We’re back in the West Country for more memories – although, following our recent trip to Winkleigh in Devon, we’re further north, and have travelled back in time a further 15 years. The picture we have here is the main street looking towards the famous Yarn Market, built in 1609. Behind us is Dunster Castle, but as Dave Robertshaw said, when he handed us this image taken in August 1982, ‘the cars in the foreground are far more interesting.’
I’m not entirely sure I’d admit that in public, but Dave very much has a point that’s hard to disagree with as, once again, we’re presented with an image that shows just how distant a time the early-1980s are to where we are now. A simpler time, too. As it’s the summer holiday, the soundtrack to it will undoubtedly be Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ Come On, Eileen, which has been number one for what feels like forever, while the number two Eye of The Tiger by Survivor will be ringing in the ears of anyone who wants to see a rock song, not not a pop song, take the prized number one spot in the Top 40.
To be fair, pop is the name of the game during the Radio 1 Roadshow season. So, the Top 10 looks like a school disco playlist – all that’s missing is styrofoam cups of warm cherryade and shop-bought Victoria sponge on paper plates. See for yourself, from this list of great compilation album fillers such as, Can’t Take My Eyes Off You by the Boystown Gang, Fame by Irene Cara, Hi Fidelity by the Kids from Fame and I Eat Cannibal by Toto Coelo. It wasn’t all bad – Duran Duran and Yazoo had songs in the Top 10, which have stood the test of time much, much better.
So, tell us about the cars
As it’s holiday season, the main parking area is rammed. It’s a mix of locals doing their shopping and tourists on their way to the castle, browsing the market, or heading off for a day in neighbouring Exmoor. As such, there’s a lovely mix of cars. From left to right, we have a Morris Ital, Vauxhall Chevette (with front bumper overriders!), Austin Metro, Volvo 245 estate, Renault 12, Ford Escort Mk2 Ghia (the vinyl roof and metallic paint are the giveaway), Escort Mk2 estate, then a Rover SD1 in Pandelican White, with an SD1 behind that in Midas Gold. The Renault 18 alongside is probably the least memorable, but underrated car of the bunch – having once owned one, I should know.
On the right-hand side of the road (as we’re looking at it), there’s a Snapdragon Yellow Austin Metro leading an early-1980s Mini, Volvo 164, Vauxhall Astra Mk1 estate and a Ford Cortina 80. This is Britain in the 1980s at its very best. Below, we’ve found an image of the same place (taken from the other end of the street) recorded in 2004. It’s amazing how it books so very different to 1982, and how far away from today it feels – when did you last see a Rover 45 out in the wild?
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Main image (top): Chris Robertshaw