10 toys in every doctor’s waiting room

Did I ever tell you about the time I got ill on holiday, and ended up being sick all over the doctor’s office, including up his sleeves? That’s the kind of kid I was.

This tendency towards chicken pox, mysterious childhood snots, and trying to wangle time off school led me to be familiar with the toys in the doctor’s waiting room. These toys were invariably covered in germs and various bodily fluids, but this didn’t deter me.

These days, whenever I have to go to the doctor’s I am generally to be found scrolling through my phone with all the other anti-social automatons in there, but when I was a kid, a trip to the doctor’s was an excuse to go crazy with the communal bits of plastic and soiled books. Obviously I couldn’t go too crazy, as I was either ill or pretending to be ill.

Anyway, here are 10 toys that always made being violently ill fun…

1. Matchbox Activity Bear

matchbox activity bear

This chap lived at the bottom of that plastic toybox that graced the corner of the waiting room. While it was really meant for babies who were too young and stupid to play with the cooler stuff, I did while away some pleasant minutes honking its nose, spinning the things on its foot, and trying to avoid the month-old Ribena stains on its general person. The babies would just have to find something else to do, like pooing. Continue reading “10 toys in every doctor’s waiting room”

A guide to 80s caravan holidays

These days, children go on four world cruises a year. When I was growing up, we didn’t have such luxuries, and had to make do with a more modest form of holiday.

Most people would trundle off to the seaside for a week or two every summer. Some families stayed in a hotel or a B & B, some families threw themselves on the mercy of Butlins, but the best families stayed in a metal shed on wheels, otherwise known as a caravan.

1

I have two main memories of caravans – one good, one bad. The bad memory is of being dragged round caravan showrooms on a weekend, endlessly crunching over gravel and staring at wheels and towing frames, since I was too small to actually see into any of the caravans (caraven?). I have no idea why we went to these places so much, and it seemed like we went every week. To my knowledge, we never bought a caravan.

Our modus operandi was to hire a big static caravan at one of the many parks scattered around the East coast, and this was always a cause for great excitement. What would our caravan be like? Where exactly would it be parked? Where would I be sleeping?

Well, the answers to these questions were always as follows –

1. Exactly like all the other hundreds of caravans on the park – sometimes with slightly darker wood panelling, or a different type of chintz on the cushions.

2. Next to a family with a barking dog.

3. On the brilliant double bed that was made out of a table and wizardry. Continue reading “A guide to 80s caravan holidays”

Candyfloss and shat pants: a guide to the fair

Somewhere along the line, I’ve become middle aged. I’ve suspected it for some time, what with me liking to wear slippers and making a noise when I get out of a chair. However, my rapid descent into old age was proved beyond any doubt the last time me and Alex went to the fair.

Expectation: eat candyfloss and hot dogs until sick, go on all life threatening rides, not really caring if the rides are held together with sellotape. A good time is had by all.

Reality: walk around a windy field for a bit, tutting at things. Shake head at the fact that the rides are held together with sellotape, exclaim that “you wouldn’t get me on that death trap”. Fail to even get excited at prospect of winning copyright infringing knock off toys. Go home for a nice cup of tea.

this way

It never used to be like this. I used to love the fair with a passion bordering on wanting to marry it. It was up there with Christmas and trips to the seaside for excitement value. But somewhere down the line I got old and boring. Since you probably don’t want to read about me having a nice cup of tea and doing the large print puzzles in Chat magazine, instead I’m going to tell you about the best things at the fair.

1. Hook a Duck

hook a duck

 

Hook a Duck is brilliant because it’s impossible for me to lose at it. Even I can just about manage to hold a stick and point it at a plastic duck. Admittedly, this wasn’t always the case when I was a child. Sometimes the guy running the stall would get so fed up with my clumsy attempts to manipulate the Hook a Duck pole without taking his eye out that he would just grab the end of my pole and attach a duck to it. In my head this was perfectly valid, and in no way made me a loser who failed to even win at a ‘prize every time’ stall. Continue reading “Candyfloss and shat pants: a guide to the fair”

Cartoons, haunted tapes and The Lovers’ Guide: Video shop memories

Cartoons, haunted tapes and The Lovers’ Guide: Video shop memories

I’ve wanted to write about the video shop for ages, but my flea-bitten memory has refused to sick up the appropriate facts, until now. Thanks to conversations with my parents and sisters, I realise what a brilliant experience the video shop was for me. For my parents and sisters, not so much.

Here are a load of my dredged up memories about the video shop. You’ve read this far, you might as well carry on.

The first thing to do in order to get a trip to the video shop is to be good all week. This consists of not doing the following:

– Calling your sister a “bastard”, a “bustard”, or telling her to “huh off”

– Nipping

– Writing a list of all the swear words you can think of, then accidentally leaving it in a place where your dad will find it

– Using all your mum’s VO5 Hot Oil to make a “magic potion” while playing She-Ra.

Continue reading “Cartoons, haunted tapes and The Lovers’ Guide: Video shop memories”

10 nostalgic tins of food

If, like me, you regularly sit on your own, staring into space and regretting all your life choices, then chances are you eat a lot of tinned food.

Tins are great. For the miniscule effort of figuring out how to use the bloody tin opener, you can be rewarded with a vast array of culinary delights, ranging from beans to coq au vin, and back to beans again. Mostly beans. Also, if the bloody tin opener won’t play ball, you can sometimes just smash the tin against your head and it might open.

Another brilliant thing about tins is that you can throw them at burglars.

Anyway, the world of tinned food has seen a great deal of heroic pioneering… stuff over the years, as companies competed with each other to seal increasingly exotic food in a living tomb. Mostly though, they just stuck to beans and novelty pasta. Continue reading “10 nostalgic tins of food”