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This And That

1902 – First a bit of name dropping; it rarely brings a response but you never know. Three of Sleetburn’s skilled workers in Edwardian times were William Smith [butcher] A. Gardiner [female typewriter assistant] and Edward Butler [bricklayer]. Does anyone recognize them?

Circa 1957 Mackay’s Sports Club 5 Ushaw Moor 1 [HT 0-1]. That was a cup final played at Ferens Park. Clearly it all went wrong in the second half. Can anyone name any of the players that day? Soccer Gleghorn stated in 1998 that he did not have any knowledge of that particular game.

How is the sweet tooth in the Deerness Valley? My favourite is Spotted Dick and custard. Would you believe that its popularity comes and goes? More startling is the fact that some people objected to the pudding’s name and therefore renamed it Spotted Richard – how utterly ridiculous! Some people seem to be frightened of their own shadows. Those of you that are familiar with my writing will be aware of the motive behind my choice – naked nostalgia. Spotted Dick and naked nostalgia – I have just made myself laugh. I do not get any better do I? My second favourite is New York Cheese Cake, but only a version that can be ordered in a particular Kingston-Upon-Thames restaurant.

Speaking of New York brings to mind Maggie Blue – not that she lives there – but she is, if my memory serves me right, American. Maggie has contributed to the site from time to time and loves writing. One of her books is about Ushaw Moor and within the plot is a murder – so watch out. I think she sometimes blends Sherlock Holmes into her writing as well as the Cumbria Police Force – so occasionally I get a bit confused – but I am convinced that she has writing talent. Maggie is not the only person to feature Ushaw Moor: A Durham University club, specializing in all that is mediaeval, claimed that Ushaw Moor was attacked in those times. We know that cannot be.

Have you noticed that as you get older time seems to go more quickly? Of course you have! But why is that the case? Is it simply that as you get older each year is less of a slice of your whole life and therefore seems to go more quickly? I mean to a five year old another added year is still a big chunk of a six year old’s life whereas at the age of seventy that is not the case. Is it more to do with the routine in your life? For those older people that have similar days – day in day out –Groundhog almost – then time would seem to go more quickly – or would it?

Bucket time – no not kicking the bucket – have you not seen the film? Two elderly and incurably ill people decide to spend the remainder of their lives in exciting fashion. It is all made possible because of the wealth and resource of one of them – played by Jack Nicholson. They dream up wonderful and exciting things to do, and do them. What would be on your bucket time list? Mine? Being well read, well dressed and with good posture! Not just those things of course. I would love to visit New Zealand and laugh a lot more than I do. I would like to have a couple of pints with Terry Webster the old Derby County goalkeeper -he played for them from the late 40s up to and including 1957. He has seen them all including Frank Swift and Billy Steel. I would also like to have a chat with Eric Sykes although that would be a bit difficult because Eric is pretty deaf these days. I would like to spend a fortnight walking in the Lake District – eat good food as a reward for ten mile walks – and try the beers. I would love to be a percussionist with the London Symphony Orchestra – in fact any orchestra! The list might seem very conservative but that is only because I have much good fortune today and have experienced quite a lot already.

I have spent the last seven years studying religion part time. One of the things that puzzles me is the popularity of having eternal life. I do not understand it. Many of us, especially in the western world, are so lucky to be alive that asking for, or expecting, eternal life is just greedy. That brings me on to sin. I am human and therefore I am flawed – but I have not sinned this week – perhaps I will have better luck next week.

Did you like that Alfie? Which reminds me: Derby forever Newcastle never. Gentle humour that is all it is  – I have a soft spot for Jackie Milburn.


  1. Alf Rothwell
    March 4, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    I believe Sammy Crooks from Bearpark was one of Derby County’s favourites. People used to talk about him in my younger days. The greatest Derby Manager was Brian Clough another personality from the North East, I saw him play for Sunderland a few times he was a great goal scorer. His son Nigel seems to be settling in now. As for Jackie Milburn he was my hero when I was a young lad.I saw Dave Mackay play for Derby at Newcastle with young centre half Roy Mcfarlane and they were outstanding. In the late 50’s I knew Freddy Dodds who had a greyhound behind my Pigeon Loft on the Top Allotments and he said his brother was signed by Derby County. Freddy lived in Oakridge Road. Racing Pigeons was my favourite hobby with Football very close behind.I am listening to Machester United beating th “TOON” 2-1 at the moment. Cheers, Alf R

  2. graham
    August 23, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    Interesting read.
    I have relatives in the Bearpark / Esh / Ushaw area, many now sadly deceased(incl George and Tom Swift).
    Read your comments re. Terry Webster, he was the first keeper I remember seeing play for the rams (still have a season ticket), smallish of stature but a decent keeper.

  3. WB
    August 24, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Nice one Graham – keep the Ram faith

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