“March came in that winter like the meekest and mildest of lambs, bringing days that were crisp and golden and tingling, each followed by a frosty pink twilight which gradually lost itself in an elfland of moonshine.” ― L.M. Montgomery

Harsh Voice Down The Decades

May 28, 2016 Leave a comment

Back in about 1960 my grandmother Hope made a comment that I can more or less still recall: the gist of it seems  unremarkable now. She was looking out of the living room window at 11 George Street, Esh Winning, at the time of her inexplicably memorable comment, and said:

‘Oh that girl call over there is showing some life now that she has a boyfriend. She was always dozy before he came along’.

How unkind was that? Perhaps the girl had suffered a bout of depression. Or maybe she was in mourning. No doubt you can offer further reasons for appearing dozy.

Anyway, it seems to me that my grandmother would not have been moved by Gene Kelly’s excitement as he sang in the rain during what was a glorious feeling of being in love.

I have two further points to make; although Esh Winning is not Ushaw Moor, and therefore might excite members of the Cluff police station, my grandmother did spend  most of her life in the Sleetburn and  Ushaw Moor villages and therefore ought to have been influenced to the good by that; secondly I wonder about the identity of the girl. Perhaps you can all walk up to 11 George Street and narrow down the likely dwelling that housed the girl in love and take it from there.



Categories: Memories

The Carse Lads And Their Beloved Sunderland

May 15, 2016 1 comment

Coal miner Tommy Carse was my wiry and hardworking uncle. He smiled a lot, loved his family and had twinkling eyes that did him no harm at all. My mother loved his humour and warmth. I saw him through the eyes of a child but I was old enough to form the opinion that he was a good man and I was right about that.

So it gives me great pleasure to know that his sons Ian and Malcolm are currently in a good mood about football. Sunderland AFC has survived. The team is still a Premier League outfit. That pleases me because it pleases them.

Which brings me on to Newcastle United. Vibes all wrong. Milburn betrayed by the semi permanent farce that is Newcastle United. It is a misery that has unfolded for decade after decade.Fans betrayed big time.I have seen Newcastle play Derby County twice, both times at Newcastle. 1-0 and 2-0 wins for Derby. Much personal joy but I was sad for Newcastle’s brilliant supporters. They were, and always will be, brilliant until the sun explodes; they deserve much more, as do Derby County fans.




Categories: Memories

Your Advice To School Leavers?

May 14, 2016 Leave a comment

We all need advice from time to time but youngsters surely have a special need to know what it is like out there. Teachers have the intellect to help with that task but not all of them necessarily have the time or experience to do so. I also doubt that they  have the professional authority to tell it how it really is.

We have some splendid amateur writers and commentators on this site and armed with our rich and varied memories we bleat with a warm and sentimental glow that can be very enjoyable. But surely all those memories and reflections need a positive conclusion and outlet that can be helpful to the youngsters.

When I was a child growing up in Ushaw Moor I had a healthy respect for authority but by its nature  it was not a thoughtful process. You did what you were told because otherwise you were a trouble maker. We know that our country is significantly corrupt and that comes at a time when our Prime Minister dares to comment on countries even more corrupt.

As a kid I thought that most of the adults I met were self confident in every way. But they seldom were in reality. The world really is a stage and there is a lot of acting going on. There is a lot of b… s….. going on as well and I will leave you to list the bull’s activity.

So, we loved sledging down the bank; we loved playing football  and knocky nine doors; we loved conkers; we loved fireworks and Denis the Menace etc etc.

Let us now carefully and lovingly work out what to tell our youngsters. Then tell it.Do not restrict it to ‘work hard play hard.’ Although that would be a handy start.






Categories: Memories

No Hiding Place For Angelic Grannies

May 9, 2016 Leave a comment

If you are not up to speed on this one just google Aycliffe Angels and away you go.

Most of us are now aware of them and how heroic they were. Commendable efforts were made to give them the recognition  they fully deserve but there is always more to be done.

I can only estimate that there are about two or three valley angels alive and residing in the locality. Why not seek them out? Look in the bathroom, but knock first. What about the garden?  Seek information about them from your mates and neighbours. Above all find them.

Then laud, feed and clap them. Not in the Royal County Hotel [which is grand] but in the locality of the village in which they walked and talked.

Keep me in the loop and I might even attend the event.

Oh, and by the way, they probably like chocolate cake.



Categories: Memories

Paul W Rodaway’s Little Gem

March 15, 2016 3 comments

Well I have read  quite a bit more of the gem and I have to say it is an ‘authentic’ jewel. To me his work deserved a distinction grade [not that I am really qualified to make that judgement] but I have no idea whether that accolade was awarded or was even a possibility within the marking scheme.

Having done a bit of googling it appears that Mr Rodaway is an author although I might be wrong. There is a book called – Sensuous Geographies: Bodies Sense and Place – mentioned on Amazon.com that might well be his work.  I might purchase it.



Categories: Memories

Stumbling Upon An Ushaw Moor Gem!

March 9, 2016 3 comments

Well it looks like it. I have only skim read this resource but it will surely catch the imagine of some of you.

Just google:    Ushaw Moor Paul W Rodaway

It is a thesis written in 1987 and within it you will find photographs and extensive analysis of the village!

Your comments will be appreciated.


Categories: Memories

Events And Places Gone?

March 7, 2016 2 comments

This piece is merely a gut reaction to what seems to be Brian’s despair about the erosion of community.There are many that feel like him, especially those that experienced a community’s warm embrace.However I know that a healthy community life of sorts remains in Ushaw Moor and the rest of the UK; of course it will never be identical to times that are gone. The past is dead, it does not exist other than in  our memories and the patchwork of physical remains, but even those are often updated and reappraised.

Many people point to Margaret Thatcher as the destroyer of heavy industry and its surrounding comfort blanket of strong community. But her determination to destroy the National Union Of Mineworkers was understandable, given her political position; however we must not forget that her tribe, although currently in power, were and still are in the minority in the UK. If you want the Samuel Smiles mentality that urged self help at the expense of collective maturity, or think it right to be be driven by the desire to make huge sums of money, with its risk of losing sight of what really matters [at least to some people], then she was your women and you were ‘one of them’. Hopefully well rounded personalities will eventually spot how unsavoury her tribe is. And by the way, do not let them persuade you that we are all middle class now. Whatever middle class means.

One of the problems  is that the Tories try to sell you the idea of trickle down wealth. The trouble with that is that it seldom trickles down enough and too often pours thickly into the Tory pig troughs.

Still there is  much to enjoy and everyone has their own view of what that means.There is a wide choice of activities and lifestyles for us to consider these days, unless of course you rely on food banks and experience tough financial circumstances. For me strong family ties and wider friendships can be a joy, just as in olden times, and that is the line I intend to carry on taking.



Categories: Memories