Tag Archives: education

Early Days, 1957 Part Two – Baby Boomers

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For the time being I am coming to the end of my Early Years posts  so please excuse me for a moment for being smug.

In 1957 Harold MacMillan became the new Prime Minister of Britain when Anthony Eden resigned over the Suez crisis debacle and this ushered in the baby boomer years of the late 50’s and 60’s when quality of life it seemed was generally improving for everyone.

MacMillan led the Conservatives to victory in the 1959 general election using the campaign slogan “Life’s Better Under the Conservatives” and he is remembered for his famous personal assessment of these years when he said,“indeed let us be frank about it – most of our people have never had it so good.”  He earned himself the nickname ‘Super Mac’ as opposed to the McDonald’s ‘Big Mac’.

So was he right?  In an honest personal assessment I have to say yes he was.

I was born in 1954  in the years of post war reconstruction and investment and at a time when there was genuine optimism about the future.  For me and my contemporaries there was no World War to live through, a free National Health Service, the eradication of disease, an education system that led to guaranteed employment and an expectation of a long and rewarding life.

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My childhood was comfortable if not extravagant, dad had a career in Local Government and mum stayed at home and kept house.  There were annual holidays to the seaside, a sack full of presents at Christmas  and long glorious summers without a care in the World.

I liked to go to school, even though I wasn’t terribly successful but eventually I was able to progress to University  which in 1972 was an achievement rather than an expectation.

After three years of state funded education (no student loans in 1972) I started work immediately and followed my dad into a local government career with a guaranteed ‘gold plated’ (according to the anti public sector press these days) index linked pension.

Keith, Brian, me and Maureen in the office in 1976…

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I bought my first car soon after starting work and a first house soon after that, getting loans and mortgages was easy and I soon started to climb the property ladder.

1954 First Car118 frobisher road

I had my first continental holiday in 1976 and having got a taste for travel have been doing as much as possible ever since and have been lucky to fly several times a year to Europe and beyond.

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I have two children and three grandchildren with another one on the way. I have never been unemployed, sick or poor and now I am retired from work at sixty-five years old have a blog with almost 5,000 followers and hope to look forward to a long and happy life.

So, was Harold MacMillan right in his assessment of life for the Baby Boomers?  In my case I have to say a categorical yes!

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Unfortunately, I have still got the stumpy legs!

Special Photo Challenge: Inspiration

Finding a picture that explains my blogging inspiration is a tricky one but I have settled on this one because it works on several levels:

When my dad died I took possession of a box of papers and mementos which included a scrap book and several exercise books with yellowing dog-eared pages which included notes and stories of things that he liked to write about and keep a record of and these provided a treasure trove of secrets that helped me understand him and get to know him in a different way to I did when he was alive.  Discovering new things about him really shouldn’t have come as a great surprise because there are many dimensions to a life but the only one that I was fully familiar with was in his role as my father.

This box of old books is now one of my most treasured possessions and I return to it regularly for inspiration.  It is a record of his life that he recorded and archived and I feel privileged to possess this box of history.  It occurred to me one time that if my dad had had access to the internet and to the opportunity to share these things with others through a wider medium then he would surely have been a blogger and because I hoped that in twenty or thirty year’s time my own children might like to know about me in the same way, but I don’t want to keep scrap books or written journals, then I decided that the appropriate modern equivalent to the scrap book would be through blog posts.

Ivan Petcher Sports Reporter

In this picture I am with my grandchildren, we are sitting on a beach in Greece and waiting for a boat to take us to the town of Corfu.

When I was a boy, we used to travel (not far and certainly not overseas – we didn’t even have a car) but we always had a family holiday and days out now and again.  These were important events because my dad had a passion for history and learning and so he shared his interests with me and inspired me in life to enjoy finding out about these places and to study.

Years later I had a family of my own and did the same things with my own children and now even more years later I have grandchildren and I want to introduce them to travel and history and to encourage them to do the same and so I record these events in my blog for them in the hope that one day they will discover it and it will give them some pleasure and inspiration.

My blog is about my travels, the places that I go, the things that I see and how these make me feel.  Writing about these travels has inspired me to read some of the classic travel writers and to gain inspiration from them.

This picture is taken in Kalami on Corfu and in the background of this picture is a white house, it doesn’t look much, it is a restaurant with some rooms above to rent, but this is the White House of Lawrence Durrell where he lived and worked in the 1930s and which is recorded in his book ‘Prospero’s Cell’.

It is conceited to imagine that I could ever produce a classic account of my travels but in the evenings as I sat on the balcony of the room and scribbled down my notes about the day I looked across to the White House and I imagined Lawrence Durrell sitting on his balcony and enjoying exactly the same view while searching for literary inspiration and discovering himself.