About me....

Dunston village floods 47

This is a page that should be read if you can't sleep - it carries an unwriten guarentee to bore you to sleep! Or read it to your children if they can't sleep!

Anyway, here goes. I was conceived during the great flood early in 47. Our village on the edge of the Lincolnshire Fens was completely under water and Mum and Dad had to stay indoors and amuse themseves. Nine months later a little bundle of original sin was born in the same bedroom he was conceived. I came into the world..waved my hands and legs about, screamed,and peed myself...this early action seemed to set the pattern for my life to follow.

Early years

My Mother, Jessie

My father had retired from his career in the Army and had married my Mother. My father worked as the local village 'Coalman' which doesn't sound much but his area covered several villages and he would often get folks travelling miles to knock on our door to get 'Fred to go to the depot for a bag'. Dad was a softy and would drive a mile and fill a large bag of coal for them to 'keep them going'. He was a very kind hearted gentle man, who came through Dunkirk and the D day landings and the liberation of France. He was not expressive ot tactile towards me but that was not because he didn't care...it was just the way things were.

My mother was the opposite to my father in many ways. Just as he was quiet my mother was outgoing, artistic, a dressmaker,musical and had a measure of faith - my father was an Atheist. mother was always entertaining, the house was full of folks from the village and she made costumes for the yearly village Fancy Dress. She was always surrounded by people and I remember she was always laughing and happy. By nature she loved to teach and taught me to bake,to use a sewing machine,and to read, so I could read before I went to school.. but she failed to get me to master the piano and flute! At the Queen's Coronation, my uncle bought a wee 12 inch Bush TV and our front room was full of village folk gathered round it - my mother baked and fed them all. That was the kind of woman she was.


Village Life

We kept chickens and a Duck, who dad named Donald - not very imaginative, but he argued why should he strain his brain trying to come up with a name when a perfectly good 'duck name' already existed!..That was the way dad was - very practical.. 'Donald' was bought to fatten up for one Christmas, but now dad had named him there was no way he would be sacrificed and end up on a plate - so he had a charmed and happy life and waddled around amongst the hens and finally died in old age, "To tough to eat now" said dad, so Donald was buried with reverence in the garden, I made a lollipop stick cross for him. Whenever one of our hens was fertilised by the Cockrel and the eggs were about to hatch they were brought in to our front room, the eggs kept warm in front of grate and then I would watch them hatch out one by one...but was careful not to name any one of them!

We also kept 2, nameless pigs, one of which was slaughtered every year and replaced with a younger one. The local Butcher would slaughter the beast and receive the offal and meat as payment. The head was hoisted on a pole and the meat shared with our neighbours...I got the pigs tail to play with. This was always a great event to look forward to by everyone, except the pig. 

I also had a dog called Mick. He was a mongrel (only rich folk had pedigree dogs in our village). He was brown and white with huge curley tail. He went everywhere with me and my pals. A great dog but as with all dogs in those days he slept outside in a kennel, except for the winter then he was brought into the 'wash-house'. We would go 'rattin' with him and chasing rabbits and mice at harvest time, when we followed the combines.  Those were happy days.

Then a great sadness...

Dad and me at Mablethorpe

Sadly I lost my Mother after having a loan of her for the first 6 Years of my life. She died at the age of 42 after a long and painful illness. I had lost someone that was so much part of my life and at the age of 6 went through painful grief. During my mother's illness I was passed around between friends and an Auntie. This was not a happy period and I found refuge in my school friends who helped me get through by what I call 'play therapy'. I was never treated differently by my peers, only the Adults whispered in my presence not knowing what to say to a young boy whose Mother was slipping through his fingers as each day went by....but my friends just carried on playing and treated me as they had always done. I think this helped although modern day 'Shrinks' would probably attribute my 'eccentricity' to this event. (I think more likely it is due to having an eccentric artist Mother and a Bespoke Tailor, who was a bit of a Dandy for a Grandfather). Anyway I did miss my Mother and always have moments of sadness that she never got to see me grow and help me when I screwed up. So now it was me and Dad against the world!

Me and Bonzo the stuffed dog
Special times
Dad the big softy


Mrs Twells (a lovely lady) and our village school - I am far right back row.

The next phase was going to School. I attended the local village school. It was a great time and I throughly enjoyed it. The stories I have written Stories to entertain feature a great number of these folks - I won't name them, but they are all there! - in fact I will break cover and say that Charlie (Charlie and the Pea) is in the middle of back row wearing his Lone Star Sheriff's badge!!

 Living in a small village for a wee boy is full of adventure. Every day we played football, cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers, swordfighting, buggy riding, adventures to find the source of our 'beck', tree climbing, fishing, bike riding, shooting catapults,capguns, throwing sheaf knifes against trees , catching Newts and lying in long grass looking at clouds..we did all this with our dogs tagging along with us. When it was time to come home the parents would shout our names and it would echo all over the village and we would go home. I don't think I ever saw the inside of our house from day to the next, except to listen to 'Journey into Space' on the old bush radio, then later to watch the Lone Ranger, Cisco Kid or Hopalong Cassidy on a black and white 12inch TV. In all it was a magic childhood full of adventure and grazed knees and monsters behind every shadow.

The Primitive Methodist Chapel. I am 4th from right front row - it was full of girls! Mr 'Wesley' (see story 'Mr. Wesley') is next to my Mother back row left. Rex is the other boy my age on the front row.

Secondary Modern School


Soon the time came for me to go to the 'big' school. This was Branston Secondary Modern which was over 4 miles away. We had to get a school bus every school morning - that was great because if it snowed the bus didn't turn up so we had a day off.  I didn't like this school very much. We met with lots of other children from all over the other villages, I found this hard leaving my little intimate village situation. I made new firm friends..played endless football games and some Cricket. We took apart an old car and put it back together again, we made weird and wonderful things in woodwork and learnt Scottish country dancing (Lincolnshire has very deep Celtic roots). My favourite lessons were Dinner time and Games - that says it all.  (It was here that I met Tony and we joined the Navy together see Royal Navy page to continue the story!!).

During this period my father married his housekeeper. She came in at a height of 4ft 2inches high and about the same around. She was a hard worker but beat me daily and nagged constantly.  I also remember that whenever she coughed (she smoked Park Drives) she farted causing Sooty the cat to exit quickly...poor Sooty never got used to it and it took him by surprise everytime.  Because she was so wee she would come at me beneath the radar and hit me hard... Often she would chase me with the frying pan...one day I just kept running and joined the Navy. Dad never said much because she fed him. A number of years later,after I married, dad died just short of his 80th due to a simple operation in hospital that went wrong. My wife May and I took my Step mum to live with us in Brighton (during the 80s) on condition that she didn't touch a frying pan or suddenly attack me -  She didn't settle due to my being at that time a Pastor of a large International Church and she was frightened of my darked skinned Sri Lankan friends! So we got her a place back home to her village where some time later after a final cough and fart she died at age 89.

As I said my days at Branston School were not the best I think a lot was due to my daily beatings by my Stepmother. Despite this I was always in the A stream and always 3rd in the class but my interests were mostly taken by playing in the schools football team and chasing girls - I had discovered that girls were much to my liking and I seemed to get on with them very well even to the extent of having two girlfriends a week - at the same time! My one condition was that they didn't have access to a frying pan...but these escapades greatly restored my faith and liking for the opposite sex. Not only that but I was always fascinated by their simple approach to life and their lack of interest in football, train sets and climbing trees. I was and still remain despite my years a very simple soul. I was soon to grow up rapidly and become a man.

If you really can't sleep and want to follow my escapades then this is the order you should read  - Royal Navy  - then A New Life  - then Church Life 

For an explaination of my FAITH go to Faith - please be warned some of these pages contain material that some may find offensive, but I make no apology for them.


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Latest comments

12.12 | 09:27

Is that you ‘Scratch’? - I think we starred in it it - no idea what happened to the Yorkshire TV film. Probably banned nowadays due to the title!!
John (Joe)

12.12 | 02:36

any one know about the film Show Me Your Cod end

31.07 | 21:38

Hi John

Thanks for the mention...really pleased you like my ties. I have also designed a range of boutonniere's and waistcoats to compliment my ties.

24.12 | 12:44

Hi Neil
Can you please send me your e-mail so I can send you a PDF

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