I may only have been 6 but I do remember back to 1979 where it was 5p for a single journey on the bus and you could get a bag of chips for 30p after a swim in the Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh. A ‘shivery bite; we called it as it was something warm to eat after our swim. Getting a chippy was our special treat: after a swim or on your birthday. We would all wait patiently for dad to come home, laden down with greasy parcels and smelling of a frying pan. Hands full of plates and cutlery, attempting to feed the five thousand or The Walton’s as my big family was affectionately known. Nowadays I give me kids an apple or something very boring and healthy. Now that I think about it – there is a good chippy on the way home…

I hark back to the days of ‘The Famous Pippa Dee nightdress’. My Mum would go to ‘Pippa-Dee parties’ and spend a small fortune on PJ’s for us all.  Not so unlike The Body Shop At Home or Pampered Chef. I always remember my Granny saying that we shouldn’t sit too near the fire as the fantastic polyester PJ’s, that were all the rage then, would promptly go on fire ‘like what happened a few roads up to Betty Williamson’. Whoever she may be. I loved those PJs. Pippa-Dee always sounded so amazing and exotic, a bit like Camper Barbie and her Safari Suit with the matching hat. Well, to my naive 6-year-old mind anyway.

I remember they were brown with a cream, almost bib-like neckline that was filled with frills and ribbons, to the point where you could almost choke on the material that swarmed your chest when you lay down. They made me very, very warm. I do remember waking up and the heat radiating out of me was astonishing.There was a hole range of items that you could purchase but having 5 kids, Mum decided copious PJ’s would suffice for her ever-wanting brood.

Maybe that’s why Mum kept them in the ‘Winter’ bag, where all things wooly and warm would live until it came out around August the next again year. We never really had Summer’s – more like Rain’ers or Wind’ers.

I can still smell those chips though. Do they still have the wooden forks, you know the ones you ignore because you would rather burn your fingers instead? Made the chips taste fantastic!


  1. Oh the pain trying to dredge my memories like this. I can remember being probably 10 and the cost of a bus ride depended on how far you were going but started at a penny. The public baths was 6d (pence) to swim and a portion of chips cost about the same as did the Saturday matinee at the local flea pit. Blackjacks or fruit salad sweets were 4 for 1d and we ate liquorice root or aniseed balls with a real seed at the centre.We all earned our money doing paper rounds before or after school and earned a fortune from about mid October doing ‘Penny for the Guy’ and mid November going Carol singing.
    Summer days were hot ( Sorry Edinburgh) and Winter nights crisp and snow laden. Yes there was rain but once we had enough for the gardens I think we sent it to Edinburgh or elsewhere in Scotland.( sorry Glasgow).
    To put this in context children, I think a portion of chips coast me a £1 recently which is 40 times what I used to pay. Mars Bars were I think 4d where they’re now in excess of 50p each which means for this money I could buy at least 30 of them.
    Did you really have to do this to me Sarah?
    xxx Hugs xxx

    1. There is nothing better than taking a trip down memory lane – you appreciate the things in life that you have previously taken for granted – polyester PJ’s included 🙂
      David – I have just finished ‘The Humans’ by Matt Haig – you have to read it and let me know what you think!