We’ve all lived through the Keep Calm and Carry On era (Oooooo Matron! Sorry wrong kind of Carry On!). We’ve had the mugs, been sent the cards replacing the ‘carry on’ for the ‘it’s only your birthday’ slogan, and basically seen it replaced with whatever activity you can think of; Keep Calm and Buy More Shoes, Keep Calm and watch Eurovision, Keep Calm it’s *enter name here’s Hen Do and so on and so forth.
I’ll admit I have my KCAKO wall canvas in my kitchen hanging up above the baby bottle steriliser and bottle warmer and next to my wine rack (which also is home to my ‘Wine Makes Mummy Clever book’!) and it works! When Bubs is in full vocal throttle, looking at that and taking a breath really helps me (that and gazing at my lovely pink bottles of Dizzy Juice!)
This trend for keeping calm was largely due to the nation’s resurgence in falling head over heels for anything vintage and I for one loved it! The fashion of the Land Army girls rocking those head scarves, the glamour of the 1940s style tea dress and the complete wear-ability of the high-waisted palazzo pants. Dash forward a few years to the comfy Hepburn-esque pedal pushers and ballerina flats whilst sporting some fab Breakfast at Tiffany style sunnies! Heaven! Classy Heaven!
But I digress!
Our love and mine in particular for things from the past does not just end at clothes. I have a real hankering for the children’s TV of my youth. Classics programmes such as Bagpuss, The Flumps, Mr Benn, The Mr Men (the proper ones voiced by Captain Mainwaring aka Arthur Lowe and not the new ‘noughties’ version where the Mr Men do not even look like the Roger Hargreaves creations- don’t get me started!), Willo the Wisp, Bod and Button Moon. There are some which I have never been able to find on DVD, my old favourite Cockleshell Bay…anyone remember that one? The twins who lived right next to the beach?!
I remember being at school watching fun educational children’s programmes….namely Words and Pictures! Oh the joy on a Tuesday morning, knowing our class was scheduled to go to the TV room to watch this programme! Watching the teacher pop the video cassette into the top loading VCR, waiting for the tracking to sort itself out and listening to the somewhat watery-voiced BBC announcer as the ‘lines’ crackled down the TV screen ….then…the music began!! I remember it vividly! This is also helped by the fact that my Mum was a Primary School teacher so still has all those video cassettes with the episodes on them! And Yes! I still watch them! Twin 1 and Twin 2 are as enamoured as I am with the Halloween special, the Hungry Caterpillar episode, the Frog and Toad or Oink and Pearl stories, The Winter Bear and my favourite the one with the Christmas Fairy! Vicky Ireland and Charlie presented the show from their Library during the 1980s and before that in the 1970s, Henry Woolf and Charlie presented from their bookshop. I remember Charlie in black and white and the excitement when he got his Joseph and the Amazing techni-coloured waistcoat!!
check out Maria Lavelle on pintrest for lots of other childhood tv favs!
Now, along with the stories that each episode of Words and Pictures presented, us children were wowed by Magic Pencil! The mysterious floating pencil that back in those days focussed on the simple formation of letters without all the flourishes and in-anticipation-of-joined-up-writing-flicks here there and everywhere. Magic Pencil would calmly float up to the black screen, flashing it’s mesmerising golden light and carefully but beautifully form the letter of the day with a catchy little song:
All the way round, down and under
That was the letter g by the way!
So, whilst stood at the bottle warmer one night under my KCACO sign I looked across at my 2 chalk notice boards. One which keeps the organisation of after school activities for the Twins and one which I wrote a natty little laundry quote on!
Top to bottom, up and over. (Any ideas?!)
Top to bottom and cross (All will be revealed at the end!)
These tunes and songs of my childhood began to float through my sleep deprived mind. Magic Pencil was there in my kitchen writing on my chalk board! Ah Ha! I thought to myself. That’s it. That’s why now my generation are so taken with chalk boards (me in particular…you have noticed all my post pictures right?!)
We are all children of Words and Pictures! We are all the extended family of Charlie, Vicky and Henry! Deep in the darkest depths of our subconscious we are all thinking in the way Magic Pencil taught us and we are all LOVING writing on a clean, sleek, magical black chalk board with our satisfyingly glossy chalk pens!
Cue music and adopt a Churchillian voice:
Land of Hope and Glory…
Gone are the days, due to the immediacy of classroom based technology, when our children will get the satisfaction and anticipation of going to the TV room for the one week slot. They will not experience that moment of excitement as the large, cumbersome box TV on the wheely trolley wakes up. It is up to us then, the children of the late 70s and 80s to provide our children with their own Magic Pencils in their own homes!
Go forth Mummies and Daddies!! Purchase that black chalk board paint and slather it onto a wall in your house!
Present your children with the glorious chalk pens and have fun!
Form your letters, embrace your children’s homework, leave cute messages for loved ones…(‘Buy more wine dearest!’) create your shopping lists and smile.
For you dear British parent are your children’s very own Vicky, Henry or Charlie!
Bring forth the Words and the Pictures!
The Aloha Mummy 🌸
Today’s letters were…
courtesy of testcardgirl76 on youtube
courtesy of sdaonline