Back in the Day

Old Jan 8th 2023, 8:40 pm
  #166  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
Does anybody else here on BE remember party-lines?
Had a party line (back in the UK) in 1982.
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Old Jan 15th 2023, 6:50 pm
  #167  
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Whereabouts was that? How many members? And, is it still working? Is anybody else familiar with the practice?
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Old Jan 15th 2023, 6:57 pm
  #168  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
Whereabouts was that? How many members? And, is it still working? Is anybody else familiar with the practice?
Godalming, Surrey, UK. Just 2 addresses participating. Long gone, with the privatisation of BT.
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Old Jan 17th 2023, 12:05 am
  #169  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
Small world, Morpeth! Linda and I lived in Perth in 1971, while she was at the teachers' training school or whatever it was called. We lived in Claremont, and played tennis at the Dalkeith Tennis Club. Mixed with expats, mostly, including some "refugees" from the Bahamas where we had just left.

We enjoyed the year, though it was a financial disaster for me. The highlight for us was being part of a "safari" expedition of six or seven cars up to Port Hedland on the inland route and back on the coast road. Did you ever get up that way?
Did you meet anyone in Port Hedland? I worked there from May 1971 till January 1972 at Mt Newman Mining Co. I was an electronic technician and drove a mini moke around the site fixing or trying to fix stuff that died in the heat. Long hours, 60 a week, and lots of money in the bank at the end.
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Old Jan 17th 2023, 12:14 am
  #170  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
Something else for "Back in the Day" - telephones. When I were a lad... except for holidays in civilisation, my exposure to phones was limited to our "party line", out in the bush, shared by twenty or so farms. Each farm was allotted a morse-code identity. Ours was Hannaford 2-S. The 2 was our line, the S was our number. Our set was attached to the wall in the lounge. When we heard three short rings (three turns of the handle by the caller), we knew it was for us, and answered it by talking into the speaker on the wall. Even if we were visiting a neighbour, we recognised the ring and answered it there. If it rang for someone who we knew was away, we answered it and told the caller. "Sorry, the Camerons are all away for the week. Who's calling? Oh, it's you Dave {Dave was the chap who ran the exchange down at the railway siding who was also our district's mailman). Who wants them?" If we knew the caller we might ask Dave to connect us and we would pass on the news. If we didn't, or if they were calling from somewhere distant, we saved everybody the horrendous cost of a "trunk-line" call and let Dave handle it.

It's a whole new world for phones today, isn't it? Privacy, for a start! On a party-line, we could secretly listen to everybody's conversations. If we wanted, which we didn't.

Does anybody else here on BE remember party-lines?
They were common in the UK but only 2 parties per line and they had selective ringing so you never knew when the other party was being called.

However I remember in a pub in a village north of Greymouth on the west coast of NZ in 1972 the phone kept ringing and no one answered it. Only later did I learn that it was a multi party line and each party had their own coded ring.
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Old Jan 18th 2023, 1:45 am
  #171  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by winston_1 View Post
Did you meet anyone in Port Hedland? I worked there from May 1971 till January 1972 at Mt Newman Mining Co. I was an electronic technician and drove a mini moke around the site fixing or trying to fix stuff that died in the heat. Long hours, 60 a week, and lots of money in the bank at the end.
No, we didn't meet any of the locals. I remember a dance evening - a public one, I think - but we just hung around our fellow safari-people.

Yes, I can well believe the money was good! Places like that were always high-paid. Tell me: did you get around much, when you were there? See any of the local sights - the mountains south of you, for instance? Our drive up there from Perth was via Meekatharra and the famous Marble Bar - famous as the hottest place in Australia, at one time!
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Old Jan 18th 2023, 3:05 pm
  #172  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
No, we didn't meet any of the locals. I remember a dance evening - a public one, I think - but we just hung around our fellow safari-people.

Yes, I can well believe the money was good! Places like that were always high-paid. Tell me: did you get around much, when you were there? See any of the local sights - the mountains south of you, for instance? Our drive up there from Perth was via Meekatharra and the famous Marble Bar - famous as the hottest place in Australia, at one time!
Once I got there (the company flew me up from Perth) It was continuous work except when there was a strike on which seemed to happen quite frequently. On one such occasion went to Wittenoom, and on another drove to Broome which was little more that a village then, on to Derby and Fitzroy Crossing before returning as we heard the strike was settled. Never went to Marble Bar but I knew a few that did. Got the impression it was a bit rough.

When I finally left drove down the company road to Newman and had a look at that end of the system, then on to Perth via Cue etc.
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Old Jan 25th 2023, 9:46 pm
  #173  
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On a website yesterday (NOT A BLOG! DON'T WORRY!), I felt called upon to defend the good name of the people of Turkey. My experience there - Back in the Day - was limited to a month or so fifty-plus years ago, when Linda and I first began travelling together. But we were travelling through town slums and poverty-distressed villages, where life had scarcely changed for centuries - and it won't have changed since our visit. People are people, I believe, and cultures are cultures.

In a town halfway to Mount Ararat, in late 1964, we were intercepted in the street while looking for a cheap hotel, and pressed to stay in a private home. Two small children were woken up and brought to meet us, and we slept in a bed still warm from their bodies. (Some things you just can’t argue about...)

We were snowed in the whole of the next day, and did what the natives did - sat around in a cafe sipping glasses of sweet black tea, waiting for the road to clear so we could hitch our way out. I hate sweet black tea, but what can you do? I stood up to buy my round, only to be confronted by a fierce-looking fellow with red hair who dismissed my money. A futile argument (sign language and shouting) ended by his thumping his chest while roaring "ME TURK!!" I glanced at the others, who gave me the slight shifting of eyes and head that says, "Let it go." His command of English impressed his friends enormously, so he got his money's worth, I guess.

In the villages, the sexes were segregated, pretty much., but in most places our very presence was exotic enough to put us beyond the reach of local etiquette rules. Linda was an honorary male, in effect. Once, though, she was invited (with a hint of desperation, as courtesy warred with custom) to go to the women upstairs in their harem. They had never had a foreign woman up there before, and she had a great time dancing the Twist with them. I was guest of honour on a chair down in the street watching the men doing their line-dancing. Ho-hum. The village schoolteacher spoke a smattering of German, as did I, and he translated every word he thought I'd said to him.

Some time later an English-speaker must have visited the village. In our mail at the Bank back in London (when we got there) was a postcard with a message in English, printed in block capitals. "WE HOPE YOU COME BACK. OUR WILLAGE PEOPLES LOVES YOU." Verbatim.

It doesn’t get any better than that.
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Old Feb 2nd 2023, 12:49 am
  #174  
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Here's another snippet of our travelling days, this time from the USSR in 1965. A common practice of young budget travellers there in those days was selling Western clothing for roubles on the black market, often at night in back streets. Denim jeans were particularly prized by young Soviet citizens, for whom wearing jeans (in private) was super-cool. But every once in a while the local customer for their jeans was an incorruptible young copper. Then, the seller lost his jeans and everything else, and had to wire home for the fare out, plus a fine. It was a risky game, and the secret of playing the black market is always to minimise risk. Plan ahead. Buy currency outside the country and sneak it in. Linda and I had done this by buying our roubles at a bank back in Austria beforehand. (We had driven the Beetle up from Turkey to Finland.)

Some basic arithmetic skill is always necessary where tight currency-controls exist. You have to exchange enough at the official rates to hide the fact that you have acquired some illegally as well. If you live entirely on the food that you brought in, and your car gets sixty miles per gallon of the 20-octane dishwater sold at the local pumps, your exit-form will balance. Ours balanced - clear evidence that we had done those things, and lived saintly lives. We heard of one unfortunate fellow who accidentally declared more money on exit than he had declared on entry. Oops!
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Old Feb 3rd 2023, 7:03 pm
  #175  
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Here's a context for our entry into the USSR back in 1965, copied from my report written many years later.

There we were, rolling along the highway from Finland to Leningrad in the middle of a virgin forest with not the slightest sign of human habitation. Just the two of us in my Beetle, not another car on the road, and very pleased with ourselves for having put one over on the border guards. Yee-hah! So it was a bit of a shock to suddenly see a man in uniform standing in the middle of the road a hundred yards ahead, one hand up to stop us and the other holding a rifle in case the hand failed.

"Oh, those damn apples!" Linda cried, while my heart sank. At the border, the guards had wanted to confiscate eight or ten apples we’d bought with the last of our Finnish money; but we said we'd eat them there and then, and began to do so. Two serfs were instructed to search the car for any other contraband. On the back shelf they found a copy of Time Magazine someone had given us back at the hostel. Surreptitiously, with fearful glances towards the boss in the office, they studied every page in silent wonderment, this unspeakably evil symbol of Western decadence. They lost track of time until a roar from the office had them scrambling guiltily out of the car. We were waved hastily through. and entered the Soviet Union with the uneaten apples beside us.

How typical of the bloody KGB, now, to send a man with a gun to catch us with our smuggled goodies, two miles away from the safety of The West. What a rude welcome for a pair of innocent tourists! But actually, the man with the gun just wanted to check that we were who we were supposed to be. So we got to keep the apples - and, incidentally, the Soviet currency notes hidden at the bottom of a tin of English tea.

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Old Today, 3:12 am
  #176  
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A final report on our time in the USSR in '65... On the way out of the country, we reckoned we were sick and tired of pumping the tyres up every morning (they had received a bit of a bashing on back roads in Turkey a few months before), so we decided to get them fixed in Minsk, on the way out to Poland. A young Intourist translator drove with us to the city’s sole car-repair shop - a vast yard that catered for every car in the entire country, it seemed. Well! All the workers rushed over to inspect our tubeless tyres. No tubes? Impossible! What keeps the air inside? Ah, well, that was the present problem...!

After a lot of hooing and hahing, they cheerfully put tubes inside the hitherto tubeless tyres, and we were ready to go again! I tipped them generously with our illegal roubles (see story above), and Linda made the girl cry by giving her a new pair of nylons, carried unopened since London. (Nylon stockings in the USSR were as rare as tubeless tyres.) If she's still alive today, I bet she remembers us!
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Old Today, 9:50 am
  #177  
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Default Re: Back in the Day

Love these stories!
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