Saturday, 28 January 2012

Armchair explorer

Are saturdays as inexplicably exciting to any of you as they are to me?

I am self-employed, so I can choose which days I take off out of all seven available, and I have been known to have lie-ins on weekdays. I can also choose which days I want to party, and usually the best nights out are impromptu ones which just sort of happen amongst a few friends on a week night, though they are now quite rare because most of my friends and I have given up binges of any sort.

I have never had the slightest interest in any sport, so I am not looking forward to any football matches or whatever, and a lot of rugby now seems to happen on sundays.

I suppose I just breathe in the general air of holiday and relaxation which permeates town on saturdays, and I always have.

When I was a kid, saturdays for me consisted of getting up at about 9.30 having woken up in the luxurious knowledge that I did not have to attend the hated school, eating a bit of breakfast, then catching the number 63 bus into town. In town I would head straight for the newly opened'Wimpy Bar' and have a fashionable espresso coffee whilst ogling the slightly older girls who I did not dare to approach for fear of rejection (oh the misery of adolescence).

Then I probably just wandered about, trying to avoid eye-contact with the Teddy-Boys, squaddies and later Mods and Rockers (more Mods than Rockers - Woking was a Mod stronghold, and home to some famous Mod pop-stars). Woking (an absolute shit-hole of a town) was full of these desperadoes, and probably still is. The closest thing to any meaningful activity was finding a way of spending my half-crown pocket money on something completely useless (this was before I developed a taste for glass and candlesticks).

These days, I do something very similar with my saturdays, but without having to catch a bus to go into town. If I am on holiday, I often find myself on a glorious, palm-fringed beach remembering that it is a saturday, and actually feel a pang of regret that I am not in a British town, aimlessly wandering about. Even I think this is a sad and pathetic response from a pitiful creature of habit.

Aside from not driving to work, saturdays do not differ much from any other day of the week for me - I still follow the same sort of routine, like the visit to the pub for a couple of drinks with friends, always leaving before 7.00 in the evening to go home and cook.

I suppose this apathetic attitude to to life in general and saturdays in particular which I have been displaying since childhood may put me in good stead to deal with extreme old age, even though it has severely affected my career as a Polar explorer.

"Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits."



I've just added this picture of some 1950s Teds - the very sort which used to scare the daylights out of me as a child in Woking. There was one who was about 7 feet tall in his stockinged feet, but about 6 inches higher in his crepe soles with quiffed hair - no joke. If he caught your eye, he would scream, "WHO ARE YOU STARING AT???!!!"


30 comments:

  1. Old habits die hard Tom. Saturday is still the day off for me, although of course the farmer has his usual jobs about the place. As he says - the cows and sheep don't know its Saturday.

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    1. I really don't think anyone fundamentally changes after the age of about 10, Weaver, and most cattle and sheep don't live beyond a couple of years anyway!

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  2. Oh Tom,
    You've just described the saturday's of my youth down to a T, although I used to ogle the older boys. !! The Wimpy it was for my friends and me....we used to have a Wimpy and a chocolate milk shake ( I wasn't quite as sophisticated as you ). Do you remember the tomato ketchup containers shaped like a tomato ? Do they still have them....I think that they might ! I was a Mod and used to wear my navy Bri-Nylon mac and hush puppies teamed with red socks, even though the temperature might be in the 80's ! As I got older, I moved on to Biba hot pants, mini skirts and boots and sat in in more sophisticated parts of London on my saturdays ( we used to sit in Biba all day and our ogling fell on the likes of Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger)....and, boys used to take us to The Aberdeen Angus on their scooters !
    Thanks for another trip down memory lane.

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    1. Did you live in Woking, Jack@? You may have been one of the girls I ogled. Wimpys don't exist anymore, but the ketchup tomatoes do. The closest thing I got to fashion was a pair of two-tone, shot cotton jeans... Ah, BIBA - I went in there once, and in the gloom, I saw a tine of black-label BIBA house paint. The label was peeling off, and beneath it, the word DULUX was painted on the tin.

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  3. I have always loved Saturdays. It is a day of great expectations, even if it is just about taking a long wonderful nap.

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    1. I take naps at work during the summer, Starting. I never used to, but I do now.

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  4. Sounds like a good routine. My Saturdays are filled with cleaning, cooking, hanging out with the kids, playing games, and watching movies. I don't like the cleaning part, but the rest is nice.

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    1. I have just done something vaguely useful Amy - I bought a new duvet cover!

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  5. Your life sounds good, Tom. There's so much pressure in Modern Life to Do Stuff, and often it's much more fun to stare into space. Browsing the internet is probably a variant of staring into space, now that I think of it.

    And how exciting: a new duvet cover! I really mean that.

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    1. Yes - I agree on all points, Mise. Staring into the darkness under a new duvet is my idea of excitement too.

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  6. You will be ecstatically happy to know that Wimpy Bars are still going strong Tom, although I haven't been in one for years ! Bath is probably far too sophisticated to have one, but they are still around.
    Very funny about the Biba paint. They sold food and all sorts when they moved to Derry and Toms in 1974 but, it only lasted a short time and closed in 1975. They sold baked beans.....I bet they were Heinz ! I frequented Biba more when it was on Kensington Church Street.
    Oh, and if I had been in the Woking Wimpy, I would have gone out with you !! ( That will give John something to talk about !!)

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    1. That will probably give John something to wank about - he is that wrong.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Good point, well made, Groucho.

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    2. I thought someone might take it as mean spirited. But was not intended that way!

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  8. As it's Saturday today, I've just spent a rainy afternoon watching Margaret Rutherford play Miss Marple on TV.

    When our gardener's son went off to do his National Service, he was just an ordinary lad of 18. When he returned 2 years later, he was a motor bike riding Teddy Boy. I was very impressed. I've always though that Teddy Boy fashion was one of the peaks; along with Punk, of course.

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    1. But Teds originated in America, whereas Punks were home-grown.

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  9. p.s. I'm regretting never having asked you to demonstrate axe-sharpening (this has nothing to do with Lady M).

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    1. I could give you an online tutorial, Cro, but you would probably lose a couple of virtual fingers.

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  10. funny I have just written a similar-ish blog, albeit shorter

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    1. Really? I'll have to check again - I thought you had written something about the sucking powers of Dyson vacuum cleaners?

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  11. I went to a party last night and there were a lot of retro types attending. And I swear there was an elderly Ted with thinned out 6 inch high hair similar to that picture ( he was the real deal and not in costume not like the rest of us!). I think they were called Bodgies in our neck of the woods though. xx

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    1. Bodgies? I just used to ball them 'Sir'.

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    2. Never balled a bodgie, sir.

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    3. Never balled a bodgie, sir.

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    4. Oops - Freudian slip - I meant 'called'.

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    5. Oops - Freudian slip - I meant 'called'.

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  12. Damn, sent that comment from my phone at an airport in a capital city somewhere in Australia very, very early this morning.
    Yawn.
    But so very nice to catch up with you in such a random manner, Tom.

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    1. For a water-woman, you get around, Sarah. Nice of you to catch up.

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