The past has the advantage over the present and the future, in that your brain can selectively retrieve it, remembering it, as Shakespeare said, “with advantages”. Seven of us got together and unexpectedly opened floodgates of 1950s nostalgia.

We old friends congregated round a table set with food,
Remembering the past from long ago.
It was wall-to-wall nostalgia: we were in reflective mood
As we talked about the times we used to know.

Then, life was rosy, bright and safe, and horses ploughed the ground,
And fields were full of flowers, cows and sheep;
Front doors were left unlocked, so we’d go out and run around,
Forever making memories we’d keep.

The phone box at the bus-stop had two buttons: B and A.
How lucky if you got to press the B one!
And ricks with sloping roofs were built in fields to store the hay ­–
It’s such a shame, these days you never see one.

So many things have changed: the smithy’s gone, the brickworks too;
The Sompting Children’s Outing is no more;
The carnivals are over; and the old black barn we knew
Has vanished; so has Lintern’s hardware store.

Vic Bashford sold us vegetables, Frank Slimming sold us meats;
Our groceries we got from Skilton’s shop.
The newsagent sold gobstoppers and liquorice, and sweets
From shelves of jars, each with a screw-on top.

We reminisced indulgently for ages; it was pleasant,
But Father Time looked in to end our wallow.
The evening’s now a memory itself; the fleeting present
Has taken us to what was then tomorrow.

[Photos: Daily Mail (left); (centre); (right)]
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