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Monday, January 29, 2007

Fuzzy Felt and Loony Links

Fuzzy Felt and Loony Links. They sound like a couple of characters from a Disney film, but those of my vintage will remember them as children's games. What they have in common is that I requested both of them on Christmas lists, years ago, but didn't get either of them.

So this is jokingly brought up, every now and then, along with "and I never got a go on the boating lake in Goodrington."

What a hard done by child!

If that's all I can think of, I'm clearly never going to be reprising "Mommie Dearest," the story of how Joan Crawford used to beat her adopted children with wire coat hangers.

I had a very happy childhood. We weren't very well off and we weren't spoilt with masses of presents or holidays abroad. Life of course was more simple. I had to wear hand-me-down clothes, and occasionally got called "Second hand Rose," but it never bothered me.

At Christmas I usually asked for an arty gift. One year it was Spiromatic, another year it was Spirofoil. These were spin-offs from Spirograph, which I never really liked all that much (too mathematical looking). Spiromatic was more fun: it was a battery controlled wheel with acrylic paints. As the wheel revolved, you squirted paint and the result was a geometric design of sorts. Spirofoil was similar to Spirograph but included sheets of foil so that you produced embossed creations.

I loved those paper cut-out dolls with costumes that had little tabs all round them. Some of the girls' comics included these.

I never had a bike on my own, I always had my brother Andrew's old one. That is, until the day I entered the Cycling Proficiency exam. I must have been about 10 or 11. The police constable officiating said there were a lot of things wrong with my bike, which got me worried because I didn't think I'd be able to take the test.

Giz and Stamps must have mulled this over, because in a very uncharacteristic "out of cycle" happening we went to Halfords and they bought me a brand new bike of my own. I wanted a Chopper but ended up with a Golden Arrow, an elegant little blue bike (fortunately the words "Tri Ang" were very small).

So I entered the cycling proficiency and wobbled my way to a pass - just.

In another out of cycle happening Stamps took me to Smiths and bought me a typewriter. A real one. I'd had a children's typewriter, a Lilliput, for Christmas, but it barely lasted beyond February with the way I typed. All the letters had fallen off. I spent hours creating stories and magazines. So I was overcome with joy when Stamps bought me a real grown-up typewriter, a Smith-Corona.
It lasted about five years until I bought my own replacement when I entered my journalism apprenticeship.

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