When I was a nipper...
Welcome to the Virtual Country Show Produce Tent - 2020
Each month, from August through to November 2020, Ryedale Carers Support called for entries to our Virtual Country Show. We were not disappointed, many residents sent us exhibits which amazed and impressed us for their wonderful quality and creativity. We thank all entrants for taking part. Take a look below and enjoy the winning exhibits of each class.
November's Poems and Story Classes
Life in the North Yorkshire Moors
By Alan Metcalfe
Early in May, on a fine sunny day,
With my dog I set off to a Trial;
When I got there, I didn’t have a care,
I was happy and started to smile;
When my turn came, I thought of the fame,
Man and dog we would give it our best;
As we went to the stake, it was now make or break,
And endeavour to beat all the rest.
My dog he set sail,
I was looking quite pale,
But I soon cheered up in my mind,
As he gathered the sheep, that memory I’ll keep,
I could see they were three of a kind;
He came steady away, as if it were play,
Through the fetch gates and back to my feet,
We had a good start and the beat of my heart
Made me feel we would never be beat.
Well a good time we had, the crowd they went mad,
As I stood there, proud, with my Cup,
It was just like a dream, a heavenly scheme,
Then suddenly I woke up!
Well, it’s good to be on the Trial Field, enjoying the fresh country air,
Where man and dog work together, I know because I was there.
Yes, it’s good to be on the Trial Field,
Enjoying the sweet country air, where man and dog work together,
I know because I was there, I know because I was there!
Life in Ryedale
By William Barrett
1st - Jo Floate
Dad carefully placed several large photo albums onto the settee. His eyes: bloodshot, swollen and frail, gazed into mine. Then with a wry smile he proudly exclaimed, ‘’They’re all there!”
And so began an amazing journey discovering my childhood, starting in 1951 on a farm in Somerset. Dad had chronologically catalogued over 90 years of family photos beginning in 1918. He completed this cathartic mission before his fading memory ‘snuffed out’.
“That’s you!” exclaimed Dad, pointing to a very small baby held by my Mum standing outside the Taj Mahal. Admittedly I cannot remember leaving England, when I was two months, to live in India for ten months. On our return we went to live in Hull where my brother, John, was born.
There I was, a Union Jack flag clasped in one hand and the other grasping John’s hand. With excited anticipation, we were leaning against metal railings outside The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fisherman where Dad was the Superintendent. My fringeless, curly brown hair was tied back with a brown ribbon. Wearing a checked tan and white smocked dress, fawn knitted cardigan, white ankle socks and brown buckled sandals, I was dressed for a Queen. John looked equally smart in his grey flannel shorts, white shirt, fawn jumper, grey socks and matching sandals. Nearly all our clothes were handmade and my earliest memories are of Mum darning, mending, knitting and sewing: everything from woollen, itchy socks to hooded, toggled duffle coats.
We attended Kindergarten, often playing outside: hopscotch was my favourite. However, my lasting memory is of a thin khaki camp bed, a dark-grey blanket and the bellowing instruction, “Josephine Kirkwood, stop talking to John Kirkwood.” When I was five years old we moved to the Fisherman’s Mission in North Shields. As in Hull, we were surrounded by a fishing community that was hardworking, warm and direct.
Although school was close, the corner shop was even closer. The best sweets were sold here: colourful displays in jars lined up on numerous shelves. Fridays couldn’t come around quick enough when, with few pennies clutched in my hand, I purchased a treat. Because it could last most of the weekend, I bought liquorice root, with its unique strong flavour and stringy bark. It tasted considerably better than the pungent dark-amber Bitter Aloes my Mum painted on two fingers to prevent me from sucking them. Yuck!
When I was nearly eight, my sister Gill was born and we moved again. This time to Newlyn in Cornwall.
Hull’s quay had been imposing with its bustling docks and railway. Shields’ quay was sprawled, noisy and detached. Newlyn’s quay, however, was closer, intimate and vibrant. The gulls squawked and screeched, above the throbbing trawlers, anticipating their ‘catch of the day’ from the satiated nets. I could ingest the blood from the gutted fish, the smell of sweat from the brave, vulnerable and tough fishermen and the sight of tears and sadness when there was a loss at sea.
Dad left the Mission in 1962. Although we continued to live in Newlyn, followed by Falmouth and Torpoint, growing up as an ‘older nipper’ was very different. Eternal Father was exchanged for Californian ‘love’, golden beaches, Secondary schools, sport and independence... but that’s another story.
When I was a nipper...
2nd - Alan Metcalfe
Being a large family, nine children and two parents, life was never quiet or boring. My father worked down the mine and my mother in the village school. Our house wasn’t very big, so bedrooms and beds were at a premium, as we all had to share. I was lucky, I shared my bedroom and bed with my brother Roy, who was a very special “big brother.” Our bedroom was at the front of the house, known as the “tank room,” because it housed the hot water tank. The bedroom was always nice and warm, a luxury in the days before central heating!
As boys Roy and I would spend many hours in the Blacksmith’s Shop in the village, watching Reg, the blacksmith at work. We would help him pump the bellows and generally got in the way, which sparked our enthusiasm to perform our own version of events.
“Early to bed boys,” said our mother and the decision was made as to who would be the “horse” for the evening and who would be the “blacksmith.” This decided, we would lay, back to back on the bed, so the foot of the “horse” would be held by the “blacksmith” and the shoeing procedure commenced.
We were two budding farriers just playing games, learning the skill of shoeing a horse but we had to make do with our own feet of course! Our imagination knew no bounds as we re-enacted the wonderful procedure of shoeing the “horse.” We drew the nails out of the worn-out shoe and then pumped the bellows to heat up the fire. With the imagined heat we would shape and bend the imaginary horse shoe to fit on to the foot of which brother was “horse” for the night.
Our procedures were, of course, carried out with skill and precision as the shoe was made to occupy the perfect position. We carefully placed the “hot shoe” on to the waiting hoof and as we made the sizzling sound of the red-hot shoe, the “horse” would kick and try to turn round. Nail holes were made, seven to each shoe then hammered in without more ado. The shoe was fixed and never a nail was missed, our hammer, of course, was the “farriers” fist. When all was done, we had to file and pare the hoof to avoid any uneven wear and then to complete a perfect game we set too and shoed the other foot.
When all was done and the game played out, we farriers needed to rest, so off to sleep after a job well done!
The following night the roles would be reversed and this continued until we “farriers” became “farmers!”
Being the youngest of the family, with brother Roy, no longer with us, I look back on those days of the Roy-Al Smith’s as we called ourselves, and smile recalling two very young blacksmith’s who never lost a horse!
When I was a nipper...
3rd - Mike Sellers
Born, 7th May 1943, at Hessle, weighed 6lbs, Dad in North Africa. At 6 months weaned suddenly on to rusks when mum went into hospital for appendix operation, I stayed with gran and pop and cried.
In October 1945 met a strange man for first time but ran to mum, who told me, `he is your dad`. Dad went back to his old job on fish dock. Our family was privileged because we had a car, a Riley Monaco 1938, which started with a handle.
From 1946 to 1952, every August we went to stay with Jack and Elsie Noble on their farm at Dean Hall, Sneaton, Nr.Whitby. Much good food was scarce so we gorged ourselves on home cured bacon, boiled ham, grilled gammon, fried eggs, apple pies, and flans. Went to Upgang Beach every day, where the Corner sisters had a wooden tea hut. Often watched tank engines pulling 2 carriages over the high grey, iron bridge and then as it went along the cliff to Sandsend then through tunnel to Kettleness.
Our little brother, Peter, dad`s favourite, was born in October 1947. When 7 years old dad took me to see were he worked on fish dock, saw two big fish (halibut) being carried away on a lorry! At home we ate fish 5x a week. Sunday School on Sunday afternoons and once a year we had a special steam train from Hessle to Hornsea for Sunday School outing.
Never enough money for pocket money so had to make other arrangements. Favourite was to collect newspapers and take them to the local Fish`n Chip shop where I received half a crown for a stone of newspapers.
On December 12th 1952, called out of class by Headteacher, was told brother had tummy ache, would I take him home. Carried Peter most of way to Grans as mum in Hull shopping. At night Peter had an operation, mum and dad not with him when he died, no phone call, only found out next day on visit to hospital (See footnote 1). A very sad Christmas.
In January, girl sat next to me in Mrs Priestly`s class, Denise Otley, was called out by Headmistress. All the class heard her burst in to tears when she was told her dad had drowned when his trawler sank off Iceland (2).
Later that year there were happier times: on May 28th Dad arranged for a local TV shop to deliver our first 14 inch black and white telly and on June 2nd 12 of our neighbours crowded in our front room on to watch the Coronation all day. Mum kept us supplied with tea and sandwiches.
We had a rare visit by our Uncle from London who gave all his 6 nieces and nephews in Hessle a silver crown specially minted for the occasion. I took mine to the local Hull Savings Bank and cashed it. I got 5 bob (shillings) and being 10, bought 60, old penny bangers made by Standard fireworks. I cycled up to the old Hessle Chalk Quarry (now part of Clive Sullivan Way) and lay on the edge of the 600 ft deep abyss. Lighting most of those bangers, one at a time, when they were fizzing threw them in to the abyss where they went, BANG, what a bang, I can still hear them to this day.
Later that year, we went on holiday, this time in a Riley Adelphi, a bigger car as it took us to Cornwall. We couldn`t go to Whitby anymore without Peter so we went to Newquay. With no motorways or byepasses it took us 3 days to get there and back. We stayed bed and breakfast and me and my sister had milk shakes, steak and chips every night at the Kadok Cafe. Most of all, I learnt to surf.(3)
Notes to go with above:
1)After Peter`s death mum was told by Doctor, the best way to get over their loss was to have another child. In March 1954, a baby girl was born, Rosemary, who is now 66 years old. Mum was nearly 44 years old
2) In January 1953, 3 Hull trawlers turned over and sank off Iceland owing to ice collecting on their superstructure.
3) I surfed for over 60 years in Cornwall and in 2006 came 2nd ( in 2007, 3rd ) in the over 60`s class of the World Belly Board Surfing Championships.
When I was a nipper...
Highly Commended - Cynthia Brew
My dad always said that I started WW2!
One of my earlier memories is hearing the wailing of the sirens warning us that the “Jerries” were on their way to bomb Liverpool and Birkenhead docks. I was then bundled into a blanket and carried with my “Mickey Mouse” gas mask into the air raid shelter near our house – all huddled together, children crying and some mums too. Later we were allocated a steel headlike? shelter that fitted in to our sitting room? An Anderson shelter, but mum said she felt safer under the stairs!
Even at school we were always waiting for the siren warning when we all herded out into the underground shelters built into our playing field. Again, I remember howling my head off because Paul White wouldn’t come down the steps because of the dark. I was convinced the “Jerries” would bomb him. I wonder if he remembers that? We all dashed back into school when the “All Clear” went and we never missed school. Oh what a party we had when it was announced the “WAR WAS OVER”.
My dad was in “Dad’s Army” as he wore full length leg braces following a teenage accident, he was rejected by the army. He volunteered for fire duty on the Liverpool waterfront and more that did his bit.
All year he made toys for the children whose dads’ were away at the front. I remember our spare room being full of wooden trains, dolls beds, scooters and even a rocking horse which all disappeared at Christmas.
Like all children in the early forties we played outdoors in all weather – on our bikes, roller skates, skipping ropes or making dens in the fields and generally running wild. On one such game I managed to run under the wheels of Totties coal wagon and ended up in hospital with broken legs.
I loved it because Pauline Matthews pushed me to school in a pushchair and I didn’t have to play out in the rain at playtime.
As the only girl in my age group except Isobel Simcock who went to ballet classes and was not allowed to play with us ruffians, I had to be more daring that the boys and led them into some hairy scrapes.
When uncle Edwin died, he left mum a sum of money, enough to buy a 12” television – Bobby Wilson only had a 9”! All our neighbours crowded into our sitting room to watch the King’s funeral whilst us children played outside and ate the cakes that everyone had brought.
To everyone’s amazement, except my lovely grandad, I passed the “scholarship” to the Grammar School and into another phase of childhood. Youth club at the Methodist Hall was the highlight of our week. It was run by Reg O’Neil and his wife who had their hands full as the hormones had started to kick in! Geoffrey Connor was my obsession but sadly he only noticed Susan Gilchrist.
I guess leaving school after “School “Cert” year was the end of childhood. As being in the “6th Form” did not appeal to me, I enrolled on the “Cadet Nurse” scheme at the Children’s Hospital and grew up overnight. I went from ankle socks on Friday to black stockings and nurses’ uniform on Monday and started a long and varied nursing career.
But that is another instalment.