Blotted Copy Books, and Caterpillar Coats


The 70’s is currently enjoying a revival on TV thanks to memoir sitcoms Cradle to Grave and The Kennedys.

Cradle to Grave is part written by comedian Danny Baker and is based on his own adolescence in 1970’s London. With exploding toilets and loads of ‘farkin ‘ells’, it’s hilariously funny.

The Kennedys is written by actress, writer and TV presenter Emma Kennedy and is based on her memoirs The Tent, The Bucket and Me. Narrated from 10 year old Emma’s perspective, it resonates with me the most because I too was a child in the 70’s.

The show provides a nostalgic look back at the time when Darth Vader was a scary man (but nowhere near as scary as Jimmy Savile turned out to be) and schoolgirls lives were temporarily ruined by Donny Osmond’s forthcoming nuptials.

Both shows feature cars of the decade and it brought back memories of Dad’s Hillman Hunter.


Dad and Me in his Hillman Hunter


Dad putting the car away in the garage while I showed Mum what I’d been doing at school all day.

Another form of transport (for kids) was the Space Hopper. I had a go on my friend’s but wasn’t much for it as the bouncing made my head ache. I preferred to spin around until I fell over on the carpet and entertainment doesn’t come much better than that!

Not forgetting the hours of fun to be had from making go carts out of an old prams and bits of wood. We were recycling way before it was fashionable!

It’s Emma’s schooldays which have evoked memories long forgotten…

~ Inky Fingers ~

I remember inky fingers, blotting paper and my brother’s leaky fountain pens which resulted in Mum having to scrub his clothes. No magical Vanish in those days – just milk, vinegar and elbow grease!

Blotting paper reminds me of one of Mum’s favourite sayings..

You’ve really blotted your copy book this time, Madam!

I never actually understood the meaning of it but could tell I was in trouble from the way her eyes narrowed as she said it just before she ordered me up to my room to ‘think about what I’d done’.

~ Technology ~

Technology at school was watching a film via a projector which invariably involved disruptions while the teacher faffed about changing the reels. The films were usually about as entertaining as tonsillitis but they gave us the opportunity to eat sweets without risk of confiscation.

~ The School Toilets ~

The school toilets (more commonly known as bogs) were damp and drippy and there was always a cubicle with an out of order notice pinned to the door.

Hygiene was soap that smelled like antiseptic (because it was) and Izal toilet roll or ‘caretakers revenge’ as I like to call it. Wiping your arse with Izal was like trying to wipe yourself with a crisp packet, not that I’ve tried but it’s the best analogy I can come up with.

~ Thatcher, Thatcher Milk Snatcher ~

Dad considered Margaret Thatcher a cow of epic proportions..

~ Healthy Eating ~

On the way home from school, my brother would take me into the sweet shop where he’d give me a few pennies for some sweets and in those days you got a lot of sweets for your money. I remember the shop being crammed to the rafters with huge bottles containing Flying Saucers, Fizzy Cola Bottles, Sweet Tobacco, Black Jacks, Space Dust, Wham Bars, Drumsticks and Space Dust. I loved them all and it’s highly likely that the sugar in this lot contributed to me having ‘blotted my copy book’ on several occasions!

~ School Fashion ~



The 70’s was the decade that good taste missed!

The sight of Emma Kennedy and her friend with their school satchels jogged my memory of having one as a child. Things were made to last in those days and were generally worn out before being replaced. Very different from today’s throwaway society where things are changed on a whim. My satchel lasted me for years because the sodding thing was indestructible!

Mum bought my coats a size too big so that I could ‘grow into them’. She bought me one in the sales once and it’s fair to say that it was going cheap because nobody in their right mind would want to be seen dead in it. It was phlegm green, padded and made me look like a caterpillar. I put up with the piss-taking for a few weeks then it ‘mysteriously’ ripped beyond repair. *shifty face*

I also had a pair of these..


Mum liked to get her money’s worth when it came to shoes and demanded to see actual holes before she’d fork out for a new pair. Unlike clothes, she had to buy shoes that actually fitted so my growing spurts totally pissed her off. However, being a mother myself and having spent a small fortune on children’s shoes, I now feel her pain.

~ Miss D ~

My teacher in 1978. Goddess. Looked like Deirdre off Coronation Street.ย  A wonderful lady who actually liked kids which made a welcome change from my previous teacher who was straight out of a Stephen King novel.

The 70’s has been tainted with the recent revelations that some of it’s biggest icons were in fact depraved monsters but Cradle to Grave and The Kennedys have injected some warmth and humour back into the era to remind us that, disagreeable decor aside, it wasn’t too bad really.


Image Credit Star Wars J D Hancock

Image Credit Clarks Shoes Alansplodge


12 thoughts on “Blotted Copy Books, and Caterpillar Coats

  1. What a clear memory you have of the 70’s Tracy, I’m older than you, born in 1965 but can’t remember much until it’s put there in my mind. I remember an elfin like haircut and bright orange hot pants! I remember camping and weeping in the bucket that was thrown over the hedge in the morning! OMG, it did have detol put in it at bedtime but I can remember weeing maybe 7’ish in the morning, my little bottom cheeks dropping into the FULL bucket and yes, the feeling of everybody’s wee on my bum! Writing this, I can hear the noise the zip made in the tent. I started watching The Kennedy’s but couldn’t get into it, but the visuals, clothes, cars, furniture did unlock memories! Lovely photos of you and your Dad, we had a Morris Minor van which my Dad went to a scrap yard and removed a back seat out of a car and then welded and bolted it into our van, thank god I was a child and didn’t gave long legs! After the stress when my mum died I was so ill I had to be placed under the mental health team and it was found I was suffering with proper PTSD, it has blocked many memories, I literally had lost/blocked all childhood memories. Even now, something will jolt a memory and I react differently to it, sometimes happy and sometimes bereft.
    Great blog Tracy๐Ÿ‘
    Big loves xxxxx

    • “my little bottom cheeks dropping into the FULL bucket and yes, the feeling of everybodyโ€™s wee on my bum!”
      My sides are splitting here, Sheerie! LOLOL!!
      You need to write a guest post for me because you have some great stories. ๐Ÿ™‚
      I do have a good memory (long term) short term’s buggered though and I do live in the past. Glad you enjoyed it and thank you for commenting and making me laugh till a bit of wee came out. True story.
      On a serious note..I’m sorry to hear of your PTSD. Hopefully your memories can be unlocked one day. Big lufs. xxxxxx

  2. I think we all had a pair of those shoes! Even now when I complain about needing new boots already, my mum will pipe up with “not Clarks are they?!”

    Now I’m going to my room to think about what I’ve done as I haven’t seen either of those shows and I know I’d flipping well love them! ๐Ÿ™‚ x

    **thanks God for on demand TV technology**

    • Indeed …compared to 70’s when it was a case of if you missed a programme, you had to wait for the re-run lol – unless you were posh enough to have one of ‘those video recorder thingies. ๐Ÿ˜‰ X

  3. You really do have an amazing memory, mine is so hazy! I do however remember the crisp packet loo roll (good analogy!) and Thatcher taking our milk away! I also had a pair of those shoes, in navy I believe ๐Ÿ™‚ I didn’t start school until 1978, so I have stronger memories of the 80’s, but I do have vivid pictures of my dad’s Ford Cortina, my maroon cord dungarees and my fabulous *coughs* bowl cut… Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful trip down memory lane with #ThePrompt x

  4. I’m also enjoying both these series very much. Obviously I’m a bit older than you *sobs* so I was a teenager during the 70s. The fashion was amazing! I had yellow 12″ loon pants, and a blue dress over hot pants combo that I wore with white tights and platform shoes. I thought I was the dogs danglies! Innocent times.

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