Remembrance of Things Past

Mostly about growing up the 1950s in Ilford, Essex.

[94] A Life in the Day



I’ve been thinking about some of that things that typify my daily and weekly life. Just routine, ordinary things.

Starting the Day

I don’t have to wake up at any particular time but if I need an alarm I use either my [mobile phone] or an [app] on my [tablet.] I shower with [shower gel] or bath with the bubbles provided by [foam bath], then get dressed, with clothes almost entirely made from [man-made fabrics] such as [viscose] or [polyester] in the warmth of my home with its [double glazing] [cavity wall insulation] and [central heating.] The heating has, of course, already come on with its [automatic timer.]

[For this blog, for reasons which will become obvious, I am not going to try to note all the differences in UK and USA word usage.]

If I have breakfast it’s fairly old-fashioned, perhaps cereal with [semi-skimmed] milk. We don’t have [breakfast cereal bars.] My wife has a concoction of [blueberries] and [yoghurt.] We both always have [Americano] coffee made with our [Nespresso] machine. I used to like [peppermint tea] or [camomile.] Cups and saucers and dishes go into the [dishwasher.]

The post comes through the letter box. It’s normally either [first class post] or [junk mail] and it’s all addressed with our [postcode.] Throughout the day we also get [junk phone calls] mostly about [compensation claims] or [payment protection insurance.] When we’re out they are recorded on our [answerphone.]


We use an [automatic key] with [central locking] for the car, which is, of course, a [hatchback.] It has [climate control] and [satnav.] It may also have [cruise control] but we only use this on a [Motorway.] The car stops frequently at [traffic lights] and [pedestrian crossings] where pedestrians wait for the [green man] signal. Almost all the roads in town have [double yellow lines.] Parking, where available, is usually managed by [pay and display] or [coin machines.]


We usually go to the [supermarket] either by car or on foot. Before shopping we stop for coffee where we both entertain ourselves on [mobile phones] or [tablets.] Most of the [apps] access [the Internet] using the café’s free [wi-fi.]

I won’t go through our daily shopping but here are some things we get often. We have [palm oil spread] or [sunflower seed spread] on bread and use [sugar substitute] instead of sugar. Sometimes we eat [pre-packed meals] [vacuum wrapped] and made for the [microwave] – but some cook best in a [fan oven.] There are things like [chicken tikka marsala], [lasagne] or other [pasta], [pepperoni] [pizza] and others.

We regularly buy fresh fruit and vegetables like [avocado] and [rocket salad.] Our regular weekly food list includes [hummus] and [goji berries.] If food is left over is goes into the refrigerator covered in [clingfilm.]

We drink [fizzy water] and [canned] Coca-cola. It’s easy to open the can with its [ring-pull.]

After going round with our [shopping trolley] we stop at the [checkout] where [bar-codes] are [scanned] by [laser.] We pay by [credit card] using a simple [PIN number.]


I don’t do much cooking but my speciality is a [stir-fry] with a [wok] usually with [cous-cous.] I use an [electric kettle] for the cous-cous. I can also do omelettes in a [Teflon] [non-stick frying-pan] and make a mean frangipane with our [food processor.]


Because I am doing a [blog] I take lots of [JPG images] with my [digital camera.] It’s easy to see what I am photographing on the [LED screen] and I can [review] what I have taken instantly. Back home I [upload] pictures to a [laptop] [computer] with its [mouse] and [touchpad] – or [touchscreen.] I put the pictures into [folders] and maybe edit them by [cropping] or [photoshop.] Then I load pictures to [Wordpress] and also to [Facebook] and other [social media] [web-sites.] Anyone can find my blog by using [Google] or other [search engines.]


We play a lot of Bridge. It’s a card game where you shuffle and deal cards. Now we use [computer generated hands] and we enter the scores on [Bridgemates.] By the end of the evening scores are available on the Bridge Cub [web-site.] The English Bridge Union (EBU) updates our [Bridge gradings] overnight.


We entertain ourselves in the evening with our [flat-screen] [colour monitor] and [Freeview] television showing dozens of [satellite channels.] We can [record programmes] and watch them later or we can use [IPlayer.] The same equipment gives access to [digital radio.] For music we also have [CD] [DVD] [MP3] and other formats for music. All of these devices use [remote controls.]


I can check my bank statements [online.] It’s mostly [transfers] with a [debit card] but there are lots of monthly [direct debits] – for things like [ISP] [online shopping] and [council tax.] It’s nice and easy with [decimal currency.] 


We wash clothes with [non-bio] [capsules] in our washing machine according to their [laundry care labels], using a [fabric softener] and iron with a [steam iron.]


Once a week I put out the [wheelie bin] and [recycling boxes.] If we need cash we can get it from a [cash machine] outside the supermarket. We go out to eat fairly often. I like [carveries] where the standard desserts may include [banoffee pie] [lemon drizzle] [Mississippi mud pie] or [death by chocolate]. Sometimes we just lice ice-cream – [mint choc chip] is my favourite.


And the day ends I put on my [onesie] for bed and snuggle under the [duvet.]


Some of you may be thinking that all these words in [brackets] are things we didn’t have in the fifties. That’s true but that’s not my point. It’s about the words themselves. They are words and phrases that most people would not have even understood. There are, of course, some sweeping generalizations. You can find more thoughts about words in post number [39.]

(I would like to point out that not all of the above is strictly accurate from a personal point of view. In particular I do not own a onesie. Nor do I ever intend to do so. I have nothing against people who wear them.)

Author: Alan

Retired, currently living in Cheltenham.

4 thoughts on “[94] A Life in the Day

  1. I live in a Canadian city. Your day is similar to how I and my friends might spend a day. I look upon my daily life as very American. We live on the American Earth whether we live in Surrey or Vancouver (Well our lives are probably not as violent or dramatic as Americans who live in Texas!) What do you think?


    • It was not so much about the day as the words for new things. I suspect Canadian English is closer to ours than US English. We are becoming a global society in some ways.


  2. I don’t know how I managed to leave out [email] [takeaway] and so much more …


  3. Pingback: [114] It’s only words, and words are all I have | Remembrance of Things Past

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