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Poetry D Jour by Beryl McMullen coming December, 2010


Notice: The forum is being looked after by Garden Gerald, Nick and Townie.

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1  General Discussion / General Posts / Re: Things that do my head in. on: September 19, 2018, 05:38:32 AM
 Cheesy  Luckily my hair is white these days. 

So this site...is it finished now?
2  General Discussion / General Posts / Things that do my head in. on: September 17, 2018, 04:01:32 AM
Girly and damp, limp handshakes..when you shake a mans hand and it feels like you have half a Haddock in it.
 
Women at the front of a checkout who when the total comes up, you see a look of surprise come across their face as they realise, yes, you DO have to pay for it..and only then rummage through their handbag to find the cash.
 
Bins not emptied properly.
 
Drivers whose brains work at the same speed as a heavily drugged snail.
You wait hours at the junction behind them, while they carefully scan the distance with high powered binoculars to see if there is any sign of another car coming in this lifetime...just **** GO!
 
Woman who ask you to comment on their hair, clothes, figure etc, knowing whatever answer you give is the wrong one.
 
People who follow me around the internet (which DOES take some effort) then complain about what I write..get a life will you.
If you dont like what I wriite about, dont read it..'simples' Vgghhtt.
 
Waiting for a Petrol station operator to press the 'ok' button so my pump will start....take YOUR time why dont you? after all you're in a nice warm kiosk and I'm outside with the rain dripping off my testicles.
 
Computers that crash, taking 30 minutes work with them.
Women who get court orders against me just because I'm stalking them.
 
Airline check ins where you have to suspend all humour until you get off the plane at the other end.
Talking to call centres 5000 miles away..yes I know learning Gujarati would ease the whole experience but hey..I'm in England, cant you just learn English instead?
 
Police officers who stop you then talk to you like you're a 5 year old, worse still, you have to listen and smile politely to even stand a hope of getting away with it...then the bastards still do you.
 
Safety cameras on dual carriageways and motorways...not many school crossings likely to be found there, is there ?
 
Standing in the carvery at the Pretty Pigs pub and knowing the 'Roasties' are going to run out just as I get there.
 
Walking into a chip shop at lunchtime and the guy saying..'They'll be ready in 5 minutes'  BASTARDS! people coming in for chips at lunchtime is a shock then? have the buggers ready!
 
Dogs that sniff my bum..I swear to god the next one that does it, I'm going to roll him on his back, pin his paws down and say 'My turn now brown eyes'
 
Phone numbers that say if you want thingy, press one, doo-dah,press two and so on, and when you do that, you have 30 other options on the next part.
 
Finally (and I'm turning into Victor Meldrew here)
 
People who just walk straight past without even a nod when you've stood there for 10 seconds holding the door open..rude bastards...
3  General Discussion / General Posts / Loxton St School on: September 17, 2018, 03:58:19 AM
I left Loxton St School in the July of 1964...well I had to really, they were knocking it down. In the school exams that year I finished 4th in my class...I was heartbroken.
Before that I had always finished in the top three, not because I was particulary clever of course, not at all,
most exams rely on you being able to remember what you had already been taught and luckily for me, my memory was excellent.

Duddeston Manor School was now open for business. Because of my previous school record they put me straight into class 2Y, that was the top class in that year,
there was no 'X' stream when I first started.
Secondly I didn't really want to go to Duddeston anyway.
I had never worn school uniform and above all things, I had never worn or wanted, to wear a tie. I think I had some phobia about them...and this new place?
It demanded you had it all, School blazer, badge, running kit, sweater, shirt, tie, the lot. My worst fears had all come true.

SILLY me! Why on earth had I worried? I started that first day in just black trousers, squeaky shoes, a grey shirt, a grey sweater...and...and...and...bugger all else.
Mom just couldn't afford it.
Most of the other parents could though.

So day after day after day, various teachers would call me over and tell me off for not having a school blazer,
they would demand I wore a school tie, proper gym clothing or things like an apron for woodwork..
bloody idiots, I couldn't afford underpants never mind a school apron and as for a school badge,
where did you want me to wear it? on my left nipple held up by a safety pin?

Every bloody week though I was doing detention for not having something...no point telling Mom though, that would just have made her sad.

Eventually I got together some semblance of what they thought was required and the telling offs slowed down...certainly to a level that I felt no stress about them.
I was put into Mr Flemings class, he taught German at Duddeston Manor which I found interesting, plus I found him to be a fairly decent guy.
He obviously had some impact on me, because even though I only did German for one full year, I can still remember lots of phrases and I can still count up to a thousand if I need to.
No, I don't need to.

I fell in love in the September of 1964..oh I fell in love EVERY day but this, THIS was a crush worth having.
No MORE skanky Jennifer Brook's who had defended me in my one and only game of kiss chase, no, this woman was a Goddess.
He name was Pat Egain and she was the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen.
(The second most beautiful girl in the school was Vicky Hewson but that requires another story, another chapter in fact)

Oh she ignored me of course, women always did but at least she never hit me for dribbling down the back of her school uniform.
I couldn't believe Duddeston Manor! it was everything I ever wanted school to be...well in terms of facilities anyway.
I loved the gym, the Library and Wednesday club most of all.
It was in the school Gym one miserable Tuesday morning that I upset Micky Cartridge and he offered me out..
how sweet I thought, my first ever date...except...sigh, it wasn't a kiss he wanted, no, he much preferred to punch my head in.
Worse still, he TOWERED over me! he must have been at LEAST 5ft tall and I didn't get to that dizzying height until I started work 3 years later.

I can honestly say I wasn't frightened..well not until a friend pointed out he was one of the hardest kids in the year.
Then I can honestly say I STILL wasn't frightened..if only for the simple reason I had no intention of being there.
My plan was to slip out of school at the first bell, dash home via Scunthorpe and go off sick for 8 months with a sudden attack of Beri-Beri.

JUST as the bloody Gym class was ending Mr Croxall said ''Robinson, why aren't you wearing proper Gym pumps''? (I think I was in Wellies or something)
''Detention tonight, my classroom''..

Oh GOD! I nearly wet myself, all my plans to get away from Micky Cartridge were in ruins.
I sat in his detention room staring at the clock...minute after minute crawled by, marking ever closer, my imminent doom.
Eventually my time was up, I don't think Mr Croxall had ever used a crowbar to prise anyone out of the detention room before...

Writing a quick will on the back of a Spangles wrapper, I left all my worldly goods of two Jelly babies and a half chewed pencil to my friend Allan.
Walking like Jesus on my way to the cross I slowly made my way to the school gates.
THE COWARDLY bastard had got bored waiting and gone home! luckily for HIM too or I'd have battered him pretty! so all of a sudden my fake Beri-Beri was off the list and I lived to fear another day..

Jesus Christ...this was only my fourth week in my new school, I hope it gets better! 
It did.
4  In your Garden / Gardening advice and tips / Re: DANGEROUS CHEMICALS on: August 13, 2018, 04:16:04 PM
If seaweed was a fertilizer wouldn't the beaches be green?
5  All Sports / All Sports / Re: ASTON VILLA on: August 07, 2018, 10:43:28 AM
Just like you were all of last year.
6  General Discussion / General Posts / To all the guests on here. on: August 07, 2018, 07:20:41 AM
I logged on this morning to find 7 guests already on this forum.
So to all of you, welcome.
I hope you found something here you enjoyed.

Obviously guests and members all have something in common.
We all love local history.

So to all you guests each day I'm not sure where you're mainly from   (I suppose I could hazard a guess) but anyway, you're welcome here.

I'm willing to bet most of you visitors also know one or two of us.
So why don't you come join in?

Be a member, just imagine being able to post on most subjects, imagine being on a website where there is no bullying, no posts removed without at least discussing it first.
Imagine having a voice again.

Imagine none of the moderators talking down to you, speaking to you like you were a small child..

Imagine..
Imagine all the people...
Living lives in peace..
You may say I'm a dreamer.
But I'm not the only one.

Try it..There are some interesting and very good writers on here....be one too.

Either way, have a great day.
7  General Discussion / General Posts / Sticky fingers. on: August 06, 2018, 08:57:25 AM
The first time I did it was when I was 8.
I'll keep the name of my accomplice secret but it involved the theft of some toy soldiers.
Toys were very thin on the ground back in those days, we only got them high days and holidays, or to be precise, Christmas or on a birthday.
These ones though were stolen from Lewis's.

I can remember clearly we took them home and hid them up the chimney.
We weren't stupid, we knew Mom would notice anything new in the house that cost money.
Especially when it cost money we neither had or couldn't afford.

Damn... the day after we put them up there, Mom chose only the first time that century to clean out the bedroom chimney and found them.
That day Mom nearly beat us half to death.

Two years later I'm back up town with Ivan Eels.
I'm shoplifting again.

Once more I've already filled my pockets with stuff from Lewis's and now me and Ivan are in Halfords.
Halfords used be sited by the Old Square and I'm in there ''admiring'' a bicycle torch.
Which on the scale of things is pretty stupid as I don't even have a bike.
It's slipped into my pocket and out we go.

I remember getting as far as Harry Parks when a hand comes on my shoulder and an assistant from Halfords drags me back.
As I'm gripped tightly by this man in his mid-forties I notice Ivan legging it as fast as he can..
The guy can't get us both but he's content he's got the one who did the actual stealing.
I'm taken into the Managers office in the back room, ''Hand it over then'' he says and I take the torch out of my pocket.
Amazingly he then walks out of the room,leaving me on my own, he does lock the door though so I can't get out.

OK, I've got a break, not a big one, but a break nonetheless.
I quickly start taking all the other stuff I've stolen out of my pockets, one again plastic soldiers are being stuffed into crevices, a painted metal car is squirreled away,
This is joined by a Mop, a small bed and a black and white television...my shorts had big pockets in those days.

A policeman arrives, he asks my name and address...shit..I never thought of that..Mom will now be coming up to kill me again.
The Policeman asks me to turn out my pockets...nothing..nor would there be, it's all stashed in the Managers office.

He asks me why I stole the torch, I replied I didn't know I had, I was just looking at it then I'd noticed my friend leaving the shop and I'd run out to catch him.
He didn't believe me for a second.

Dad arrives to collect me, Halford's aren't taking it further but Dad knows I did it...he doesn't say a word.
He tells me he'll clear it with my Mom but far worse than that, Dad is disappointed with me...it was my worst of all punishments

Dad proves true to his word, he smooths it over, I feel terrible for weeks.
8  General Discussion / General Posts / For Edifi 'Captain's Courageous' on: August 05, 2018, 10:55:03 AM
At the bottom of Erskine st was the River Rea.
Allan, Derek and me spent many a day just walking along the river (it had no grassy banks, it was just a culvert really)
We would go down to near Salford Bridge, just doing things that teenage boys get up to.

Near Nechells Power Station was a long gloomy tunnel known as 'The dark half hour' I suppose it was only a 1/4 mile long but feeling your way in total darkness it seemed a lot, lot further.
I can see us now hanging on to each other with our necks tucked down tight against our chins (that was because of my bloody big brother who claimed Rats always went for your throat) but we did it to test our courage and to complete our great adventure..

I remember one year just as we lowered ourselves down to the side of the Rea we saw a large Paper bale come sliding and half floating, towards us,,
I climbed on to sail it the 2 miles down to Salford to where the Rea met the Tame.

There was only one flaw in my plan..

I had forgotten that just by Saltley Viaduct there is an 12ft fall as it goes over a mini waterfall, I hung on for grim death as I rode this greasy roller coaster..my friends who had fallen far behind, screaming at me in the distance,

I stayed on my 'Ship' all the way...how could I not?

I was the Captain...
and I was courageous....
9  General Discussion / General Posts / Re: Nostalgia...it's not what it used to be. on: August 05, 2018, 10:28:27 AM
Oh me too Ed, I'd walk down from Hindlow Close (Where Scott and Spooner St used to be) call at my friend Allan Chance's house, he lived opposite the working men's club in Inkerman St.
Then we'd climb down to the Rea, depending if had been heavily raining or not, as it could sweep you away in full flood.
From there we'd walk down to the Dark Half hour and prove our bravery by walking through it in pitch blackness..
It cost nothing and they were some of my best days of my life..

I'll do my next post specifically about the Rea Ed.
10  General Discussion / General Posts / A load of old Cobblers. on: August 05, 2018, 07:20:59 AM


I don't think people take shoes to be repaired these days, for starters, shoes are pretty cheap and we have far more money to spend on clothes than I could have ever dreamed of as a kid.

I was just going to make a comparison to how I lived then to how I live now..but the truth is, there is no comparison.

I had two lots of footwear back then, plastic sandals or over size wellingtons.
My wellies were so big they used to chaff my armpits and the sandals?
Rain, sun or snow..they were worn.

Over my childhood I do remember having a few pairs of shoes of course, but invariably they all ended up with a bit of Lino stuffed inside, covering a hole..
certainly no reason to throw them away though.

I remember the smell of the shop and the little ticket he used to give you..and when you picked them up, miracle upon miracle, they had always been polished too.
I was cleaning out my Aunt Eva's old handbag yesterday, she passed away 10 years ago and left me a large handbag full of photos..

Anyway, apart from a letter offering her a new house (only 'new' in sense she'd be moving in for the first time, address being 27 Alfred St, Aston) there was also a Doctors note from Dr Kelly..and a ticket stub for a shoe repair from a shop on Soho Road..
The ticket has to be over 10 years old and as I hold the stub, it was never redeemed.

But thinking on, it wasn't just shoes we repaired,
I don't think I ever owned a pair of socks without them being darned and nor do I remember ever wearing a knitted top that once hadn't belonged to a Jumper my Dad had probably worn.
That was my world and no doubt yours too.

I think that is also why, when I did have anything new, it was so special to me..
And those thoughts really stick out in my mind.

I used to love our Summer holidays up in South Shields, new shorts, tee shirt and sandals, sometimes even a new coat but in all fairness, that was like treading in Rocking Horse poo.
And when we came back, all those clothes were instantly reserved for Sunday wear.

Now by coincidence Roz is having a wardrobe clear out..(which of course means all my meagre rags just so she can squeeze in her latest Yves St Laurent Number..)
And looking at the pile, I guess I'll be wearing a barrel for the next 6 months..
AND I've just noticed she's trying to throw out my Loakes..

Bloody women! the most comfortable shoes in history, and ok, the sole IS coming slightly adrift and when I walk in them they appear to chew grass and eat mud but what the hell!
Roz says I have enough pairs already, this off a woman who can put Imelda Marcos to shame..
Hmm... that shoe repair ticket for a pair of my Aunts Shoes going back 10 years?

I've just phoned the shop up...

They'll be ready next Thursday.
11  General Discussion / General Posts / Little boys with little toys. on: August 05, 2018, 06:16:44 AM
Come play with me one last time
On the cobbled streets of our childhood
You remember them, don't you?
Hard and shiny...
Glistening like a thousand diamonds in the Moonlight
Yes, I remember them...
And the sound of tipped shoes,
Echoing in the evening air
And my Mom would say...
It's been so long...so hard to remember...
So I close my eyes and her Northern voice,
Rings out clear as I run down the entry.
'Dont you dare cross that main road'
'I won't Mom' I lied...
Then ran down Landor St to the 'Brickies'
And they all had bikes,
So I ran along, always lost in the distance,
My only fun, watching others have theirs
But that was my life and I knew nothing else,
So poverty did not exist..
Not back then.
And then my work years began,
And I still followed the crowd,
Always a step behind...
I got my bike..and they bought a car.
And I still followed behind...
Still lost in the distance..
Then I grew tall and strong..
And I dressed just like them...
And I knew them for what they still were...
Little boys with little toys...
While adversity...had made me.
A Man.
12  General Discussion / General Posts / Nostalgia...it's not what it used to be. on: August 05, 2018, 06:12:56 AM
In the ever growing 'Nanny state' that we live in today, where petty minded people enforce petty minded rules my mind often goes back to the things that we were not only allowed to do but actually encouraged to take part in.
Do you remember those little hard back razor blades they used to hand out in class?

No one ever seemed to injure or cut themselves as we whittled bits of cardboard or sliced up newspaper on class projects.
The school gym was a deathtrap...we used to leap on and off open backed bus's never caring if the vehicle had actually stopped, no one told you off, no one ever said be careful.
We used to go up Sutton park and Ward end to hire paddle boats, again, no one questioned the fact we were only about ten, the only thing that really counted was our ability to pay.
Just imagine a 10 year old kid trying to take a boat out these days.

No adults told us off either for playing in derelict houses. we were encouraged to make Go karts that had no brakes nor ways of stopping,
And these we'd race down the hill weaving in and out of cars.
The toys we made were lethal, slate tipped spears, tack guns, Bows that would drive an arrow 6 inches through you.
We owned air rifles and had only one roller skate...
We ate that much sugar in the guise of Kali that we round round like headless chickens.
Chips were my staple diet yet I had the body of a Bolivian racing snake.
Our houses were either burning hot or freezing cold, and sometimes so damp our clothing steamed when we put then on.
We built Bonfires and the kid in charge was only around 13.

We used to walk the canals and explore tunnels, we'd play over the brickworks at Landor St.
We'd stand on the railway lines as trains roared past us at 60mph only feet away.
We used to play on building sites and I remember Humber Tower and the Wheel and Rope which we used to swing side to side along the block.
We jumped from 3rd storey windows into a pile of Builders sand and buried ourselves up to the waist.

We dug tunnels which we booby trapped then forgot where we'd laid them.
But we made it through, you see it was life and being an adult that wore us down...not our childhood...never our childhood.

Sniff...we were poor, but we were happy.
13  All Sports / All Sports / Re: ASTON VILLA on: August 04, 2018, 09:40:33 AM
I'm 5 years old and to be honest my whole world back then was a 30 yard ribbon, one mile long, running through the streets of Nechells.
If I'd been up to South Shields, well I can't remember it and besides, anywhere I went from the shops to school, I always travelled holding the hand of an elder brother or sister.

It's a warm Summer's day in 1957 and I'm in the back garden... over the fence I can hear Ivan Eels singing ''Villa! Villa!  VILLA!!!
Ivan is almost 8, he's three years older than me and knows far more about the world than I do.

''What's a Villa then Ivan''? I asked him.

He comes up to our 4ft high fence and peers over it..I can just see his eyes and basin style cut hair.
''It's a football team, MY team'' he tells me ''And they've just won the FA Cup..''

''Oh, ok''

I wander away thinking what's the FA Cup? I've never heard of that either.
I try to find out more from my Dad.

Dad isn't interested in Football but he tries to tell me about the Villa..

Dad say's that ''The Villa'' are a famous football team who have won lots of things...
I ask Dad where they are..he replies they're about a 5 minute walk from my Aunt Eva.

I know where my Aunt Eva lives...well vaguely....Alfred Street by the Park, it's a very long walk ...for a 5 year old anyway.

Dad goes on to tell me that My Uncle Tom is an Aston Villa fan and that's why he was drunk last night...
Uncle Tom is married to Aunt Eva, he's always drunk I thought..

I roll the name around on my tongue..''A..s..t..o..n  V..i..l..l..a''
And that was the first time I can honestly say I'd heard of Aston.

14  General Discussion / General Posts / Photos and people who claim to own them. on: August 04, 2018, 09:23:43 AM
I don't know if anyone else has had to go through this but I'm sick of posting an old photo that I've got from searching through Google only to have someone complain that the photo is theirs and I should at least recognise the copyright.

Couple of things here, the first being HOW? I don't have a clue who took the original photo, it's usually been cropped, tarted up, lightened and there is simply no way of ever knowing who the photographer was anyway.

Yet I still have to put up with (especially off a certain guy) them leaping out like a trap door spider claiming authorship.
I swear to god I'm going to start asking for a copy of the original negative or proof of copyright.

And what really does my head in, are people who think just because they've added the words ''Posted to the....'' that it gives them some form of ownership.

No it doesn't. 

15  General Discussion / General Posts / Re: Haircuts as a boy. on: August 04, 2018, 09:04:36 AM
I wish I still had hair TO be pulled Ed.
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