With summer in full swing at the start of the six-week holiday, everyone was in a buoyant mood. Those on factory fortnight were packed and ready to go, while others looked forward to lazy weekends in the July sun.
Some of us – restricted to stay at home holidays – anticipated a picnic at Allensford; maybe a trip to South Shields or even just a sit on the wooden benches next to the flower beds at the bottom of the market and bus station.
In the days before mobile phones, it was always a favourite afternoon meeting point where folk passed the time of day and got the crack.
We usually chatted about the Friday night before and exchanged stories, always hoping to outdo our peers with the best tale.
Television in 1979 was dominated by Charlie’s Angels and Dallas.
With everyone wanting the big hair look, the profits in hairstyling products soared, as well as the sale of Carmen heated rollers!
Shoulder pads were just coming into play along with straight figure hugging skirts. A new fashion was emerging and some of my friends embraced it with enthusiasm. I was perfectly happy going out in my jeans and a striped t-shirt so didn’t really appreciate them projecting their fashion tips in my direction while expressing their wish to dress me up!
One of my friends invited me to view her new wardrobe and said I was free to choose something ‘nice’ to wear for our Friday night out in Consett. Knowing nothing was my style I reluctantly let her dress me in a royal blue straight skirt, a long sleeved gold satin top that tied with a big bow and blue suede ankle strap platform shoes. Seeing her look of approval I went along with the charade and hobbled into the Masons Arms for my first drink while adjusting the pale blue silk rose peeping out of my non-existent cleavage.
My other friends politely said I looked lovely but could see the look on my face and sniggered into their drinks.
As usual, we had a great night and unused to restrictive clothing I attempted to enjoy the dance floor in Bottos’s.
However, the shoulder seams on the gold satin top and the little kick pleat in the back of the royal blue skirt were not prepared for the energetic moves and actions needed to dance to ‘Ring My Bell’ and ‘Go West’ by The Village People.
True to form at about midnight we were hungry, Forgetting about my borrowed unwalkable footwear I joined in the Hokey Cokey downstairs to the ‘Chip Buttie’ counter. Inevitably I tumbled and just as I bounced off the bottom step a cheer went up as I hadn’t spilt a drop of my drink. Unfortunately, my clothing did not survive the fall as well. Apart from the obvious dirty marks and debris from the floor, the skirt had started to fray and there were gaping holes under my arms as the sleeves attempted to hold on to a few dangling threads. Regardless there were still two hours till closing time so the dancing continued.
As I met my friends the next day swinging a carrier bag of borrowed clothes, I apologised profusely for the damage. Luckily the lender saw the funny side and forgave me.
Needless to say, the following Friday I was back in my jeans.
That’s what it’s all about!