Wednesday, January 05, 2005

1973: It's "All Bad News"!

More power cuts - and lashings of other grotty tidings in December 1973.

I enjoyed this round of power cuts. They broke up the routine, and I loved the candles, which emphasised our nictotine-stained ceilings and made my mother wail at my stepfather: "Fred! It's time you sorted those ceilings out!"

He'd grunt from behind his newspaper, and nothing would be done. They both smoked like troopers, although there was increasing awareness of the health risks - indeed cigarette advertising on ITV had been banned since 1965.

I remember during one power cut, my mother sent me to the local shop for some tea. I walked through the streets, staring around in wonder. Some windows were showing tiny points of glowing candlelight, most were dark. I was awed by the darkness of it all.

I don't recall electric tills being around at all in those days - and this was fortunate because manual shop tills were unaffected by the power cuts. Our local shop had candles dotted strategically about, and I bought the tea thinking: "Isn't this exciting? What an adventure!"

I was eight at the time.

Mum had the kettle on when I arrive home, and called from the living room: "Put the tea in the caddy and a couple of spoonfuls in the pot." We always had loose tea then. Mum didn't like bags - she said they "tasted".

So excited by the power cut was I that, somehow or other, I managed to pour the whole packet of tea into the pot, without realising.

It was the worst tea we'd ever tasted, and my exciting, adventurous evening ended with a "ding round the ear 'ole" and bed.

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