Thursday, 17 November 2005

Way back when...

Our local paper republishes items from the archives.

This comes from fifty years ago:
A former rector of Berwickshire High School, Doctor D. S. I**** is receiving protests from parents against their boys taking part in the school swimming classes in the nude. The swimming master says it is the most hygienic way because wool from the costumes clogs up the pool filters.
And this is from a hundred years back:
Residents of our cities are familiar with the imposing vehicles reserved for the accommodation of transgressors of the law. In country districts a much more primitive means of transit is adopted. The good town of Coldstream boasts a humble two-wheeler drawn by a quadruped that may have been a frolicsome young colt something like twenty years ago. In its infrequent runs to Duns, this gaunt steed is driven by the policeman who has charge of the prisoner. But though the distance between the two places is ten miles and the intervening country is very sparsely populated, efforts of escape are seldom, if ever, made.
What a lovely picture this paints from 1905. The leisured style of writing, the words chosen seem so very dated in what is really not much more than my lifetime. As for the nude swimming! I cannot imagine that this was just fifty years back. All costumes were wool – no Speedo skin-tights then. I can remember the woollen shorts. They looked so very smart until getting wet when they drooped down like rhino skin. No matter where purchased, they all looked like they had been knitted by your mum. I doubt if the matter would be so easily disposed of today when one needs almost a licence from Interpol and certificate of approval from the World Health Organisation to come within 100 yards of a fully clothed juvenile. When I concentrate, I can remember that by 1955 I was quite an exponent of mixed bathing and skinny dipping at midnight. I doubt if we would have thought of the excuse about clogging filters had we been challenged.

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