1960's Leisure Time

For me, being a bloke, many things spring to mind about becoming a teenager and not being a teenager anymore during the 60's - Scouting, Youth Clubs, Gigs and chilling out!

From the ordinary Scouting days I went into Senior, then Rover scouting. Today, this may be seen as being sad, but then it was for adventure and not being tied down by stringent health and safety issues of today!
I made my first trip abroad with the Scouts, two weeks amongst the mountains in Austria. The only downer was I burnt my foot, got gangrene and upon return, spent 6 weeks in Sevenoaks Hospital nearly losing my leg into the bargain!
After that it was Kandertsteg in Switzerland with high altitude walks up the Alps - magic. I learnt a lot and it fulfilled many dreams from 1953 when I was inspired so much by Sir Edmund Hillary.

One thing I owe my Mother is that she always made sure I had a holiday and this was usually a Scout Camp. Gone are the days when you packed your Kit in Dad's WW2 Army Sack, then sat on it in an open back lorry driving 300 miles to North Wales (see right pictures).

Youth Clubs of the earlyish to mid 60's had one huge evening content; sitting around too shy to talk to anyone, drinking Coffee and Coca Cola getting to only dream stage of the attractive young lady sitting at another table.
It always intrigued me as to why, when you had a Youth Club Dance, everyone would dance, yet on a normal evening which was exactly the same but didn't have the word 'Dance', you'd do nothing!

The odd thing is that they all overlapped and didn't cancel each other out. Even when I was in the Band during the late 60's, I would still go to Rover Scouts and be quite happy building Bivvi's on weekends away, jumping in a car and going somewhere far away to hike and scramble up mountains.
I was even still singing in the Church Choir until 18. Not that I could sing, but the female section were 'far out'!

Gone were the days of conformity as such. You did what you liked and no-one really cared or took the mickey like they may do today.

By the end of the decade, an example of a great Sunday would be to squeeze 5 / 6 people into a car, a couple of guitars, a Party 6 Beer Can, find a wood and sit there for three hours strumming, singing or just sleeping.
The advertisement of today which shows 'a 60's person' hugging a tree was actually not far from the truth - people were taking their attention away from nuclear threats, the Cold War and political unrest, drawing their thoughts and attention to the nature and beauty around them. Hence 'peace and love I guess.

Fashion of course changed drastically. Men (me included) started to look like a technicolour nightmare and girls would compete against each other on the shortest mini skirt they could buy.
From a male prospective, this was most agreeable and we were seeing parts of a woman never known to mankind before!

Out of Tea Rooms came Coffee Bars and out of America came Fast Food with Wimpy leading the way.

Young people were affording Cars for the first time and the Mini became the icon which it still is.
We could also start to afford 'proper' holidays. Freddie Laker introduced 'Sky Train' much to the annoyance of the major airlines and I embarked on my first package tour in 1969, a 15 day spell in Diana Marina on the Italian Rivera with Cosmos.
We just about got the DC-8 off the runway at Manston Airport, flew to Basle (missing the runway first time), then a Coach through the Alps.
I went with my friend Paul Eaton (remember the Cane story from school!!).
It was a first adventure without someone to watch over us and a grand time was had by all.
I remember to this day hearing Paul shout "I'm here" and found him hanging off the 4th. Floor Room Balcony railings with an over proportionate amount of Italian Red Wine in him!

Of course, there was a lot more going on in the UK outside of Sevenoaks; mods and rockers spent their time beating each other up, Hippies were camping out in woods, University Students were rebelling about everything from Civil Rights to Baked Bean Can labels. It all added up to an extraordinary mixture of fun, laughter and tears.

But that was going on outside my little world and I was quite happy going in a Bubble Car with three others taking short cuts across roundabouts, hiding behind gravestones at night groaning when some poor person took that way home.

Oh days which will never come back. The main thing about the
60's is

Right - Taking son Leo to where I camped in 1961 (as did Hillary as well!!

Some said a good weekend depended upon the Demo you went on. All over Europe, Students were finding something to have a go at.
John F. Kennedy