A 50`s Boy`s Winter

P2010033Sliding on, Winter brought us liberty bodices with rubber buttons, school jumpers and duffel coats, posh duffel coats had fur round the hood and proper bone horn shaped toggles fasteners, and even posher folks kids had a Gabardine.

I had a new dark green jerkin for my first day at the “Top School” when I say new, it was new, never worn by anyone before at all, ever.

It had 2 side pockets and a shiny zip to fasten it up.

It also had a bizarre fascination to a big black Labrador, which was passing the school gate as I was going in and it attacked me and ripped my coat, jumper, shirt and skin to pieces.

I was taken to Victoria Hospital for stitches and stuff, the pain was not too bad, the worst was, my new green jerkin was but a memory, still I wore it for nearly an hour.

If you had a brother it was odds on that they were hand me downs, absolutely no wastage in the 50`s.

It was a sad time leaving Aire View with Mr. Stubbs throwing whatever was nearest to hand at anyone who digressed, Miss Watson slapping colour into the tops of your legs for breathing out of turn and dear Miss Clarke with her 2 fingers tapping her hand to the beat of one of the records she used to put on, “Sheep May Safely Graze” was a favourite of mine

Her favourite catch phrase, “ Your such a silly Johnny” still brings a smile to my face, she was a “head” of her time, see what I did there??

In our house, as most on the estate, the frost was on the inside of the windows as well as the outside during really cold spells.

No central heating then and if the all night fire was not stoked up right, and it went out, no hot water either.

Mum put our jim-jams into the top oven warmer in the front room range so at least getting ready for bed was a pleasure.

Put in the bath, a huge cast iron affair with a rolled top, standard council issue and

if you were very lucky a sprinkling of Lux soap flakes to give bubbles.

Then wrapped in a towel and brought down to be dried, and on with the warm jim jams in front of a roaring fire.

Dark nights after school was visit to my grandmas, who lived over the fence, to watch Children’s hour on her telly, think it was 5 to 6.

We used to go early with a sandwich and watch the test card for 20 minutes or so.

Frost also gave us the chance to make slides, especially in the school yard, the caretaker, killer Clarkson, used to put salt on them, but it was a big yard and we were never caught short.

November 5th, bonfire night approached quickly and wood had to be collected, or as we in Yorkshire called it, progging.

Most streets had a few bonfires so wood, old car tyres, garden gates were at a premium.

The night before plot night was special too, mischief night, where you knocked on doors and ran away, put golden syrup on door handles or if you were really clever, set fire to your enemies bonfire.

Early December and the end of the avenue is invaded with coaches.

My mum always organised a trip to a Alhambra Theatre 12 miles a way to a pantomime.

What a treat, travelling on a coach, good seats to see a famous star being funny, ice cream at half time and fish and chips on the way home.

December also gave us 2 weeks off school and Christmas Day with the whole of the previous few weeks dedicated to trying to find what was hidden.

We not only had a few presents, and needed no more, one of my favourites was a tin of toffees from one uncle and aunt that not only gave a treat inside of sweets but an empty tin to store all your valuables.

Things like your favourite stone, foreign coin, a cuff link, in fact anything you held the most dear.

We also had chocolate biscuits, two different meats on the same day, and nuts in a bowl you could help yourself to when passing, what treats., of course mum never put them all out at once, or the treat would have lasted minutes not days.

Through January and into February the snowy months.

If you were brave on a freezing cold day you could go down through Jackson’s farm and walk across the canal, yes, the ice really was that thick.

Roads closed for days our avenue also a no go area.

Snowmen in every garden, igloos at the corner of streets and cold hands from snowball fights.

It seemed to be snow on the ground for weeks and weeks and over 20 foot high, in reality, probably a few days with drifts up to 5 foot high.

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