Ghosts of Christmas Presents – 1985

2023 has been a year, hasn’t it? I’m going to be posting some of these reminiscing blog things up until Christmas, maybe after, depending on how good/bad my memory is.

Christmas meant a lot to me back then. A lot more than it does now. Maybe for the social element where I met parts of my family I would never normally see. Maybe because I got stuff? Maybe because I finally managed to meet the actual genuine Santa Claus himself…

People often wonder why my eyes are so bad. It’s probably because I grew up having to look at that wallpaper.

Let’s go back to 1985, and one of the first Christmases I have memory of. I was, and still am, a big fan of snooker. I watch it whenever it’s on the box, and even back then, I remembered some of the names, and I must have been capitaved by that year’s World Championship where Dennis Taylor narrowly beat Steve Davis on the black ball. Possibly

It would come as no surprise that I’d eventually want a snooker table of my own. Imagine my delight when Santa somehow managed to squeeze an entire table down the chimney without managing to disturb the gas fire. He even took the time to spot the balls and rack the reds up! Christmases were so magical back then.

I was good at snooker as a kid. With eyes like that, I could line up a shot on the yellow and the green at the same time.

This was the first major present I remember. There was the Fisher Price record player the year before, but getting a blog out of that would have been a struggle, seeing as I was 5.

There are many photos of me playing on this snooker table. I loved it. There’s even more than one embarrassing photo where I’m actually wearing a waistcoat thing, just like a snooker player. I don’t think this has even been scanned in, thankfully. Now, for those of you paying attention to the above photo, the cushions were simple strips of black foam.

One day, I broke it. I wanted it to be like the snooker tables on the telly. In my infinite wisdom, I peeled the cushions off off, to reveal the lovely green, fully solid, plastic cushions. Instead of the ball bouncing cleanly, it just made a “thunk” sound and stopped there. A makeshift solution was found by Daddykins – he rushed out and bought some foam draught excluder from the nearby hardware shop. Sadly, the adhesive would weaken over time, cause it to droop, or come off entirely.

Due to its size, I was only allowed it in the centre of the front room during “snooker season”, whatever that was, meaning it lived behind the sofa, making it impossible to play.

Over the years, the cloth had started to degrade, the plasic balls went missing or got chipped, and although I do remember it getting set up in the kitchen for a short amount of time. as I remember programming a pretty crude scoring system for it on my ZX Spectrum. Ahhh, happy days!

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2 thoughts on “Ghosts of Christmas Presents – 1985”

  1. Thanks.. I really enjoyed reading that. Snooker season. Ha! The days when snooker ruled the world.
    A 6 foot snooker table was an object of desire throughout my childhood. Sadly it never materialised. We had to make do with table tennis played on the dinner table. Christmas highlights were a Grifter bike one year and a record player (shared with my brother). Freedom away from the radiogram!

    I’ve stumbled across your blog entirely by accident while trying find out who the Blackpool belles were.
    I picked up an old tape in a charity shop here in Edinburgh because it looked intriguing.
    ‘Songs that warmed our hearts’ it’s called. Produced by a company in Belfast. Outlet records. Songs are Tennessee waltz, over the rainbow, how much is that doggie in the window etc

    Anyway it seems Jean Bennett was also known as a Blackpool belle. Another good read with the comments added by those who knew her. A great bit of history.

    I’ll keep looking to see if I can find out anything about who ‘my’ Blackpool belles were.

    Thanks again.

  2. Hi Neville, Thanks for taking the time to reply. I’m genuinely surprised at the amount oif feedback my Jean Bennet post has received, she was a very popular lady! It’s a shame you never got the snooker table, but the record player would have been a brilliant present,anuthing to escape from the radio, which hasn’t appeared to have improved over the last 50 years!

    All the best to you and yours!

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