Category Archives: good old days

She’s a modern girl…no chance!

Alright, I know I’m getting on a bit (got on a bit, some would say), but when I started work, and opened a bank account of my own, things were very different to now. So fine, even way back then, my wages were paid directly into the bank (I think my first wage was about £13 per week, back in ’74), but if you wanted to draw cash out, it was much harder than now!

No, we had none of these automated cash machines that there are probably literally millions of now, we had to go into the bank, queue up at the counter, and request to draw out the desired amount. And the only way you paid bills, was by cheque! Oh, and the only way to find out the balance on your account was to get your account book made up, or by asking at the counter.

I know, I know…And please, I dont even want to think about the laborious process that banking must have been back in the very old days, when presumably it was all handwritten? My first job, all records were kept in handwritten ledgers, and it was only when I went to work at P&O head office, in London, that I first had to work with computers. Oh, and believe me, compared to what we have now, they wouldnt even qualify as basic! As for the size of the computer room, to run this very basic system, huge, to say the least!

Given that when I started at William Hill, in 1983, we were paid in cash, I dont even really know when cash machines really kicked in, to be honest, because at that point, I was simply hanging on to the cash I needed, and depositing the rest! And we were still doing that, when I left in 1999, though at some point since then, everyone now gets paid directly into the bank.

But yes, nowadays, cheque books have pretty much (if not totally) disappeared entirely, and replaced by the debit card. Unless you want a very large sum, you never go to the counter in the bank to withdraw money, you use the cash machines!

We have internet banking, and I can check my balance, whenever I like, just by clicking a few buttons on my laptop (with security checks of course). Hey, when I decided to save money in an ISA savings account, I did that entirely online!

But as you may recall, I only have a card account with the bank, due to credit issues a long time ago, which would only get more complex now, with the name change, the gender change, and everything else! So when I have to pay large amounts, as for my holidays, in the past I have faithfully drawn my daily limit on the card, until I have enough, then give it someone, then use their card to pay for it. But today, given I had an extra large amount to pay, given I had 2 holidays to pay for, I used a new method. Yes, I logged into my account, set up a payment, and after an automated call from the bank, and confirming a code, the money was sent to him in less than an hour!

Oh, and because I’m blonde, and have bimbo moments, I forgot to take off my £50 voucher from Expedia when I paid him. So he sent that back to me, and less than an hour after he did so, it was back in my account! Wow!

No, I cant imagine that film stars like Harlow ever queued up in a bank to withdraw $50, or whatever, but equally I cant imagine that movie stars got paid in cash somehow.

So yes, I might now be a modern girl, using modern banking methods, but at heart, I’m still that 30’s girl…I think!

The video, not quite as old as my first job, but well over 30 years old, all the same. She might have been modern then, but my, doesnt it look dated now?

Modern town centres, for richer, for poorer?

When I was young, and yes, that is a long time ago, town centres were anything but uniform. In fact the main high streets through the 3 parts of the Medway Towns that I knew well, were full of delightful independent stores, only occasionally interspersed by the odd national name, like Boots, and Woolworths. Indeed, as a record buying teenager, the real delights were the independent record shops in Strood, and Chatham, where it was always possible to get records outside of the top 30, and would also carry a good back catalogue of both albums, and more importantly singles, still available to buy.

You also had butchers, greengrocers, hairdressers and the like, which were not national chains, mainly no more than 2 or 3 shops maximum. It was fun shopping, because no 2 towns, or cities weren’t identical shopping centres. Therefore a visit to a new town, would introduce you to new delights, but…

I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but it did. National brands jumped into towns, firstly through supermarkets, and gradually most of the small food stores got pushed out, because these mass buyers could get discounts that smaller shops couldnt dream about. Music megastores opened, and pushed out the people who really cared about music, not just the profits they could make. As for clothing…! Slowly but surely, town centres became more and more alike, until, well, you cant really tell them apart!

Nowadays, it seems that completely controlling the high streets is not enough for many brands, they have to have ‘shopping centres’ everywhere in town too. In many cases, major names will have a branch in town, and in the shopping centre in the larger cities, just in case one person might pass them by! In smaller towns, its why so many high streets are filled with betting offices, charity shops, pound shops, and pawnbroker/cash loan places, everything else is in the shopping centre!

Thankfully, some smaller towns and cities have tried to resist this event, though in the end, they all seem to be got, to some degree or other. But in the end…the great serpent of ‘shopping heaven’ seems to win through.

Lets take Wakefield as an example, where I went this afternoon. The heart of the town isnt entirely gone, though a big gash through the heart seems to be on its way. A few years ago, a little shopping centre, called ‘The Ridings’ opened up in town. Its a mix of national names (Primark, WH Smith, and the like), and little local shops, so fits in quite well.

Unfortunately, the big developers saw this, and started to build ‘Trinity Walk’. To say its soulless, and full of national brands would be putting it mildly! Fine, its avoidable, and on the whole, I did, and focussed on the little shops, the charity shops, and the wonderful market for my purchases.

The thing is, Trinity Walk decided in its wisdom that it needed to expand more, and put a cinema complex where the market currently is. So that will be gone within months, and no alternative site offered, its more opposition out of the way. Today, as I was heading on the home stretch to the bus station, I noticed one thing, a whole stretch of shops, just around the back from Trinity Walk had suddenly all emptied. Including unfortunately, my favourite charity shop for vintage stuff in town. A lot of these shops had signs up, with one message in common, the lease has ended, and they’ve had to move out, no offer of the chance of staying on. It doesnt really take a genius to work out who’s to blame, does it, seeing they own all the land leading up to that area, Trinity Walk!

Maybe they dont realise, if they shut down all the popular little shops, they may kill off the opposition to them, but, far less people will come to town, if their favourite stores are no longer there! I know, as an option, Wakefield drops down the list for me after today, and I suspect I wont be the only one.

I know, I know, US cities are even worse, on the whole! Not only do they not have downtown shops, they are all parked out in ‘Malls’ miles from town, many of which are hard to reach, if like me, you dont drive! So, I’m not saying they’re any better, just…

And then you hear news reports that retailers are ‘concerned’ because people arent going on to ‘High Street’s’ buying things! Its such a soulless experience, its hardly surprising!

Right, rant over. The video, the song sums up for me the attitude of the big shopping centres, to the rest of the town shopping. Please, special plea, wherever possible, support the smaller shops, and avoid the greedy cartels, thanks

Derby Day!

Until 1995, the Derby was always ran on a Wednesday, and was a special occasion midweek in June. Then someone in their wisdom decided it should be run on a Saturday, when in theory, more people would have the opportunity to see it. Though the idea might have been good, in practice, it hasnt worked.

Why, probably because before, it was an event away from the ordinary working day for many people, now its more just another sporting event on a Saturday, and has therefore become less important, just the opposite of what was aimed for. When ran on a Wednesday back then, it was the main meeting of the day, probably only one other meeting in the afternoon as a sideshow. Tomorrow afternoon there are 6 meetings in all, just one of which is Epsom’s big day. Therefore airtime, will be more limited, and shops will only flick to the pictures mere moments before the horses enter the stalls, probably shortly after one of those dreadful virtual races, now part of the wall to wall coverage in betting shops.

The BBC coverage will probably show a bit more of the build up, but will their hearts be in it? I doubt it, the BBC are giving up on racing coverage after this year, and its been pretty feeble for many years in all honesty. And given that this year we have a highly touted, short priced favourite in a small field, its hardly going to appeal to the small punter, is it?

The ‘classic’ today wasnt a lot better, yes we had 12 runners, and a reasonable betting market, but one trainer had 5 of the horses in the race. As it was, his main horse didnt win it, but one of the others did all the same. Great for him, and his connections, but for everyone else, it probably lacked something.

I used to get excited about the Derby, for me it was the 2nd biggest race of the year, after the Grand National, but in recent times, I havent got excited by it at all. Camelot, the hot favourite may well win tomorrow, but can I start to get excited by it, no I cant. The likelihood is I’ll probably get a call from a shop during the race, asking something inane, that they could have waited 2 minutes to ask. But will I really regret missing it, probably not!

No, like many things, you cant bring back the good old days, but I think the Derby’s greatness has been damaged by the Saturday switch. Maybe more will watch (though how many non racing fans, who would watch it any Saturday will do so?), but many used to stop on a Wednesday afternoon to watch, or listen to the race for 3 minutes who probably wont now.

Maybe I’m just a ‘grumpy old woman’ lol?

Right, the video, very tenuous connections here to the favourite, which hopefully someone will get at least, even if it means using Google lol!

Different lifestyle

Its funny, both blogs today relate to a roughly similar theme, get the same video, but in case anyone does know the secret of both (and there are at least 3 who do), they arent identical other than that.

Me, I’m in my fifties, so I remember what life was like back in the 70’s and 80’s, and even the 60’s through the eyes of a child. So I remember a time pre mobile phones, let alone the early clunky ones that weighed a ton. Hey, I remember when there were only 3 TV channels in the UK, not 300 or more! In fact, I just about remember when it was just 2, but only very vaguely. But go back another generation or 2, and by modern standards, things get very basic! The fact that by the standards of their time, they had modern gadgets too, but…hey, go back to the 50’s, and smoking cigarettes was trendy, unlike today!

What got me thinking this way was actually a story for my writing contest under my other persona, which included a reality TV programme. Cant stand that sort of TV, but the story was fun. But anyway…What I was thinking was that these Big Brother contestants think they suffer for their 15 minutes of fame. Hey, I only wish they suffered more, but besides that…Can you imagine how they would cope with a 70’s, or 80’s lifestyle while in ‘The House’, instead of the modern one they get. Take it back to the 20’s or 30’s, I hope you’re roaring with laughter at the thought as much as I am!

Seeing them find out what life was like back then, hey, even I might watch some of Big Brother to see that! So, to those awful people who produce Reality TV, try thinking outside the box for once. As for those awful singers on X-Factor and the like, if they really had to sing, without technological assistance, hmm…?

Its funny, looking the opposite way to wonder what life will be like 40, 50, or 80 years from now, a whole different world quite literally I suspect? I will be too old (or dead, quite likely) to worry about it, but suspect some of my readers might. Anyway, as a thought about this, and to pay reverence to my whole Brooksie thing, just think, this was a highly radical step in the 20’s!

Apologies for the film titles, but its worth it for all the expressions Julie Andrews provides, I think?

The modern age

Its funny looking back now at a certain iconic Buggles song, and thinking that its now been totally superceded by time. I wonder what they would call it now, given that video recorders have gone from most homes?

Blu-Ray killed the video star, anyone? No, I dont think so either lol!

Yes, this was bought on by a discussion elsewhere about record players, and realising just how things have changed. Hey, when I was a small child, record players had an option for 78’s, and how long have they been gone? Alright, I only ever remember seeing 2 of that type of record when I was young, and both of those were from the 50’s. There was also an option for 16 rpm back then, though I never saw anything that played at that speed in all honesty. But yes, you young folk, we had little discs of vinyl that played at 45 rpm by the hundreds!

Television, 2 channels only, both in black and white! Oh goodness, I feel old. So alright, I’ll be 54 in under 3 weeks, but lets not say too much about that.

The incredible thing, I saw men walking on the moon live, more than many people today have done, or are likely to do in the near future. One of the few things we seem to have almost gone backwards on, in all honesty.

People may have noticed it, my musical choices seem to end by the late 90’s, and yes, there is a good reason for that. We were discussing modern music at work between calls last week, and very little from this century was gaining much merit. I only came up with 2 songs, both covers from the 20th century in all honesty. (Killers/Romeo and Juliet, Cornershop/Waterloo Sunset) so that didnt help much lol! 60’s, 70’s and 80’s really are my era, as these choices show.

Dont think I qualify as ‘Grumpy Old Woman’ just yet, but I’m probably getting there, lol!

The music, no, it isnt Buggles, but thar is well worth finding if you want to. This is an act I’ve featured before, its Gary Simmons, and Kirsty Marr covering it. Hey, you two, if you see this, we need more new videos, pretty please

Changes in sports

A while back I did a piece about how cricket has changed over the years since I was a child, and tonight, while typing this, another sport is on TV thats trying to change its style, just a matter of whether this is a good, or a bad thing? Yes, the Brits at least will know I’m talking about snooker.

According to Wikipedia, snooker came to TV in 1969, in the form of Pot Black on the BBC. This was the first days of colour TV, and of course snooker was something that only really worked in colour, so suddenly it came to people’s attention. Whether I watched it at the start, I cant remember, but somewhere in the early days it was switched on at home, even if I was then watching it only in black and white! These were all 1 frame matches, in a 30 minute programme, once a week. Though again according to Wiki, they were all recorded in one go, not one match a week, as an innocent child assumed.

Snooker is one of those sports I’ve sort of followed over the years, the high point probably being that Davis v Taylor world chapionship final in the mid 80’s. What a difference, that was live, and the last frame lasted nearly an hour! Since then the fortunes of snooker has risen and fallen, and is possibly now on the rise again? Possibly due to the bout of gimmicks bought into the game, possibly not?

So, Premier League snooker, is it good or bad? My view, not sure. The fact that people can go to one night of snooker, see 3 matches, and get a ‘winner’ to the night is possibly a good thing, though as the winner thing still only counts towards a league, thats a matter of judgement. Ironically I like the idea of the shot clock, it speeds up the game, and some players (principally Ebdon) take far too long over basic shots, let alone tricky ones. Snag is, there are times you see awful shots played, because of said clock.

Generally I think whats happened in cricket has been good, even if I’m still not a 100% fan of the 20 over stuff, but coloured clothing I do like. Snooker I’m more old fashioned over, I havent really being grabbed by all the trendification here, but that might be my age?

I wonder if in time other sports will need to change, soccer tends to be popular in many countries, though you wonder in the future, as attention spans shrink, if people will really stay excited about the umpteenth 0-0 draw of the season? Rugby league has seen this change, I remember when a team scoring points totals in the teens would not only win, but often win easily. Nowadays more than 50 points in a game is the norm, not the exception! Darts is another sport where however much you admire the skills of the players, variety of targets (most of a leg at least) is pretty limited.

What other sports could try something new? Athletes running the ‘wrong way’ round the track might prove interesting I guess? A one day golf tournament maybe?

Just food for thought really. Any views?

Everything changes

And no, I dont mean what the looters have been stealing in the last few days over here lol! Thats the end of my comments on that, my only political stances on here will relate to transgender issues, as before.

No, what I was actually thinking of was a subject I’ve covered less of late, cricket. When I was a young child (keep wanting to write girl, but technically I wasnt back then!) the only cricket shown on TV was grainy black and white pictures of test matches on the BBC from England only, and a 60 over competition (then very new) called the Gillette Cup (1 match in each of the later rounds). It went through a few sponsors before dying off (having been reduced to 55, then 50 overs) a few years back. Coverage of the County Championship was confined to the daily newspapers unless you actually went to the ground. Ireland had to settle for the odd game against tourists, a game against Scotland (3 days I think?) and the odd other token match as well. Not that I knew much about them back then, like so many, 2007 was what really opened my eyes to them in all honesty.

Once BBC2 started up, on a Siunday afternoon there would be a game where a county would take on a team called the International Cavaliers of 40 overs per side, and that would be shown too. After that proved a success, the forerunner to todays 40 over league started up with all 17 (no Durham back then) teams in one league, just played on a league basis.

The funny thing is, that in those early days, 180 would have been regarded as a decent score in 40 overs, nowadays its the same in 20! Fielding restrictions have played some part in that, but even so…  Not all things have improved though, in those days 2 hours and 10 minutes was the allowed time for bowling 40 overs, now its 2 hours and 40! And as for coloured shirts and the like…lol!

I cant say I’m a great fan of this 20 over stuff, but yes, I have been watching it the last few days, despite that comment. I dont dislike it per se, but prefer the 40/50 over stuff myself, just find that the right balance of length.

Totally different thing, but still a matter of change. Back then, the telecommunication devices used on Star Trek were thought of as something for the far distant future, nowadays they would be exceedingly basic if compared to current mobile phones. Ironic isnt it? Shame no one has come up with a transporter device yet though!

Good old fashioned music

The thing is, thats what I like! Have in fact heard very little recent stuff, hardly anything since the turn of the century, though I’ve caught up with The Killers version of Romeo And Juliet (Dire Straits song, for any young ones reading this), and liked it. But in all honesty, anything much after Angels by Robbie Williams really hasnt caught my radar lol!

The 60’s music was fun, though I got more into the flower power stuff, than I ever did the Beatles. You could also say I enjoyed all of Tony Burrow’s groups, some will get that little joke, well I hope they do. If not, wiki the name, and see just how many groups he sang lead vocals for! But my tastes have always been varied, back then it was anything from The Kinks to The Seekers!

I guess the 70’s was my main era though, as I approached, then hit teen years, just in time for glam rock! Men dressing up, and wearing make up, shocking stuff lol! I guess Bowie, and Starman was my first real glimpse of that, but the likes of Sweet, Slade, Mud and co, kept me happy as well. But I still loved my good old fashioned pop, New Seekers, Middle Of The Road and the Carpenters being 3 main loves of that. And then Abba came along…Gerry Rafferty (RIP) was another big love of mine.

80’s saw me move into the synth stuff, and new romantics, so the likes of OMD, Ultravox, Adam and the Ants and Spandau Ballet sort of entered my collection too. The 90’s saw signs of Brit Pop, and in theory I must have been one of few who liked both Blur, and Oasis at times. But then I got old, passed 40, and my record buying ground to a halt. Well technically music buying by then, but you get my drift lol! Well there was a Geri Halliwell record or two, but lets not say too much there! 😉

So yes, the video choice, I’m not sure if many will know the song, it wasnt even a hit 40 years ago, but I love it all the same. Its a live version, and yes, it shows. Its good, but not perfect! Its the original New Seekers line up, so another RIP here for Peter Doyle, taken from us far too young.

Oh, and someone on the news tells me its 1 year today to the Olympics in London, whatever they are? Kidding, kidding!


Life in a northern town, words plus video link (I hope)

Though some might say my Yorkshire links are limited, as it was just the first 4 years of my life, and the last 6 (or so, and counting) that have actually been spent up here, but anyway…

Again, rather like the fact that I’m still very proud of my Irish ancestry, despite it now being over a century since my family came across, I’ve always been equally proud of my Yorkshire heritage, I guess its just something that goes hand in hand with both? Its funny, because no one believes me, because of the accent, but thats what being brought up in the south does for you lol!

The funniest thing though, is when I used to visit up here, the accent tended to develop in no time flat, but moving back up here, it didnt happen! Dont understand why, but just one of those crazy things in life I guess?

Ah, the video. Well its included for several reasons. Firstly those cobbles are real, I know them only too well from the main street of Haworth. These ones though are actually at Hebden Bridge (or were in 1983 at least), a town between where I was born, and where I am now in Huddersfield. I love this video not just for that, but adore the song too, it was something very different then, and probably would be, even today. Its possibly not the video most are used to seeing for this song, its the original, not the one used when the song became the massive hit it deserved to be.

Oh, the link…

If it doesnt work, I suspect many will work out the song, the categories might give it away anyway. Just be grateful you didnt get the Yetties, as Somerset was my home for many years lol!


I dont like football, oh no…

I hate it, oh yeah!

Why is it, that just because I work in a sports related industry (betting side), that everyone assumes I like football, or in case of any American readers here, soccer?

I do like some sports, cricket as might have already been noted is my main love, but horse racing, golf, snooker and one or two others can also attract my interest. But soccer, most definitely not!

I think at least part of this is the seeming attitude of the players, the vast majority of Premier League players over here (and lets face it, they are the ones who get press time) seem arrogant, greedy, and their only interest in ‘ordinary people’ is getting them through the gates, to pay their over inflated wages!

And yes, it is principally the fuss over one greedy player at the moment who has brought this on, someone called Modric who wants to jump ship at Tottenham, simply because Chelsea are offering him huge sums of money just to kick a ball about. Just last year he signed a long term contract at Tottenham, when no one else wanted him, and was grateful for it. But now he is a so called star (over-hyped, no doubt) he wants to move on, without even a word of gratitude, in fact just the opposite as I can see it.

I know, times have changed since I was young, but back then players were proud to play for their team, now all they want to play for is the money, and how much signing on fee they can get by changing clubs whenever the wind changes. Personally, I’d like to see them do a proper days work, but most wouldnt survive, and thats assuming they have the intelligence for the job in the first place!

Though if one of Roman and co want to pay for me to undergo the best SRS available, well I might be slightly more polite about their sport.

Alright, rant over now, you can come out again and read lol!