I was watching Trust Me I'm a Doctor last evening and of course, Obesity, exercise and diet was on their menu for discussion. This morning as John and I were having or early morning walk I was thinking about the programme and remembered being called Skinny-me-link when I was a young girl. Despite being an avid reader and spending time curled up in a chair in our parlour, I still got plenty of exercise daily without thinking about.
At the moment I've going through my agents' comments on my latest book WALKING BACK TO HAPPINESS and one of the comments she made was to do with some children playing out in the evening towards the end of winter. Surely they wouldn't be playing out in the dark? she had typed. This is the very early sixties and in my opinion children still played out with their friends. Television hadn't a strong grip on their minds as there were few TVs around, neither were there that many cars. I know I was a child of the forties and fifties but it wasn't until later in the sixties that so many things began to change and the lives of many working class children didn't change that much.
I look back to times when children and teenagers often remained outside playing or just hanging around beneath a lamp post and talking because it was preferable to going indoors where our parents would be listening to the wireless, so we'd have to be quiet. It was much more fun and exciting outside with friends and we could get the fidgets out of our legs after a day spent sitting at a desk. On the whole we were fearless. We avoided going up back entries because our mothers warned us against doing so, having told us girls that there were men who weren't very nice, so never to go with those who offered us sweets. During the long summer holidays we would go in a group together to the park or play street games whilst our mothers gossiped as they brushed or washed the front step.
There is much that is good and enjoyable about today but years ago we didn't seem to need advice on doing what should come naturally, exercise and eat sensibly.
I didn't lose my Skinny-me-link nickname until puberty when I started to get curves and had a sedentary job in an office, watched telly evenings or went to the pictures which also meant eating a bag of sweets during the films or having a romantic meal for two at a restaurant in town. I did walk there and back to the cinema like most of those who went. Unlike today when we go in the car to one of the multi cinemas on the outskirts of the city. Reason enough for me these days to have that early morning walk and to visit Total Fitness for a swim three times a week.
As for children playing in the street at any time these days it is a rarity, except at Halloween and that's not playing, unless one calls dressing up play and knocking on doors and asking Trick or Treat?