Sunday, 26 February 2012

I don't enjoy surprises.

Nothing surprises me anymore, because I have witnessed some significant changes in everyday life. Few have been more disappointing than the WWW. I'm not talking about the World Wide Web, I'm talking about things that really mattered.When I was young my favourite biscuit of choice was a Westons Wagon Wheel. The real WWW was the size of a small tea plate and just enough to take away the pangs of hunger on your way home from school. Now a Wagon Wheel is tiny in comparison, you need four of the latest ones to match the quantity of my childhood ones. The new Wagon Wheel are so thin that you can almost see through them. Wagon Wheels now feature a simulated "Raspberry Jam", filling made from plums.

The ingredients of the Wagon Wheel are as follows: sugar, enriched flour, glucose, hydrogenated palm kernel oil, glucose-fructose, vegetable oil shortening, cocoa, apple pulp (apples, sulphites, potassium sorbate), gelatin, modified milk ingredients, fancy molasses, salt, sorbitan tristearate, sodium bicarbonate, pectin, soya lecithin, citric acid, ammonium bicarbonate, sodium benzoate, monocalcium phosphate, nutmeg, natural and artificial flavour, colour (contains tartrazine).

As for the taste, unsurprisingly from the above list, it has in my opinion deteriorated because a Wagon Wheel washed down without a glass of full cream milk is like eating fish and chips without mushy peas and on a plate.

Talking about milk, open your fridge door, look at the milk and it will be in a cardboard or plastic container. When I was a kid, home milk delivery only came in glass bottles, with silver foil stoppers. Now its a semi-skimmed, skimmed, pasteurised, homogenised, pulverised white water and you need twice as much to colour your tea! Do you remember the pre Thatcher days when a miniature milk bottle was part of every child's school life. A time when you had to pierce the thick ring of cream at the top of the bottle with your tongue, just to get at the milk.

Now it standardised in metricky units and the same has happened with yards feet and inches. Plastic replaces glass and the taste is now awful. Milk is now boiled and skimmed to remove every last vestige of nutritional value.

A time when your bike was a Raleigh, it had a Sturmy Archer three speed, the dynamo ran on the tyre wall and the seat had some comfort value. You had a saddle bag for your wet weather cape, your pump was fitted to the front down tube. Mudguards kept the mud off and you had a round red reflector at the back. Your toolkit consisted of a multi-spanner that fitted the three sizes of nuts that everything was attached with. Drop handle bars were for posers, cowbars were for prats and flat bars had a bell. A lollipop stick on the spokes gave an impression of speed and kudos for the uninitiated.

We rode our bikes with no helmets and our bikes were so much heavier and hard wearing. A time when leg clips for bicycles without a chain guard was de rigueur for those of us out of short pants. But your dad always tucked his right pant leg turn up into his sock.

Those were the days my friend, we thought they would never end. Or so goes the words to a song. As I look at my grand mothers old battered bible, leather bound, frayed and careworn. I can't help but think the bible looks a lot like grandma looked. Not only that, I'm sure that rainbows back then were in black and white.



  1. It's your age, matey! ;-) The world moves on for all of us.

  2. Inside I'm 23 Outside I'm 63. I'm not prepared to move without a grudging tilt at one or two of our lives windmills. ;-)


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