Archive for May, 2010

‘Boy’ Back In Town On 17/07/2010

May 21, 2010 2 comments

A very helpful Ushaw Moor Cricket Club official has just informed me that the first team are at home to Langley Park CC that day. I will be there to see some of the action [weather permitting] and fully intend to be in the bar at 1.30 for a pint or two, whether it’s pouring down or not. 

If anyone wants to take the opportunity to shake my hand that will be fine but either way I wil be taking some pictures for the album! The last time I saw the team play the opener was Gordon Thompson, so it would be in the late 50s or 1960.


Categories: Announcements, Memories

The Wage Freeze 1967 | Paul Malpas

May 21, 2010 1 comment

We used to drink Nimmo’s 4X, an explosive brew from Hartlepool, in a pub opposite Durham Jail, called The Dun Cow. The prison officers going on and coming off duty regaled us with stories of the prisoners, one notable one being Ian Brady, the Moors Murderer. Weekends were spent at and around the homes of a group of lads I got to know in Durham, who all lived out in the mining community of Ushaw Moor. The two hours previous to the Sunday lunch were spent in Ushaw Moor Working Men’s Club sinking about 12 pints of Federation beer with the fathers of these lads and then it was off to one of the houses for a slap up feed from their mothers who had pity on me “awah frae yam”. Which means “away from home” in Durhamese. There was always three vegetables on the plate along with potatoes and lumps of roast meat, I had never eaten so well. Of all the places I worked in and around England, this place impressed me the most for its kindness and generosity.


via The Wage Freeze 1967 | Paul Malpas.

Tired Tappings Of The Guardian Variety Plus The Way Ahead

May 19, 2010 Leave a comment

I get the Independent – it’s proud to be independent – but in my youth my precious money went on the Guardian – or the Sunday Times – usually in good company with copious pints of Guinness. Actually four pints of the stuff made me silly and sentimental – not a pretty sight so I try not to be silly and sentimental these days. I fail as a matter of course.

The Guardian is famous for its typos and takes pride in correcting them at a later stage – I must do the same – take the word contenter. What on earth is a contenter? I used that ‘word’ in my last post and backed it up with primaary. Primaary and contenter deserve each other in the dustbin of journalistic failure.  

I am likely to be in Ushaw Moor in the middle of July so maybe I will see one or two of you at the cricket club bar – I hope so and to that end will keep you informed about dates. As for postings I have in mind just a few more before laying my writing ‘talents’ to rest in July – how would you like articles entitled [1] Life At Bearpark Pit [2] Writing Creatively About Deerness Valley and [3] Defining Moments?


Categories: Memories

Sparkplugs And Warnings

May 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Have you noticed that occasionally during our everyday existence something happens to spark a memory? Take green jelly just out of the packet. The very act of my wife extracting the jelly, while the kettle is boiling, reminds me that at least once in the 50s I consumed a whole packet in one session. My mother looked astonished and I felt guilty. Astonishment and guilt tend to go together.

Looking for a bargain shirt and tie in Tescos [I have no pride just a careful approach to spending that will never work in that cathedral] I came across school caps. The brain flashes ‘I lost my very nice cap in 1953’ and it reminds me that I had to walk a mile from Unthank Terrace in twilight to what used to be a wood or copse  [not that far from Broadgate] to gather it up from the wet woody floor.

The  perfume from wall flowers reminds me of that church on the right – maybe a hundred yards before Pringle Place. Now why is that? I have no idea – answers on a post card please.  

Bright stars at night – rare these days because of earthly lights and pollution – remind me of a car journey – we were travelling up that  hill just after Broadgate – and were half a mile from New Brancepeth – when I noticed how clear and pure the night sky appeared and how bright the stars were.

Primary colours – often seen on kiddies school equipment – remind me of the bright orange and apple drawings on the board  made by the teacher of infants during the very early 50s. 

Lit Christmas tree bulbs remind me of Whitehouse Court in 1954; in that year I found myself entranced by the tree lights and was no doubt caught up in the excitement of impending Christmas present opening.

Turning to warnings – have you noticed that newspaper obituaries of rock stars usually finish with ‘born 1944’  or similiar – whereas most of the other deceased have something like ‘born 1924’ or earlier. What is it with these rocky roadies?  No doubt some suffer natural causes but I suspect that too many of them were in the drug/alcohol/tobacco trap.  

Time plays tricks and that should be taken as a warning. My time in Ushaw Moor ended in 1960 but seems like a hundred years ago. Now having said that 1968 seems like ten years ago – weird. The internet plays tricks as well – what seems like a forty five minute session is often an hour and a half! Yet and yet – if Derby County are winning an away match 1-0, with five minutes to go, that five minutes seems like half an hour and is agony in the process. Be wary of time – very wary indeed – treat it with respect and live a full life without those awkward regrets at the end: ‘I could have been a contender’ or ‘why did I not walk tall and make people smile?’ Why did I not give my wife flowers from the heart every month instead of  biannually?


Categories: Memories

One Last Rhyme From Gwen

May 8, 2010 Leave a comment


Go easy with the butter,

Be careful with the jam,

And here is a word, remember,

That it’s sixteen points for Spam,

Just bear in mind that Allied ships

We need for War’s equipment,

Must pass through many danger zones

To bring us every shipment.

Categories: Memories


May 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Several times during 1952 I could be found watching one of the New Brancepeth locomotives as it chuffed noisely in a southerly direction before  stopping short of the buffers that were situated not that far from the bottom end of the village. The engine becames very noisy and felt a  bit threatening as it got nearer and nearer to me. On an at least one occasion the driver stopped and gave me what must have been a forty yard ride! It was nepotism of course,  by my stepfather, that granted me the thrill and danger! He was then a thirty eight year old man  and  often worked twelve hours a day to help the cause of the colliery – moving timber, coal and other items.  It helped another great cause as well – his family’s financial position. It had to fund so much: the Beano, the Eagle, holidays in Newbiggin and Redcar, clothing, spotted dick and custard, train sets at Christmas, rent, clothing, food and much more. My list of priorities in that last sentence seem a bit odd now!

My uncle Norman sometimes invited me to joint him on his coach trips to the likes of Whitby. The passengers were all known to him, looked to be in their twenties, and were probably some club or other. On one trip he presented me with what looked like [but wasn’t] a Royal Navy officer’s hat; it was very shiny and important looking and must have given me a feeling of importance.  There were also lots of kiss me quick hats on the coach and all in all it was a happy bunch of  well behaved people.  Looking back on those trips it seems to me that everyone was happy whatever the weather.

It was not always plain sailing [hat or no hat] and on a hot summer’s day in c1953 II found myself on a broken down  Durham to New Brancepeth bus – that got no further than Alum Waters.  Eventually it was ‘everybody off’ but it was not that far to complete the journey!

Categories: Memories

A Quick Word

May 7, 2010 5 comments

Well how was it for you regarding the election? The Conservatives did not get the overwhelming victory thank goodness. I have always disliked their governments whilst having some respect for some of their voters. It seems to me – I would like to hear your view- that their failure to capture the imagination of the public is significant; despite years of Labour government, a world economic turndown and most of the press supporting them they are…. underwhelming!


Categories: Memories

Second World War Rhymes By Gwen B Jones

May 2, 2010 Leave a comment

This lady was quite a character and her poetry reveals much of the thinking, as well as the frustrations, experienced by civilians at that critical time. Many subjects are covered including: clothing coupons, wardens, the blackout, rationing, shirkers, allotments, queueing, black market and beer.

I have my favourites and here are two – as printed:

[1] Pay As You Earn

After several years of War,

In April, Nineteen Forty Four,

Income tax was changed about

All previous methods put to rout.

You have a code and separate table,

Your payments are not always stable.

For instance, if you have a rise,

Deductions then, increase in size.

But if your weekly pay is small,

You do not pay tax at all!

Instead, your packet holds far more

Than you bargained for.

The system is, as you can see,

The essence of simplicity! ! !

But many people, full of doubt,

Still wonder what it’s all about.

[2] Torch Batteries:

Number Eight was the size that appealed to us all,

It wasn’t too large and it wasn’t too small,

For we all had to carry our torches about,

And often when needed they just flickered out.

Number Eight was the size; it was always on call –

Can you wonder there were not enough for us all?

Categories: Memories

The history and antiquities of the … – Google Books

The history and antiquities of the … – Google Books.

The history and antiquities of the county palatine of Durham:- Page 419

Ushaw is a village three-quarters of a mile east from Esh. A hamlet called Hilltop, recently erected, is principally occupied by tailors and other tradesmen employed by the students of Ushaw College. An act was passed, 2 George III., 1760, ” for dividing and enclosing a certain moor or common, called Middlewood Moor. or Ushaw Moor, within the manor of Lanchester, in the county of Durham.” This moor is described as containing upwards of 600 acres, and as being partly in the chapelry of Esh, and partly in the parish of St. Oswald, and intersected from north to south by the Scotch Dyke and Holywell Syke, the parochial boundaries. The allotments were to be subject to a clear yearly rent of 6d. per acre to the bishop.

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