This is a slightly late response to the Daily Post entitled Buffalo Nickel:
“Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?”
I made an eyes-closed dip into the box of coins which I keep in the den and drew the coin you see pictured above. The coin is a 1998 two pence piece, known as a “tuppence” in ye olde Englishe, is made of copper-plated steel, but is often just referred to as a copper coin.
I was slightly surprised to find something over 10 years old, but old coppers are hardy little chaps.
Anyway, back to 1998. This post has not only made me think about what we were doing, but what weren’t yet.
Home Sweet Home
We were both still in our thirties. This was the first full year that my much beloved and myself spent in the first (and only) property that we bought together. It was home and still is. We were having all the window frames replaced, although we had the original 1930s leaded lights re-fitted, and were facing up to the responsibility of a slightly larger than average sized garden. It was the garden that help sell the house. We’re lucky to have good sized gardens to front and rear, giving privacy and space. I vividly remember us standing at the bottom of the garden looking back at the house in the previous summer. Despite a few issues with the house, we just knew it was right. Nearly 18 years on, we are still here. I think that we made the right choice.
In 1998, we hadn’t yet had the pleasure of tasty home grown produce. We’re still beginners on this front, but I’m always willing to learn.
On The Road
Automotively speaking, my pride and joy back then was an old Rover Mini Mayfair called Henry. Si gave him the name when I had test driven Henry and another mini, a Mini Sprite. The Sprite was a more basic model and when we walked past the smart little Mayfair, Si said “He’s so posh. We would have to call him Henry”. Well, a car named is a car sold, so I extended my budget and the deal was done. Henry had a walnut dashboard. I bought him alloy wheels and a gear knob to match the dash. I sill have that knob somewhere.
Me and Henry visited local craft fairs, where I sold my hand-crafted jewellery and beads. It was no mean feat fitting two folding display boards, signs and stock into that little motor, but I did it and Henry and myself had a fun time on the road. I was sorry to sell the little chap, but he was getting a bit long in the tooth and felt rather small and slightly vulnerable on busy roads. In an old mini your body is the crumple zone. But he was great fun to drive, especially around roundabouts. Sometimes I would deliberately miss a junction just to go around one more time.
Much beloved drove a blue BMW 328 with more grunt, but a lot less personality.
New Best Friend
1998 saw our first cat share our home. He was called Hughes and had a very calm personality. Hughes knew things, which he kept to himself.
We took Hughes in when a friend’s mother died and he needed a home. He was initially quite concerned about his change in abode and kept hiding, which is common for a cat facing upheaval.
On his second day with us, I had been left in charge, and settled down to watch television coverage of the Italian national football team in the World Cup in the room where Hughes was currently hiding. Unfortunately for Hughes, just as he had mustered up enough courage to venture out from cover, the Azzuri scored. I expressed my pleasure at this by shouting “Yes!”, and Hughes scampered back into hiding, which sadly was the moment when I noticed him. Oops. Treats and soft words won his confidence and things improved between us after that!
I should point out at this stage that we still have the same TV (bought in the mid to late 80s). Yes, our big fat Cathode Ray goggle box at the time of writing was displaying the Manchester City vs Barcelona game, which I was not watching, so our current cat slept undisturbed.
Talking of technology, which I wasn’t, things were quite different.Our PC in 1998 ran Windows 95. Minesweeper was my preferred game and my mobile phone (Panasonic) was, like the TV, fat and clunky. Unlike the TV, I no longer have the phone! Our connection to the internet was on a 56k modem which made emitted a screaming binary chant (some of which I can still ‘sing’) as it formed a communication link to the outside world. There was no broadband.
In case you have never heard the sound of the modem dial up, or for those who would like a little trip down memory lane, click here.
There was also no Geocaching, but the first recognised cache was only two years away. It took us another 12 years to join in…We hadn’t discovered the local network of footpaths.
Musically, amongst many others, we were listening to post-Marillion Fish and post-Fish Marillion. Much beloved prefers Fish-led Marillion but I prefer them separate. This Strange Engine was probably being played a lot, including the beautiful but haunting Estonia .
Physically we were both a little slimmer with less grey hair. Himself was still clean shaven and had shorter hair than me – that’s changed. But we are still the same crazy, sarcastic, loved-up couple that we were then. Long may it last.