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The Burn And All The Names

A Memory of Boldon Colliery

I left Boldon in 1954 aged 7 years but my memories of Boldon remain with me like the footings of my lifebuild, I am sure that life through rose-coloured glasses has had an effect.
Amongst the lads in Shelley Avenue I was probably the least agile so when it came to jumping diggers over the burn you can guess who got wet first (the winner being the last one not make the other bank), you all got an earful when you got home wet and clarty, I wonder has the x box etc killed off this type of fun. I remember dustbin lids down the slag heap, they have downhill slalem in Europe these days I suppose.
Then there was turnip or snaggie picking behind the tractor just over the burn for what seemed like all day, the reward being a couple of snaggies, in retrospect the farmer did quite well of of the deal but to a kid it was a great deal of fun. Although an awful lot of water has flowed under life's bridge names remain etched in the memory. In our street there was Ronnie and Dennis Spencer, Peter Robson, Terry Young whose dad had a luxury allotment shed where Asda now resides. Special memory Brenda Cook whose mum took me in after school on many occasions for which I am thankful. There was the annual stripping of the local trees for bonti night and minding your bonti from the bankies, less they should torch yours up well in advance of the 5th of November, this also bring back the loud cracking noise given off by sheets of asbestos thrown for good measure, not to mention the foul smell from burning tyres, I suppose I must count myself lucky for reaching 64 in one piece.
I now live on the Sussex coast and caravan my way back up once a year just to touch base with my roots, I hope others share some of my memories.
On the colliery were the characters, Geordie Richardson with his greengrocery horse and cart (handy for towing little toe-rags round on their sledges), mind you were always at risk of ploughing through the dreaded brown snow dropped by the horse.
Then there was Billie, I think it was Dulson, dad of June, allegedly the bookies runner standing at the end of Charles Street in white plimsoles which understood was both the attire of trade and by God could he hurdle in them, across the back yards when the local constabulary made an appearance, again I say allegedly.
Then you had Frankie Robinson a veritable legend in his time if half of his exploits as passed onto me by my parents were for real. He and his family went down to Cannock in Staffordshire although I did have the pleasure of seeing them on several occasions years later with their daughters Ruth and Valerie. I sometimes wonder if the writer of 'The Likely Lads' knew Frank and based Terry on him.
At school we had the notorious Pop Hodgens who could throw any peice of classroom furniture or tool with the accuacy of a scud missile, he was never the less a great teacher and got outstanding results (by fear), the other end of the scale was Mr Snowball, goalkeeper for the cup winning Crooktown the Hedworth Lanes own Roy of the Rovers.

A memory shared by Eric Smith , on Nov 30th, 2011.

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