I think it was in 1978, I may be a year or so wrong as it was so long ago. My dad had just bought that huge Swedish Colour Television which was in a polished chestnut wooden cabinet in the living room.
The previous week he got back from a Road Trip to Malmö in Sweden where they both (my dad and his friend) had bought a colour television set as they weren’t available yet in Swampyland and if you bought two you would get a discount in that large electronics shop in the center of that city. They were gone for over a week and my mum got ever so worried as he didn’t call the in last two days of his journey back but finally they arrived and everybody went out their back yards in our street to greet them in the alley way where the garages were.
The month before my dad’s mate and he put their money together and bought an old rusty red Sunbeam Estate with holes in the wings and doors so they could go there together. In the local television shop they had seen a leaflet in English with black and white pictures of those televisions and they had been saving up all the money they could put away without leaving us children without any food. They even took on extra jobs upholstering furniture and often worked til deep in the night with that old Singer industrial sewing machine in the living room.
But now they were back and the television set was finally set up in a corner of the living room for which the old arm chair had to go to the shed otherwise it didn’t fit, it was that big. My dad was working hard to put the aerials up just underneath the attic roof on a wooden construction which contained antennas for two Dutch channels, three German channels and a separate one for BBC 1 and 2 and Anglia Television. He had been shouting numerous times through the staircases from up there, things like “IS IT GOOD YET, CAN YOU SEE THE PICTURES?” and I would shout to my twin brother halfway up the house and he would shout further back up, maybe this or that way, turn it a bit, just a few inches more, that’s right and more instructions.
The thing was, there was no cable television in those days and you had to put aerials up on the roof to receive television, that’s how it worked. And my dad, being skint already because of that television, decided to put the aerials underneath the roof instead of on top otherwise they would have been visible and he had to pay for a TV-license and he didn’t want to do that. But finally, after hours of adjusting the picture came up, a bit snowy at first but then clear and in colour! What a treat for the eyes, we had never seen colours on television before in our lives! The first thing I watched on that beautiful Swedish Colour Television was Wind In The Willows and if I remember correctly it began with the tune which you can see below. Loud and clear.
Read about other childhood memories here.