SLAGS!

18 Jun

SLAGS!

  photo untitled4_zpsbqarsnm8.jpgI hinted at this in my piece yesterday when I lauded the miracles of Refreshers and their cure-all properties – or their cure-flu properties even if they don’t do a deal about curing broken legs. And, like a great deal of other stuff I’ve posted lately it’s material that I’ve eulogised about before. But I’m not cutting and pasting old writings. I’m doing them all afresh because a) I can’t be bothered to find them in my blogs folders and anyway b) I’ve got a different perspective.

You see, it’s social history.

Times change slowly. In 1984 I bought our first computer, an 8-bit delight that ran any number of fairly simple games and even some serious office software, loading the material from cassette tapes (the agony of graunch, graunch, graunch and then “read error b” which meant I’d have to try and load them again). It was an Amstrad 464 and not to blame for faulty tapes. Now, in 2015, more than a horrifying 30 years later (here has all thattime gone?), I’m on a laptop with so much power it scares me and makes that old CPC seem what it is – geriatric. Things have changed. Technology has moved on. The laptop doesn’t even know cassettes ever existed.

But that’s not what I’m writing about. Well, it is because I have, but it’s not my intention.

There was the second world war and I was born at its height.

I don’t want to glorify it in any respect. It was horrible. It was one of mankind’s worst follies. It was disastrous, especially for the millions who died and probably even more disastrous for the millions who were badly wounded and never properly recovered. Nobody should make any capital out of anything to do with it. And I’m not.

It was during that war that our nation became poor. There wasn’t enough of anything to go round, not after bombs and bullets, aeroplanes and warships and all manner of other munitions had been paid for. And in all fairness what was available had to be shared out properly or the rich would have got everything like the rich often do, and the poor would have starved.

So there was rationing.

Clothing was rationed. Women were told how much material they should have in their frocks. Schoolboys definitely needed short trousers. And who needs more than two pairs of underpants anyway?

They told us how much water to have in the bath. Five inches, once a week. Any more then you’d be risking the war-effort somehow.

Food was rationed. Coupons were issued in ration books and there was to be no shopping around for the best prices. You had the name of your supplier stamped in the book, and you had to go there.

And it wasn’t just during the war. Food rationing continued for nine years after the conflict ended, the last items being released to the free market in July 1954. But before then, in 1953, sugar went off ration. You could buy more than 2lb per person per month!!!

And we come to the small boy Peter, aged almost ten, and one of the more memorable days of his childhood.

He took some pennies from his money box and set out for school on the day that sugar went off ration. And found himself experiencing the fascination of the queue for the very first time. He wasn’t the only one with money in his pocket and the sweet/newsagents shop down the road did more trade from that queue than it had in years.

The small boy Peter could buy his own sweets, as many as he wanted, and nobody demanded to see his ration book.

He got to know what a free market was! And he had a paper bag bulging with goodies as he completed his walk to school.

My early life was coloured by the war in several ways, then, sweets being one of them, but here’s something that may fascinate you.

!945 saw the end of hostilities, and I’ve been assured that it also saw me uttering my first non-ma or non-dad words. In church, I was heard to call out “slags! Slags!” in fairly stentorian tones, and I wasn’t commenting on the morality of the female worshippers but reminding one and all that there was a great deal of bunting, and especially flags, around!

There may have been some immoral maidens lurking in shadowy corners too, I suppose. Shame on them!

© Peter Rogerson 18.06.15

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2 Responses to “SLAGS!”

  1. georgiakevin June 21, 2015 at 1:42 am #

    Man I trally enjoy reading your posts!

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