After a three day diving trip to Eilat, I trudged home from the tram stop feeling a bit, well, elderly, to be honest. My joints hurt and I momentarily cursed Jacques Cousteau for not inventing scuba gear that weighs on land in excess of 65kg, which is a bit like carrying my mother-in-law out of the surf. Fortunately I have no pictures of me – although this might be – knees momentarily giving way as I hauled my hippopotamine carcass out of the forgiving water on to the beach, gravitationally challenged, and cutting my foot on shard-sharp shingle in the process, being gently helped landward by a muscular Swiss instructor.
Which brought my thoughts to why on earth I didn’t start gambolling in the deep when I was a third of the age I am now.
I was brought up in the Fifties and Sixties – if you can remember them you weren’t there – as we used to say to the spavined, generationally challenged, creatively enfeebled sons and daughters of the 70’s and 80’s. I was also reminded of bananas. I eat quite a lot of them these days – a quick-acting carbohydrate fix would have been quite welcome as I staggered drunkenly out of the water the other afternoon – but when I grew up, they were generally unobtainable. As were a few other things. A friend sent this to me the other day and it brought quite the deluge of childhood resonance to the surface. If you’re in your sixties, and English-bred, quite a few of these might ring a faint, faint bell, like a suzumushi cricket’s.
They didn’t have them in the 50’s neither….
My thanks to an anonymous and elderly scavenger for the following. I’ve taken the liberty of making a few changes…
- Bananas and oranges only appeared at Christmas time.
- All crisps were plain; the only choice we had was whether to put the salt on or not.
- A Chinese chippy was a foreign carpenter with funny eyes.
- Rice was a milk pudding, and never, ever part of our dinner.
- A Big Mac was what we wore when it was raining.
- Brown bread was something only poor people ate.
- Oil was for lubricating engines, fat was used for cooking.
- Tea was made in a teapot using tea leaves and was never green.
- Indian restaurants were found in India, it was supposed.
- Sugar was regarded as white gold.
- Water came out of the tap, if someone had suggested bottling it and charging more than petrol for it they would have been laughed off the playground.
- Coffee was Camp, and came in a long square bottle with a picture of a chap in shorts on the label.
- Cubed sugar was used by snobbish people.
- Only Heinz made beans.
- Fish didn’t have fingers.
- Eating raw fish was called poverty, not sushi.
- Nobody had ever heard of yoghurt.
- Few had heard of and nobody had ever seen a mango and certainly had no idea how to spell its plural.
- Healthy food consisted of anything edible.
- People who didn’t peel potatoes were lazy.
- You actually read the fish and chip wrapper after you’d eaten its contents. Especially Page Three.
- Cooking outside was called camping, often accompanied by diarrhoea or ingestion of carboniferous carcinogens.
- Seaweed was another name for odoriferous bladderwrack and not recognised as food.
- “Kebab” was not even a word never mind a food.
- Prunes were medicinal.
- Surprisingly, muesli was readily available. It was called cattle feed.
- Pineapples came in chunks in a tin; we had only ever seen a picture of a real one.
- The only thing never allowed on the table was elbows.
Plus ça change….