Do you remember when stars were actually in the galaxy and cocaine was something used by the dentist?

Things have changed...and not necessarily for the better.

I can still recall sitting on the floor with a gang of kids watching my pal’s black and white TV.

Had anyone told us years later millions of adults would sit at home watching other adults sitting at home watching TV we’d have thought they were mental.

Little did we know?

Mrs B brought home a new kettle last week.

“What was wrong with the old one?” I asked, “It only needed de-scaling.”

“Yes, I know but the de-scaler was dearer than buying a new one.”

How can that be?

How can cleaning a kettle be more expensive than buying a new one?

No wonder we have a waste management problem.

I still have my mother’s old shopping bag that served her for decades.

How many plastic bags did that save?

It may have been inconvenient to buy potatoes covered in soil or unwashed fruit but at least they weren’t pumped full of chemicals.

You can’t move now for allergy warnings, God knows how we survived.

As a kid I loved sports but hated classwork and fooled around when I should have been listening (now known as Attention Deficit Disorder).

The headmaster told my dad who grounded me for a week and told me to buck my ideas up.

My marks improved considerably after that.

Simple guy my dad.

Shooting each other with toy guns took up much of the school holidays, either as infantry or commando you had to take your share of imaginary bullets.

We dropped out of trees, ambushed each other from behind garden sheds, swung across streams and always ended up arguing about who was ‘dead’.

Amazingly, we grew up to be teachers, salesmen, plumbers and writers rather than the gun-toting psychopaths today’s mothers fear is the certain consequence of such play.

Neither do I recall spending much time locked in my bedroom.

I was far too busy playing.

How much fun could you have with a peashooter?

You could buy one with your ‘spends’ and they lasted the entire summer holidays.

As far as I recall no one ever lost an eye or sued a single greengrocer for retailing products likely to cause injury.

That was way back when we believed ‘Human Rights’ were about freedom from persecution and torture.

We didn’t realise they actually protected the right of burglars to invade our homes or terrorists to seek legal aid.

I was a member of the Scouts and had to attend church every Sunday if I wanted to go to camp. Contrary to popular opinion, compulsory religious instruction was not a waste of time.

I learned a lot from the sermons, like the importance of ‘smiting’.

Biblical folks were always ‘smiting enemies’ or ‘beating them as to dust’ (pity they didn’t have peashooters).

You could always hear our postman coming down the street by his early morning whistle.

He was a pretty good whistler too (Fingal’s Cave was his favourite).

Whatever happened to whistling in the street?

Do you remember when catching the bus was a social occasion?

You always knew who you would meet on which bus.

If I caught the last bus from the market on Friday night I’d see my pal on his way home from band practice.

A stunning secretary from work always caught the 8am bus on weekday mornings.

I made sure I was first in the queue so that I could sit next to her.

I caught that bus for more than two years and was working up to asking her out when she ran off with her (married) boss.

Months later she wrote a letter to the girls at work.

“Mavis is asking about you,” they teased.

“What does she say?”

“How’s that little jerk with the acne who used to annoy me on the bus?”

Telling my mum I liked her potato pie was a major mistake.

She made it every Tuesday and Thursday for 20 years.

I was a lot more careful after that.

My dad was an ex Army cook and although quite competent, he could only think in Army units (the smallest being a platoon).

So whenever my mum was ill he’d cook a huge dinner that would be served up in various guises for days before making its grand finale as a ‘broth’.

Whenever I was short of money my grandma would slip me a £1 and say: ‘Don’t tell your mum.”

“Why not, Gran?’ “Coz it’s hers.”

I thought we’d have a trip down Memory Lane this week and if you’ve enjoyed it send me some of your pictures and recollections to or text them to 07590 560012 and I’ll try and include them next time.

By our columnist Vic Barlow