Monday, 16 March 2009

A Load of Balls

We had some fun at Saffron Walden College in the 60's, in between working hard for 3 years to train as teachers (how CAN the government possibly justify shortening the post graduate training of teachers to a mere 6 months - I digress, don't get me started. . . !).

In between education lectures, essays, teaching practice, main course lectures and study, lesson preparation and learning about the developmental psychological stages of the child, - courtesy of Piaget - we had parties and balls to go to (not to mention teams of us playing Cambridge undergrads at tiddlywinks)!

The famous Cambridge May Ball season (actually the college balls take place in June, not May - but that's Cambridge for you!) was something that could create a buzz of green envy for those who managed to get invited. Barry got tickets for the Selwyn Collge event from someone who was selling them off cheaply (otherwise we couldn't have afforded them as were were saving to get married). The poor guy had probably been ditched by his partner.

Here's a real trawl through the archives:
How about the "op-art" design on the programme - black and white patterning on outfits was the in thing at the time. Take a look at the menu. I do remember the food being rather good! Now look at the wine prices shown in shillings and pence (old money/pre-decimalisation). Was it really possible to get a bottle of wine for 17 shillings and 3 pence?! Those were the days!

Here's the entertainment section of the programme. Who can remember the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band? Or Zoot Money?! What's even more amazing is that Nicholas Parsons ( the cabaret act with stand up jokes and stories) looked old then and he's still broadcasting on the BBC now!!
Finally - aaahhh - a photo of us taken at around 7 a.m. as we staggered away from the ball, having enjoyed hot onion soup at 4 a.m. and had danced the night away. The car wasn't ours (far too grand!) and considering we'd been up all night I don't think we look too bad at all.

This last one is a bit later - July 1968 - and it was taken at the Saffron Walden College Leaver's Ball. The social committee had pulled out the stops for this one as the gents were given white carnations to wear, while the ladies had pink. Oops - Judith chose a white one to go with her dress.

L-R: Joyce (in pink) and Barry; Lin (in blue) and Ian; Gerry (in green) and Paul; Judith (in white) with James.

The main bands were the Swingin' Blue Jeans and the Alan Price Set. Alan Price was very popular, and I for one was amongst those who (gently!) elbowed their way to the front of the crowd to get the best view of his performance. It seemed strange seeing him years later doing a gig at our local theatre when he was on tour.


Maylis said...

Great pictures and great memories :-) I really like that photo of you and Barry after the ball.

Mellow Yellow said...

That was always one of our favourites too!

Jackie H said...

Sandra and I were a mean tiddlywink playing machine! I was the squapper and she was the potter!

I never quite made it to a Cambridge ball - get out the violins because it is a sad story! While we were at Saffers I was half invited to go to a ball with someone's mate but it didn't come to anything. Then when I was first teaching I went out with a Cambridge undergrad for a while and was all set to go to a ball with him, bought some material for my gown, when he dumped me! I still have that material, I hadn't the heart to make it up after that. I bought it at Joshua Taylors, do you remember that shop? It was quite posh, sadly it's no longer there. I told you it was a sad story!

I'm afraid I do remember the Bonzo Dog Do Dah Band and Zoot Money and of course the Swinging Blue Jeans and Alan Price, those were the musical days! Are you sure we couldn't have a sixties theme reunion?!!

Sandyboots said...

I didn't get to one either!! Do remember the bands..Love Alan Price. fancy keeping that material all that time jacky!! yep..i was agood winker!!

Mellow Yellow said...

Jackie & Sandra - you give me hope yet! You both remember those bands! I realise how lucky I was to get to a May Ball & relished the experience.

I made my ball gown, which was a long skirt & contrasting top (the pink outfit I'm wearing in the college ball photo shows it best) and of course I remember Joshua Taylor's - classy shop. Sad, too, that there are so few fabric shops around now (didn't they used to be called drapers?). I have to travel now to get fabric to make things with my new sewing machine. You can get it on line, but I like to touch & feel as well (!)