11 things found in every Doncaster home in the 80s
Check your 80s credentials and see how many of these you can remember from the decade that style forgot!
1. Grattan catalogues
Before Amazon and Ebay, there was only one way to do shopping without going to the shops - and that was by leafing through these gargantuan catalogues that would appear mysteriously every few months and which your mum or nan would spend hours perusing. You'd only be interested in the toy section at the back, or for the slightly older youth, the lingerie section. See also Great Universal, Kays and Littlewoods.
2. The Weekly News
Still going strong believe it or not, the paper brought to you by the same people who brought you the Beano and Dandy, rejected real news for lots of soap and showbiz tittle tattle, stars, cookery and cramming in as much as possible, It started in 1855 and you can still find it on news-stands today. See also People's Friend (and its endless front cover sketches of Scottish villages) and the slightly racier Titbits magazine.
3. Plastic sauce bottles shaped like tomatoes
If you wanted to add a bit of panache to an 80s dining table, then a tomato ketchup dispenser shaped like a tomato was the way to set you apart from the rest of your mate. No slapping the bottom of a gunked up bottle of Heinz here, just a swift and smooth squirt which would dollop far too much sauce on your Findus Crispy Pancakes or Birdseye Steakhouse Grills.
4. Records by K-Tel
Coming round once a year in the run up to Christmas, these infamous complilation albums (20 Golden Greats Of Country, Rock 'n' Roll Hits of The 60s etc) would be heavily advertised, making them ideal gifts for elderly relatives that you really couldn't think what to buy them. You never did though as famously, "this album is not available in any shops."
5. Fragrances by Lentheric
By the same token, another staple around the festive period of the early 80s were adverts for fragrances by a mysterious company known only as Lentheric. Best-sellers were Tweed and bizarrely, a concotion by the name of Tramp. What woman of the 80s wouldn't want to be told they had an odour akin to a bearded man who's spent the day rifling through bins for fag ends?
6. Ben Shaws pop
Long before mega sized plastic bottles from the supermarket, the only way to get your fill of carbonated goodness was from your local corner shop or off the back of a lorry. Frontrunners in the Yorkshire scene were Ben Shaws, Alpine and Corona - basically sticking -ade on the end of any sort of fruit to come up with glass-bottled greats. And what's more you could take the empties back for refunds to spend on sweeties.
7. Panini football stickers
No school playground in Doncaster in the 80s would be complete without scores of boys feverishly shuffling through pictures of mulleted footballers representing such glamour teams as Oxford United, Luton Town and Dumbarton in search of that elusive sticker. "Got, got, got, got - NEED!" was the cry that would go up when you suddenly realised your collection would be complete with Bruce Grobbelaar.
8. A painting of a green Chinese woman
Art in the 1980s was pretty much limited to just a handful of masterpieces - an oriental looking green woman, a picture of a boy crying against a wall while a dog looked on or pictures of dogs playing snooker or cards. These were considered the ultimate in sophisticated living and no house would be complete without at least one of said paintings. Needless to say, none have so far made it to the Louvre.
9. Vesta ready meals
Forget French Bread pizza and Angel Delight, there was one way to one-up your friends in the 80s and that was a cupboard full of Vesta ready meals. If you had boiling water and a degree in engineering to work out the order of the packets, you could turn brown dust into Beef Curry, Chow Mein and Paella and be the envy of your entire neighbourhood with the ultimate in Continental class.
10. A Sodastream
When the lure of Ben Shaws started to fade, in stepped SodaStream - the homemade drinks maker with its collection of gloopy, syrupy non-trademark infringing concentrates such as 'cola' 'appleade' and 'cherryade.' An entire generation of kids "got busy with the fizzy." And then sniggered when the near empty gas bottles used in producing the pop made satisfying fart noises.
11. A Breville sandwich toaster
What better accompaniment to your Sodastream aperitif than a toasted sandwich with contents hotter than molten lava? Shovel your ingredients between two slices of bread. clamp the lid shut as if trying to close a suitcase after a holiday and within seconds you'd be burning your lips on neatly toasted triangles with searingly hot cheese dripping out of the sides.