On this oral history interview you can hear Amy’s memories of growing up in mid-late 70s in the New Forest and into the 80s when she went to university. A lot of outdoor stuff, inventing things to do, using their imagination. TV viewing was limited with ITV completely banned due to adverts. Later at University got involved with social clubs (union, amnesty group, green group) and music scene, drinking, going to grungy nightclubs to hear DJs who had access to the music she wanted to hear.
At aged around 10 was living at Dibdon Purley. She has two sisters and a younger brother. They spent a lot of time out on bikes. Outdoor stuff, exploring. Describes the ‘close’ she lived in, and the friends she played with from the area she lived in. Some description of responsibility for siblings, but didn’t feel pressure to look after them.
They pretended to go exploring, but went no further than thought they were allowed to. Used to go off and try and make poisons from berries we’d been told not to eat. Mixed them up in a pot! Then threw it away……used to try and make jam by mixing berries with sugar. Describes background to these games.
The Forest was about 10 mins away, but had to cross a bypass, so didn’t go there when young. Went there later on.
Friend who had smurf tree house! Describes smurf’s.
Getting older had more freedom. Aged 11 went to local comprehensive school, 1-2 miles away, everyone cycled to school. Describes this in detail. Took siblings to buy sweets at the weekend in the local village. Taught them how to cross roads, describes TV programme that had a song about crossing roads. Description of the area of the New Forest nearer her home. Very new housing, quite ugly part of the New Forest. Start to find hills and heathland, but didn’t go that far as small children, except with parents, who drove to point of interest then we’d all walk.
Parents banned ITV completely due to adverts. Parents didn’t like American TV. Watched some things on BBC. Associated watching TV with massive sense of guilt. Described amount and type of TV watched. When I became a student / 6th form age I hadn’t seen programmes that others were talking about watching in the past.
Amy had plenty of toys, but general disapproval from parents about certain types of toys and what they meant. Describes types of toys she had. In the winter lots of games of imagination, describes them. Also talks about family dynamics and how that shifted and changed with siblings. Some discussion around TV and what it meant then and now.
Used to do Brownies and Guides – stopped halfway through guides. Enjoyed brownies. Used New Forest for brownie sessions, tracking and games. Played British bulldog. Interests were arts and crafts and solitary activities. In brownies wanted badges! Wasn’t enough activities at Guides to keep her interest.
arts and crafts
Maybe at secondary school age, 12-13 was making things out of Fimo and selling it to people at school and at craft fairs. That has carried on through to my current age. Precise fine work. Made them into broaches, earrings. Got related tools etc for Christmas and birthdays. Paints, card, etc.
Change in leisure time when becoming a teenager?
Describes changes that occurred when attending secondary school. Starting to realise certain things weren’t cool! Describes geographical location in relation to things to do, youth club at the church. Went for a short period of time. Spent time in friends houses, talked about boys and school. Areas we didn’t like to go. Lots of kids went to the park and drank large bottles of cider. Were quite scared of them. Describes other kids who were around in the village, and territorial behaviours.
Did you ever tell parents doing one thing but doing something ‘naughty’?
Not really. I know my sisters and brother did many times. Knew but not saying anything! Did sneak off to pub but had half a lager – was all I could afford. Lied about smoking, but that was at about 17-18. Parents were fairly relaxed, wasn’t many boundaries to push. At 15 got train to Exeter from Southampton and cycled to Penzance with a friend and a map! Was content not to be drinking, etc. Describes this a bit more, and about media and safety of young people now.
Meeting up with friends
Used house phone to make arrangements. Also made arrangements from School. All friends probably within 7 miles from her. Gives some detail of school arrangements and the change from primary to secondary school in relation to social contact.
At university skanky was the thing – wore para boots and had dreadlocks. Dyed hair. Before that was building towards that with hippyish clothing. Hippy girl hit riot girl! Flowery dresses with big boots. Girls getting a bit more aggressive. Riot girl image. Music scene that went with it. My personality fitted with it rather than it influencing me. More detail about the scene she enjoyed at uni. Left wing, vegetarian.
There was a cinema in Forley, about 5 miles away. Associated with the Esso powerstation – it was in their social club. Known as flea pit. Saw some Disney cartoons there with parents. Mainly things like star wars, ghostbusters. It was also a theatre and I was in shows there. Describes involvement with shows, from aged around 11. Her mum was doing it for her leisure, and then she got involved. It was an adult theatre group with the odd kid on stage.
How did leisure change once you got to university? At university was drinking, going to grungy nightclubs, didn’t see live bands much in Hull. Was more the local DJs who had access to the music she wanted to hear. Was in activist role at uni too. Active in union, amnesty group, green group. Describes this in some more detail.
As an adult how do you fit leisure with work? Has considered doing drama /operatics here but on back burner. Moved to Weymouth a year ago, had to integrate fast. Had become very focused on work in Leeds and didn’t do much outside that there. Joined lots of things and now settling down to things she wants to keep. Music, folk music in particular. Attending folk club, plucking up courage to sing there. Arts and crafts, do a bit on my own, chairs groups running craft group in community. Has gone part time at work to be able to do more activities outside. Going out and seeing bands and getting drunk still. Lots of live music in Weymouth. Mixed age groups playing music. Some questions from Joe about cinema and theatre but she doesn’t do so much of this in Weymouth at present. Has continued to cycle, starting to build up cycling again around local area, mainly on cycle paths.