So many sounds used to punctuate our younger days and childhoods – and yet so many have largely disappeared. See how many of these ring a nostalgic bell for you…
1. Needle skidding across vinyl
Remember when your favourite David Cassidy 7in got fatally scratched and would only play with a 1p-piece on top of the needle? (And then there’d be a telltale hiccup with every revolution of the record…)
2. The ice-cream van
If your name was Mr Whippy, you had to become an ice cream-van driver – or so our mums told us. Mind you, it was also our mums who started the urban myth that the stop-start, slightly warped and jangly, airborne sound of Greensleeves meant he’d run out of ice cream… They’re still heard in the odd neighbourhood, but not as often as we’d like!
3. Nee-nar, nee-nar!
No more the old, familiar sound of the emergency services rushing to the rescue. Now it’s all American cop sirens and loud helicopters. Anyone’d think an all-action Jean-Claude Van Damme movie was being filmed on every corner of every suburb!
4. Whistling kettles
Ahhh, there was something very comforting about the sound of water boiling on the stove and a lovely brew being made. Now it’s more likely to be a dull click as the electric kettle switches itself off. Not quite the stuff memories are made of…
5. Games of conkers
Remember those? With a sound like a scaled-down version of leather on willow, the gentle crack of conker on conker was a sure sign autumn had arrived… Although cheats and blackguards would boil theirs in vinegar first to harden them, spoiling the fun for genuine players. We can probably blame them for the crazy, PC rules banning conkers, marbles, clackers and other fun pastimes from our kids’ playgrounds.
6. Bus conductors
From the ding-ding of your friendly (or curmudgeonly) bus conductor ‘pulling the cord’ to signal the bus was about to move off to the whirr-click-tear of his ticket machine, these particular sounds of daily public transport are long gone.
The chirpy, early-morning sound of milk being delivered to the doorstep was usually a three-part harmony of whistling, clinking bottles and barking dogs. Unforgettable!
8. ‘Rag ’n’ bone!’
Any old bits and pieces – dented saucepans, worn-out sheets, old shoes, broken car parts – you name it, and the rag ’n’ bone man would turn up with his horse-drawn cart, yelling ‘Rag ’n’ bone’, and take it off your hands to sell on as scrap. Nowadays we save up all the stuff the council’s ‘household waste operatives’ won’t take and spend hot Bank Holiday Mondays queueing at the municipal dump instead. Joy!
9. Brr-ing-brrrr-ing, brr-ing-brrrr-ing…
Even those of us who still have landlines are unlikely to have an old-fashioned ringtone on our phones. Now you can choose from a range of quirky tones, tunes and other sounds to let you know it’s ringing. Bring back the old party lines and phones attached to the wall that you had to sit on the stairs to talk on! (Well, maybe not…)