When we moved from the mining village it was a shock to the system, because we moved into a new council estate
Yes we had an inside toilet, a bath and hot water straight running from the tap, a big garden and we were near to the town centre, but the people seemed to be different.
I guess in a small mining village, every one knew everyone else, but in this new estate it was all so very different.
People started having things like cars, or motorbikes and side cars.
We had a playing field for playing games, but on a dark night it was more fun playing football and cricket in the back street, using a dustbin as stumps etc.
If the ball hit the dust bin, there was no denying that you were not out, because everyone heard the bang
However many of the locals used to object to the noise, and things would get out of hand if a ball went into someone's garden, then we had to ask permission to go and get it back
You simply just did not walk in and pick it up without asking.
But one of the novelties we had, was the fact that the Great North East Railway ran past the front of our house. So it was here that I started train spotting because all of the big express trains etc, ran up and down this line.
This was before trainspotting books came out, so we used a sheet of paper to note all of the trains.
If it was raining I was allowed to spot trains from my parents bedroom window, providing dad was not sleeping, but when it was fine, we used to sit on the trackside fence. This was pure joy.
I like my friends then bought areal train spotters book, with all of the train numbers and names in, and things got more serious after that
I guess in those days the book was paid for out of pocket money, and was bought by our parents.
Not far away there was another railway line which ran from Tyne dock up to the then Consett Iron Works. These trains were giants, due to the very steep gradient they had to climb with the ore trains. These were the class 11F locomotives which were true giants in many ways.
So if we were allowed to walk down to the next railway bridge, we got trains on two separate tracks, and that was pure joy.
After this I joined the Parish Church choir and the Cubs, and from then on things changed quite a lot
At this age I confess that I did not like school at all, because I was not really academic, and my brother was doing much better than I was. So it was always said by teachers, that I was not fit to stand in my brothers shoes. So I lost the will to fight on.
It was after leaving school and going to college that I found my own way and did well for myself
But in those early years I battled on and found my own way, even though the teachers thought I was a waste of space. I often look back and think, that I made myself into an Engineer, so to me that was one up on the teachers who did not like me.
I ended up feeling very proud of doing so well at work and at college, even though my school days were not very good
However that was down to teachers who had other things in their minds and were not very good at their jobs as others people have said recently
But it proved that in the right environment you can flourish and do well
It's a pity that this illness came along and destroyed it all.