She has Instagram and TikTok and Snapchat. But here are ten things my daughter Charlotte (14) will never see…

Tony Blackburn and Noel Edmunds on Top of the Pops


  1. Mostly, bus conductors just went about their business. They’d rattle their bag of coins and sell you a ticket dispensed from an amazing machine hanging from their shoulders. Some, though, were proper characters. They’d sing. They’d tell jokes. They’d talk loudly all the way from Mount Merrion to Dun Laoghaire. On the way from the city, the bus would often pull in at Donnybrook church opposite the CIE depot. And we’d sit and wait for ten minutes as the crew changed. That’s what it was in those days. A crew. A driver (pilot) and conductor (air steward).
  2. I don’t know what Charlotte would make of rabbit ears. They’d sit on top of the television and be twisted around every now and then in the hope of improving the picture quality from lousy to less lousy, from snowy to less snowy. And that was for ONE channel.
  3. I’m not sure Charlotte has ever seen Rosary beads. We knew them well. We said the Rosary most evenings. Television went off even if you were watching something (and no, you couldn’t record it) and we knelt and held on to our beads.
  4. Nor would she know what a May procession is. We had them in Mount Merrion. Hundreds would walk through the various roads in the area and Mass would be said, or Benediction held at Glenabbey Road.
  5. They talk of recycling – but long before the word was ever in common usage we had the milkman call every day to take our old empty glass milk bottles and replace them with new, full ones. He’d call to collect his money once a week.
  6. You can see old Top of the Pops on various channels these days. But that can’t replicate the excitement of Thursday evenings, waiting to see who’d be on. And if your favourite group was on, well, it was just heaven. Spotify and YouTube have put an end to that.
  7. There was no shame back then… in some classrooms (I never saw it in ‘Rock by the way) you’d see a leather strap hanging on a nail near the teacher’s desk. It wasn’t for holding his trousers up…
  8. “Herald Press or Mail.” That’s what the newsvendors shouted in Dublin up to the early sixties. Then the Mail ceased publication. Then the Evening Press. And the Herald stopped coming out in the afternoons and dropped the word “evening” from its title.
  9. Extravision made a fortune, for a while, for its proprietor and, indeed, inventor, Richard Murphy. You’d queue to rent a video of a movie. But like televisions themselves, they became so cheap nobody rented. And so Extravision died.
  10. There’s a little hook on the top of a can these days. You pull it and the top comes off. Of course there’s a little hook, you say, how else would you open a can? With a can opener of course! But they’re probably only in museums now.

Mind you, there are things Charlotte does that I would never have done.

I mean, she bursts out laughing staring at a laptop. “What’s so funny?” I ask. “It’s my friend,” she will reply. “Which one?” I ask. “The one in Pakistan.” Well, some of us had penfriends…

And I think she’d be mortified if she had to go out in jeans that weren’t torn.

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