Friday, 13 June 2014

Did you have parents who thought you were an angel

Did you have parents who thought you were an angel when you were a child?


I wonder how many parents did think that their children were sweet and innocent, when they were small and thought butter would not melt in their mouths so to speak.


I was no little angel, and I know it.


 But since starting to write my life story, I have had the time of my life looking back at times when my brain was working, and at times had a chuckle to myself.


I was born in a small mining village on the edge of a Northern Fell, covered in heather and bracken, and in some places it was very boggy.


Those houses were very old with very few amenities to speak of, Cold water and not hot, a tin bath which hung on the wall outside when it was not being used.


An outside toilet which I would imagine was very cold in winter. Possibly sitting with your feet up to ensure that no one could walk in when it was dark etc. I dread to think what happened if there was a bug going round, with one outside toilet between four people.


At one stage my mother said that they got worried, because some of their cutlery was disappearing, and could not be found. after searching behind the drawers and cupboards, my father looked at a split in the floor and noticed something shining.


So with the help of a family member took the floor up to find the missing cutlery. The little angel had been exposed at an early age, I still don't know why I was pushing the cutlery into this crack in the floor, and my mother did not say anything until a few years before she died, after which we had a good laugh.

I then heard many stories about my as a child, but these are not printable, but they had kept my mother amused over the years.
   
When I was 5 years of age we moved to a new council run estate in the next town where we stayed until I was 11 years of age. In that time we grew up fast, because there were bullies living everywhere, but that was life and you got on with it.


We got used to playing football and cricket etc, in the dark after school, which was interesting looking back, and would be banned by the health and safety officials we see today, but it was fun and we were out of the way.

This involved using dustbins as wickets for cricket, or someone's back gate, which caused some problems with neighbours.


Or we would use our coats as goal posts for football, as we did not have modern day things like goal posts, but then who did.

In those days everyone in the area played sports in the street girls and boys all got involved.  


Our hobbies ranged from sports to train spotting as the main east coast line ran past the front of our house so you never got bored, or swimming in the open air baths in the next town to use and that was bitter in autumn, but like fools we enjoyed it.


 One game we played at night was knocky nine doors, a game where you picked a house in the darkness, crept up and then knocked on the doors before running at high speed to get away before someone opened the door.


We never picked a door where any elderly people lived as that was unfair, but usually some loud mouthed person who hated children.


However my mother always warned me against doing that, whether she knew I was doing it whether I always looked guilty I don’t know.


However my father went one better as a child

Years later I heard that my father as a boy took this on to another level. In those days the village houses had two doors, the back which everyone used, and the front which was there for special guests and certainly not children.


He was one of three boys in the family


These three little or not so little boys caused havoc in their village at night, something I found very hard to believe after the way he told me to behave at times later on in life. According to my father he was an angel?


Outside their homes on one side were the fells vast open spaces, with animals grazing day and night, things like horses, pony’s, and goats.


At the other side of the house was a small back yard, which housed the outside toilet and a small coal house where coal was kept for the fires.

In those days the front door was never opened apart from admitting special guests, so everyone used the back door

My father and brothers would creep up to someone’s back door, where they would tie a horse, pony or goat to the door knocker. After which they would run round to the front door and knock on the door knocker, knowing full well that the back door would be opened first.


When the unsuspecting person opened the door they would be greeted by the animal which was tied to the door knocker.


The problem being that to untie the animal they had to open the door first, which meant that the poor animal would be dragged into the house turned around and was then pushed out again, by the then very annoyed person, who no doubt would be out on the streets looking for the terrible three some.


Their father my grandfather was a miner, and could look after himself as he was also what was called a street fighter as my uncle told me, although he was also quite gentle to friends and children. Here again he was a very quiet family man.


He was smallish to look at but was well known for taking on two people in one go and would win.

 He never suspected that his children did such things, and I guess that no one would argue with him, because of who he was. But if he had suspected anything no doubt he would have given the boys a good thrashing.


When I heard these stories I realised that no matter what I got up to on the council estate it was nothing compared to my elders.


The only thing we did, which would have caused trouble if we had been caught was throwing potatoes from the farmers field, at the train guards van chimneys.


In those days all goods trains had a guards van at the back, so that if the train broke down, the guard could put warning lights on the track to stop other trains hitting them.


It also served anther purpose as a secondary break vehicle, if the train got too fast going downhill.
These guards vans had a coal fire inside to keep the guard warm in winter, and the chimney was collapsible for going under bridges.


We picked up from older boys that if you hit the chimney and it collapsed onto the roof, the guard would come out thinking he had gone under a low bridge.


At this point we would run as fast as we could or hide in a ditch, until the train had gone, we never aimed anything at the guard or anyone else as that was out of the question even for us.


Needless to say that when the chimney collapsed the guards van would became smoky inside, but the guard could pull it back up from inside the guards van, without needing to stop.


However we spent more time than enough sitting on the grassy bank watching the trains and getting the numbers as they sped by.


Other times we would just stand on the nearest bridge and get covered in smoke and steam as the train went underneath it. That was marvellous as these trains were real living monsters and we adored them, and still do.

  
Looking at this anyone would think I grew up in a family of thugs, but far from it, these were people who grew up in mining villages and had to look after themselves and their families, so that bullies could never hopefully take advantage of them. All big church people and all well respected by all.

Its amazing just how much you can dig up from your past, many things that were possibly hidden out of view, but were totally natural at the time. 

Elderly and driving

After the news in the media during the last few days, I think it's time that elderly people had their eyes etc tested on a regular basis...