, when the arrow on the handle was facing you!
    More to follow 🙂

  • Brenda Bailey says:

    I have a story about Rosehips.
    I’m going back to the 1950’s here when I was in Infant school.
    There was a project organised in school for the collection of rosehips. We went down to the railway line (small branch line) to collect the hips. We used to get quite bored by this but I knew that my dad would be following to make sure we were alright.
    Sure enough he turned up with a paper bag so we left him to pick the hips and we would play in the adjoining fields.
    All would be shared out and the next day we took the rosehips to school to be weighed and we were given sixpence each!

  • Noreen😜 says:

    Totally agree. Love that smell, right up there with fresh cut grass, sizzling bacon and treacle toffees. Sharpening a pencil during class was always frowned upon by my teacher, Miss Conway. I think she thought it was procrastination, which it probably was in my case. I remember she got one of those (then) new fangled automatic sharpeners, which didn’t last long because the whole class would “sharpen” their pencils down to the nub to see who could have the shortest pencil that still worked. Happy days!

  • Des says:

    Bulls eye !!!!
    Yes nail on the head !!!

  • Mark Sant says:

    I remember bring so proud each year when my dad opened up his Christmas present from me and it was a new watch. Each time there would be something new and advanced. I remember one of them had a phone dialing feature. You simply looked up a number that you had previously spent ages storing, then pressed a button and placed your watch next to the microphone on the telephone. Then tones would dial up the number you wanted. It was probably quicker just tho disk he number yourself!!

  • Kate says:

    One of the best pieces of kit that I own is an old fashioned pencil sharpener that fixes to the edge of a desk. It’s got a handle. I love it. It creates a wonderfully smooth, cone shaped, pin-point sharp pencil head, that makes me feel like I could write ANYTHING and potentially something brilliant.

  • AL says:

    I came to your blog from your email. I am in my 20s but I agree with you. I am also happy that you decided not to make a Facebook page, because I despise FB too for many reasons, privacy concerns being one of them. Me and my friends have stopped using Facebook for quite a while now and we don’t miss it at all.

    I’m not sure if you knew this, but fountain pen and machined pens sales are actually rising! Instead of the cheap, plastic, mass-produced BIC pens, young people want to have a real pen that we can feel emotionally attached to, use our favourite ink with, then refill and reuse instead of throwing away when there’s no more ink in it.

    I still use a real alarm clock, because unlike alarm clock apps on smartphones, it never stops working. No one wants to be late just because the alarm app didn’t ring that morning.

    Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE technology. I build my own PCs and I’m a very early adopter of smartphones. With technology, people with disabilities can be more independent, I can talk to my friends in other countries or translate things from other languages in real time, which were not possible 20 years ago. But sometimes, when you are travelling or you want to relax, then “digital-detoxing” is a really good idea.

    On a related note, I have also convinced my family to switch from hand wash and shower gel to bar soap to reduce plastic waste and carbon footprint. It’s funny isn’t it? When plastic was invented, we started making everything with plastic, but now we are switching from plastic back to glass and wood again. As you said, things do go full-circle.

    [Oh and Michael, you can still adopt technology without sacrificing privacy – you just need to stop using Google and use alternatives that aren’t spying on you. If you are interested, you can go to https://www.privacytools.io/ but a word of warning – it can be quite difficult to give up convenience for the sake of privacy.]

  • Caz says:

    Hi Michael, another 70s kid here. I have to say you had me cracked up with laughter reading your post. I remember being the first in my class at primary school to get a digital watch that played a tune for the alarm and driving my poor teacher at the time insane as she didnt know where the tune was coming from until a jealous classmate stuck me in and I was told not to wear my watch in school if I was going to play with the alarm. Can you imagine the uproar now if a teacher dared to threaten a kid that way lol.
    As for pencils, I have to agree, you can’t beat a decent hb pencil, I still love to draw with a proper pencil. I do have a digitalpen for my tablet and touchscreen laptop for drawing and drawing programs but have to admit to preferring an actual proper pencil and seperate eraser as I agree those ones on the pencils are only good for smearing.

  • Dextersgran says:

    I too prefer the original dial watches, but happy they don’t have to be wound up, overwinding meant breaking it and needing a new one. Talking about time, alarm clocks … why a snooze button … just get up. What about the bright red numbers that are staring at you if you happen to open your eyes during the night …If I really want to know the time, I press a button to light it up.
    Smartphones have there uses, I wouldn’t go back to an ordinary phone, but do we have to have apps for everything. I work in retail and have to ask the customer if they have a store card. It’s easy you just open your purse/wallet or show the fob on your keyring. But occasionally some will have to spend time searching through their handbag and some will take even longer getting their phone out, unlock it, search through for the store app, try opening it whilst a wrong tap means going back to the start. In the meantime, I could have served 3 customers. Then what about barcodes … an item comes through without one … it’s £1 says the customer …yes I know but I need the barcode …another queue holdup while someone gets it for me. I’m all for modernisation but sometimes the old ways were much simpler and user friendly.

  • Jackie Clifford says:

    Hi Michael, I think it is a brilliant idea to start blog. Looking forwards to writing more. x

  • pepperty says:

    Dear Michael, I do love your nostalgic ramblings!
    Digital watches? Pah! Give me analogue every time!
    Smart phones? They have their uses, but I control them, I don’t allow them to control me. Never switch on “location” and never use for anything financial. The most used feature? The “power off” button. Why are people so afraid to turn off their phone?
    Pop-a-point pencils, they were so high tech! Like you, I prefer to write with a proper, old fashioned, pencil. At primary school we learnt to write using a pencil. Pens were not allowed until we were 7 or 8 years old and started to learn joined-up writing! Then we had to use real ink pens, either refillable or cartridge, Platinum or Osmeroid. Being heavy-handed, I ruined no end of nibs. Ballpoint pens were prohibited.
    Ah!! Them were the days!!

  • Emma says:

    So good to recieve one of your nostalgic emails!
    I could not agree more the nostalgia came flooding back,especially having to go up to your teachers desk to sharpen your pencil on one of those huge churning sharpners with a handle.
    Oooooo the smell of a sharpened pencil!

  • Maureen wicker says:

    Im a chid of the 50s so I have seen fads come and go. I love my mobile phone. Quick tip — turn the Gps off and it cant stalk you. Though at my age it may be handy to leave it on so the family can find me if I get lost.

  • Dave Cottrell says:

    Commodore 64! I bought the world cup football game for that which the queen presented the trophy to the wiining side. It looked like she was pushing a tea trolley along the side of the pitch.


  • John Scanlan says:

    freshly sharpened pencil not done that for a long time but remember trying to get the peeling ogg wood the longest

  • stubbyd says:

    Agreed – simple things. Like 8 fruit salads for a penny or a mars bar for thruppence. Now there was a time when this was so….

    • campermum says:

      During the 60’s, when we started school at 9 a.m. and finished at 4 p.m, we were allowed, during the hours’ playtime at lunch (yes! a whole hour of play following an hours’ lunch!) to take a penny over the road to the grocer and buy a ‘penny mix’. I remember a small paper bag crammed with the likes of fruit salads, blackjacks, swizzels, rhubarb and custard and lollipops. There can’t have been that many but it seemed like treasure and swaps were fun to negotiate.

  • Alec says:

    Personally, I have never got on with conventional pencils as I always find they go blunt too quickly. Thus for me, it has to be a propelling pencil all the way – 0.5mm and with a rubber.

  • David says:

    Welcome back. It’s spooky but I said to my wife just the other day “What’s happened to the sweet guy with the “dad” jokes?” She said “Why is he sweet?” Oh well…

    I’m afraid that my memories of sweeties goes back a lot further than digital watches; although I did have one to my eternal shame.
    I can remember when sweets finally came off rationing. Then I could have as many aniseed balls and blackjacks as I liked. Not that there was money around to buy them even at four blackjacks/fruit salads for an old penny.
    The man in the sweet shop did take pity on me though and when I was in buying 2oz of butter for my mother (yes, you could buy such amounts in those days) he would slip a gobstopper or a piece of toffee broken off with his little hammer into the bag.

    Anyway as I say it’s nice to have you back – and don’t forget the jokes. My grandson thinks I don’t love him anymore because I’m not sending him awful jokes!!

  • Rozi says:

    OMG I soo love your emails and this blog. Always make me laugh. Sometimes it freaks me out, like someone has been in my head. I remember the indentation left on my thumb from pressing hard on the button of digi watch. I put it down to quality of having a cheaper version.
    Do you remember the big pencil sharpener that sat on the teachers desk. I used to break the lead on purpose just so I could have a shot of putting pencil in the wee hole and turning the handle. I loved the sound it made as well. Kids were easily amused then or was it just me.

  • Lydia King says:

    I agree about the smell and feel of a freshly sharpened pencil.
    What smells remind you of your very first school? If I think hard enough, I can recall the smells of school dinners and wax crayons as if it was yesterday!

  • Allan Armstrong says:

    Very interesting to bring back those memories. On a similar subject I refere to the pens we used at school wooden with nibs and desks which had inkwells. Moving on we then had Ball Pens which were frowned on at my school, the first was a Biro which was about the thickness of your thumb, then came a thiner one called the Bell Ball Pen which was quite expensive I saved up and bought one unlike the present day ones you only changed the Ink Tube retaining the ball end, they stopped manufacture after a while as they leaked from the joint between the tube and the ball. As we know today you change the inner unit complete. Allan

  • Wendy says:

    Original is certainly the best. Things change and usually for the worst. I just want to go back to all the things I knew as child, so I can show them to my grandchildren!

  • May Reilly says:

    I enjoyed reading that! I can’t help but agree with the things you say about the ‘smart’ phone….. I have gone back to a mobile that texts and makes phone calls only. Though I can’t get people to understand that they can’t send ‘smileys’ or stickers etc. cos all I get are wee empty squares! Ah well, mebbe its the thought that counts…. LOLxx

  • Twinkle. says:

    Ahhh, now I was never a huge fan of digital watches despite the allure of the (then) new techy types, so roll on the current and timeless lean toward proper watches with hands; three hands and a date window for preference. Pop A Points I remember well also, now that you’ve reminded me. They were fun. Modern phones:- you keep your hands off please. Now I’ve got the hang of times, dates, places, maps, alarms, timers, diaries, wwweb, lists, music, film, finances and photos to name but a few all being in my pocket, I’ll hang onto that one for quite a while thanks all the same!

  • Joey says:

    As always…
    A pleasure to read.

  • TrixieWildflower says:

    I always use a pencil at work, can’t beat a freshly sharpened pencil *sigh*
    FYI I am also a 70s child and I remember my brother getting a digital watch for christmas one year, I got a Humphrey one, remember Humphrey? He was the milk mascot for a while!

    • Mole says:

      Unigate dairies, watch out theres a Humphrey about red/white stripes

      • Joy says:

        I loved that advert. What about ‘every ones a fluffy one? Can’t remember what it was advertising (teacakes maybe?) just remember that line at the end of the advert.

  • Donna says:

    I remember having watches when I was a little girl but my favourite was the Swatch watch. You know, the kind that popped out and you could attach to different coloured straps or even clothing? Loved mine so much!

    I also remember the Pop-A-Point pencils too! They were good fun, until they stopped working properly and the lead plastic parts pushed back up when you used them. Very annoying.

    Remember the double rubber? Red side for pencil, blue for pen? I never understood those rubbers as they were hopeless. Trying to rub out pen with the blue side was like sandpapering your piece of paper! Always end up with a huge smudge, or a hole in the paper. I had a phase in the 80’s of collecting rubbers or all sizes and shapes and even scented ones. I was weird and also collected carrier bags. Ha!

    Ahhh memories 🙂

    (PS, we love your sweets!)

  • Squeaker says:

    I still have my very first watch! A blue snoopy watch (weird because I was a pinky pink kind of girl!). The hard plastic, faux leather strap has disintegrated, but the clock still works… If you remember to wind it up! Pretty impressive since I’ve broken almost every watch I’ve owned since, including the rather beautiful (and not cheap) pearl and silver one my late best friend bought me for my (cough)ieth birthday! Fret not, it can be fixed – at a cost, of course.

    I’m with you on the book that shall not be named. I was a big fan at first, but then it just became one giant corporate stalker!

    But I have a question for you – or anyone else – back in the 80s (which I’m far too young to remember. Ssshhh!) there was a “fruit chew bar” about the size and shape of an animal chocolate bar and with the texture of opal fruits. It was also rainbow striped?? Does anyone know what it was? Help please! Thanks

  • shiela says:

    you forgot the joys of sharpening the pencil,those wonderful curls of wood,and smudging the bits of graphite too..or trying to get a proper chisel point with your penknife…

  • maureen mcsherry says:

    Freshly sharpened pencils!!!! One of the best jobs in class was getting to sharpen them with a hand wound sharpener that was fitted to the teachers desk. OMG I am getting old.

  • Audrey B says:

    I am sooo glad you’re back.
    Your emails always make me smile and brighten my day.
    I’m sorry but I don’t have a memory to share but I am quite excited that I might be the first person to post on this.
    (Once you have vetted my post for naughtiness 🙂)

  • John says:

    Oh, Michael, I think we grew up at the same time. My watch, when the little red LEDs came in was a trust Timex which lasted years.

    I, too, hate smart phones. Why do they need to know so much about who I am, where I’ve been, who was there…?

    I loved the pop-a-point pencils. Just too cool. Mind you I did use a Parker propelling pencil for years until it went kaput. Now, like you, I’m a plain pencil kinda guy.

    Lovely article.

    Thanks for the nostalgia fix.

  • Paul says:

    So I’m here to share a memory….Cadbury’s Wispa. I remember the first time I had one…it was unreal.
    It must have been around ’83 to ’84 I guess. I opened it and…licked it! And licked and licked. I stoically wouldn’t share even with my best friends.
    I licked down to the last inch (ish) and then gobbled it up.
    It’s an odd memory to have stayed with me all these years..more than 35….but I’ve not forgotten it, or my first Wispa….

  • Andy Kennedy says:

    Welcome back Michael! And thanks for the blog – excellent! Keep up the good (no, great!) work.
    BTW: agree about that particular behemoth you mentioned. Maybe my elder brother’s name for it might be more suitable – Farcebook!
    Best wishes.

  • Sheila Noya says:

    I do love a freshly sharpened pencil. Especially when I can sharpen it in one of those big sharpeners that has two little levers that open it up to grip your pencil and you turn the handle, just like the teachers had at school! I still have one of those. Got no time for those stupid little things we all had in our pencil cases that always seemed to break the lead.

  • Elliot says:

    Totally agree!

  • Nancy Townsend says:

    I’ve always preferred digital watches – I’ve got a simple date/time £20 Casio. I don’t have a smart phone – I only use a mobile for calls and texts and smart phones are way too big to fit in my pocket. I agree about the wooden pencils – propelling pencils have no charm, no soul.

  • Dominic says:

    🙂 I remember that red LED watch to this day. My friend Jason got one for his birthday. I never did and never saw them again but the memory remains of his lighting up the dark screen that day in early spring. It was at the start of the school day and I still remember where we were standing, and that it was a gold watch had me most impressed, until he pushed the button and the screen lit up in red 🙂

  • Carol says:

    Great memories I loved the propelling pencil and yes the lead did have a tendency to snap really easily. I too still use a wooden pencil. I remember in school the pencil sharpener was attached to the teachers desk like a vice. Everyone loves sharpening pencils with it. My other favourite was the four colour pen with the triggers to swap which one you want to use. Red green black or blue

  • Prof. Stephen J Avalyan Newton says:

    Your recollections match exactly mine which is worrisome as I imagined you to be a 25 year Brand manager type!! Your comment on the Smart telephone rang instant bells with me as I have now mastered Whatsapp yet am old enough to remember gas lights and black and white TV with MacDonald Hobley decked out in dinner suit and black bow tie!!!

  • Terry says:

    Just love A Quarter Of.This new idea blog is fantastic. Keep up the good work and the old sweets…Fantastic

  • Jo Davies says:

    Thankyou for my trip down memory lane can’t wait to read more x

  • Caroline says:

    Ooh am I the first to reply? Digital watches eh….. I’ve gone back to the old fashioned watches with the expanding bracelet strap.

    I bought one of those pens with four different colours in them recently. Always wanted one as a kid. Writing birthday cards is fun. It probably looks like a child has written them. Pink, blue, green and purple ink.

    I’m typing this on my mobile phone. I’d have said you were nuts if you’d told me years ago that I’d be able to do this. Watch videos on my phone, do shopping, get a weather forecast. Oh, and tell the time. My husband lost his phone in work recently, thankfully a friend found it. But the 24 hours he was without it, it was like the end of the world for him.
    I do use my phone for social media too….but I won’t say that word that scares you… let’s just call it “TwitFace”…. or “FakeBook”.

  • VAL says:

    My memory goes back to the wartime rationing time. There was little choice for my weekly quarter of sweets allowance. I always chose dolly mixtures as ther were so many in the twist of paper. they were always bought on saturday morning ,so I would save them until friday after school and then slowly eat them one by one hoping they would be replaced next day. (sometimes there were none available). I will always remember when they came off ration and a friends family bought a jarful and used a box-brownie camera to take a picture of it.

  • Helen W says:

    I used to love using the teachers big sharpener on her desk it was brilliant

  • Susan Hammond says:

    I do agree yes! For me, it’s the smell of creosote! That takes me back to my childhood when my dad used to paint the fence! I don’t smell it these days though!

  • Becky T says:

    The excitement of the new pencil case and contents in ‘back to school September’. In particular, the advent of pens, pencils, rubbers etc all smelling of various members of a synthetic fruit family! Oh the joy 😊

  • Andrew Gosling says:

    The definition of progress has been changed.
    Progress is the art of replacing a simple, useful object that does its job perfectly by one that is unreliable, garish, has lots of buttons with an instruction manual written in the language of the planet Zog and can only be operated by spotty youths. Examples: 1.OS maps versus satnavs & GPS
    2.(sort of) common sense versus Health & Safety.

  • Fred says:

    Yes i agree. You must feel a hell of a lot better now that’s off your chest!

  • Alison says:

    I remember the seventies perfectly. The hot pants with ridiculous Psychedelic patterns. And that toy called the Clackers (?) where you were in serious danger and cracking your wrist bone. The good old days!!

  • Lesley says:

    Love the memories of the digital watches, don’t remember the first one mentioned but I still buy the ones with the hourly beeps – it tells me there’s an hour less to go at work.
    I agree about the smell of freshly sharpened pencils too but think I’m the only person in the world who hates the smell of freshly cut grass, so the sharpened pencil smell gets my vote.
    Glad to see you back, your weird and wonderful meanderings have been missed.

  • Lauraine says:

    I couldn’t agree more, for me it’s the fountain pen, no longer available, it’s all cartridge pens now but at least they have a real nib as opposed to a ball point,I did find a fountain pen online, Mont Blanc fountain pens but I nearly had a heart attack at the prices, they only start at around £350 and OMG go up to over £7,000 😱

  • Françoise says:

    ….and the competition to see who could get the longest piece of pencil shaving, which resulted in ending up with tiny stubby pencils!

    • ThatDaveAshley says:

      And then finding that it was your last pencil and having to create an extension with a tube of paper and a bit of sticky tape (and don’t get me started on sticky-backed plastic from Woolworths!).

  • Sean Keogh says:

    I remember those LED watches. Never had one myself, but later, I have an LCD calculator watch. Never really used it except to tell the time but it looked so cool 🙂

  • Paula says:

    Fun to read and so many memories brought back. I must say I did love my pop-a-point pencil though.
    I do love the handiness of a “smart” phone but don’t trust it completely and rely for work appointments etc my diary (old school filofax 😂) and pencil are still the way forward for me.

  • Andy Wilson says:

    The hourly chime!. Goodness, that brings back some good old memories from my schooldays in the early 80s. When you’d saved up enough pocket money to consider buying a watch, one of the MSPs in the Argos Catalogue product description would be that you had a choice of over 30 alarm functions :0). A different one for each day to wake you up for the paper round. Good memories. Thanks for sharing. Andy

  • Pam says:

    Oh I totally agree about the watches, in this eco friendly age we are slowly returning to the “old days” for recycling etc. What’s wrong with a good wind up watch? No batteries required. No finger marks all over the face to switch on – the time is right there when you need it. I don’t want a watch that tells me when to get up and have a stretch or walk. Thankfully I can still think for myself. Keep up with nostalgia please, it pleases me to know I am not alone with my thoughts about technology (brainwashing)
    Pam (Also not on f***book)

  • kelvin dooley says:

    welcome home, I’ve missed your meanderings. As to pencils I remember the ‘pop a point’ very well, especially the fact that if they ‘fell’ on the floor and the class bully stamped down on the back end the points would ‘fire out of the front like a pointy graphite machine gun… happy days!? again welcome back and just in time for … you know when X—.

  • Neil says:

    You didn’t mention the first LED calculators, where you could make words out of the numbers if you turned it upside down… 😉

  • JEAN Foster says:

    I agree without everything,must be a lot older than I thought!

  • Julian says:

    I loved freshly sharpened pencils, in primary school waiting for teacher to come round with his knife to whittle a new point. Then your first pen knife which could never emulate his process. Then understanding that 2Bs, 4Bs and 6Bs all had wonderful uses.

  • Barbara Burn says:

    You are correct, nothing beats a freshly sharpened pencil for the smell of the wood and writing with a really sharp point.

  • Nigel W says:

    Ha ha so many memories from one post love it

  • Graham says:

    It was 1975 when I first saw one of those red LED watches and we were living in Hing Kong as my Dad was posted there for 2 years in the Royal Navy. The watches were a lot cheaper over there than here as you can imagine and just about everyone on my Dads ship had one !
    In the mid nineties we had a dealer called Steve Haynes who sold our software and being on the support team I had a lot of dealings with him, helping him solve his customers problems. One time he was in Guernsey on business and I was on the phone to him (no internet back then to help remotely) taking him through stuff. He was so grateful that the next time he came to our office he presented my with an LCD watch. This watch had a tiny spreaker on it and you could enter telephone numbers into a databank. If you wanted to call someone you selected their number and held the speaker to the phone mouthpiece, the watch would emit a series of touchtone bleeps and the number would be dialled 🙂 No need to go through that laborious task of pushing the phone buttons yourself…of course it didn’t work on the old rotary dial phones.
    If you want to avoid your smart phone knowing where you have been, just go to settings and switch location services off 😉

  • Eugene says:

    Absolutely, there’s an over-reliance on technology for technology’s sake. And I speak as someone who coveted, and eventually got a Pacman watch. In my defence, I was nine.
    It does seem that the people who get most excited about digital books are those who rarely read…

  • Heather says:

    I too feel that smart phones are just in fact a way for these so called companies (and possibly governments ) to spy on us but like so many I have one and I do use it, though I really don’t use all of my phone if that makes sense!, and it is indeed so very nice to sometimes strip things back and keep it simple, which is why this week when a friend sent me a link to look at old Argos catalogues, I was on it straight away, pointing out to my daughter the toys, the tv and of course the hi-fi I had in my teenage years, she wasn’t impressed but I spent at least an hour pouring over bygone images of some slightly dodgy 80’s products that every home needed 🙂

  • CD says:

    …then, when you were finished with your pencil, you’d chuck into your wooden desk (remember those? full of gum and grafitti >_<), shattering the lead as it hit home, turning it into 'the original' pop-a-point pencil as the lead proceeded to fall out in half-centimetre chunks every time you subsequently tried to use or sharpen it.

    But I still use good old HBs at work (treated with a bit more respect these days). There is *absolutely* something comforting about using a pencil.

  • Alison Dawn O'Sullivan says:

    I remember when I got my first calculator. It was one of those metal ones with a stylus that you would move the plates with the numbers on. Reminds me of my great grandmother who gave it to me. I was about 8 I think or there about’s, 54 now and the memory still makes me smile when I remember how excited I was.

  • Gabriella says:

    I remember when we moved over to London and dad bought a colour TV. The ’72 Olympics were on that year and we soon made friends – there’s a surprise! It was a monster of a thing with buttons you had to press on the TV itself (no remotes invented yet), a bulbous screen and a huge technical thing sticking out at the back,just plus it weighed a ton. It came with its own stand, on wheels, so you could move it around. We were the bees knees.

    Then we moved up a notch after dad toured Japan and brought back one of the first video recorders. A betamax, toploader which I now have stored under the stairs with some blank tapes. Oh my, we could tape things and watch them over and over and over and…….

    People used to think we had money but alas no, we had a gadget freak father.

    He also brought home (from another trip) one of the first portable CD players. You’d pop the CD in and half of it would be outside the unit as it played. I still had it up to a few years ago then some lowlife theives took it.

    I also remember the various digital watches and couldn’t wait to see the next version.

    There was a time when he called us on his mobile. A huge brick with a battery so large that it had its own shoulder strap to help you carry it around. Now it’s funny but then it was so cool. He had a CB radio too which he used to call mum to let her know when he was on his way home from rehearsals (my brother used to sneak onto it and talk to anyone that would answer).

    My dads legacy is that his kids are gadget freaks!

  • Deedoh says:

    .. what fab ramblings – had a little chuckle about my old Casio watch, thought it was the bees knees but looking at the photo oh how mistaken I was!

  • Paulene says:

    Ah the smell of freshly sharpened wooden pencils ✏️, it’s up there with freshly mown grass and newly ironed sheets! I remember queuing up with the rest of the class to get my pencil sharpened from the green metal electric sharpener that the teacher kept at the front of the class. If you didn’t take it out quick enough, it would sharpen your pencil to nothing.

    • Simon says:

      Yes indeed! The smell of pencil shavings takes me right back: as do the summer smells of warm Tarmac and creosote on wooden fencing.
      I was always scared of the electric sharpener – surely it would take my fingers off. But I loved trying to see how long I could make each pencil last before it became too tiny to hold.
      BTW, have you seen pencil carving? Do have a look: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/sarahpariso/pencil-carving-art/

    • Clive says:

      Electric? You must have been spoilt in your school. 🙂
      Our teacher only had a manual one where you had to wind the handle for it to work – and they were the only ones allowed to have it on their desk so we all had to queue up to use it. LOL.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Wow an electric one! I think I remember those coming in after my time, younger siblings had those in the classes I think

  • Mike says:

    I had one of those red display digital watches, and I do remember people at school wanting to press the button to see the time appear. Propelling pencils came in handy when the Casio all singing all dancing watch with the calculator came out, because you needed something with a fairly small point to be able to press the buttons on the calculator watch as they were so small. I doubt if I’d be able to see the buttons clearly now, let alone press the blighters. I still use a propelling pencil at work, but the leads do still snap fairly easily if a tiny bit too much pressure is applied. I also posses a real wooden pencil, although it does have a rubber on the end. Maybe it’s something to do with advances in technology, but this rubber acts like a rubber, not a destroyer of the page you use it on. I must say, reading your blog article did make me smile, and prompted a couple of “cor blimey, I’d forgotten about them” moments. Keep up the good work.

  • Sean says:

    Great idea to set up a comments section Michael. I certainly seem to live with one foot in/eye on the past (rightly or wrongly!) I’m probably way too sentimental.. Anyway, as a child of the 70’s/80’s some things were certainly ‘better’ ‘nicer’ ‘easier’ ?
    I remember receiving my first Casio digital watch one birthday, and I still have it today. I’m fortunate to now own a nice mechanical watch, but also Garmin, which does everything and more. There’s a time and place for both, much like with many things past and present in the world we live in today.

  • Clive says:

    Wow! I had one of those first digital watches where you had to press the button to see the time… And I remember those pencils..

    Does anyone remember the scented erasers and the scratch n sniff stickers? And I almost forgot the scented pens where the ink used to smell like Melon or strawberry or lemon and other scents. All the girls in school used to go mad for them.

    Happy days 🙂

  • Vicky says:

    Taking it in turns to use the pencil sharpener on the teachers desk – the manual one with the handle!!!

  • Mrs Denise Shoult says:

    I was born in 1959 so have many memories of growing up in the 60 s and 70 s, my favourite sweet was coconut tobacco wrapped in greaseproof paper called Spanish gold. And chocolate tools. I used to go to butlins clacton every Year on holiday and loved their long sweatshops. You walked in one end chose your sweets paid the other end. Mini supermarkets.

    • Susie Bennett says:

      Thanks for reminding me of Spanish Gold, brilliant (oh what fun we had) Chocolate tools, now they were something else.. I loved them but that chocolate was pretty rubbish..

  • Lol says:

    I miss Milk Tray when they had coffee cream, lime cordial and turkish delight in them. Some of the new flavours are so bland.

  • ThatDaveAshley says:

    For some reason LED and LCD watches were never really a thing at the schools I went to, probably because a) the batteries on the LED watches lasted such a short time (especially if you kept pressing the button) and b) LCD watches seemed to become very common after a few years.

    What was big at my school was calculators, which quickly turned into a war of attrition as to who could get the one with the most functions (clocks, alarms, etc).

    I still remember a kid turning up with the Sinclair Cambridge Programmable Calculator which we quickly found had a glitch that calculated the square root of minus on as 7!

    These days I’ve got an app that does 100 times what that was capable of, and is far more accurate.

  • Susie Bennett says:

    Totally agree with everything you have said.. I like to call myself a pure-ist (is that even a word?) Basically if it ain’t broke don’t fix it type of approach…or I’m just old (51) and hate change!! Going off pist for a moment, is it true that they are changing snickers back to a marathon? I mean – what craziness!! Also what happened to Pacers??

    • Mole says:

      my friends dad worked for Mars and we were eating snickers (export market) years before they were renamed in the UK

  • Jenny Milbourne says:

    Hi Michael, Congratulations on sorting out our own forum on the net. Does that make you an IT guru?? I’d say yes.
    I love your emails and don’t mind hearing your tails and trials, so keep em coming.
    I’m looking forward to placing an order and sharing positive feedback.
    From Jenny xx in Bury St Edmunds

  • James (Waggy) says:

    Ah, but can anyone remember, that during the WAR years, with food in short supply, people did everything they could to feed the family.
    Instead of flowers, most people grew spuds and cabbage, they had chickens in runs in the back garden, with a homemade leaky pond for a few ducks, and rabbits in soapbox cages. Brother Fred and I went one better, while still 8 or 9 years old, Dad had taught us how to catch rabbits by cutting a long spiky length of dogrose, trimming thorns off the holding end, then poking it down hedgerow burrows, and if a Bunny was at home, it would be twisted round and round until it caught tight in their fur, then we pulled it out.
    That was our families Dinner the next day.

  • Joe Dredd says:

    We used to have those two-tone erasers, one end white for rubbing out pencil, and the other end a sort of gritty grey that was meant to erase pen. As Michael says, it just wore a hole in the page! You could do a better job rubbing it out with a shot gun!

  • Peter says:

    Michael, you have just reminded me about those red numbers on the early watches one of two kids in my class had them lucky devils. Reading the blog has. Also reminded me about the teachers pencil sharpener i can smell that freshly sharpened pencil still today,wonderful.


  • ktc says:

    I remember saving up my pocket money for an alarm clock – a travel alarm clock at that. It was circular rather than square, so that when it was open it became three linked circles, the pattern of which I found particularly attractive for some reason (I have no idea why any child would have wanted to save up for an alarm clock but there we are – I would have been about ten). I haven’t seen anything like it for years, and had forgotten all about it until I read about your memories of time 🙂

  • Horatio Orrison says:

    A bit after my time really, but I still recall going out in all weathers to get from under Mum’s feet during school holidays – and enjoying it! We skated on iron wheeled roller skates (try it!), played whip and top, used scooters in the gutter and stick and hoop and all in the fifties. We also created a cycle speedway circuit in a field at the top of the road. It’s now buried under the M1.
    I recall when I first started school at infants having a slate and chalk to use. We didn’t get paper and pencils until we moved up. There were no fancy pencil sharpeners either.
    However, since starting work in the sixties, starting with a giant calculator then, in the early seventies, moving on to the early computers I have become a real techie! I do recall, whilst working for British Rail, one of our inspectors having to travel by van to a remote location to sort out an incident, he took with him one of the dial phone handsets, with dangling wires and came back to the office splitting his sides because he had people pointing at him and seeming to marvel at someone with a phone in the van! This was years before anyone came up with the bricks that were the early mobile phones.
    Great idea to use this format rather than what passes for “social” media as long as people restrain themselves and don’t spoil it for those of us just enjoying the fun remembrances from yesteryear. Lets hope it continues.

  • Paul Owen says:

    i have a friend who refuses to be dragged into the moden age , his phone is pay as you go Nokia that makes and receives calls and texts and the only other thing is the game snake ! He was bought a tablet a few years back but its not been out the box. having said that he’s not a slave to technology like the rest of us , got to go, my phone needs changing !

  • dave (the pressman) says:

    awesome i remember getting pocket money on a saturday 50p (in the 70’s) if id been good all week and done my chores (wiping up) going to sweet shop to get my weekly sweets half penny chews chocolate cigars

  • david cassin says:

    we use to have the plastic sharpner we had brought in ourselves,then the metal ones which were superior.all the 2b 3b hb pencils and if you had the wrong ones for art,the old teacher would give out

  • dave (the pressman) says:

    chocolate cigars half penny sweets and my all time favorite coffee walnut whips from the bakers

  • Robert says:

    I have just gone back to wooden pencils as at the age of over 60 I still have about 30 left from school

  • Iris says:

    It was a coveted job ‘sharpening the class pencils’. You had to have done something really good, like getting all your sums or spellings right. We only had a manual pencil sharpener. Happy days that were so simple then.

  • Kippi says:

    Memory recall here, classic, traditional always revert back to them when the occasion arises. It’s the same with clothing the classic cuts are always the staple of any wardrobe. Thank you for the memories, brought a nostalgic smile to my face x

  • Kim tracy skidmore says:

    Ah the simple things in life, i feel sorry for our kids future. Theres nothing like the smell of freshly picked home grown tomatoes that no supermarket can replicate and walking through the front door to smell mums cake baking, opening a letter with a stamp on, argueing over the washing up etc etc

  • Kim tracy skidmore says:

    never before have we lived in a generation gap so large.

  • Linda says:

    Better than the pencil-I remember the first school pen. It was made of wood with a nib on the top and we had to dip it in an inkwell on our desk. It didnt last too long before getting biros(I’m not that old)!

  • Jane Gates says:

    Does any-one remener stylophone avertised with that baughty man we never mention now!? And remener Victory V the old recipr that did weirg things to your brain and become an assicy!>

  • cheryl says:

    Getting a voucher for WH Smiths for Christmas and being allowed to chose a pencil case, hours my sister and I spent making sure we made the right choice. Small animal shaped rubbers that were soft and disappeared so quickly!

  • Pam Johnson says:

    I had quite an impressive collection of erasers as a child. My favourite was one shaped as an ice-cream which smelled exactly like ice-cream. Brilliant, but slightly distracting in class. Did anyone else graffiti their pencil case?

  • Anthony says:

    When I was very young (5/6 y/o) a young lady had a crush on me and would keep me supplied with all different flavours of sherbet, if you are that lady from Tredworth, Gloucester 1968/69, please leave a comment. My memories of times and sweets gone by 😎 !

  • Phil says:

    Ah, nostalgia! The smell of wooden pencil shavings when I was the pencil monitor! I was eventually promoted to ink monitor (yes, I’m that old) which led to ink-stained fingers after every playtime.

    I wonder what the youngsters of today will look back on with fond memories.

    Already, many of them have no idea why we say we ‘hang up’ when we finish a telephone call, so perhaps they’ll look back fondly on the quaint ‘mobile phones’ which have been replaced by tiny subcutaneous quantum computers (SQC’s)?

    You think FB is bad – wait till you discover what those SQC’s are sending back.

  • Mole says:

    I miss, school gooseberry fool
    cod balls, (can’t get them anywhere)
    soundhog audio tapes, the graphic was wild

  • Joy says:

    So glad to see you back Michael. I always looked forward to your emails and witticisms which brightened up a dull day and I have missed them.

    I didn’t have an LED watch but I do remember the deadly Clackers mentioned in a previous post.

    I too dislike and distrust smart phones and f**ebook and don’t really understand the fascination (probably my age). The best smell for me is a brand new book – you don’t get that with a kindle or smart phone!

    I was talking with my daughters recently about children’s programmes from my childhood and mentioned one I loved, Pogle’s Wood. I made the mistake of finding an episode on line and watching it with them. Oh my goodness! It was nothing like I remembered and made me wonder why I had even watched it in the first place! They say you should ‘never go back’ and I wish I hadn’t!

  • Paul Anthony Middleton says:

    I went to secondary school in September 1973, and I remember our woodwork teacher Mr Reeves, would when begged by us karate chop a metal file in half. I also remember going to the local sweat shop lunch time and buying either a quarter of fizzy orange balls or apple tarts(these were balls of green and red with a sour taste), they were lovely!

    Paul Middleton

  • Amanda says:

    Thank you for this. It has brought back so many wonderful memories. Ahhhh….

  • Jan says:

    Do you remember playing marbles or noolies as we called them, down the path and into the grate in the road don’t think health and safety or germafobes would approve these days. Can definitely relate to the smell of pencils after they were sharpened.

  • Alex says:

    Funnily enough my walking friends and I – all at schools well spread apart in the UK when younger – were reminiscing, and all of us at secondary level – grammer and private – had rough books, osmiroid fountain pens – no biros allowed – and couldn’t walk in various parts of our respective schools – weird to think of that now.

  • Lisa says:

    Couldn’t agree more. There was always something special about the electric pencil sharpener. It had a smell all of its own but definitely up there with clean bedding, fresh cut grass or the smell of woods in autumn.

  • cj scott says:

    I always remember my favourites as a young un were “spangles” many people agree with me. Are they still available?

  • Wendy says:

    Enjoyed reading your memories, I have lots but index finger won’t let me write them down at the mo……

  • Karen Girdwood says:

    I loved the propelling pencils I actually thought they were the best thing since sliced bread. But as we’re sharing memories I have fond memories of boiling sweets I used to buy on the way home from school , sour apples they were just the best . Anyone else remember them ? Also what happened to the traffic light lollipops ? They were lush

  • Jonny says:

    you brought me back with the watch. I remember that! And I hear you about smart phone paranoia. I think if you bail on social media and turn off location services for all non essential apps, you should be able to enjoy the tech benefits without fearing data manipulation.

  • Susan Lancaster says:

    I loved going to a certain shop for their pick and mix (squirrel dolly mixtures were favourite cos you got so many)on a Saturday with mum and dad and when home I would share them out between us. Being allowed to pick what biscuits we had from the tins on display, put in paper bags. Lighting a fire when I got home from school and all our rubbish was burnt on it. Toast and crumpets done on a roasting fork. All my memories seem food related !!

  • The Rogers’s says:

    I remember the first computer coming into the class room at school. There was 1 for the whole class initially so everyone had to gather round and take turns to press a key!!
    I remember buying the scented rubbers too from Fords and the pen tops you used to get in sweets from the newsagents that were shaped like bananas with a face.

  • Richard Bass says:

    I came to post because a long time ago I hit reply on an email from you Michael just to say you’re probably the only mailing list I’ve ever genuinely read every time it came in to my inbox. Unfortunately I found it wasn’t manned so felt a bit silly!

    I’m not as frequent a buyer as id like, but I joined the list some time around 2005 when I was buying my new girlfriend some sweets as part of her birthday gift.

    14 years on she has been my wife for over a decade now, we have 3 kids together and we still get the sweets on special occasions. I love reading your random stories and just seeing the emails pop in makes me nostalgic for all sorts of reasons.

    I wanted to say thank you for maintaining such a great and entertaining mailing list all these years. For running a wonderful sweet shop and for the massive effort you put in. I know this is your busiest time of year so best wishes and I hope it’s the biggest Christmas yet for you all!

  • Terry Jones says:

    I like the easy flow of reminiscing … saying things about those must have presents that we all wanted , but couldn’t afford . I remember being utterly jealous of a boy at school whose parents had bought him a large pocket watch ! I would have done almost anything to have one , but it was out of reach . Thinking about it now as an adult makes me smile ….today’s children ask for and are given almost everything they want ….do they appreciate how lucky they are ….I think not . Oh for nostalgia !

  • Jane says:

    The joy of buying new pens/pencils at the start of the school year & choosing a pencil case based on how many aniseed balls I could hide inside 😄

  • Paul says:

    Those rubbers on the end of pencils were dangerous too!
    Some time in primary school, I had an ear infection and logically scratched inside my itchy ear with my pencil.
    Not actually very sensible anyway but when I came to need that rubber, I noticed it was gone.
    The mind ticked and bingo, I realised it might have come off inside my ear! 😮
    I felt my ear and sure enough there it was!
    I tried to grab it to pull it out but the infection had made my ear hot, so the wax was wet and slippery and, yep, you guessed it, it slipped deeper into my ear instead!
    It ended up having to be surgically removed but, on the plus side, when I came round from the anaesthetic, I had a new Beano annual and it wasn’t even Christmas! 😂

  • Gill says:

    Lovely childhood memories!! We only had a manual sharpener too. Some bright spark once decided to sharpen his finger!! Thinking of this brings back memories of childhood games that we all played outside. No one wanted to play indoors, too boring. Chinese skipping, british bulldog, hop scotch, marbles, jacks, knock a door run!! I also have great memories of going to the park with my siblings and our friends. A bottle of water & jam butties!! We used to watch the trains go past. Sadly long gone!! The sun always shone and no one wanted to go home. Happy days!!

  • Jilly says:

    Aaah, the smell of a freshly sharpened pencil ✏️. You just can’t beat it!!

  • Kate says:

    I had pop a point pencils! It was great until I needed a sharp point but found they were all blunt! Our primary school provided us with brand new crayons when our ran out. The boys would snap theirs in half or say that they had lost a certain colour in order to get a lovely new one. And yes, we had to queue up at the teachers desk in order to sharpen our pencils with the hand operated sharpener. Years later, a company I worked for liquidated, and some of us were left to clear everything out. Needless to say, the stationery cupboard had been more or less picked dry, except for the manual pencil sharpener. They all laughed when I gave it a good home. It is just the best thing for a super sharp pencil, and always brings back memories of school !
    We never used biros at primary school- we went from pencils and crayons directly to a fountain pen! We bought cartridges from the teacher for 2p. I always seemed to have blue inky fingers. I still love fountain pens and now do calligraphy.

  • Julian says:

    There’s a chocolate I remember from the late 70s. It was white with the aroma of raspberry or strawberry I think. Kind of pinkish in colours and had a Rupert the Bear theme.
    Can anyone else remember this?
    I’d love to know if there’s a replica of this. I was addicted to it, probably why I’m type 2 diabetic now perhaps.
    Happy memories.

  • Debbie says:

    Yeah, can’t stand Fakebook either!

  • MERMER says:

    I am a fan of wooden pencils, analogue watches and television shows where you can only watch one episode a week. I don’t want to live in a world of instant gratification and lose the excitement of having to wait for something.

  • Wendy says:

    Welcome back! I don’t have a smart phone-well, it’s smart enough for me-or sat nav, as I can read a map. My partner calls me a Luddite which I take as a compliment. I am still using my first school Casio calculator from about 1984 and my alarm clock runs on batteries. My first job at 14 was in a sweet shop so I am fully qualified in a quarter of, or even 2 ounces. I also miss pacers and five centres and what about Paynes poppets, where you could never get the sweets out of the hole in the packet-i really liked the fruitetts and fruit creams. And whatever happened to Quattro-yes, I know it’s a drink but it was really nice. What about the chocolate counters with Geoffrey the giraffe?
    Oh, it’s all too much-i could go on for hours!
    Anyway, I’m off to see Adam Ant tomorrow to relive my youth. Don’t get me started there either-i need a cold shower!

  • Tracy says:

    We used to have a monitor that would be in charge of sharpening the pencils. We thought we were the bees knees when it was our turn. We used to have a manual sharpener but just before leaving primary school it got upgraded to an electric one. Wow that caused a stir. Simple things for a much simpler time that made kids happy.

  • John says:

    Always remember using the pencil sharpener that was attached to the end of the teachers desk

  • Jo says:

    Wow, we obviously grew up in the same era. My granddaughter started primary school this year and has sharpened her pencils both ends like I use to and her collection of 20 colourful rubbers that not one of them actually rubs out!

  • Mark S says:

    Fantastic musing across the posts, it brings back so many forgotten memories.

    I remember Clipper Cards from the bus to school, they started in 1979 and Golden Gum Glue with the rubber nozzle.

    Best of all Chocolate Sponge and Mint Custard. Mmmmmmm.

  • Engine driver says:

    Glad you’re back Michael! I’ve missed all the retro stuff.

    I have fond memories of those early led watches and calculators too…..had a Sinclair scientific calculator. You assembed it from a kit so it felt as if you’d made it yourself. The buttons “clicked ” so it couldn’t be used in exams.

    I too am trying to use my phone less! But failing l feel, so far!

  • Freyasdad says:

    We used to see who could stop the Casio stopwatch the quickest. And then with the phonebook having to put all your friends phone numbers in to it, even if you never met them after school !

  • Sarah Bennington-Fendley says:

    Oh my goodness I’m back at infant school , pop a point pencils were just amazing , not having to go up to the teachers desk to use the sharpener clamped to her desk , just pop and carry on !!! Happy days

  • Crystal says:

    Just love the nostalgia.. it’s definitely the simple things that get my vote. I hope they never stop making Barratt’s Sherbet Fountains; I have been eating and enjoying them for nearly 50 years. My first one was when I was pregnant and they became an obsession, so much so that my husband had to get up in the middle of the night and drive from Looe in Cornwall to Plymouth to buy me a whole box. I did expect to give birth to a sugar baby! Keep up the blog it’s great to get a distraction from Brexit!

  • Jeni says:

    I remember waking up in my bedroom when it got light, we didn’t have central heating nor electric blankets, I had the thickest eiderdown out, I can still see it in my minds eye it was a dull blue colour with a patchwork design. Sunday’s my Dad almost always mowed the grass and apart from it making me sneeze it was so very much what weekends were all about and Mum’s roast beef and yorkshire pudding just made our mouths water. No fancy gadgets I must have been at least 8 or 9 before we had a television, rain, rain smelt fresh and was so nice when I was snuggled up in bed under that wonderful eiderdown. I loved (and still do love) thunderstorms when I could hear the rain hitting the windows and the winds whistling down the chimney the small of of the coal burning, I was well into my 20’s before my parents had a telephone, we loved writing letters and receiving them and no one was a keyboard warrior. And yes Michael the pencil is the best writing implement it is so versatile, you can use it for so many things depending on how sharp it is, and even when it’s a tiny stub it still works. I do have a mobile phone and it does do some wonderful things not that I know how to use most of it and in it’s place it’s useful but generally it lives in my handbag, it’s great for getting to say hello by a text to my best friend who now lives in the US oh look what you have done I could ramble on for hours. Thank you for reminding me how wonderful life is when you don’t rely on the new gadgets.

  • Linda B says:

    I loved a newly sharpened pencil and then a fresh clean page in my exercise book (expertly backed with wallpaper of course) how many hours did we spend covering every book? I also remember the only time we had Spam was for our tea with chips and peas, and nothing to do with an ‘inbox’. Ahhh the good old days.

  • Susan says:

    I remember the inkwells at school and the pen you had to dip into it. Really messy. Especially being left handed as the inkwells were on the right of the desk. It was much better when the cartridges for pens were brought in.

  • Eugenie says:

    I live in America and have just read through all the comments which have pleased me no end. I miss my dear old England…but especially the one that I grew up in in the 50’s. I Remember playing with my whip and top with my sister; we’d be out after school and play with them, drawing designs on the tops with coloured chalk and watch the kaleidoscope emerge until after dark when we could no longer see them. It was safe in those days so we could ramble in the country-side and sit by a river in the wood near our home and dangle our feet in the muddy water. I feel sorry for children growing up these days, here in America and there in England; they don’t know what fun imagining can be or how rewarding it is to save up for a toy you really want.
    Remember the paper dolls with the clothes that hung on them with tabs? We used to spend hours making our own (I’m an artist) and playing with them in the garden with all our crayons to make the dresses. I love them smell of crayons.
    was often given threepence as a treat to go to the local sweet shop where I could buy a quarter of a pound of sweets in a white paper bag; this was a special treat..and I loved Spangles…what happened to them? Ah..memories…….

  • Diane says:

    Yep absolutely right

  • Neil Bowers says:

    I used to play the stop watch game and try and get it dead on 10 secs. I still do that at the petrol pumps too. In fact last night £25 ended up being £25.02 darn it! Then stopped dead on £26! There is no better feeling than nailing it.

    I remember the Casio calculator watches as well. They were not very good if I recall. As someone mentioned BOOBLESS was a standard word to spell out. Then of course ShellOil to.

    We were never allowed to use the pencil sharpeners at school. You had to take it up to your form tutor for them to do it 🙁

  • Pam killoran says:

    Hello Michael, I don’t have anything to say at this moment,apart from the fact that I agree about the wooden pencil. I just wanted to acknowledge your posting andthi k it’s a great idea. I hope that many people join in and have fun with it…..all the best, Pam.

  • Susan Storer says:

    I love a real pencil, I still use them at work, but nothing has ever taken the place of my fountain pens. I love mine (actually I have about 20, but you can never have too many proper pens!) I also have ink, yes real ink, in lots of different colours too…….I am 60, and can proudly say that I have written through 60 years in many colours, with my trusty fountain pen. Sue x

  • Kim Hudson says:

    I’m managing to relive my youth through my daughter, for her first birthday she had family members only as she was too young to have her own friends and in the party bags were the coloured pop a pencil which I over ordered so I could have one. And my favourite shaped/flavoured rubbers, me and my friends all had quite large collections of those, my largest was a welsh lady in full costume

  • Jackie says:

    I loved my school pencils and still have one in my old school pencil case along with the usual collection of rubber 6” ruler etc, couldn’t part with it

  • Jackie says:

    Every time I see an email from ‘A Quarter of……’ it sparks the memory of Mint Cracknell!! Where did it go, when did they stop producing it and WHY! What about Opal Mints too….. You guessed it I love anything mint.

  • Ruth Carr says:

    I like to talk about my favourite subject – SWEETS, SWEETS and more SWEETS! The sweets that I yearn for, but cannot find anymore are: Empire Mixture and Needlers’ Sensations. Why did they ever discontinue those ranges! I remember the Empire Mixture from the 70’s and the Sensations when they first came out around 1981. Maybe other existing sweet companies could consider manufacturing them again? Just a bit of wishful thinking …..

  • Sonya says:

    Love the simple things!! Definitely agree with you. I love pencils but don’t remember the pencil sharpening gadget when I was young, just a cute little pencil sharpener in my pencil case… I still have a pencil case to this day & get teased to bits about it until my colleagues realise I actually have a tardis-esque pencil case with everything you could possible need… just like school days.

    I grew up in the 80s.
    A great memory from my childhood was the 10p mix on the way home from school on a Friday… you used to be able to fill that little paper bag, which felt so big in my little hands. I loved Friday afternoons, my mum would have baked a cake & some jam tarts for the weekend & the ‘pop man’ would have dropped off a bottle of dandelion & burdock and cream soda… Yum!!! Not that I have a sweet tooth or anything 🙂

    Happy days =)

  • Livimum says:

    Oh, waiting for your birthday to get a Timex watch. How grown up you felt. They came with a red or blue strap.

    Those calculator watches were another reason for needing a nicely sharpened pencil tip. The buttons were so small that it was the only really efficient way of doing a calculation.Each of the buttons eventually ended up with a grubby grey pencil mark.

    Then everyone went over to using their phones to tell time for a while. Now the watch is coming back but, the prices are extortionate, it is more about a status symbol piece of jewellery than an actual timepiece.

  • Carole Malla says:

    I still love the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, and as I do a lot of painting and drawing, I’ve also branched out to using coloured pencils and lately I have once again been enjoying that smell, only it doesn’t quite feel the same. Maybe it’s because I’m not in a classroom with 29 other kids wishing they were me….. sharpening pencils with the fancy sharpener that’s attached to the side of Teacher’s desk, with its big handle. As I turn the handle I watch the pencil shrink inside the sharpener as it’s devoured by this greedy, wood eating monster. Yep, you guessed it, I got told off for sharpening them to much! It was so addictive though, you just had to keep on turning that handle, or was that just me? Loving the old school memory all the same.

  • Gaynor says:

    Talking about sweets, in the late 50’s early 60’s, we used to enjoy the Caramac bar, I found some a couple of years ago, and boy, was it sweet, my goodness that made me feel sick. Did I really eat them and enjoy them.

  • josie says:

    oh! the memories as a child of the sixties born1955 I remember it so well. my favourite memory was a toy washing machine that really washed only a hanky but wow also remember our local toy shop (Sheridan’s) owner telling my mum that our family could break Tonka toys bit rude but there were 9 of us!. finally you can still get pop a point pencils local morrisons sell them £1.00 for a pack of 4 and yes I did buy them keep the memories coming love to read them

  • Malc says:

    My wife does a lot of drawing and has an electric pencil sharpener it is speedy. At school we had to turn a handle.

    We use to buy sweets with paper bags, you should do that.

  • Donna says:

    I used to love being able to go up to the teachers desk at the front of the class to use the manual pencil sharpener, the one where you used the handle to sharpen it!!anyone else remember these???

  • John Carruthers says:

    The old manual pencil sharpener, only used by the teacher when she was giving out class pencils for drawing with tracing paper!

  • Nichola says:

    Hey! I love this idea so people can comment 😊 and I’ve missed the emails too

  • CAROLE Leheup says:

    Love to get your meanderings,and I wondered if you make THE favourite of mine ,the pink (very piggy pink),spearmint bar. ??? It was,about 5/6inches long,and had a waffle like pattern. I remember whooshing through the fallen leaves in autumn,munching on this delectable item . Please say you have it.

  • Mark says:

    There was a chap at my school who smirked knowingly when the question of pencil sharpeners came up. He’d grin, state that “None of those stupid things really does a good job” and reach inside his jacket. Out came a lovely Opinel No. 10, razor sharp, and he would proceed to sharpen a 2HB to a precision hitherto unobtainable with a machine.

    I can’t carry it with me these days, for fear of getting arrested, but at home I can still sharpen pencils better than you can.

  • Tracey N says:

    I am addicted to purchasing eraser topped pencils from tourist attractions- its a major delight to find one with an eraser that actually works

  • SHERRY says:


  • Mike says:

    This got me reminiscing about my early school days in the late 50s. My junior school was in an old Victorian building with stoves in the middle of the classroom. When we were doing any kind of craft work we used pots of glue that had to be applied with a brush. However, the glue was pretty solid so we had to put them on top of the stove to soften. Health and safety hadn’t been heard of back then. Remarkably, no-one ever got burnt. Were we more intelligent back then, or do we just underestimate childrens’ ability today?

  • David Peters says:

    Oh i remember coming home from infant school, in the early 1960’s with my elder sisters stopping off in the local sweet shop and buying a three penny lucky bag, you had the best of both worlds sweets and a toy, or a plastic ring which i gave my girlfriend in

  • Alison says:

    One word…Spangles.

    What a wonderful blog, thank you 🙂

  • JonW says:

    Hello Michael,

    It’s good to see you back, to read your messages, and your blog idea is simply fab!

    You had me howling at:

    “special “do not rub out but smear the writing and end up ripping the paper” rubber”!

    That is exactly what they were! The paper rip was especially soul-destroying at 10pm-ish of a Sunday evening, just as you were secretly and frantically finishing off the homework you’d procrastinated over for most of the week and just in time to watch Clive James on Television, you’d have to re-write it from scratch and run the gauntlet of being caught, scolded by your parents for having left it so late and ‘punished’ by the inexorable rise of the dulcet tones of Margarita Pracatan from the TV downstairs – sans image.

    “Hhhelllooo, eez it mee you’re looooking forrrr….”

    I digress. My son would (and does) argue until he’s blue in the face that the original games consoles were / are not a patch on their modern counterparts. But I disagree.

    Everything about his PS4 and X-Box is infinitely better than my old Colecovision, with the processing power, graphical output, speed, versatility, controllers etc. of today’s consoles knocking spots off that rather ugly looking Coleco box (b.1982 d.1985 – aww bless its ickle 4MHz processor…) Everything is better. Well, not quite.

    Simple, bare fun. Hours and hours were lost to, among others, the bundled classic Donkey Kong, Ladybug (I’m chuckling as I type at the memory of a game that did to Pac-Man what Turkish market stalls do to Chanel, Gucci etc.), Smurf: Rescue in Gargamel’s Castle (that eery organ music and the hilarious fart-like sound when a life was lost!) and, especially, Mr Do!’s Castle (oh my days, I loved Mr Do!) – all without screaming and cursing blue murder, throwing controllers across the room or parting with substantially more cash than the initial cost of a game via endless in-game purchases. And also without so much as a game save much less a ‘cheat bot’, infinite ‘expansion packs’, myriad blogs on how to play/master them – nor, indeed, countless YouTube videos of others playing the games (a modern phenomenon that I find truly extraordinary).

    Yeah, the originals are the best. Oh, hang on, then there was the ZX Spectrum….

    Keep blogging, Michael, and long may you keep us in the sweets of our youth!

  • Rob says:

    I remember my grandad coming round with an LED watch that he’d swapped for something or other with a Russian sailor (he worked in a port as a storeman). It was made from some sort of rubbery purple plastic but wasn’t I the most popular kid at school showing that off to the Timex gang!

  • Andrew Robinson says:

    So now I’m feeling like I should be feeling my age, but I don’t.
    I remember well the pencil sharpeners in schools, although in my minds eye they were two tone blue not brown? I also recall one of our teachers having a power sharpener which, although quick, never gave me quite the same pleasure for some reason. It’s as though my right hand felt cheated out of a job!
    I had one of those original led watches, I think around ‘75, and one of the super Casio watches some years later. Though when I think back now, goodness knows how I managed to use the tiny keypad under the screen?
    Clive mentioned earlier the scratch and sniff cards you could get, I recall them from the late 60’s, although the only scent I remember was the bacon one. I also remember around the same time, although I can’t remember what they were called, these fizzy sherbet hard blocks you could buy. I think they just came in orange, lemon and pink (my favourite).
    I think the saddest time of my childhood was going decimal in ‘71. I was eleven at the time and wrote an essay, or rather a rant in the style on an essay, about how I would lose out on two bubble gums in every shilling (5p). Trying to equate this to the adults who would be losing twenty pence in the pound, and not understanding why this was acceptable.
    Well I’m touching sixty now and decimalisation has been with us for almost fifty years and I’m still not a fan. I also still use language like a couple of bob, although these days I do need to explain to most people what the heck I’m talking about.

  • Dan Dan the Sweet loving man says:

    Fizzy bottles in actual bottles, with a refundable deposit.
    Fresca – just the can makes me nostaligic.
    Mars bars only 7p.
    Can of coke, 11p (from the newsagent).
    Buying my mums Embassy Gold for 52p – oh wait, probably shouldn’t have been allowed to do that. 🙂
    Visiting an actual toy shop.
    Woolies. Woolies pick n mix.

    Oh dear… Nostalgia can be sad sometimes…..

    Sherbert fountains that actually worked – sometimes 😉
    SPANGLES in your Christmas stocking.
    Smelly school dinners – never did work out what that particular smell was, except on boiled cabbage day – that was always recognisable!
    Milk each day at school.
    Ahh, the good old days… 🙂

  • Irene says:

    Hi Michael,
    I remember all the old 60’s things, as a child of course! My Mum used to buy a Mars bar on a Friday night (pay day) and share it between 4 of us, so it was chopped into pieces & me & my brother & sister & Mum all got some! I think that might be child abuse by today’s standards 🙂 Good idea to set up a forum, I hope it works out well.

  • Linda Phillips says:

    The calculator watches with all those scientific buttons on them that you had absolutely no clue what they meant and you had to hand them in to your maths teacher if there was a test or exam. Then of course we all got excited about the pens where you could choose to write in red, blue, green or black. We loved the simple things in life 😁

  • James says:

    I had a watch with digital hands on a standard clock face. It was an item I sent away for from Refreshers sweets,it had a strap which was striped in the colours of the sweets.

  • Andrew says:

    When I were a lad we’d no need for pencils, we couldn’t afford any paper. The only paper in our house were the Football Pink on a Saturday night. I remember getting a right belting from me Dad when he came home from the pub and staggered outside to the little brick shed. He stormed back in and bellowed who’s hunlg the tablecloth in the lavvy before I’ve read it! Hard Times

  • Dave says:

    I remember being blown away when I started primary school class 6 and the teach gave us Berol ink pens to use – remember those red pens with small caps that everyone chewed? Circa 1986…

  • Pauline Hunter says:

    Merry Christmas and a happy healthy 2020x

  • Doug M says:

    I remember going to Saturday morning pictures with 6d that was 3d for the pictures and 3d for the sweet shop next door.
    1d Tiger nuts, 1d barley sugar twist and 1d Spanish wood, you bring back such good memories.
    Thank you.

  • Bruce says:

    We had the handle-wound pencil sharpeners too and were always in trouble for just whizzing the pencils down to nothing! A couple of other ‘memorable smells’ from the classroom – the purple ink of the duplicator machine (pre-photocopiers) and that solid white glue in little tubs than smelled similar to marzipan. Both lovely smells but unobtainable now I imagine…

  • Linda Garrod says:

    Fantastic love reading and going back in time with you please keep it up

  • Hoshi says:

    Speaking of phones, I remember the days when if you wanted to speak to someone you either had to go to their house, write them a letter (with a newly sharpened pencil or pen whatever your choice!!) or play phone box relay – cos not everyone had a phone in their home. Now I email people who are sitting in the office next door.

    I also used to love my full set of newly sharpened Crayola coloured pencils sitting in their caddy.

  • Joy says:

    Happy Christmas Michael and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. Keep the emails and quizzes coming – they brighten up the dull days.

  • JEAN Foster says:

    I love simple cos it’s just like me!

  • Gill says:

    Yes Liz, The big tv at junior school…we would all be sat cross legged in the hall and the teacher would open the doors on the what looked like a cabinet thing on wheels revealing the tv screen and Picturebox would come on! Yay!!!

  • david cassin says:

    had one of the aluminium ones as the plastic ones were brutal.

  • Ms Kay Chambers says:

    I remember when dustmen where proper dustmen carrying the rubbish bins on their backs to empty them into the carts and collecting any bags and boxes left to be thrown, everything went in together. Now we have to suffer with 3 bins and separate everything, But when they empty the carts now it still all goes in the ground together.. Bring back the old days people were a lot happier then.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Talking of pencils and sharpners, you brought back memoties if thd big crnk handle, multi holed shapener teachers used to have clamped onto their desk, before the days of individual sharpners, which also quickly became ‘a must have’ accessory for your pencil case
    Being a female who uses ‘eye pencils and lip lining pencils and enjoys colouring books, I still enjoy the woody just sharpened smell.

    • Elizabeth says:

      Oops no edit option..so apologies for the typos folks
      The opening sentence should read: the multi-holed crank handle type sharpener…

  • AuntySocialite says:

    There’s a film you might really like, Michael, all about the move to return to simpler things: it’s called California Typewriter… & anything prefaced by the word ‘smart’ is a con, as these things only make us dumber! Love your sweeties btw @^_^@

  • Linda Robertshaw says:

    great idea Michael count me in.

  • Sally Watson says:

    We only had one sharpener with a handle too,
    I remember deliberately making my pencil blunt just so that I could use it!!

  • Matt Smith says:

    My children and wife roll there eyes yet again as I reminisce about another part of my childhood.
    I cannot remember what we watched on Saturday night or who won another bake off.
    I have no problem remembering the disappointment of not having a matching he man lunch box and flask (the cool ones that came as one unit) I had the Dairyland icecream tub or the leftovers from mum’s Tupperware party.
    I also remember the thrill of destroying a pencil in the school sharper,it was cool to have the smallest one you could hold.
    At the time I have to say the obsession of collecting an assortment of scented eraser’s was more common

  • Margaret Carter says:

    When I was a child whenever I had any money would always buy the same sweets. So I would buy nothin else but Salted peanut toffees. Then I had a phase of Choc sticks and then it was nestles triple bar. After that for a long long time it was Mars bars which I still loved today. My last favourites were a box of black magic

  • Frankie says:

    When I was younger I always remember by dad loving the Turkish Delight in particular the “one with the purple paper” as I would say ( Fry’s ) and this is where my love for it came from. Not many people share my love if it but I stick by my taste buds lol xx

  • Nults says:

    Pencils with rubbers on the end…..ah yes. I used to chew the ends of my pencils to a nub all the time. One day I swallowed the damn rubber, I was scared to death in case I died. It never came out the other end so I suppose the thing is still in there somewhere, after 60 years! Oh well it gives a whole new meaning to Kleenex(it)….. love your rants, keep it up.

  • Bebe says:

    Lovely to read this .
    I am very much part of modern life , with my iPhone, iMac, iPad, Nintendo switch , smart TV , Instagram , Twitter, Spotify, Apple TV and Apple Pay. Please note no mention of FB – I hate it too . Stalkers Playground !!!
    But show me blunt pencils and I return to being a 10 year old child sharpening away . I can not stand the sight of a blunt pencil !!!!
    I am 58 years old and last year treated my self to an electronic desktop in Aqua . What a disappointment, I have returned to the manual method. Ha Ha

  • Martin says:

    Oh what joy, at last someone who thinks and feels just as I do !
    Who has the same disregard for F’book and all the other silly-CON
    valley wannabee world dominators.
    Someone who appreciates not very smart phones that don’t try and outsmart you.
    Oh the simple life. Whatever happened to all that spare time these technological wonders were going to save us? We spend it all serving these monsters that are consuming and controlling our lives!
    What was with batting a ball across your tv screen in black and white – remember that?
    Can anyone remember before the Atari’s and Commodores ‘computers’ that looked rather like the old style cash registers, with keys – had a green digital display about the size of a matchbox and about 1Mb (yes 1Mb) of RAM??
    I’m waffling now, must be time for my Horlicks

  • Julie says:

    I remember in the late 60s going to the paper shop with my dad and sister with my 3p pocket money (in pre decimilisation money) and getting a massive bag of sweets. I usually got fruit salads and those hard boiled sweets that looked like sliced rock but had a flower in the middle of them.

  • Paul says:

    Recently found you. First order was amazing. A pleasant and happy throwback during these trying times. Onto my second order now. Can’t wait for those bonbons. Great product. Great service.

  • Mark Linnell says:

    I Remember being the ink monitor going round filling the pens up.Getting a syringe to fill the cartridges up.Also was the milk monitor taking those little half pint bottles round and drinking what was left , also you could but rich tea biscuits.

  • Rachael Howard says:

    I still have a pop a point somewhere. Buried I expect. My writing is always neater with a pencil. I love the smell of crayons.
    Remember learning the slide rule just as people shifted to calculators. Also logarithmic tables. Think I have a book of those about somewhere.
    Does anyone remember buying sweets in cones of paper? Plus the hardware store would make penny icelollies from squash in the summer.

  • Julie says:

    Brings back lots of memories this blog
    The big green metal pencil sharpener on the teachers desk, high light of the day to get their first to sharpen your pencil.
    My dad then had one in his shed, the smell of that shed brings back memories when I was a teenager. That pencil sharpener I now have and my children used it when they were small.

  • Pauline Strauss says:

    Afraid this is a remonstration. The recepient of my purchase will not receive package until tomorrow. You have given me a procrastination latch. At 89, my days are shorter than most, as I indulge in catnaps to fire up energy levels. As well as cooking for the other four people in the house, I HAVE THINGS TO DO!
    As a child of the 30’s I remember being able to buy an aniseed ball for a farthing – a 960th part of a penny! These were quite large and many coloured, so of course we showed off our different coloured tongues as they appeared. Sweets were kept in the house for ‘after breakfast’ if we were good. Two a day, were the ration.

  • Shirley Pickup says:

    Hello Michael thank you for sending me your link to add to your group of followers of nostalgia.
    Born in the early 50’s money was tight (as a small child I was not really aware of this! ) However looking back we didn’t have pocket money – so we used to collect pop bottles & take them back to the shops and at that time you got the deposit back on the empties. May be the odd penny. 1d.
    So my treat was to go to the corner shop and buy my favourite sweets. They we called Duck, peas and potatoes.
    The duck was like a wine gum, the peas were like the taste of dolly mixtures and the potatoes were about the size of a mini egg.
    Does anyone remember these?
    However I only ever had enough money for 2 ounces.
    Never managed a quarter of!
    I have just received my first order from a quarter of – a large box of wine gums. Is this just greed? I think its making up for the sweets I didn’t have…

  • Kim says:

    Myself and a friend first used your company over 10 years ago and many times after that but sadly not lately, so out of interest the other day I googled you and to my delight you are still trading, so of cours I put an order in, its for my son who lives 200 miles away, some of his child hood favourites (he’s 30 now), just to make him smile in these difficult times 🙂

  • Katy Hibbert says:

    Talking of wooden pencils, much better than the pop-a-point ones, I remember the little trolls/animals you could get to sit atop your pencil.

    I also remember coveting a see-through colured plastic pencil case shaped like a large pencil with a wood-coloured pointy end that served as a lid. So much better than the average pencil case.

  • Margaret says:

    Thank you for a ‘non-Facebook’, Facebook-type site. At least this one feels ‘real’. It’s been a treat reading through all these superb memories, which have brought back so many similar ones of mine. Like others, I regularly use wooden pencils. I’m into family research, & find pencils a ‘must’. Those ‘retractable’ pencils, a new word for what, in my school days, was known as ‘propelling pencils’, just isn’t the same to use. I have a couple of them but find the leads break too easily, & from what I’ve read, I now know it’s not just me, thank you. Does anyone else have problems getting these to work after putting in new leads?

  • Sue says:

    As I sit here eating the winter mixture I’ve just ordered bringing back memories of my Nan – she loved winter mixture . Memories of sharpening my pencil with the hand driven pencil sharpener on teachers desk ( right to the last bit- heaven forbid you wasted any), the frozen milk in winter , luke warm in summer and the joy of sitting at my Nans feet on a Sunday night after my weekly bath having my hair brushed with a nit comb. Happy days 😉

  • Christine says:

    Does anyone remember the excitement of the first automatic washer in the household? Oh my the entertainment value of watching that drum turn.

  • Andrew says:

    Filling up ink wells on each desk and any spilled blotting paper was always on hand

  • Debby says:

    My memory of walking home from school and popping in the corner shop and spending my pennies saved from my pocket money on penny sweets .Oh the time it took to decide wether the mojos or the sherbet dips or red liquorice! Oh those innocent days of building dens over the fields and picking blackberries to take home for mom to make her lovely pies .

  • Helen says:

    I agree with the comments about childhood and school especially the one about a new pencil case at the start of a new term.
    I also used to love the smell of new plimpsoles and the smell of a new school (which I agree seems a bit odd) MY SCHOOL BURNT DOWN WHEN I WAS 10 YEARS OLD and had to go to a temporary one for a while whilst my old/new school was being rebuilt.
    Funnily enough their was only a quarter of it left standing.

  • Magt says:

    I can go further back than that. How about slide rules long before calculators Or sweets on ration

  • James Myatt says:

    Can anybody remember liquorice root . It was in the late 40,s early 50,s sweets and most other things were on ration chewing this root tasted of liquorice and was a substitute for sweets

  • Brian says:

    I can remember after the war in 1945 we could only get Iiquorice wood till rashioning was over the we were able to get proper black liquorice sweets which I can now get them from A QUARTER OF
    When ever I want.

  • Maria Coats says:

    I agree with you… and what about those curly wood shavings off the pencil….? Interesting looking shapes..

  • Maria says:

    I agree with you too. How about the curly wooden shavings pencil sharpening produced. Did anyone ever do anything with those? I used to stick them on to a piece of paper to make a collage… long since gone, this was in the 50ies!!!

  • Derek says:

    You had pencils at school, I had chalk !!!

  • Oleg says:

    Обязательно что-нибудь напишу из своих воспоминаний.

  • Liz drew says:

    One of my fondest memories of the 70’s was that white thick glue we used in primary school that smelt like marzipan! Used to wish it was edible!

  • Lisa says:

    Omg loved a good pop a point pencil, coloured ones too, scented pencils and rubbers ( even had a collection) love reminiscing with this blog and my older sister. Remembering sweets, drinks, crisps, snacks and cereal from the 1970 s when we were kids…bliss. Thank you SO much Mr Parker!

  • Sue says:

    I’m not a technophobe. Far from it, I spent the last 25 years of my working life, working as a computer techie. However, I’m a firm believer in having useful tools for specific jobs, and not having one, invasive, intrusive, phone that does it all. To that end, I have dumped my SmartPhone and got myself a Nokia that makes phone calls and sends texts and………..that’s all. When I’m travelling, I prefer good old-fashioned maps and never use our satnav. I have a beautiful digital camera that would never dream of attempting to make a phone call and I’m happy this way. My phone is mostly turned off, except when I want to use it, and I’m no longer at everybody else’s beck and call. I’m all for a simple, untraceable life

  • Martin says:

    I remember the first electronic calculator my farther worked in The Netherlands (Holland) and spent my school Holidays visiting him. He was friendly with the boss of Dixon’s (Curries) Europe. And I was given one of the first pocket calculators sold by them as a gift. Back at school it was a wonder, every one wanted a go. The down side was battery life could be measured I a few minutes of use. still got it so we’re in the loft.

  • Varsha says:

    I still play the petrol pump game and let’s just say I should know better 😉 but am glad I’m not the only one.

  • Lumpy says:


    Honestly motor mouth.

    By the way McCewans toffee was highland toffee if I remember a white bar with a black cow and red and white writing?

  • Sinead Gibson says:

    Grew up in late 80s 90s, outside playing all the time. Summers lasted forever, we had a group of 12 kids lived in the neighbourhood. Up early, grabbed breakfast which was probably just cereal lol whilst watching the morning cartoons,out the door, onto my bike or roller boots or scooter and away to physically call for my friends.
    Not checking they were online. Mum and dad didn’t see us until we were hungry, got dinner out again, playing games using imagination not phones, all day until it got dark. We didn’t cause anyone any harm because we knew our lives wouldn’t be worth living and be grounded and not see our friends. We were knackered by the time we got in, probably 10pm because our folks knew we’d be in the area and if something was wrong one of our friends would surely make the bike trip to raise the alarm. We thought we were the Goonies. Bath time and to bed, to wake up and do it all over again the next day. We ate sweets but burnt off that many calories running about lol. Any wonder the summers lasted for ages with days like that 😂…. Then more technology which I do Iike and couldn’t work from home during this pandemic if we didn’t have it, but I would love to jump into the delorean and hoof it back to 1989 for a while 💖💖

  • Julie says:

    I was born in the mid 50’s and my father and mother owned a newsagents and sweet shop. I was 4 when I was given my first newspaper to deliver in the town I lived. I delivered papers 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year ( even with a broken leg ). One of my best memories about sweets when I was growing up was whenever I got any money I would go up the road to another sweet shop to spend my money. I loved the selection they had and I could always get my favourite ones, we sold more chocolate than other sweets and as I wasn’t a chocolate fan I spent my money elsewhere. I loved the treacle toffee lollies and the foam bananas and shrimps, black jacks and fruit salad. A friend has now introduced me to Jesmona Black bullets and in a month I have now eaten 750g and asked my daughter to get me some for Christmas. So many memories from those days and so little time at my age ☺️

  • Shane woolridge says:

    Hi I am a first timer on here, but I want to thank Michael for enabling me to buy ‘Spanish Gold’ after a fifty year hiatus, I was beginning to think I had invented it in my mind.
    Brilliant, Thank you.
    Shane Woolridge.

  • Maureen Gaunt says:

    Takes you back with a look, a small and of course a taste what am I talking about well sweets of course all of you out there have the sugarist xmas ever xx🎄🍡💖

  • Laughing Anne says:

    Well, first time I’ve ever seen this blog and I have to ask – Michael, do you have a significant other😉😂??!!! Don’t think anyone has made me laugh so much for years! (Ps it’s a compliment!)

  • Leo says:

    My most poignant memory of what is now nostalgia confectionary,
    Aged 12, joking to my friend Peter that my Sherbet fountain looked like the other white powder that bad adults in American films enjoyed, before unceremoniously emptying half the packet into my hand and hoofing it like Tony Montana.

    Safe to say granules of citric acid-infused sugar and bicarbonate of soda in the sinuses is agony, and persuaded me away from further experimenting with white powders until I was in my late 20s.

  • Alan says:

    When I was at school in the 1950’s we used to buy a packet of cards, which had grotesque characters with a funny caption like (Your teeth are like stars they come out at night.) (You should be on the stage—- sweeping
    it.) I think they came with a tiny piece of chewing gum anyone remember the name of the pack.

  • Ade kolacube says:

    Great post, speaking of watches I remember a craze of watches coming out which where also TVremotes, memories of me and me mates outside dixons changing the channels! anyone remember them?

  • Stephane Jones says:

    I have recently been pointed in the direction of your website and made my first purchase and received two emails from you, the last one mentioning this blog. I too agree with you, and don’t trust F*&!book, or any other social network. Call me old fashioned, but there is already too much out there about me, without me giving any more information.Scrolling through your sweets I came across what you call liquorice wood, but what we called in the 60s arrow root. I remember going to the local chemist during lunch time from school and being able to buy a single stick for 3d (yes 3 old pence) and this would last for days. It was a time of nostalgia scrolling through all your sweets and saying to my husband, “remember those, haven’t seen those in ages”. Well done.

  • Simon Bray says:

    wow it’s like going back in time, my saturday afternoon’s going to the paper shop to get my Qtr of sweets..thank you so much for bringing a bit of yesteryear back to me

  • Patricia says:

    Just received my bags of sweets today.
    Chocolate caramels formally know as
    Milk Maids .
    Just as delicious but I miss the picture of the swiss miss on the wrapper.
    A real treat going to the ABC cinema with my pa .he always bought me a quarter of these lovely sweets.

    • Stephenie says:

      My mother used to have Milk Maids when I was 6-10years old. I used to sometimes ask if I could have one & she’d reply ‘No, they a sweets that make you go to the toilet!’. 🤣 Years later living in Spain I found a wonderful chocolate ice-cream. I told my young grandchildren (6&8) you had to be over 10 to eat it or it gave you tummy ache! 😉 Of course when they got to 10 they realised Grandma was fibbing, just like my Mum was! 🤣🤣 Well sometimes things are too good to share😉😉.

  • Emma says:

    I do love a freshly sharpened pencil, but I love my smart phone and watch too. Maybe I’m a curious breed of old fashioned and new fandangled. Fashangled? You can’t bear a cola cube either, which is the reason I’m here.

  • […] pencils vs freshly sharpened traditional pencils – in my last post (you can see it here if you missed it) and one of the most popular comments was about the pencil sharpener that every […]

  • Jean says:

    When I was at school we had to use a fountain pen and used a bottle of ink, often messy

  • Char says:

    …here’s to many more ramblings in the future 😊

  • Trish Knott says:

    What a trip down memory lane and not a hint of covid how refreshing

  • Antonia Symes says:

    Super to have an old-fashioned sweet shop on line. Even if one does not buy anything it is wonderful to view all the childhood confectionary which indeed brings back memories and GREAT that you do Vegetarian/Vegan sweets too most important to those who care. Thank you ‘A Quarter Of’

  • Jan McMahon says:

    Does anyone remember tiger nuts & liquorice wood from way back in the 50’s?
    2 of my 3 younger brothers & I would buy these on our way to Saturday morning “pictures ” at the Forum in Newbury. 6d downstairs & 9p upstairs, halcion days !!

  • Janet says:

    Omg. I can totally relate to all of that, and bouncing on my space hopper eating a “Texan Bar,” please bring Texans back.
    Sometimes oldies are the best.

  • Janet says:

    I have just placed my first order and I’m as excited as a kid in a sweet shop (groan ….)

    I miss everything from the old days and frequently moan like Victor Meldrew. I’ve just turned 50 and I’m the youngest of 11.

    I love my smartphone and really know how to use unlike many of my contemporaries. But I detest FB and all social media. It’s so vacuous and the lack of grammar and spelling really gets my goat.

    I refuse to respond to a text if it has shortcuts, new lingo and poor grammar 🙂

    Yes I am a pedant with a wicked sense of humour.

    I had to giggle the other day as my sister sang “Trebor mints are a mighty bit stronger” and asked me to sing the next line. Suffice to say I remember the rather naughty alternative version.

  • Jackie says:

    To I received my first box of sweets from yourselves so many memories when I was young in the 1940s to 1950s we used to get sweets by a ration book and sometimes people donating there unused ration coupons so we had extra sweets , in my young days there were as many sweet shops as there are chicken shops now ,
    Reminiscing with my sweets thanks for the memories

  • Aggie says:

    Enjoyed reading through someone else’s nostalgia!

    I absolutely love your website and range of sweets 😍. Always have to exercise caution and delete half of order and reorder separately, hilarious 😆. Takes me back to childhood and brings enormous comfort selecting and eating them!

    Back to your narration, the mechanical pencils were great but preferred the ordinary pencils and would sharpen these unnecessarily just for the sharp point, woody scent and wooden coils it made. Something to do with a carpenter’s daughter maybe 😃

    Moreover, I knew the mechanical pencils as pop-a-points. A schoolfriend would tease me calling my big eyes pop-a-point but couldn’t see the connection. She also had big eyes 🤪

    Not a FB fan and rarely check account so liked this alternative 👍

  • Janet N says:

    What a waste of my time reading these posts.
    Don’t understand what on earth you are on about.!!!
    Count me out.

  • Chris says:

    Hello, so glad I found your shop ready recently. I called first for some help (I’m not very technical) and the lady was very helpful. I placed my order on Wednesday afternoon and all the goodies for my daughters wedding arrived today!
    On top of that I now have this incredible blast from the past Blog and many more to look forward too. Thanks Michael

  • Jason clemit says:

    What a fabulous buisness you have made.
    I enjoy treating myself to lots of goodies from your online shop some have which have been delivered today.
    Keep supplying all us sweet fans.

  • Liz Satterley says:

    Yes, the simple things are always the best. I try to tell my Grandsons!…… I picked one of them up from school the other day(he’s almost 9) it was a hot day, and I know he’s always hungry when he gets out of school, so I told him there was a bag of crisps and a can of pop in the bag….. he said “what’s pop?”…….. Later on we were discussing dreams, I told him that my favourite dream as a child was about getting locked in the sweet shop round the corner from our house in Handsworth, Birmingham…… its a shame that sweet shops aren’t the same magical places anymore.

  • Valerie Jones says:

    I distrust the Book too, and as far as sentimental sweet journeys, can’t beat what you offer.
    I sent sweet packages to my sisters and kids during lockdown, to let them know 1) I am still here, and 2) still thinking of them and 3) I get good ideas!

    One of my sisters is currently undergoing chemotherapy, and as she said all boiled sweets are good in the battle against nausea, there’s a selection on the way to her now.
    She liked licqorice as a kid, and we all do now!

  • Anne says:

    I’ve just taken delivery of my first lot of sweets and very yummy they are too. Thankyou
    My earliest memory of sweets is getting a thrupenybit for my pocket money and spending it all on black Jack’s and fruit salads, so 8 x 3 = 24. What a huge bounty!
    Of course hadda order those, so did and scoffed so many felt sick…. Same as I did back then. Happy daze.

  • Imi says:

    We had a fantastic tiny sweet shop at the top of Fairfax Avenue in Hull in the 60s and 70s. In fact, all the shops around the nearby roundabout with Cottingham Road, Hall Road etc. were great, with just about everything catered for. The sweet shop was called The Casket – it isn’t there any more. We lived on Hall Road. My sister and I were each given 2 and 6 a week in pocket money. We would save the sixpences in our money boxes – and spend the 2 shillings on sweets! It was just like heaven in that shop, as I’m sure all readers can imagine. The door had a bell, and the sweet smell that hit you as you walked in was marvellous. And the only customers were other kids! Michael, your collection in A Quarter Of is very reminiscent of those days and really takes me back. And what a great name!! I shall be shopping again soon!

  • John Broster says:

    My children bought me a smart watch, it does lots of amazing unnecessary readings ( won’t bore you with details), only problem you can’t read it in outside unless it’s overcast. So as I spend a lot of my day outside, I started to wear my old faithful watch given to me by a grateful customer in 1984 !!! on one arm and the smart watch the other arm just to keep the kids happy!!. Do you remember when if your TV didn’t work you got it repaired! Finally as a child of the 60,s I remember when there was 1 car in our street and everybody went to work on a bicycle, motorcycle or bus.

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