The Auntie Doris Years: 1971

Decimalisation. I must admit that I used to like the old money. When you grow up with something it’s sort of hard to let go. I liked the idea of doing things in twelves: Months, hours, inches. It all seemed to make a lot of sense somehow, and it seemed to me as if it was something to do with the time it took for big astronomical things to happen, like the Earth spinning around and travelling around the sun. As well as having something to do with the size of Henry the Eighth’s feet. Or so Mrs Rostrum, my form teacher at school said. Apparently he was annoyed that people in English markets used to all have their own idea of how long a foot was. So he stamped his foot down on a piece of cloth and got his courtiers to measure it. “That is a ruddy foot!” he said “and it shall be the standard measure throughout my kingdom. And it shall be divided into twelve equal parts called ‘inches’ and anyone who sells measures of any material not based on this standard shall be placed in the stocks and pelted with rotten eggs or whatever lays close to the hands of the multitude.” They used to talk like that in those days apparently. It’s a good job his ruddy feet were exactly a foot long though. I wonder if they counted his toenails, because if he was anything like my nephew Michael, that big one would have added on another three eighths of an inch, I can tell you. They cut my ruddy tights to ribbons they do.
I had to learn my twelve times table when I was a lass. I can still remember now that twelve times twelve is 144. I learned that because I thought it was the hardest one, and if I knew that, I would be alright. I ruddy wasn’t. Rostrum went and asked me what eleven twelves were and then gave me a thick ear whilst I was trying to take twelve off 144. It might seem a simple sum to you, but when you have a big sweaty schoolmistress bearing down on you with a wicked glint in her eye it’s not quite as easy, I can tell you.
Any Road, I can understand why they went for decimalisation. It was complicated for us older ones who were used to working in pounds, shillings and pence, but it was a damn sight easier for the kiddies to work in tens. I mean, it’s not as if we have twelve fingers, is it? That Russ Conway didn’t even have ten, but that’s beside the point.
Any road, to read the sodding Daily Mail these days, you would think that we put paid to the country’s illustrious heritage when we went decimal. No, we put paid to the country’s illustrious heritage when we pulled up the railways, and privatised everything, and we are still doing it now as we ruin the National Health Service and pick the last bits of the welfare state to shreds. So put that in your ignorant ruddy pipe and smoke it.
Auntie Doris’s pick of the 1971 pops: “The Lightening Tree” by the Settlers. The theme tune to “Follyfoot.” I used to watch it with my niece, Pam. Arthur English was in it, before his “Are You Being Served?” days. Now there’s some illustrious English heritage!


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