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Off my trolley? The shopping trolley is back!

THE highlight of last week was a trip to Poundland. Keeping in line with my rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle, this week I did a bit of online shopping. It took place at approx. 18:22 hours on Sunday. I was excited about my purchase and excited about selecting the click and collect option.  I collected it on Monday morning and it’s now stored in the cupboard under the stairs. I’d talked about making this purchase for months – decision finally made and now I’m the proud owner of a two-wheeled shopping trolley.




Back in time for shopping

Back in the 70s and 80s, my mum would use her shopping trolley every Friday. The first stop was the greengrocers – then onto the various smaller shops and the butchers was the final stop before heading home. The majority of the shopping went into the trolley. I do realise that this brief piece of history brings-forth visions of elderly people but allow me to add some justification to my recent purchase …

It really makes sense 

I live in a vibrant town. The town centre is a two-minute walk from my home. Once in the centre, there are a number of independent coffee shops, a music shop, bookshop, bars and restaurants as well as the usual suspects (Sainsbury’s, Aldi, Iceland and Quality Save). My shopping trip is always on foot and Saturday’s has turned into a Yo-Yo session when it comes to shopping. Just like my mother (and more common these days) I tend to buy things from a number of shops. After buying the necessities (milk, orange juice, canned goods) from the first couple of shops, the weight of carrier bags starts cutting off the blood supply to my fingers – it’s back home to drop off the weighty bags then back out to the shops again – a process that sometimes repeated up to four times! The shopping trolley will put an end to this – I’m looking forward to ‘one-shot’ shopping trips with healthy blood supply to my fingers!


Best behaviour

Even though there’s a big posh shopping centre 20 minutes away, I’m happy to shop local.  I love the atmosphere in the record shop (Music for the Soul), I love going into Darbys Coffee and lounge shop to switch-off and gobble down a bit of cake. Recently I’ve realised that I’ve got be be on my best behaviour around town – once in a blue-moon I’m approached by a local who cautiously asks ‘Are you an author?’ Instead of replying with ‘Of course I bloody-well am – you shouldn’t have to ask!’ (a reply that could really catapult my popularity to diva-like status!), I smile and reply with ‘Yes I am – how are you today?’ Going forward, the question of whether or not I’m an author will not be required – the chap pulling the check-patterned shopping trolley is indeed an author.


Anyone else using a shopping trolley? Any of the above designs takes your fancy? Let us know as usual. 

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The introduction to 80s comedy ‘The Kit Curran radio show’ gives us a nostalgic look back at shopping precincts, trolleys and 80s graffiti – here’s the link to the video The Kit Curran Radio Show


Enjoyed the blog? A nostalgic collection of blogs featuring a fun and factual look back at British advertising, leisure and entertainment from the yester-years are featured in the new hardback book, Section N Underpass. Release date November 2018.

Section N Underpass Cover

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Staying power: Wagon Wheels, Fray Bentos pies and Quality Street

LAST weeks blog was about drinks and munchies from yester-years – Opal Fruits, Marathon and 5-4-3-2-1 were mentioned. Whilst Opal Fruits and Marathon are still alive and kicking under different names, the same can’t be said of 5-4-3-2-1.

I had a fruitful trip to Poundland this week  …  Nivea mens shower gel, 30 brown envelopes and Neutradol air freshener – all three for three quid (may sound obvious but not everything in Poundland is one quid as you’ll find out later in this blog).

There were a few items, that were once heavily advertised on television, that has held onto their original name and are still being churned out – items that have seem to be held down with Super Glue 3 and show no signs of shifting. Here goes …


Wagon Wheels


wagon wheel
Wagon Wheels from yester-years

And here the debate begins. I’ve heard numerous stories that over the years the size of wagon wheels have shrunk more than a jumper that’s gone through a hot wash. Stories of wagon wheels once being so huge that jaws would seize-up halfway through chomping were not uncommon. The once jaw-jamming wheels are still around at the bargain price of £1.

2018 Wagon Wheels




Fray Bentos Steak and Kidney pies




The strapline used in advertising was ‘No lumps, fat or gristle … guaranteed!’ Once regularly advertised on television this was a time-saver for many not wanting to faff around rolling puff pastry or chopping up beef and kidney.  I’ve not eaten one of these in years but that’s about to change this weekend – I’ll let you know if it’s still fat and gristle-free next weekend. The price … £1.


2018 Steak & Kidney pie




Quality Street


Quality street
Back in the day – Quality Street in a metal tin


We began on a controversial note so we’ll finish on one. They didn’t have a tin or plastic box of Quality Street in Poundland, but they did have a triangular-shaped box selling for not £1 but £2! A big metal tin of Quality Street was a common feature on living room tables over the Christmas period – it would last for ages! The soft-centred ones were commonly gobbled-down first and the harder ones left to rattle around in the tin. Today, Quality Street are less likely to be in a metal tin. Have Quality Street had the shrunken jumper treatment? All facts, figures and measurements will be gladly received so let us know.





Three products with staying power – money for television advertising seems to have dried-up but they are still with us. The odd nip and tuck plastic surgery and internal organ transplant means they’ll most likely outlast many of us!


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Missed last weeks’ blog? Check it out here: Thirst-busters and munchies from yesterday-years

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Thirst-busters and munchies from yesterday-years

BACK in the day, one of my favourite drinks was Cocopina – a coconut and pineapple flavoured fizzy drink with a bright toxic colour, packed with sugar, artificial colours and flavourings … it tasted great! I also enjoyed chomping on a marathon bar to stave off hunger whilst out cycling on my cheap version of the Raleigh Grifter. Those were the days when a friend knocked on the front door and asked if I was ‘playing out’. Below are a few drinkies and munchies you may remember from those playing out days …





In a nutshell: Mixed fruit soft drink with high tech advertising.

Strapline: ‘It’s a miracle but we’ve made it’.

Decade: Short lived – only a few years during the 80s.



The Corona drinks range

Corona 2

In a nutshell: Not the Mexican lager drunk with a wedge of lime but a range of popular soft drinks. Many of the drinks were sold in glass bottles. Popular flavours were Cherryade, Limeade, Cream Soda and Orangeade.

Strapline: ‘Every bubble’s passed its fizzical.’

Decade: Began in the 1880s and was popular thought the 60s, 70s and 80s. Sadly no longer with us.





In a nutshell: Hugely popular chocolate bar packed with peanuts. Now called Snickers but many people still called them Marathon.

Strapline: ‘Comes up peanuts slice after slice’.

Decade: 30s through to the 90s.


Opal Fruits

opal fruits

In a nutshell: Soft chewy sweets now called Starburst. Flavours were Lemon, Orange, Lime and Strawberry.

Strapline: ‘Made to make your mouth water’.

Decade: 60s through to the 90s





In a nutshell: Gosh I seriously miss this bar! Made-up of five parts – milk chocolate, light crispy rice, caramel, fondant and wafer.

Strapline: ‘5 bars – 5 treats’.

Decade: Like Quatro, short lived – 80s.



Any other favourites? Let us know.


Check out  the YouTube ads here:




Open Fruits




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Enjoyed the blog? A nostalgic collection of blogs featuring a fun and factual look back at British advertising, leisure and entertainment from the yester-years are featured in the new hardback book, Section N Underpass. Release date November 2018.

Section N Underpass Cover


retrohen: read – remember – reminisce – share

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The Rubik’s Cube remembered

Rubik's cube 2


I’M not the sharpest tool in the box. What little sharpness I have is disappearing faster than a greyhound out the traps. To put things into context, I recently struggled to change chain on my bike even though I’ve changed bike chains a number of times over the years. After accidently smashing a chain connector tool and spending a number of hours trying to link the chain together, I eventually managed to fit it. I was proud of my achievement but my sense of achievement nose-dived when I put the bike to the test during a Saturday morning ride – where was that loud rubbing sound coming from?  I decided to bring the bike to experts at the local bike shop. The diagnosis was swift – I’d fed the chain through the wrong loops! ‘Schoolboy error’ was the comment from the smiling bike mechanic.


My lack of sharpness showed its embarrassing face during the 80s when it seemed like almost everyone was doing the Rubik’s Cube. I watched some of the guys at school twist, study and twist again before shouting  ‘Done it!’ or ‘Skill’ when all the colours matched-up on each side. The Rubik’s Cube craze was massive – homes, schools, public transport, workplaces – that unmistakable twisting of the cube sound was everywhere – the Rubik’s Cube gripped the nation!


In an attempt to join the clever crew (who were able to complete the whole cube), I began practicing at home. After twisting, studying and twisting again, my greatest achievement was completing one side of the cryptic cube. I began hating everything to do with the Rubik’s Cube – the clever people who’d effortlessly complete the whole cube, a completed cube innocently sitting on a desk (I saw this as a sign of boasting) and even the company who’d developed the cryptic cube – I hated them all! The 3×3 cube was one of the earliest benchmark highlighting my need for sharpening-up.

The Rubik’s cube proved to be too easy for many so the makers decided to develop the Rubik’s Revenge – the 4×4 version. It comes as no surprise that I didn’t even attempt this!


Rubik's revenge



These days I love the look of the Rubik’s Cube – I love the nostalgic memories and the decoration it provides when sitting on a coffee table or mantelpiece. I’m considering buying one – it will be a decorative feature (to go with the typewriter and 70s cassette player) – I’m sure I’ll have the urge to twist, study and twist again – and cement my position as a blunt tool at the bottom of the toolbox!


Missed last weeks post? Catch it here: Nostalgic lagers, world cup football, VAR and personality types