47 thoughts on “ALL OUR YESTERDAYS”

  1. Seeing the bikes reminded me.
    Has anyone got pictures of a Douglas T35 ? 55 plus years ago I used to run from Kinloss home to Edinburgh for the weekend usually coming back up late on Sunday night. The only bike I had with rudimentary cruise control. But it had one fault, lean too far and the pot would ground and throw you off.

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      1. I can’t remember the Mark. It was a 350cc Tourer, 2 seats, 1949 I think , deep red colour, it wasn’t fast maybe 60 top whack but set the throttle at 45 and it would run forever.
        I remember it was very reliable despite not getting the servicing it deserved.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. The last time that I saw a Douglas in normal use was a few years ago when I was heading down the Fosse Way to Mallory Park towing the race car and I was aware of this gradually gaining bike behind me. Turned out to be a 90 plus with the rider giving it beans.

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  2. First pic, Tris, is the Vincent HRD Black Shadow, arguably the best British bike ever produced. It had a 1,000cc V-twin engine and the top speed was described as being, “in excess of rider comfort” – in the 1950s – that meant it was so fast it was dangerous.

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  3. Wot? No (Instant) Postum on the shelves. Whit? you’re asking. It was a substitute for coffee invented in the USA in the 19th century made from roasted wheat, I think, but was popular during WW2 when coffee and tea were scarce and I remember it still being available into the 1950’s. My Dad sold it in his shop. It must have lost its popularity in the UK for it was still being produced by Kraft until 2007. Also POM ‘one minute instant mashed potato’, an early forerunner of Smash. I had POM once as a child and it was the most disgusting thing I’d ever tasted. My mother’s memory of wartime when, of course they had to make do with whatever was available, was the awful taste of dried eggs, which I believe came from the USA. I see canned eggs in the image. Don’t fancy that either. But it’s amazing how many products are still around today.

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  4. The packet of Force Wheat Flakes, shown just below centre and to left, features a character called Sunny Jim and gets a cryptic mention in Para Handy, when he refers to the “ kinds of strengthening breakfasts Sunny Jim eats”. We are left to wonder whether Neil Munro was referring to the packet character or his shipmate Sunny Jim. Of course Munro might have been setting up Para Handy pedants for a lifetime of futile speculating.

    Btw, the Tv quiz of yesteryear Superscot, with Jane Franchi, had a question once, “What was the Christian name of the Vital Spark crewman known as Sunny, the answer being sought, wrongly, as “Jim” – but Sunny Jim was the nickname of Davie Green. Said character was much smarter in the stories than the daft laddie portrayed on TV.

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      1. Corn Flakes were from Maize. I remember Wheat Flakes from my childhood – they were bloody awful just turned to mush when milk was added. and tasted terrible.

        When Corn Flakes arrived after the war they were a great improvement while later Rice Krispies appeared.

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  5. Nice. A Vincent Black Shadow and a Honda RC30.

    Starting a Vincent Black Shadow.(998cc.)
    Turn the petrol tank switch on.
    Turn on the headlamp dial one notch.
    Press the tickle switches on the carburettors.
    Mount the bike.
    Pull the twin choke levers full in, then out a little.
    Put the bike under compression by pressing the kickstart and pull in the valve lifter lever, then let it out again on the next stroke.
    Do this a couple of times to prime the engine.
    Then stand up on your peg, hold in the valve lifter kick down and let out the valve lifter at the very last second.
    Do this several times.
    If you are lucky, the engine will start with a huge cloud of black smoke.
    Let out both chokes full and turn the headlamp on another click. Something to do with the battery, I forget.

    To start a Honda GL 1000 (999cc.)
    Mount the bike.
    Press a wee button.
    Ride away.

    Which bike would I rather have? The Vincent obviously…

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      1. Going by recent auctions, top-end Vincents are now firmly in investment territory and probably won’t be ridden. I’ve always liked RC30s, too; had an NC30 (400 version) some years ago and still ride normal-type VFR750s every day.

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          1. There was one sold at auction recently – a Black Lightning with documented racing provenance – which went for just shy of a million U.S. dollars. Black Lightning was the factory racer*. Even the singles are gaining in value – many of the components are common with the twins. A friend of mine has a Series 2 Rapide – the basic V-twin – which he bought some years ago because it was good value (around £10k, as I remember?). Its financial value is now probably three or four times that. It’s a nice thing to ride, but a bevel Ducati’ll do the same thing for a fraction of the outlay. As such, they cease to be bought and sold as motorcycles; only as investments and rarely, if ever, used.

            *The famous photo of Rollie Free is of him on a Lightning.

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  6. I heard some older guys talking about Chiclets, a once popular candy coated chewing gum. Popular in the 1950’s or later, but apparently not seen on shelves in the states for many years. Wiki says still available in UK.

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    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiclets

      According to this:

      are still available in Algeria, Colombia, Argentina, Egypt, Canada, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Mexico, Venezuela, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Dominican Republic, United Kingdom, and parts of the Americas.[1]

      (Although, if you have already mentioned Mexico,Canada, Venezuela adn Colombia, I’m not sure why you would say “and parts of the Americas”)

      But I’ve never seen it here… (or indeed heard of it, until you mentioned it).

      Anyone else?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Chiclets! I remember being really impressed when my father’s “flying aunts” came on a visit from the States and brought some. I can still taste them.

        Those car washers are a bit long in the tooth. And they don’t look Polish.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Chiclets were apparently once very popular in the states. I don’t know what to make of that “parts of the Americas.” Seems like they would say “United States” since they said “Canada.” I’ve never seen them here.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. He he… Ah, the things they used to bring from the States.

          That’s a look into the future, Dave.

          When the Europeans go home, car washing will be done by pensioners to earn their state pension.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Tris, the women in the fourth photo look like factory, possibly munitions factory, workers at the time of the First World War. I have a photograph of my late granny dressed identically to the lassie in the middle. My gran lost two fingers and half the thumb from her right hand in an accident in the factory. Not all war wounds were suffered on active service.

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    1. It was, I think, earlier than your gran would have been. I seem to recall that it was 1919. It’s Ernest Brooks, and he was a WWI photographer.

      Factory work was dangerous before the Factory Acts and then the H&S Acts.

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      1. No, Tris, not earlier than my gran would’ve been, she was a WW1 munitions worker so within the 1914-18 parameters. If the pic is Brooks and 1919 it’s (just) post WW1 and I’m surprised that the women are still in the factories.

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  8. Tris, the second picture is, I’m pretty sure, not of some early British car wash. The two guys doing the cleaning aren’t exactly dressed for car washing with their hats, collars & ties, baggy trousers. I notice that not only they but the driver of the Mini Cooper are wearing white coats as are another couple of fellows in the background. It looks as though they are disinfecting the car, so I wonder if they’re men from the Ministry (of Agriculture) and if this was taken during the outbreak of Foot & Mouth Disease in 1967.

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        1. I never considered that. Our first ever “new” car was a D reg Cortina, so I’ve considered all such plates to be ’66. You learn a lot here.

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          1. So does the number stay with the vehicle for its life?
            In the states, vehicle registration is a state matter, and states generally require re-registration (with a fee) every year…..or in Missouri, you can now register your car (for twice the yearly free) two years at a time. So depending on the state law, you might get new metal plates (for mounting front and rear) when you renew the registration, or more often just new stickers with the new year ID to stick on the old plates.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Number is for life, but you still have to pay road tax every year.

              Different rates for different cars, depending I imagine on pollution value.

              New plates seems an expensive way to go about it, even stickers.

              We used to get tax discs sent to us when we paid for the new year. These had to be displayed in the windscreen of the car. Now though it is done electrically and there is no paperwork.

              http://cdn1.theweek.co.uk/sites/theweek/files/styles/16x8_465/public/2/80/140813-tax-disc_0.jpg?itok=qoMlYMAy

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  9. Its nice to look back , but wouldn’t want to go back . Maybe you could pair it up with a past version of the future that we live in now , could be surreal .

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