21 October 2005

We were so poor that we had to burn the telly one Christmas to keep warm.

When I was young we were poor, not grindingly poor but cash wasn't plentiful and had to be watched with a keen eye. Mend and make do was the name of the game. My mum went to jumble sales and charity shops, hand me downs were gratefully accepted.

However that is not how we (my brother and I) usually put it...

Eee we were so poor that we had to burn the telly one Christmas to keep warm. Well a slight exaggeration but until about 1978 we had a succession of black and white televisions that predated transistors. So they were stuffed full of thermonic valves. We had to turn the telly on 5 minutes before the programme we wanted to watch started to allow the valves to warm up. They also were constantly failing so Dad amassed a collection of old tellies which he stripped for working valves. Eventually this source dried up and my parents were forced to buy a new telly.

It was a Ferguson. It was in colour It didn't have to be laid on it's side to make the vertical hold work.

We loved it.

Because the old tellies had solid wood cases Dad chopped them up for firewood. He also took an axe to one of the cathode ray tubes because, as he said, he had always wanted to see an implosion. It was very impressive.

Image from The University of Aberdeen


  1. Yes, OK there is a certain lack of image I will sort it out when I get home this is one of the problems of blogging through my lunch hour.

  2. Old telly... Luxury.

    We had to make do with an empty cardbourd box with pictures drawn onto it!!!

    Kids of today ay!!!

  3. You were lucky to have a cardboard box.

    We had to make do with our gran pretending to be Desmond Morris in the corner

  4. Got the image sorted out. I'm sure we have anti fun software at work it is laughably poor there was no obvious reason why that picture should not have uploaded to Blogger.

    Steph, Siobhan it isn't a competition you know. ;-)

  5. Hmmm. *ponders and implosion* I think I'll try that!

  6. Desmond Morris...Desmond Morris...Our gran couldn't even do Johnny Morris, We had to put up with 3 stray cats running in a circle in the garden with charcoal drawings stuck on them, with bird lime, if they ran fast enough it looked like a cartoon....

    and you tell kids that today ...do they believe you...do they ek as like?


  7. straying completely off the subject but i like your geoloc thing, i've not noticed it before ( which is not unusual for me ). whilst i was here it was saying that someone from new zealand was also reading your blog, how cool is that? :)

  8. On the other hand, we had a lot of things then that they don't have today.

    Ringworm. Nits. Opportunity Knocks.

    They don't know they're born.

  9. Ahhh, tubes. I remember those things.

    In the ham radio world, tubes are still used. I have an amplifier that uses tubes. I like the way it glows when I power it up. It even glows brighter when I talk into it, and dimmer when it is on standby. Pretty neat.

  10. I hear you....

    I remember when they used to say, 'the following program is broadcast in colour'.... and we would all boo.....

    but then.....

    We bouyght a colour television, a Kingsley..... it cost about £16,000 in todays money.....

    It was the business..... wooden cabinet.... the works....

    Thye only problem was that it had static buttons to change the channel.... which was the height of space age technology..... except that in the summer's of 1975 and 76 there were a lot of flys.... so you would be watching We Are The Champions and the next moment you were watching Magpie....

  11. One of my most vivid memories from childhood (which wasn't that long ago, I hasten to add) was me and my brother playing with a table-tennis ball in our living room one night. My brother threw it (not hard) at the TV screen - an old black and white thing that we'd had since the early seventies - which promptly went *phut* and refused to come back on.

    Weeks went by before we managed to persuade Mum and Dad to buy a new one. And they splashed out and got a colour set. Which was great for watching stuff, but made sod-all difference when playing Elite

  12. Elite - Now you are talking Siobhan - possibly the best computer game ever! Me, my brother and my Mum all loved it.
    If anyone could point me in the direction of a PC based version of it I would be a happy Sloth.

    Stephen - Hi and welcome only try smashing CRTs taking precautions though.

    Aginoth - Lol

    Freiya - I know what you mean about the geoloc thing it's cool.

    Selina - Lol but they still have nits and at least we had Nitty Nora the Nit Nurse.

    Iggy - I bet that looks way cool. I remember staring at the back of the TV looking at the tubes through the grills waiting in despiration for them to glow as Dr Who was on and we had forgotten to turn the telly on in time.

    Eeore - Show off we didn't get our colour telly until 1978 :-p

  13. oh yeah, that reminds me, I've got a broken 25inch tv waiting to be imploded in the garage... I'm thinking baseball bat, but I dunno... I remember my Grandmum buying a new colour tv and sold her old black and white one to my brother for $1.

  14. TABLE TENNIS BALL!!!...We used to DREAM of table tennis balls!!!

    We had to gather dust from the floor, and try and clump in together into a ball shape :-(

  15. You were lucky to have dust

    We used to have to get up at 3 in the morning, and grind our palms together just to make enough dust so our gran could stich it together with her own hair to make a Desmond Morris moustache.

    Or am I thinking of Robert Winston?

  16. Oh yeah, Elite - I was completely useless at that, until I cheated and got a docking computer through a hack.

  17. Then there's the whole debate about whether valve or solid state amps sound better in the hi-fi world... those valves just won't die. LOL.