The 1970’s Alphabet of Ambition

Blog Post 6

Me with Tim and Lucy visiting home at Claremont Farm around 1979. Kit Hill Stack in the background

I present to you the notion that each generation has a collective ambition. For ours, born after the war, it was the brave new world of empowerment for. A child in one hand, a career in the other. We had it all. Or maybe we had quite a lot.

 It was the time of getting married, and loving stripped pine and earthenware pottery. We aspired to antiques/junk, growing wild bluebells, ( that was maybe just me) and Country Living magazine. We only kept in touch with our friends who lived away at Christmas time or with the occasional letter.  If we lived in the town, we had images around us that reminded us of the country. Jugs of wild-flowers and homemade wine kits. Images that built on the idea of a life connected to nature and farming, but not actually dirtied by it.

 (Feel free to add your own 1970s ambitions.)

A is for Avocadoes, (a new thing)  the ambition to have an Aga,  and if we could, antiques, au pairs (we often were one, not so often had one.) Alarm clocks woke us up for work or getting up to get the children to school.

is for book groups, ‘The joy of Sex’ by Alex Comfort (not discussed at the book group) and bread (homemade). Ban the Bomb, Beatles (disbanded) Black Forest gateau. Biros, replacing fountain pens. Breastfeeding, Blackberry picking.

is for cultural ambition and coffee mornings and crafts. Conservation when it seemed not too desperate. 

   Careers took a back seat when the children were little. Cycling with a wicker basket on the front. Colour tv arrives for some. Cravat were still being worn under an open necked shirt if you wanted to look posh.

was for dinner parties and dogs and discussion groups, do it yourself, Danger-mouse, depression was recognised. Dads encouraged to see their babies born and come to the prenatal sessions. Duvets replaced sheets and blankets. Dinner services of nice china was expected as wedding presents.

E  Evening classes. Earth-mother. Entrepreneurial enterprises – to earn a bit of money on the side.

F Furniture (second hand), feminism, freezing too many homegrown green vegetables, first fast food. First folding               Pushchairs. Flower-power songs. Fear Of Flying by Erica Jong.

 Grandparent holidays, beginning of glam rock, college girlfriends and gay rights. Greenham common. Gardening.

Holidays at home. Hitchhiking, Harold Wilson, hot pants, hedgerows

 Irish troubles, interest rates sky high, but houses cost 10 thousand pounds.

is for jam making, Junk to collect. Jonathan Livingstone Seagull to read.

Kids before twenty-five, Knitting, Kinky Boots.

long haired men. Less abortions. (not connected) Long hair worn down (Mary Hopkin style) for evenings up in a bun for work.

M is for making and mending clothes. Microwaves. Men’s fashion started to be colourful. Mortgages just becoming available for single women.

N No computers. No mobile phones, not many home helps. Some nannies. Nylon sheets. Natural Child birth, National Housewive’s Register.

O Orange juice at breakfast time. Only one coat.  

P Pill, pressing wildflowers, plastic bags rare enough to keep them for reuse. Patchwork classes.

Queens silver jubilee street parties and Queen. Quirky furniture.

R Ratatouille, 

S is for Stripped Pine, second hand shops, safety belts were the new law, spaghetti bolognaise, sharing childcare.  Supermarkets Or stay at home mum Shoe-cleaning, we still cleaned leather shoes with wax polish and polishing brushes. Trainers were sports shoes we used for sports. 

T Tie-dying, tomorrows world, twin tubs, typing with carbon paper. Three T.V. channels. Trousers not yet O.K. for work. Toy Libraries invented.

U Ugly colour combinations for wallpaper, Upwardly mobile attempts, upcycling.

V is for voluntary work, Vietnam, Valium

willow baskets, wild flowers, spinning wool, 

groups book clubs. Sharing childcare self education girlfriends doing everything ourselves. No help in the house 

W washing machines that were automatic. Wimpy bars. 

X men actors born. 

Y yoga yukky student accommodation 

Zerox ( Xerox ) machines, and zingy patterns on wallpaper and bedspreads… a lot of purple and of course orange and brown) 

Published by marycane

A PhD student at the Elphinstone Institute Aberdeen Scotland. I am studying the experience of being a contemporary grandmother. In particular I am interested in how those grandmothers, whose family live far away, are passing on their family history.

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