Woodchip wallpaper, painted in a shade of browny peach. A brown velour '3-piece suite' as they were known as where I come from. A burgundy shag pile carpet (that I'd skim my feet along to give small electric shocks to my younger brother). One wall of varnished cork tiles, around the fireplace adorned with brass plates, mirrors and ornaments. 

An endless stream of visitors - family members, neighbours, police (we lived next door to a police station and they were always in having cups of tea), priests frequented our house too and I remember once being given the task of whitening their 'dog collar' using Jif (now known as Cif for some reason), one of my sisters used Jif to whiten her teeth, but that's a story for another time.

Constant chatter filled the air - no stopping for breath, apart from to take a long drag from a Craven-A or Superking cigarette, then the drone of chatter would carry on all day and into the night. One cigarette being lit from another in an endless chain during all waking hours.

Toddlers would stumble around being fussed over by everyone through the haze of smoke. We weren't allowed to open the windows in case it caused a draught. I'd watch fascinated as a cigarette would hang from a chatting lip with 2 cms of ash precariously about to make its descent. 

My siblings joke that we came into the world as children and left home as smoked kippers. I've got chronic asthma and spent most of my 4th year in an oxygen tent in hospital - but never was that correlated with living with about 10 chain-smokers! I've never even taken one puff on a cigarette, but in respect of passive-smoking, I probably smoked 60 a day for the 17 years I lived at home!

Funny to think that you used to be able to smoke on planes and now you can barely take a bottle of water on board.

Back to 2017 now - I'm off for a walk across Port Meadow among the wild horses to fill my 1970s lungs with some 2017 fresh air!

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