Tuesday, January 05, 2010


Apparently this is set to be the coldest winter since the mythological Winter Of Discontent of 1978-1979.

This sounds ominous, given the political implications. Come spring, we will be looking at another Conservative Thousand Year Reich. Oh well.

Otherwise, I can remember the Winter Of Discontent being particularly unpleasant because I had to trudge through snow drifts to school for about four months. In those days girls weren't allowed to wear trousers as part of school uniform in case we became terrifying ugly moustachioed man hating lesbian women's liberationisticals or whatever the f*ck they were called. One vaguely rebellious girl turned up at the school gates wearing jeans and was promptly told to go home and change into something more feminine and appropriate. Our tiny legs were frozen.

I spent most of the winter wearing a pair of derivative Kickers which became more and more grubby looking and battered. The reason I wore derivative Kickers is because (a) it was 1978, (b) my parents were too poor to afford the real thing and (c) they were the only shoes I had with any sort of tread which meant I would avoid flying arse over tit in the ice and snow; I lived at the top of a hill.

There was no relief when I got home. Endless homework in preparation for O-levels. A freezing house due to a lack of central heating. Damp peeling the wallpaper away on my bedroom wall. Pitiful Dickensian bollocks, what?

The winter seemed to last for ever and ever, which meant that I greeted spring with joy unbounded. I went to school at the beginning of the spring term in NEW SHOES! These were the most expensive shoes my parents had ever bought me (perhaps even they were feeling sorry for me) - high(ish) heels, soft leather, gorgeous, plush and comfortable. The grubby old pseudo Kickers could take a running jump, sonny.

... except that, at the end of the first day of the spring term there was a surprising turn of events. The weather forecast hadn't warned us it would happen, but ...

... there was a massive SNOWSTORM. Drifting snow had built up and continued to fall as I walked home ... in April ... in my new shoes ... which were completely RUINED.

There's some sort of moral to this tale of woe, but I can't be arsed to find out what it is.

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This reminds me of a song lyric:

'Slip, Sliding, Away'.

Or it could be song title, not that I care either way.
The advantage of going to the 'thick' school was not having to revise for O Levels. Girls could leave school at fifteen with nothing more than a bun in the oven. And many did.
This has/might/probably won't inspire/d me to post about the 'energy crisis' - warm nostalgic glow etc.
I used to encounter a number of derivative Kickers when I ran the gauntlet of our council estate wearing my grammar school uniform. They're all media tycoons now and I'm a rag 'n bone man. Hey ho.

(We went to Diss yesterday and the people seemed reasonably happy)
Oh I remember that burning stinging cold leg feeling mainly because I was one of those girls that insisted on wearing ankle socks all winter with a hitched up skirt. I remember squelching in favourite shoes too. I always wanted 'granny boots'* but was never allowed.
*Really unattractive clumpy brown nylon-fleece lined ankle boots with a municipal/orthopaedic zip up the front. Nice!
Aw, that sucks about the nu shooz.

I wish someone had told me what shoes to wear when it snowed. We didn't have snow where I grew up. So the first time I encountered snow, I was excited...until I slipped on the sidewalk and landed hard on my a$$, all while my friends were laughing at me...bastards! That day, I went to the store and bought shoes with good treads.
What's wrong with me?
I read that as knickers and was a bit shocked that you wore them for most of the winter.
There would definitely be a moral to that story.
I too wondered what derivative knickers were. I still do.
Some bright spark on the wireless was saying this is the worst winter since 1963 which I find hard to believe.

My biggest cause for discontent in 78/9 was my failure to get dropped from the school rugby team so I could go and watch Wolves.
I'm more concerned about your pitiful Dickensian bollocks.
I enjoyed the snow and the disruption that it caused in those days. Now I am cursing it.
If I remember correctly, Kickers were best known for the amount of dogshit they carried around in their perfectly designed dogshit holding treads.
What are these O Levels of which you speak?

We hear about Corrie characters studying for various levels all the time and have no idea what it's all about.
I grew up in 80s Northern Ireland and remember one winter where the snow drifts were so deep the school bus could not drive down my road. It dropped me off at the top and I nearly died of hypothermia during the two mile trek home the snow coming up to my thighs and only a school skirt, socks and shoes on my lower half. When I got home I was crying with the cold.

Looking back, I could so easily have not made it home.

Where were the Health & Safety Tsars closing the schools during snowy weather when WE needed them/there were GENUINE grounds for concern?
i did all that but in 1962/63 when the thought of a girl in trousers was extremely shocking so tramp to school in short gym slip and thick (get this) stockings!! and our school uniform didn't have a thick coat (well not one that anyone could afford) so it was just a mac on top
"grubby old pseudo Kickers"

My God Bettster - there's a novel in you, I swear. How many pairs of the above did I wear out during my formative years? The problem is, I had one leg longer than the other (Christ knows whose it was...) so I'd have one pristine grubby old pseudo kicker on one foot and on the other would be a grubby pseudo kicker with an inch diameter hole in the sole. Pitifully Dickensian, indeed.

I'm with the authorities on birds wearing trousers, I have to say. Lesbianism is the least of our wories if you deprive the red-blooded male population of a flash of schoolgirl thigh if you ask me. What's wrong with 80 deniers? Or wool tights even? Works for me...


L.U.V. on ya,

Garfer - bloody boring song it is too.

Arabella - there were surprisingly few girls in my year that left school to become fifteen year old single mothers - unless they were all sent away to live with aunts in the country and no one told us about it. I think people in my area were still stuck in the 1940's, so the latter explanation ins more likely.

Rog - well, wearing wellies every day throughout your school life could have sealed your future career as a rag and bone man. If you want to get ahead, get a good pair of shoes.

Rockmother - unfortunately my parents were hellbent on making me wear about fifteen layers of clothing from September onwards in case I ended up with pneumonia. Not very good if you want to impress other kids of course. I never wore appropriate footwear for winter though - this was the 1970's after all.

Eroswings - I still haven't got the hang of standing up straight on icy pavements. Come to think of it, I still have problems with standing up straight, full stop ...

Kaz - you're from somewhere north of Watford. I'm sure you're aware that women from north of Watford only wear knickers with patent shoes. Ahem.
Istvanski - what about derivative Snickers? That would be a Marathon bar, surely?

Malc - I think that newsreaders should have said "this is the worst winter since 1863". It would've sounded even more impressive, and no one would have been alive the first time round to dispute the fact. As for failing to see Wolves, well, it may have annoyed you at the time, but in the long run it was for the best.

Tim - Pitiful Dickensian Bollocks spread through the London slums in the mid 19th Century due to a combination of poor sanitation, bad diet and lack of personal hygeine.

Tom - I don't remember getting dogshit on my boots. Perhaps I've just blocked out the awful memory of it. There are so many things that happened in my school days that I just want to forget forever.

MJ - O-levels were the exams that 16 year olds took until the 1980's. Most of them were pretty useless if you were thinking of getting any sort of job unless you stayed on at school to do A-levels at 18 and then apply to university. These days kids do GCSE's at 16 and still do A-levels at 18. Most of them have a better idea of what they want to do when they leave school. I, though, was just an idiot.

Laura - I hope that parents at least complained to the school about something like that. I think the driver would be skinned alive if something like that happened now! The school near to me had more grit than anywhere else in the area piled up around the drive way. A bit pointless really, because all of the surrounding paths and roads were icy.

Rosneath - we had to wear blazers at all times and leave our coats in the unlocked cloakroom - if we wanted them to be stolen. So we ended up carrying the coats around in carrier bags all day long. The stupidity of school rules, eh?

Bob - there's supposed to be a novel in all of us. In my case, it would be extremely tedious and full of woeful self pity. I think my school managed to ban wearing woolly tights at some point. I think the teachers were trying to get girls to accept that it was their lot in life to suffer, or something to that effect. God, having to wear all of those man made fibres was bad enough ...
These derivative Kickers that you speak of. Were they, perchance, referred to pejoratively as "Tesco Boppers"? It is a phrase that has just popped into my head after a 30 year absence. Oh, painful memories...
Mr V V Bored - wasn't aware of that phrase, but I think we were so clueless and provincial that no one was particularly obsessed about wearing the right brands. I had a lucky escape.
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