River Wissey Lovell Fuller


February 2004

Ray decides that comparisons between today and his youth are all relative!


No! Before you all say a word, I'm not rewriting Einstein's original work. This is just a casual observation of life.

'Blast me bor I ken remember when beer were forp'nce a pint.' This was the sort of comment I'd get from the old regulars when I was a lad, pulling pints in my father's pub around the late nineteen fifties. I would also be told that 'Baccy' was a penny an ounce, (old money and old weight). Mind you they also told me that wages were little more than a few shillings a week.

Now here am I doing exactly the same thing when someone mentions the price of petrol, saying that I can remember the cost of the first gallon of petrol I bought. It was four shillings and elevenpence halfpenny. As good as 25p in present day monetary terms. I'm sure, as the cost of fuel went up and the pound was devalued, it was changed from gallons to litres so the cost wouldn't seem so high to us oldsters. Just who do they think they're kidding!!

Another favourite was, 'A piece and four'. Who remembers that one? Down at the chip shop a nice piece of cod for eight pence and four penn'th of chips, equivalent to five new pence for the lot. Now I know the powers that be tell us that we shouldn't keep comparing new price to old, but being the age we are, and having seen the changes we have, it's only natural. Just like the old boys in dad's pub.

So this is where the relativity comes in. Given the wages for any particular era, compared to cost of things, I suppose the two have risen almost proportionately although I suppose it could be said that some things are cheaper today. It just sounds so much more to our old ears. But there does seem a lot more choice these days. Although that doesn't necessarily make us any happier. When we were young we bought far less on credit. If you didn't have the money you saved up until you did, or went without.

My first wage in a regular job was six pounds a week. Out of that I paid mother for my keep, my bus fares for the eight miles to and from Lynn, put a bit away for a rainy day, and still had enough to go out with the lads on a Saturday night for a meal and for drink and for cinema.

Just recently I had a different experience of relativity. That being between me and the world about me. Vertigo. Brought on, so the Doc said, by a viral infection of the inner ear. I now have a great deal more sympathy for those who suffer any balance problems. The effect was much the same as if I'd had one or two drinks too many. Every time I moved my head the room wouldn't stop moving, my eyes wouldn't keep still long enough to focus on anything, and my stomach said it would come out in sympathy if I didn't lie down pretty damn quick! I felt rather aggrieved about this as I was getting all the consequences without having had the pleasure of the drink before. (Well it's a pleasure at the time isn't it?) Cause and effect! Only I wasn't in control of the cause, and the effect was that I couldn't relate to my surroundings very well at all, and not a drop of alcohol in sight. Relatively speaking of course!!!


Ray Garrett

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