Tuesday, 5 January 2016

1966 Another good year

Hiya. Val says. lets have some more from the diaries, so here goes. I'll skip a year and go to 1966. I went to work on January 1st, we didn't have a bank holiday then. I had moved on from Woolys and was working in a small grocery store. I remember that a lot of the stock was delivered in bulk and we had to weigh it out and wrap it. Big boxes of cheese, butter, and lard. Bags of dried fruit, flour, sugar, and rice. I did all the jobs in the shop except the book keeping, I liked to move about. I was on the Deli counter quite a lot, slicing bacon and cooked meats.

I see I was a saver in 1966, I put £1 in the bank and I had 8d interest, wow, ha ha. That was a lot of money then out of my wages.

Disaster on Thursday the 6th. I wrote, 'A lot happened today, First I've got a horrid cold. I broke a large bottle of coffee in an order, (we delivered boxes of groceries to customers), such a mess. Then I burst a 28lb bag of sugar on the floor. Then crushed a box of tissues. Then a fabulous lad met me out of work in his car, it was Howard. He drove me home, I wish he'd made a date but he said, see you sometimes.'  I was mad about Howard, flirted with him like mad, but got nowhere. Very sad.

I liked filling up the shelves and displaying the goods. I was often called on to dress the window, which I enjoyed doing. I used to volunteer for more hours, and I see that I got paid 9/- (9 shillings) extra for half a day. We used to get sales reps calling in, and sometimes we got a freebie. On the 15th of January, I got a tube of toothpaste. You can see where my love of free stuff comes from, ha ha. My best friend Sheila often gave me clothes that she no longer wanted. I got a cardigan, a red polo neck sweater, and a pair of gloves.

In March I was looking for another job, I was bored. I wanted a bit more excitement and a bit more money, and found a job advertised  for a nanny in London. Mum was very upset, she was crying. I went to an interview locally and was told I had to provide a reference. In the meantime, mum tried to talk me out of it. I ended up writing to the lady and said I couldn't go, but I really did want to go. Mum didn't have much money and was glad of the bit I gave her. I got 10/- extra for working a Sunday and bought mum some daffodils.

I did like my bike and used to ride for miles. On May 4th I went a bike ride to Tamworth, it was 34 miles and my arms got sun burnt. Sometimes I went with my brother Stephen, but mostly I went on my own.

The entry for Monday May 9th reads, 'Start work at Robirch. Smashing job the girls are nice. I was wrapping 1lb packs of sausages on bonus. Then packed 48 sausages in a white cardboard box. I've got to wear a white nylon hat, white overalls, white wellington boots, and a dark blue apron. I started at 8am till 5.30pm, and went home for dinner.'  The best thing about that job is that it was close to home so I could go home every dinner time. And it was piece work so I could earn bonus. My overalls and apron were too long so I took them home and took up the hems. I didn't want to look like a middle aged frump with my clothes hanging down below my knees, ha ha. I remember we used to go to work with our rollers in covered by the hairnet, if we were going out that night. Imagine that, like Hilda Ogden, ha ha.

Factory wages were better than shop work. I see that I got £6-0-1d and a 4/6 bonus on the 27th May. I had a little money for my birthday (17th) from family and put 15 shillings in the bank. Every pay day I recorded my wages and bonus in my diary. I was a bit competitive about earning bonus, so worked faster to get more. I see my wages at that time was always around the £5 - £6 mark.

My best mate had moved to Blackpool with her family and I went for a holiday. I had a great time, met a lad, and that was it, I wanted to go and live there. I had several more visits before I was able to leave home and go and live there. I had to wait until I was 18.

My employment with Robirch ended with me getting the sack, I left on the 28th of October. I couldn't settle on any job, I get bored with routine. The final straw was that they sent me into the cookhouse to make faggots, (savoury ducks) which involved a lot of pigs innards which smelled foul. I couldn't cope with that. Not to worry, another job came along a week later, and I started at Wesleys, a factory that made toilet rolls, flat pack toilet tissue, (remember that Izal stuff), and Christmas garlands. My friend Jean who also got the sack, came with me to Wesleys. It was piece work again, and I got around £6 a week. It was a good laugh there, I had a group of friends that I went out with, down the town, hanging around the market place where the hot dog van stood. we were a happy band of factory girls.

I also got myself a boyfriend, went out with him for a few weeks. I was invited to tea at his house, it was a bit posh, a detached house in a village. I got the feeling his parents thought I wasn't good enough for their son. The romance was very intense for a while, we both declared our deep love for each other. The entry on the 27th of November says, I went to the flicks with him in the afternoon, and chucked him that night. Not sure why, me being fickle I think. Then we made it up, it lasted another week and we agreed to finish. I already had my eye on someone else by that time, ooooh, I was a little flirt  :o)

And that was 1966.

I have finished the hanging basket of flowers, but there wasn't enough light to photograph it well. I'll do that tomorrow. I'm pleased with the result.

I did 3 miles this morning, and was only stopped twice for a natter, ha ha.

Thanks for popping in. Catch up soon. Toodle pip.    


  1. Back in the 60's and 70's my mum had dear friends in Burton and the husband worked at Robirch. He was the first vegetarian I'd ever met or had even heard of. He'd worked there for years and it put him off meat for life. I'm a bit younger than you but as a child in the 70's I loved staying with them in Burton - I loved the town centre (I remember Woolworth's VERY well) and the fact that it was so easy to go everywhere by bike - it seemed very clean and posh after Stoke-on-Trent :-)

  2. thank you so much for sharing your life as a young girl, many of your experiences are much like mine and I live in Canada lol,, it amazes me how very much you were the same person you are now,, you were born to be careful with money and organized,, handy and crafty,, please give us more of your entries,,

  3. Aww 1966 - the year England won the world cup. I visited Bremen in Germany on an exchange visit with a German Life Saving Club the DLRG. Loved it so much and it was the first time I had ever ridden a fixed wheel bicycle and promptly fell off. I didn't know such bikes existed. They re quite the rage now.

  4. Oh Ilona I did enjoy reading yesterday and today this blog post from your diary. Such fun to read all the comments and memories from many of your followers.

    I attended college to learn shorthand and typing. I wore that school scarf with such pride! In 1961 I got my first job in the office of a solicitor (attorney in USA) and worked there until I left in January 1963 and followed my fiancee to his home in USA to see if I liked it! Hated it in the beginning but stayed and married him. All our children went away to university at age 18 and looking back I can't think how my parents allowed me to go off to another country like that only knowing one other person.

    Looking back it seems to me that was quite a different time. My first pay packet (cash in a brown envelope) was the sum of 5 GBP and like many here gave half of it to my mum. Do young people still contribute toward their keep? No one I know does in this part of the world.

    If you are willing I'd like to hear a few more of your entries in the diary!

    Happy New Year.

  5. I love your expression "chucked him that night"! It really made me smile as I checked in with you after a few days. I wonder why he was chucked? I love that you were so fickle you didn't bother write it down in your diary-go Ilona! Ps walking is going well! Xxxx

  6. 1966 - the year I was born, so it's interesting to read about what your life was like then. My sister and I used to cycle for miles when we were kids; no lycra or helmets back then, just jeans and plimsolls. We used to take a bottle of juice with us and cycle for up to 10 miles to visit relatives, eat lunch (we called it dinner in Scotland) and cycle back home again.

    Woolworths was brilliant; the only shop in our town where you could browse. You could buy sweeties, records, gifts, clothes anything really.

    Talking of freebies, I used to have a Saturday job in a supermarket. Back then, shops were closed on a Sunday. We were allowed to take any milk, bread etc home with us free as it wouldn't have been fit for sale on the Monday.

  7. That was the beauty of those days, you could leave one job on a Friday and be employed again the following Monday/Tuesday. That happened to my brother. No shortage of jobs.

    Joan (Wales)

  8. After going to Romford swimming baths during the 1960s with my older brothers we walked into town to buy a penny worth of broken biscuits from Woolworths.

  9. Thank you for sharing another year from your past! I loved reading all about it. Looking forwards to reading more!

  10. Really enjoying the diary entries. Fascinating! :)

  11. I started to keep a diary as a teenager in the 70's but had a massive row with my mum when I caught her reading it so didn't carry on after that!

  12. Ah 1966, a memorable year. My then home town of Sunderland hosted some of the world cup games and the town was given a Continental theme. How sophisticated we felt sitting on the pavement cafes (so new to us in those days) under brightly coloured parasols, in our tiny skirts and high heels, sipping our port and lemon and eyeing the young men from beneath our false eyelashes.

  13. Ilona, you clearly have a very hardworking nature. I think you should write a book or maybe an autobigrapghy. It would be every bit as interesting as anyone 'famous'.

  14. I was 7 in 1966 and the only memory I have is going to Bournemouth for a holiday on the coach with my sister and parents. The World Cup final was on the radio and I was sick into a bag the whole way there. It rained for two solid weeks in Bournemouth and I've never been back since lol

  15. Hi.Your young self and life is such a fun read.It sounds like you were great kid!No surprise there...Thank you for sharing,bye for now,D.


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