Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Parties and Balls

Here's a wander through the archives, revisiting events our group of 10 shared at Saffron Walden Training College in the late 1960's. Parties, dances and balls were a pretty important feature of our lives, living out in the sticks (as it felt then) in the small market town of Saffron Walden, which seemed pretty dead for those of us in our late teens/early twenties!

The College had a twice weekly special bus, known as the Passion Wagon, which took us to the bright lights of Cambridge, 15 miles away and teeming with male students. There we took part in tiddlywinks competitions - Saffron Walden College women v. the Cambridge colleges men - and were invited to parties and May Balls. We also had our own parties, dances and an annual college ball which the Cambridge students and boyfriends of members of our group of 10 attended.

One such party was in Brighton for Sue's 21st in late August 1966. Sue is one of the group of 10 (forgive me Sue if I give your age away!). I travelled there with Barry (that's me in the green dress, sitting on his knee) and Gerry and Paul (that's her on the right, in the white dress, on Paul's knee). And yes, dear readers, we married them. . . . !

On the way there, the exhaust fell off our car as we were driving around a roundabout near Gatwick Airport. We stopped and tied it back on with a pair of Gerry's tights, and resumed our journey. We were a bit late for the party, and our arrival was announced by the noise the botched up exhaust made. The car was named Creeping Moses by Sue as we had to drive it so slowly. The name stuck and we kept "Creeping" for several years after that memorable event. England were playing in the 1966 World Cup tournament that weekend too. The next day, all Barry and Paul seemed to want to do was listen in to the match on the many transistor radios broadcasting it as we walked along the prom in the sunshine.

Here is the group of 10 at Judith's 21st in November 1967. Judith is centre, back row. I'm to the left, wearing the chandelier earrings. Jackie is kneeling in front of me. Sandra is on the front row too, 2nd right. Have we changed? See our mug shots in the sidebar!

Another shot from the same party. There I am on the right, sitting on his lap again! Jackie is standing on the extreme right; Sandra is on the extreme left, sitting on another lap. Those were the days when the men wore suits and ties to parties!

Here's a spot of memorabilia from 1967 - a Cambridge May Ball programme complete with black and white op-art design on the cover. I went to this ball with Barry, who'd managed to get some last minute tickets from a friend who couldn't go and was selling them off cheaply. That's the only was we could afford being there! It was a truly memorable event and we were amongst the "survivors" who stayed up all night and enjoyed piping hot onion soup at 4 a.m. in one of the college courtyards.

This is the menu on offer at the ball - and just look at the wine prices! 17 shillings and 3 pence for a bottle of Nuits St. Georges! That takes us back to the days of "old" money, when there were 240 pennies in a pound. And I think they meant Anjou not "Anjon" Rose!

Here's our "survivors" photo, taken at around 7 a.m. after the ball was over. The car is not ours - we were still struggling along with good old "Creeping"!

Finally, here are some of us at the Saffron Walden Summer Ball in 1968. L-R: Joyce & Barry, Lin & Ian, Gerry & Paul, Judith & James. Look at the hairdo's! Bouffant was in.


Jackie Hutchison said...

Wow Joyce, some old photos there I have not seen before. You talk about students in Cambridge, but Marilynne and I were more interested in airmen at Debden, I seem to recall! Those were the days!

barbara said...

Hi Joyce,
I just love old photos !
It was the best of times for you all, and it's so nice to celebrate happy times like these.
Look at you two lovebirds ;)

c'est ├ža, l'amour !

Have a great weekend.