Talking to Woodsy recently in light of his recent nostalgic posts of plastic toys and novelty bits and pieces, I suddenly realised that I still had some of these things myself. As a complete hoarder, I rarely throw stuff away and have even the tiniest items from childhood. While most of my hoard is toys, there are other things which I find to interesting or just too downright precious to throw away.
One of these is the screaming skull keyring shown above, which dates from the mid sixties and would have come from the Harbour stores in Rhyl, North Wales, a favourite holiday haunt.
In amongst several boxes of stuff I have, all of which would fall into the category of 'memento' is a pocket fob watch my dad gave me, with his signet ring strung on the chain. The watch was originally my grandfathers and he apparently had it from a german soldier during the second world war. What is especially wonderful is the small section of cloth in the outer case, which when I removed it, revealed a tiny cut out photograph of an unknown lady. Whether this is my great grand mother or some relative of the german soldier, my dad was never able to clarify.
Next up is a random selection of the more recognisable things, a hand written recipe for ginger beer from when I was about 9, a football fixture card by Walkers Bitter, a sew on Blue Peter badge, tube of iron filings from a Thomas Salter Magnet Experiment set, King Tuts Mummy Case (Tut himself having long since been grave-robbed), a tin car, naked woman keyring, a Britains (or Charbens) Iron Chicken, a Honey West capgun, Silver Jubilee Commemorative coin and some of my collection of compasses.
Rubbing shoulders with this lot of ephemera we have a ceramic Loch Ness Monster, some armourial badges, the head of a jiggly skeleton with jewel eyes, a rubber crab, school prefect badge, plastic brush from a Corgi trailer model, Action Man dog tag, some wooden animals, Telfords Iron Bridge miniature, a fly brooch, plastic glider, Charlie Horse and Wishbone from MB Games Operation, a thupenny bit and a jaw harp!
The red 'cone' is a slide viewer from about 1969 from Currys grotto in Liverpool.
Notice the Play-Doh and Dalek Gun on the shelf beside me!
To round it all off, a collection of old pennies, ranging from 1967 backwards, one of which I fished out of a crack in a now demolished wall in Church Street, Southport, outside the clinic I used to work in, while I was waiting for a lift.
The bottom two are new 1p pieces, remade into deformed tokens by a novelty machine in the Cadbury Bournville Factory in Birmingham.
So many things when considered from an outside point of view would be regarded as worthless, but to me, each one is a direct link to some evocative memory of my past.