11 March 2022

Here's cheers to the good old bad days

| Sally Hopman
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Ice cream van

Remember when you could hear these vans before you saw them? Photo: File.

Carole King got it right when she wrote it and James Taylor put the icing on it when he sang: Up On The Roof.

“When this old world starts getting me down, and people are just too much for me to face, I climb way up to the top of the stairs and all my cares just drift right into space. On the roof, it’s as peaceful as can be, and there the world below can’t bother me.”

I’m heading for The Roof.

If we can’t mosey on back to the good old days, looks like the only option is to head up to the roof and try not to look down.

Remember those good old days? They probably weren’t that good but I love how a bad memory can make almost everything seem fabulous.

Like not feeling obliged to photograph your food before eating it, ensuring your clothing labels are clearly visible when you’re just hanging out – both you and your garments – or grinding your thumbs down on personal devices. (Play nicely, children).


How can you improve on perfection? Lassie the wonder dog not only doesn’t shed, break wind or vacuum up her food, she also regularly rescues the odd child from mineshafts. Photo: File.

I loved how we used to not design dogs. Today, you can get ones that don’t bark, fart or shed anything. You can get them bred to look like someone famous, like Lassie – although, really, how hard can that be?

I’d love to see a return to the days when dogs were, well, dogs, and they got patted for it. They didn’t live large in apartments and people could give them away to a good home without fear that that home was far from good.

Those were the days when people told the, um, truth, and lived to tell the tale. No one seems to want to tell the truth these days, although there are so many lies floating about that trying to work out what’s true and what’s not is probably only going to be resolved in a new reality TV show starring shiny people with long legs and excellent teeth.

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Our parents let us do the most controversial stuff, probably because they didn’t know it was. Like letting us play outside with our friends.

Yes, we knew not to go anywhere near strange vehicles, unless, of course, they played Greensleeves really badly and had photos of choc tops plastered all over the doors. (Attention children: do not read the next bit. My best friend’s mother told her that when the Mr Whippy van played Greensleeves, that meant the truck had run out of ice cream.) Enough to make your heart, and other bits, melt.

Glass of beer

It’s not soft but it’s not hard … it’s more of an embarrassment really – the shandy. Photo: File.

Today, norms from the olden days could land parents in small enclosed spaces watched constantly by a large man called Bubba and larger people in uniforms.

Remember being left as a child in the car with nothing more than a packet of chips and a warm bottle of Passiona while your folks discussed the meaning of life in the pub?

But back then, we certainly weren’t without scruples. For some women, the idea of going into a pub – even though there was a Ladies Lounge – was seriously sniffed at. (With a proper hanky, too, not your tacky temporary tissue). It was just not done.

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Hardly surprising really when you think that there wasn’t a whole lot of lounging going on in that bar. More like screaming, yelling, shandy-downing contests.

Come to think of it, whatever happened to the shandy? Answer: It was outlawed by people with tastebuds. It was the sort of drink you had when you were trying to be cool, but couth at the same time. At least that’s what people who drank them thought. The rest of the world thought they were wasting a good beer.

To the good old days, all I can say is, cheers.

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The good old days – take one giant thunder bunger, light it, place in a milk bottle and throw it. Place thunder bunger in dog food can, light it, kick the can into the hole in the gutter. Watch with amazement has the can shoots out of the hole at a great rate of knots, or blows the pipe apart. I miss the good old days

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