ROY-G-BIV ~ Rambles and rainbows

Indigo denim jeans on  Jungle playmat

Jungle playmat

The differences between being a child in postwar Britain, a parent in the 1970’s, and a grandparent today are amazing to me.  When I was a child there were still shortages of food which meant essential supplies were rationed while luxuries were just none existent for the ordinary family.  This made for a simpler diet with few choices and little chance of overindulging.  However, undernourishment was such a big issue for children at the time that the government provided orange juice, cod liver oil, malt extract and often a tonic like Minadex for every school age child.  Babies and schoolchildren were given free milk.

Food was basic, grown, fished or farmed, and home cooked.  There was very little processed food and no such thing as ready meals!  Packaging was practical and simple too.  Butter and cheese was cut off a large block and wrapped in greaseproof paper then put in a brown paper bag.  Sugar, flour and dry goods were scooped out from large sacks, weighed and poured into paper bags.  Fresh fish was bought straight from the quayside or from a man who brought it round the houses in a horse and cart.  Bread and pastries were usually baked at home or bought from the local baker, while meat was from the local butcher and chickens were often still alive!  Every town had a High Street which had a selection of specialist shops and there were ‘corner shops’ in most residential areas.  In fact when my grandfather left the army in 1952, he bought a corner shop right next to the hospital off the West Road in Newcastle.  Some shops, like Woolworth’s, were quite large, but nothing like the huge supermarkets of today.

Women, and it was almost always women, had large sensible shopping bags, which were used over and over again.  Plastic bags had not been invented.   Often the shopping was delivered to the housewife in a cardboard box by a lad on a bicycle or a man in a van.  This was essential as working class women, or indeed men, would not have had a car.  We have gone full circle here as so many supermarkets deliver shopping now, but not for the same reason!

But to get back to childhood, babies as far as I remember were dressed and treated as babies until they were about 3 years old. They would be put in a big pram and stuck outside in the garden or yard, or often, on the street outside the front door.  Here the child would sleep or watch the world go by for hours between feeds with a few toys.  My soft toys would have been knitted by my mum while my dad would occasionally make wooden toys.  Toys, being few,  were treasured.  I still have the doll I had when I was 1 and the golly (sorry) my mum knitted when I was 4.  Boys would often have tin cars or lead soldiers, both of which would be considered dangerous now.

Today things are so different.  Babies are socialised and stimulated from the earliest age.  My grandchildren are taken to ‘bounce and rhyme’,  baby gym, play barns, swimming classes, baby massage  etc. etc.  It amazes me to see the speed of their development.  And at home the range of toys is breathtaking.  Everything seems to have movement, music, colour and lights built in.  Even books have appropriate sounds alongside the story.  And, before babies can even crawl they have play mats like the one in my photo.  This 3D mat has all the colours of the rainbow in it.  It is based on a jungle theme so there are animals adorning it.  It is soft, safe, supportive and stimulating.  It plays a variety of music, animal noises, and even waterfall sounds.  It has given my grandchildren hours of pleasure.  I chose this photo for a couple of reasons.  It shows  my two and a half year old grandson teaching his 8 month old sister how to roll over.  It is so cute and the clothes just tickle me.  Denim jeans on a baby I find hilarious and absolutely adorable.

So this week’s photo challenge was to illustrate the colours of the rainbow and I think this photo does that.  The denim jeans qualify as Indigo while all the other colours of the rainbow are in the playmat.  but just in case you want more I have added a little group of colourful shots below.

 

28 thoughts on “ROY-G-BIV ~ Rambles and rainbows

  1. This is a wonderful and thoughtful reflection on changing times. I like how you were able to do this without judgement. Here in Canada the granddaughters have “play dates” and such… and at the tender ages of 3 & 4 they revel on of how Michelangelo painted upside down, and I hadn’t even heard of the painting technique called Pontillism pioneered by George Seuret …. “dot by dot by dot,” they explained to me. To quote Bob Dylan, “the times the are-a-changin…”

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    • Indeed they are- not always for better but in lots of ways the children are more involved and stimulated which has got to be good for them x thanks for reading my blog!

      Sent by Brenda Kimmins

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  2. The times are certainly a-changing. I sometimes think children these days are too stimulated, a little boredom for kids isn’t such a bad thing. When we were bored as kids, we got creative, we didn’t just reach for a games console or some bright and shiny new toy.

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    • I agree wholeheartedly! A bit of down time gives children a chance to develop imaginative play- or get up to mischief! My grandchildren spent hours the other evening collecting sticks to make an insect house at the base of a tree. It grew like Topsy and became quite a desirable residence! Great fun.

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  3. Thankyou for sharing such a lovely story Brenda- as a mother of two young children myself, and daughter to ‘war baby’ parents who were born in the 40’s, I can definitely see the contrast in ideologies- my parents coming from a ‘waste not’ upbringing and my own children who are so used to being spoilt with new toys and treats on an almost daily basis… Love the bluebells and the lily of the valley too by the way 🙂

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  4. Your photographs are just so beautiful. I grew up in South Africa and now live in Canada. My parents were in England just after the war. They have died, but I remember my mother talking about the rationing after the war and my two brothers were put into a boarding school so that they would get enough good food.

    My grandson has every imaginable educational toy possible. I was never given anything like the number of toys he has. He is advanced beyond anything I could have provided for my own children. Life is so different now for children, but I wonder if they are actually happier? We accepted what we were given and did not ask for more. What do you think?

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    • I think children still love the outdoors, sand/water play, stories, running and climbing. I try to keep it simple when I look after them. I definitely think they have too many toys, too much technology, and too much stimulation. They are bright, inquisitive and self confident but stressed!

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  5. It’s odd how things have changed so drastically in such a short period of time. I really enjoyed reading this. Find myself wishing things were more basic now and not so crazy complicated.

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    • Certainly I think it’s hard for parents these days when children are bombarded with adverts and junk food! Life was hard but healthier when there was less choice. Thanks for your comment x

      Sent by Brenda Kimmins

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