I first went to Diss Picture House when I was 11 – it now houses the electrical store in Victoria Road where we used to watch old favourites on Saturday mornings on the big screen, some still in black and white. Now you can buy a small screen from there – that’s called progress.
Afterwards, we would go to the chip cart and see Mr Youngman and get the best chips in the world. That was in 1959.
I remember my mum and dad had just bought a thatched cottage in Roydon for £1,000.
If you have a good look round, you might find one now for £250,000 – that’s what you call progress.
The chip cart stood on cinders outside The Dolphin House pub, where the car park held about 60 cars. They’ve tarmacked it now and it can only hold about six – that’s what you call progress.
Later on, I got a job in F W Woolworth & Co Ltd as a stock room boy at £6 per week and all the broken biscuits you could eat from the Mazawattee Tea Company. When they packed up, Woolies turned to pick-a-mix – that’s what I call progress.
A British Road Services lorry would turn up every morning from Diss Railway Station and park outside in Mere Street to unload stock all the time.
Two-way traffic would flow past without the help of traffic management. Nowadays, it’s closed to general traffic, but, of course, that’s what they call progress.
After the pictures on a Saturday morning, which we viewed while sitting on some rolled up cosies and a towel, we would walk up the road to the swimming pool, which was open air in those days.
As you went in, there was a fountain on the left and a grass area to have a kick about or sunbathe on.
There was also a top deck sun terrace with a slide and some diving boards at the far end; all banned now, of course, since we had a roof put on top.
It was about two bob to get in and you could stay as long as you liked.
I just looked up to see how much it would be to do the same now, but couldn’t find it, although I did notice you could have a ten week personal training course for £300 – more progress.
Well, I went to the chip cart the other day; it’s still the same family, they now sell a buttered roll and a coke to go with it and it’s still the best chips in the world.
Now that is progress.
Peter J Gillings
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