1974 - 1975

Salisbury Road Infants: on the right
Another move to big school - this time big school was junior school. Salisbury Road
Primary School

I started at the junior school aged 7 but turned 8 in December. Teacher: Mrs Hepple. I liked Mrs Hepple.

The school was the same building as the Infants but completely seperate part with a different entrance - as my sister started here two years later than me, but I never ever saw her until she moved up to the Junior's - and even then don't remember having much to do with her there.

our playground at home
Mrs Hepple taught me in the first year. I liked her a lot. We read a lot in the class - by then I was pretty good at reading - mainly Enid Blyton - so I got mum to buy me Enid Blyton books so I could read them at home. http://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk/book-details.php?id=316
We read the children of Cherry Tree farm. It featured a wild man character called Tammylan. I asked mum to buy it for me, and she did. I was now reading, just a couple of years after the upsetting experience with my aunt.

Milk stopped at age 7 I think. I used to enjoy the ritual of milk at school - the straw, the wafer, the creamy top. It also fucked my sinuses for life. If we were meant to drink cows' milk we'd have been born as calves! Two milk images of the time - Margaret Thatcher milk snatcher and watch out watch out there's a Humphrey about.

Rumours abounded about 10s and units, that they were really hard and we'd have to do them in the second year. But kids love to tell stories and the scarier and the more over-blown the better. By the time we started doing them they were a doddle!

Home: house at the top of the hill

In the evenings and weekends I used to play close to home with local kids. Used to see Mrs Hepple occasionally and remember following her - thinking she hadn't seen me, to find out where she lived. She was always very friendly and seemed to like me, got on with my mum.

My Dad took me to see "Live and Let Die" - very exciting and one of my favourite films for years. I was smitten with James bond now until, at least the early 1980s. Went to see every film as it came out right up until "Spy Who Loved Me".

Lena Zavaroni appeared - a ten year with an extraordinary power to irritate. I think I was taunted with "she's your girlfriend" by grown-ups. Not helpful. Poor tragic figure she may have been - i still hated her. Another irritant around - probably a year or two later was Bonnie Langford. Quite an attractive and intelligent woman these days. Not then - and not even a decade later when she was in Dr Who.

My taste in viewing became more sophisticated: Porridge began in 1974 - I already knew who RB was from the Two Rs - but he seemed like a different person in this semi gritty - written by the Likely Lads writers. I watched - early on pretending to laugh at the jokes i didn't undersand so my parents would let me stay up till 9.00 - god know what they thought i was laughing at with the sexual/ adult material - though mild - defintely not something a 6 or 7 year old should get.
Fawlty Towers aired in 1975 - and I watched - laughed - it probably was pitched at a young child in many ways - though I now get it on a completely different level having been married for over 10 years - and find Syble to be an entirely attractive woman.
Also in 1975 a crappy Dad's Army rip off started called "Get Some In" - me and my mum watched - I think it started either during a period that my Dad was away or early in the day before my Dad got home. I also loved Dad's Army - was always disapointed when it ended far too soon - "You Have Been Watching".
The Good Life was a fave from '75 too. It Ain't Half hot Mum - another comedy camp character. Gloria played by an actor who was ubiquitous on childrens tv in those day - Melvyn Hayes. He'd been in double Deckers - which had my first telly crush - the very little girl with Tigger/ tiger soft toy. Who years later turned out to be a colleague of my sister in law - I declined the offer of an introduction as I knew I'd only be disapointed.

1976 - Open All Hours - RB again. I suspect I watched Ripping Yarns on a repeat or later episodes as it ran to 1979 - when i had my own telly i think as i watched it on my own. It ran to 1979 - by then my Great Grandparents had been moved into homes - and eventually died, and we had the whole house now. i was given their bedroom up the top of the house, and their bed - a big brass double bed - which i was a little squeamish about to begin with but soon got into the swing of things. it was a very nice bed.

But before I got given my own telly - early 80s I should think - my Dad converted the front room on the middle floor into a modern living room - can't even remember what it was before - my parents bedroom probably. the back room was turned into a kitchen - think that had been a bedroom too - and became our main kitchen. My old bedroom was a little tiny room which by 1979/80 had been made into a bathroom - with a bath and a toilet. I was using it by early 1981 - listened to John Lennon's last interview sitting in the bath in that room. Though years earlier I'd been laid up sick in bed listening to Tony Blackburn in the same room.
We didn't watch much on ITV - I don;t think I was allowed to put ITV on at all. But we watched Rising Damp - Leonard Rossiter made it unmissable - he became a favourite actor of mine - I'd watch a play for today if he was in it - and did.
But I can measure my young life out in crappy sit-coms, which is vaguely alarming -  George and Mildred spin off from Man About The House in 1976 - the great Yootha Joyce. Robin's Nes, which I soon appreciated to be a pile of crap, in 1977; and my parents watched the rag Trade which was a revival of an old 50s/60s sit com - I had no interest - didn't even klnow it was a sit com till i looked it up on Wikipedia.
Bonanza was on just before something I liked - It's a Knockout or Star Trek - either way sitting through Bonanza was tedious agony. It was soooo boring. don't remember why I didn't just go off and do something else instead. 6 Million Dollar Man in 1974 - the pilot - I found quite exciting as did all boys my age, clearly. It became a favourite game we played - going "ee ee ee ee" while running or attempting to jump in slow motion.

There was stuff I watched without the parents. Kids stuff. Land of The Giants was fantastic. In 73/74 there came an animated version of Star Trek which I loved. In 74 a tv version of Planet of the apes - i was still oblivious to the films.
1975 genuinely disturbing version of the invisible Man (From Uncle) started.
Banana Splits - sat morning - and then it got incorporated into swap shop. Monkees, Beatles cartoons, Hannah Barbera cartoons such as Hair Bear Bunch. Top Cat. Whacky Races. Hong Kong Fuey. 

The 1974 / 75 footbal season began as I started at SRSJ - and I'd been talking about my Dad taking me to Argyle for months. I bragged to Peter Freeman and friends about going. My Dad watched football on the telly with me and it gave me some misleading ideas about what it would be like; it would not be like watching Liverpool play, I soon found out.

But it was a good time to start going to see Argyle play Argyle had a good season in 73/74 though they were in the 3rd Division. They got to the League Cup Semi final against Man City, but only drew and lost the replay.
In 74 / 75 Argyle managed to get back into Division Two. They had been managed by Paul Mariner, who now played for them, while Tony Waiters took over as manager. Billy Rafferty and Mariner scored 46 goals that season between them.

I was never really into football, but I tried to please my Dad and stuck at it for years. On and off I kept going until I was in my early twenties, even going to matches in London. When they made football an all seating event for the audience is when I stopped attending matches for good.

Apart from not really liking football, there were things I loved. At this stage I loved comics and drawing. I read. I'd been reading for 2 or 3 years now - a late starter. At this point my gran decided she would buy us, me and my sister, a comic each week. Which one did we want? I think I started with Whoopee comic, though I may have started with shiver & Shake which merged with Whoopie in 1974, which my Gran thought was great, the thought of going into a shop and asking for a a copy of "Whoopee". My sister had girls' titles with more sensible names - "Mandy" for example, which I glanced at from time to time. But they weren't very interesting - not funny, the stories were all serious!

I would attempt to copy comic characters, which is probably where my art started.

Luckily for me, comics got more sophisticated as i got older so I have more or less been able to continue reading comics for the whole of my life! And I don't mean D.C. or Marvel either! I mean British comics.
I remember comics being bought for me quite early on - Topper was one. Also Annuals, usually 2nd hand, were passed on or bought for me - the usual I guess, Beano Dandy etc. One character I thought was funny was Janet the Gannet as my mum's name was Janet. Strangely, my Dad thought it was funny too. 

At school, and at home, I was made to wear awful 1950s style shorts. I hated them, knew they were shit then, they looked about 20 years out of date and looking at the photos - I looked very poor - the poorest kid in school - at this period. Needless to say I got picked on a bit.

on a day trip, probably Cornwall
My aunt was still going to school in the early 70s - she semed to spend quite a bit of time with me - my mum's sister. Remember once walking in the woods behind my grandparents house wwearing shorts and a coat. I slipped on my arse and got mud all over. I exclaimed that I had mud all over my trousers. My aunt laughed and said she didn't know I was wearing trousers which slightly embarrassed me as I thought she might have thought I was wearing a skirt. Odd things that you think when little.

We were taken on daytrips pretty much every weekend. You should expect nothing less from the generation born to believe in the car, that the combustion engine would bring freedom and prosperity! My parents took us everywhere in a car. Dartmoor to please my mother, the coast to please my Dad and us kids. Sometimes we'd head off with our cousins, to Wembury Beach or to Dartmeet on Dartmoor where we picnicked by a river, and we kids went swimming too. I remember one day deciding that I could swim, while in that river. I moved around in the river with my hands and feet on the bottom, believing that this was the only was anyone could possibly do that thing where they thrash about and stay on the surface of the water.

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