Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Forgot this

Heard mention of this on the wireless. Ok, transistor for you youngies.

I can easily recall something called keys and airs, it may have been queysanairs, I dunno, can't remember. They were coloured oblong rectangular wooden blocks and I have no idea what they were for. Maybe to teach arithmetic? Wish they had taught us the more useful abacus.

I recall slide rulers and a book of tables and you could work out all sorts of useless things in the time it takes you to go to shower, dress and go to the shop and buy batteries for your calculator. The calculator does it instantly. Ok, they don't seem to need batteries nowadays.

What I did not recall but was reminded of, was a plastic map of Australia. You could draw around the border and the states were marked with tiny cut out slots. With a very sharp pencil, you mark in the states with dotted line boundaries. Wonderful. I cannot recall whether Tasmania was part of this or not. Perhaps it was never there, or perhaps lightly attached and was easily snapped off. Port Phillip Bay required a good sharp pencil, as it was relatively small. Correct me if am wrong, but I think they were usually yellow.

When the various UK relatives have been here, if I opened an atlas with a map of Australia, they would not have any idea where they were on the map. How can you go to a foreign country without seeing where it is first?

Perhaps the little yellow plastic tracing map stimulated my interest in geography.


  1. Oh memory lane!

    And how very frequently we had to trace around those bloody plastic templates too.

    I think those block thingies (they came after I had finished school) were Cuisinaire after the guy who devised them, and not to be confused with Cuisinart which is what the Northern Hemisphere calls a MagiMix machine.

  2. Thanks brownie. I could not even get the spelling close enough to search for Cuisinaire.

  3. Tasmania was never attached to the mainland plastic bit, you had to put it there yourself. Brownie's right about the blocks but nothing would have taught me about arithmetic.

  4. Anonymous3:43 pm

    Cuisinaire came in a year or two after I went through - I remember the templates of Australia as being pink. Thank god there was no map of Tasmania...

  5. Back then, as our most heavily treed state, a map of Tasmania would have had to show the forests so perhaps not so pink. Of course it is somwhat denuded of forests now, like Brazil, so it would certainly show as pink now.