"I was born during the year of inventiveness; 1942. These were war years when all food and most things were rationed. Even if one had the means to buy what one wanted, you couldn't get it for love or money; that is unless you were a good looking woman and American soldiers were garrisoned near by! Do you remember seeing all the ladies between the war years and the 1960's in a headscarf in all manner of place; in the factory or at home concealing a head of curlers and paper ribbons etc?
I recall as a young boy without conventional toys, fashioning all manner of toys from other things one found about the home.Who says that we weren't the first age to use the concept of 'Transformers?' A cardboard box with a hole cut out became a speaking wireless; a brush handle straddled by a ten-year-old boy in short trousers was instantly turned into a cowboy's horse or a dustbin lid was magically transformed into a knight's shield of armour, with a length of cane from dad's garden-shed becoming one's trusty sword. Piggy back fights often simulated jousting tournaments and even a pebble, a skipping rope, an old tin can or a piece of chalk could keep a group of children occupied for hours on end.
Even when bedtime arrived and there were insufficient bed linen and blankets to go around a large family, one's coat would be used to cover the bed and provide warmth.When there were fewer beds than occupants, 'doubling up' would be considered a luxury and six people sleeping top-to-tail would be more usual. If the parents had no money to buy their children new shoes, the holes in the soles would be filled in with bits of stiff cardboard, and unless it rained the following day, or one stood on a jagged stone, one got by without bleeding or discomfort.
I never recall seeing a male in church with his hat on or a woman without some head scarf covering her crown of glory. Today, one experiences all manner of hue and cry on the high street of fashion as pink, purple and two-toned skulls walk the pathways looking like a Saturday night outing by a group of zombies. One even sees trendy pensioners with rinsed blue coloured hair. Look closer towards the root of the problem, however, and you will be able to detect those natural grey hairs struggling to breathe from beneath all the toner, hair dye and lacquer that is more commonly applied as routine maintenance. It has always puzzled me, that given all the rubbish chemicals and coloured potions which ladies apply to their crowns, why women aren't the ones to go bald as a general rule instead of the chaps.
There again, perhaps they do! Women have always been able to kid the chaps. Take the war years for instance; see how the men were led on by a cleverly drawn line from thigh to foot in the perfect disguise of sheer silk stockings. Picture the scene. It’s Saturday night in 1941, and you are a girl on the hunt for a man. You want to wear stockings with your going-out dress, but you don't look the part from the thighs down. The new wonder material nylon has been rationed in building parachutes for the war effort and has disappeared from department store shelves. What do you do in such times of patriotic privation? You have no nylon stockings and you are not prepared to pay a Yankee soldier the Burnley going rate for a pair of silk ones? You get resourceful and draw a stocking seam with an eyebrow pencil; a task that was always easier with the help of an artistic friend with a steady hand.
When it comes to the art of deception, the fairer sex has always been capable of pulling the wool over the eyes of their menfolk, whether it's padding their bras or pencilling their long legs; until of course some poor drunken chap actually tries to remove such garments from the body of his fair lady. Perhaps all women wear wigs and none of their chaps ever notice as we continue to live out our marital lives in blissful ignorance! Well, think about it chaps; when was the last time you ever tried to pull the hair off your woman's head? Never, I bet!" William Forde: July 30th, 2017.