Tuesday, 28 August 2012
It was 1974 I had just turned 16,left school and was now looking for a job but what to do I know something with my hands so I applied for 2 apprenticeships both as joiners one was with Bellways who for some reason after my interview decided I was not right for them the second was with Swanhunters who at the time were still one of the biggest employers in the North East so I went along for the interview at the Neptune Yard in Walker it was held as I remember in the first aid building of the yard so their I was waffling away when the interviewer says we cannot offer you a Joinery apprenticeship but we can offer you a Boilermakers apprenticeship me being completely ignorant about what a boilermaker was and not wanting to look completely stupid said that sounds good to me he got me to fill my forms in and then sent me next door for my medical and Bob's your uncle 13th August 1974 I started my apprenticeship with Swanhunter's at their Fisher Street Training Centre in Walker. My first pay packet was a princely sum of £5.10 shillings after tax at first I was excited until I realised I was going to have to get up at 5:30 to catch the first bus to Backworth then the train from Backworth to Wallsend then walk from Wallsend along to the training centre, but I carried on and part way through my second month they asked for people to become welders so I jumped right in and the rest as they say is history as far as my welding career starting goes. While serving my apprenticeship I did not not give up on my social life in fact with a wage in my pocket it became busier especially when I started going to the ice rink in Whitley Bay which was great fun and I used to have some really good times especially when I could skate pretty good going round chatting the girls up who were just learning to skate aah what blissful times they were, however I started dating one girl and I found it quite funny when her father said she had to stop seeing me because I was a shipyard worker which was hilarious considering he worked in an engineering company so regretfully so as not to cause problems for her at home we stopped seeing each other but still chatted when we saw each other in the street. 17 and I bought my first motorbike a Casal 50cc with money given to me from my Gandmother to make it easier for me to get to work and back and now I had my own transport the North East was my oyster at weekends I used to travel all over the place from Kielder to Berwick and all points inbetween but back to the mundane their I was comfortably waltzing through my apprenticeship with the odd hiccup along the way and a few fights as well but all part and parcel of the times but at least if you had a fight you knew it was going to be one on one not like nowadays where they need there mates to beat one person up, so their I was enjoying life until the day I was at work and there was a massive fire on the boat I was working on the H.M.S. Glasgow which claimed the lifes of thirteen people and amongst them were a couple of lads that I had made friends with in the training centre it was a sad day for all. During the rest of my time at Swanhunters I saw a few accidents I even had a few of my own although nothing to serious. During the rest of my time their I got married had a son and got divorced and then after nearly fourteen years in the shipyards I decided enough was enough so when the chance of my redundancy came along I worked out the maths of what I needed against what was on offer and decided it was worth taking I then went on to work for various companies on contract work.
Thursday, 23 August 2012
Well I left Brown Rigg Boarding school and returned home to Holywell and the start of a new school Whytrig Middle school now as schools go this was not a bad school I knew quite alot of people as I had went to primary school with a great many of them but I also made new friends and also a run in with the bullies but after I stood upto them a few times they left me alone the lessons here were a mixed bag as with some subjects I was ahead of them and with others I was behind no biggee just pulled my sleeves up and got on with it.My knack for doing practical work came to the fore in one or two of my lessons were I improvised to get the result that was needed but not the way the teachers had come to them this caused fun when I had to try and explain the logic in how I had reached the result they wanted but differently to the way they wanted it. Well I was back home and as well as a new school to go to I started getting back into my old habits of finishing my homework and straight outside going down the dene around to the pond playing on the green out the front of the house with the other kids, I would like to point out that what the middle school and later the high school called cross country runs were a joke compared to those at brown rigg where you were running up and down the fells and through streams then they wondered why a shorty like me was able to beat some of the so called best when we did them, the high school was a bit like a cross country as you used to go out of the bottom gate next to the all weather pitch along a path and into the fields down into the dene back up a hill and then back to school easy the one not so funny P.E. lesson I had at the high school was the week after I had had my appendix out despite a note from me mam to excuse me they still made me do the try outs for the school sports day I was not very impressed neither was my mam she did not half give the school what for. But I digress I spent a pleasant and mainly uneventful time and both schools I did take part in some after school groups the had and as part of my music exam at the high school I took part in the performing of the Mikado and The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan just in the chorus though at the age of sixteen my exams behind me I was nearly ready to start that most daunting part of my life I was leaving school, I had no idea what I wanted to do except it had to be something where I was using my hands.
Thursday, 16 August 2012
Yes this was the start of my first big adventure 11 years old and leaving home to go to Brown Rigg Boarding School at Bellingham to be honest I was both excited and scared at the same time as this would be the first time I had been away from home for more than just a few days but excited to see what all the fuss was about with this school I was soon to find out. Within 2 days of arriving I was put into detention for trying to hit some one with a rock as they were running away from me however in my defense the other kid was bigger than me but he pushed the wrong buttons and I lost it if he had stayed near me I would have just thumped him with my fists but he chose to run so I threw a rock at him, detention here was a lot different from most schools as it actually took place on nights when other activities were planned for example friday night was film night but the worst was if you were in detention on saturday nights as this was dance/disco night one of the only times you did not get into trouble for trying to chat the girls up, oops I forgot to mention it was a mixed boarding school the girls and boys dormitories were seperated by a large grassy area. This being the case it was not long before I had my first real girlfriend with all the kissing and cuddling, after lessons had finished there was other activities to do these were canoeing,swimming,cross country walks and others the one I enjoyed quite a lot was working on the small farm that school had were we kept hens,pigs,calves and some horses you were allowed into Bellingham during the week and on saturdays every sunday though we had to go to church and the year staff made sure you had some coppers for the collection plate, me and a few others tried to check the different churches out to see which one held the shortest service unfortunately we got caught and made to go to our proper churches.After church on sundays came a treat most of us with some sense did not look forward to and that was the sunday hike we must have covered every blade of grass between Bellingham and Otterburn plus Reedsdale during the 5 terms I spent their but I thoroughly enjoyed it as it taught us self discipline amongst other things. It was a good time in my life and it was there that I learned I had a knack for making things with my hands and also my love of photography unfortunately none of my photos from this early point in my life survived my knack of losing things like I said after 5 terms I decided I had had enough so I left there and came back home and started a new chapter of my life at the local schools.
Sunday, 12 August 2012
So where was I ah yes I was 5 years old and had started school which was good fun and unlike nowadays where the kids get dropped off at school I used to walk the half mile there and back my myself calling in at various peoples houses on the way home to see what goodies they had been baking, then after getting home doing homework and getting changed it was time to get outside and enjoy myself before tea one time me and my middle brother Leslie were playing and exploring where they had pulled some old houses down and we came across a mouses nest and being the age we were we thought the babies had been abandoned so wor kid put them in his jeans pocket and we went home as we got near the front door me mam came to the front door and as soon as she saw him wor Les went red and me mam said "what have you been upto"" nothing" came the reply what have you got in your pockets again nothing so she put her hand in his pocket and shrieked you little devil take them back immediately and wor Les but mam they were all by themselves at this she turned him round and marched us both back to where we had found them and made him put them back, this was only one of the things many a time when she was cleaning our bedroom she would find birds with broken wings that we were looking after hidden behind the wardrobe. Those were the days I had my first crush on a girl well not really a girl but one of the young female teachers at school I was broken hearted when she left to get married however it was not long before a young girl more my age took my fancy, you know what it is like at that age a different girlfriend every other week but the still were not allowed to come down the dene and play on the rope swings we used to string up, we also used to build little camps most of the time these were just lumps of wood and boards pulled into a clumb of bushes to form the walls it was great fun. The first real change to my life came when I was about eleven both my brothers had went to Brown Rigg Boarding School so I decided that I wanted to go as well it was weird because before I could go I had to have an interview with people from the school and local education lot needless to say I surprised myself and my mother by passing the interview and being accepted for Brown Rigg and that is were my blog will pick up.
Thursday, 9 August 2012
I was born in 1958 the youngest of three brothers my father although blind was at the time a basket maker by trade and also a talented piano player who because of the charity work he performed was awarded a M.B.E. in 1996. My life began in a terraced house in Seaton Delaval were I lived for 7 years till we moved half a mile down the road to Holywell during these times me and my brothers used to spend most of our time outside playing no matter the weather one of our favourite but now I look back on dangerous games used to be to climb on the wash house roofs and jump from one to the other many the time I went home covered in cuts and scratches from when I just had not jumped far enough or someone shouted just as I was about to jump. We also regularly walked down to the beach at Seaton Sluice or go down the local dene and make swings across the burn these were good times as on your way home from school you could just walk into peoples houses and see what they had been upto I also learned who baked or cooked different things on different days so by the time I got home I was always to full for my tea, the main regret is that is what community life was like there is no way you could ever do that now more's the pity. At the age of four I started my education at Holywell First School which is still open at the moment I was at the best what you would call an average student but I also had a knack which the teachers could not believe and that was staring out of the window and when they caught me and asked what they had been saying I could repeat it to them, the worst part of my young school life was when they kept trying to get me to write with my right hand when I am left handed no matter how or what they tried as soon as my pencil got near the paper I would swap to my left hand back then if you were left handed they tended to think you were slow but I proved them wrong by being one of the quickest learners in my age group.
That is enough for now will continue my rather boring life later.
That is enough for now will continue my rather boring life later.
Sunday, 5 August 2012
Hi everyone sorry have not been updating my blog regularly but have been having both personal and computer problems to deal with however I am back now and hope to keep my blog updated regularly. Well so far this year it has been a completely mixed bag of weather lets hope it gets it self sorted out and we have a good summer or at least more sunny days than rainy ones.Here are a couple of photos I have managed to get that I am proud of.