Growing up in the 70s

I just thought about something we used to do as children, which I don’t think children would be able to do today. We used to make our own perfume, well I say perfume but that is probably not technically true under the trade descriptions act.  I expect you would probably called it rose water.  Actually it was just water with rose petals in it – does that constitute rose water?  We used to put it in jars  – remember in those days everyone saved ALL their jars?!  We then, and this was the worst bit, used to stand at the side of the road – and I am talking the A23 which is the main road from London to Brighton, we used to flag cars down and try and persuade people to buy our ‘perfume’ for 2p a bottle.  I remember at one point we had these lovely red t-shirts with Kermit the frog on the front and OUR NAMES in massive white writing above the picture. Whose idea was that for goodness sake?  At least we weren’t ripping people off but I think we were lucky we didn’t get abducted or something. That couldโ€™ve turned out a whole lot worse!

Wasn’t life as a child so much simpler without mobile phones?  We used to disappear off to the local rec (recreation ground) or to the cow field or just somewhere in our road but I’m sure we were out for a few hours at a time and just had to make sure we were home at tea time. There were quite a lot of children who lived in our road and most of us used to play together, things like forty forty, bike races round the block, all sorts. I’ll chat about this another time…for now though I want to share this memory:

I remember once we were all messing around eating cider apples (I think) and plums from some trees near where we lived, there were quite a few of us that all used to play together.  Well my sister or I, can’t remember which, once threw an apple and it hit a girl on the head.  She cried and ran home to tell her mum.  Her mum was, to us, a bit rough and ready, so quite scary to us and we were worried what would happen.   Actually I think the girl’s older sister – who was probably about eight – had said she was going to get her mum to ring the police about it and we believed her!  The dad, who was a rather large, ferocious looking man, came out the house and cane walking towards us and that was it.  Oh my, we were so scared we were going to get into trouble and what the hell was going to happen to us.  Picture us (well look at the photo – a picture of innocence haha) and try to imagine two little girls thinking gulp what is this man going to do to us? I think somewhere along the line we lost perspective, after all it was only an apple! But as children we just believed what we were told I guess. Anyway my sister and I ran about a mile to her friend’s house and managed to persuade her friends mum to give us a lift home.  We were both still so nervous about any repercussions from this thrown apple though, that we had to devise a plan so we wouldn’t be seen,

Do you remember estate cars?  I think they were mainly owned by people with either big families or dogs.  Before seat belt laws came in, children would just sit in the back of these estate cars, not even on seats!  Just huddled together like dogs on the floor of the car looking out of the windows.  On this day we hid under blankets, appreciated our ride to safety and legged it indoors when we got home,  I don’t think anything else became of it.  I don’t think we ever threw apples at anyone else though.


  1. These times are such different times to grow up in. I deffo agree on that. I worked with kids a lot, and we would always encourage them to do more nature inspired playing. It is still something that they really enjoy, but I’ve also noticed these kids that will ask for the playstation constantly.. It’s a shame technology has taken over like that. There’s even schools that dont ask their kids to write anymore , they do everything on a tablet. Is that our future? People who can’t even write anymore? It shocks me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes you are completely right – it is very different now. Itโ€™s sad isnโ€™t it. I think in primary schools children are encouraged to play and there are forest schools popping up around – how cool is that?! I know technology is great and everything but a shame that children are getting enjoyment that way rather than being out exploring like we could.


  2. I miss being younger, but I don’t envy the safety rules that kids have to follow now. I remember riding in the back of a station wagon with my feet dangling in the breeze, no bike helmets, and exploring the neighborhood until suppertime. A cellphone might have gotten me out of trouble sometimes in the 80’s, but it might have lead to more problems, too.

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  3. I could completely relate to everything in this story! My friend had a perfume kit, with essential oils and little vials. I used to sell all kinds of stuff by the road. And I worried about getting in trouble for any little thing!

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  4. I used to love playing out with friends , running wild until food was ready and then back out till it started getting dark! I love this story as it reminds me of so much mischeif me and my friends got up to as youngsters! haha.

    I’m disappointed in the world today when it comes to children, nobody seems to let their kids out anymore, i want mine to play out but everyone else puts a horrible spin as to why i shouldn’t allow it. I even read once that a lady got reported to social service because her children were playing out the front of their garden unattended!!

    I think the internet has made it more accessible to so many bad things in the world that people just give in to it. Dont get me wrong i still let mine play out and if anything was to happen i’d be devastated but should we live in a world of “what if’s”? Thanks for sharing.

    Laura xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading Laura I’m glad it enabled you to bring back memories ๐Ÿ˜Š I think some children nowadays do get to ‘play out’ I guess it depends where you live though doesn’t it? If you live in the middle of a city there will be more cars around (there are loads more than there were) but if you’re in a village or town perhaps less so. It’s a shame isn’t it? I can’t believe someone got reported to social services for letting her children play in their own front garden – that’s terrible (being reported I mean.) I think that as long as you know where your children are and that they know how to stay safe and are a responsible age then they need to have some freedom don’t they? ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Childhood memories are so wonderful to treasure. I was writing a post recently too going down memory lane and it’s always the memories that are share with people that are the greatest. Nice post here. And the photo is great. There is just something about photos that bring supine nostalgia. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š Ivan

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