Top Picture: The Gun emplacement near Fort Purbrook. On a fine evening I could lay in bed at home and se this through my bedroom window in the distance.
Second Picture: Farlington Marshes
Trails and Tracks
Some time ago I read these words ‘paths and tracks that only old men and young boys know’ and this really set me to thinking about how we, as young boys, used to find our way around the area whatever the domain without the benefit of maps or satnavs.
This knowledge extended across the hillside, the countryside and the marshlands as well as the urban paths and byways around the City of Portsmouth.
I will start with a look at the rural scene. I wonder just how many people today know of the pathway hidden behind the clinging ivy and the undergrowth in the chalk pit by the waterworks at the top of Gillman Lane. This was a well known path to us, it took us along the chalk face way up so we were able to see into the blackbirds nests and collect the eggs, which we were allowed to do in those days. This pathway was known only to the lads of the area but was till wee used. There was also several other paths within the other chalk pits in the area and as far as I can remember there were at least three paths up the face of the chalk pit in Upper Drayton Lane and one that took you round the back of the hermits hut in the chalk pit by the George. Mind you this path was always fraught with danger because if the hermit saw you he would chase you. He lived in a kind of green corrugated iron bungalow in the bottom of the pit and he disliked visitors. I wonder who he was and what happened to him?
But it was not only the chalk pits we knew our way around on the hill. We had our own paths through the undergrowth to varying favoured sites to play in. Then underneath the ground touching branches of some bushes made great dens and these were often protected by brambles and thorns. Even in the summer, when the grass was almost as tall as us we could still find our way about the hill for a meeting, a game or a cookout or maybe to explore some of the military installations that were still around.
But it was not just the hill we knew. Farlington Marshes were also our playgrounds. Most of us knew how to identify solid mud from soft mud and so safely navigate our way across the Marshes. We all knew the best spots to catch crabs, find ex government ordinance and to fish. Some of us even knew of a swan’s nest we could watch, mind you we did not try to take their eggs!!!
The area known to us as the Railway Triangle was also a spot for adventure. This was sandwiched between the Portsmouth to London railway line, the Eastern Road and Portscreek and was a mass of bushes, brambles and hidden places all joined together by narrow paths we explored on our bikes.
Talking of bikes. In the 1960’s I would pride myself that I could cycle from home in Farlington to Southsea sea front with only travelling on a main road for about half a mile and that was the stretch between the married Quarters at Hilsea opposite the Coach & Horses until I turned right off of Copnor Road to Amberley Road just past Rugby Camp and then it was back streets, back roads and back alleys all the way to Southsea. I bet that could not be done today!
I suppose that one of the best areas for tracks and trails was on the site where the school stands now. Before building the school, and for some reason I do not remember it being built, the area was composed of derelict allotments. The whole area was a maze of paths, tracks and walkways, an area where many of us travelled miles on our bikes exploring and racing. At the Old Manor Way end of the site were two prefabricated buildings one was an unused Territorial Army Centre and the other I believe was owned by Colt Engineering and had a row of, what looked like steel snails along the roof as ventilators. Does anyone remember them wonder?
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From the site 10 years ago:-
And now for a short break...
We really are the first of not only the television age but the mass advertising age, just think back.
Televtsion advertising painted a whiter-than-white portrait of modern Britain. Advertisements held up a mirror to a society in which life revolved around home and family.
The Britain of the 2-minute commercial break was a reassuring place to live. Here was Katie who always used two Oxo cubes to give a meal ‘man appeal’, and sat down to watch her husband Philip drown his roast meat in gravy. On another street in safe, respectable suburbia, an immaculate and manicured housewife could be found making light of her spring cleaning with Flash (‘all around the house, all around the house, all around the house, Spring Clean with Flash’), or soaking in a foaming bath, safe in the knowledge that she would look a little lovelier each day with fabulous pink Camay, the soap which contained ‘perfume that cost 9 guineas an ounce.
Hands that did dishes could be soft as your face; Omo washed not only clean, not only white, but bright; and Hoovers beat as they swept as they cleaned. And after all that effortless housework, you could have a break, have a KitKat with a nice cup of Brooke Bond — tea that you could taste right to the last drop.
Men drove fast cars, played golf, went fishing. They drank beer and — for the first half of the decade — smoked cigars, cigarettes, pipes. Ever chivalrous, they would spring up to light the cigarettes of female companions in sparkly earrings. The more heroic of their sex anonymously braved hair-raising dangers, James Bond-style, all because the lady loved Milk Tray. Dads set out for the office (they went to work on an egg) with bowler hat and rolled umbrella, or shinned up ladders, whistling in time-honoured, salt-of-the¬ earth, cheery-chappie fashion.
Until the banning of TV tobacco advertising in 1965, smoking was widely but not always successfully promoted. The moody, black-and-white ad for a new cigarette, which vouchsafed that ‘You’re never alone with a Strand’, was much enjoyed, and the background music, ‘The Lonely Man Theme’, became a hit in its own right, spending two weeks in the pop charts in 1960. But the campaign was a spectacular failure. Who, after all, would buy a cigarette with connotations of loneliness? Better to smoke Anchor, after which a man at sea would so hanker that he even sang a shanty about it.
Pints of bitter were quaffed at the bar, while suave toffs in dinner jackets sipped vermouth (‘Do ‘ave a Dubonnet’). Martini was ‘for people who have a taste for excitement’. And when Pete Murray went to meet his friends at the Hilton what did he say? — ‘Noilly Prat’!
Catchy jingles ran around in the head so that the viewer might suddenly find himself singing that Double Diamond worked wonders, (sorry Gloria!), or tripping down the scales to the words ’Boom-boom-boom, Esso Blue’. Sublty was not copywriter’s stock in trade, this powder washed whitest, a special toothpaste would give you tingling fresh breath or a ring of confidence, this frozen pea would be as sweet as the moment when the pod went pop. Commercials played on insecurities: would your best friend tell you if you had BO? And what horrors lurked around the hidden bend?
As the decade marched on, television advertising took ever stronger hold upon the national consciousness. In school playgrounds jingles were sung, and the best-known selling lines (‘Graded grains make finer flour’; ‘Put a tiger in your tank’) became catchphrases which were almost better known than the products they promoted. And after 1964, when an Old English sheepdog was first used to market emulsion paint, the breed itself became popularly known as the Dulux dog.
TO ALL THE KIDS WHO SURVIVED THE '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s!!
First, we survived being born to mothers who may have smoked and/or drank while they were pregnant. They took aspirin, ate blue cheese dressing, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes. Then, after that trauma, we were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.
We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, locks on doors or cabinets, and, when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets. As infants and children, we would ride in cars with no car seats, no booster seats, no seat belts, no air bags, bald tires and sometimes no brakes.
We ate cupcakes, white bread, real butter, and bacon. And we weren't overweight. WHY? Because we were always outside playing...that's why! We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. --And, we were OKAY..
We would spend hours building go-carts out of scraps and then ride them down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem. We did not have Play Stations, Nintendos and X-boxes. There were no video games, no 150 channels on cable, no video movies or DVDs, no surround-sound or CDs, no cell phones, no personal computers, no Internet and no chat rooms. WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!
We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth, and there were no lawsuits from those accidents. We would get spankings and no one would call child services to report abuse. The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law! These generations have produced some of the best risk-takers,
problem solvers, and inventors ever.
We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
If YOU are one of those born between 1940-1970, CONGRATULATIONS! You might want to share this with your kids, so they will know how brave and lucky their parents were.
News and Views:
Update on the Monkee’s tour. The remainder of the US tour has been cancelled. In a statement, a spokesman for Micky Dolenz said, "Management had booked a number of dates with the venues without running them by the group first... so we had to cancel the remaining dates.
On this day 26th August 1960-1965.
26/08/1960the number one single was Apache - The Shadows and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Rawhide (ITV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
26/08/1961the number one single was You Don't Know - Helen Shapiro and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was Burma becomes world's first Buddhist republic.
26/08/1962the number one single was I Remember You - Frank Ifield and the number one album was West Side Story Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
26/08/1963the number one single was Bad to Me - Billy J Kramer and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
26/08/1964the number one single was Do Wah Diddy Diddy - Manfred Mann and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
26/08/1965the number one single was I Got You Babe - Sonny and Cher and the number one album was Help - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.