Sunday, 25 December 2011

My first 11 Years in Elcho Street

For the first 11 years of my life, I lived in Elcho Street, although classed as 'Hunslet', it was just off Dewsbury Road and Hunslet Hall Road ("The road that went to Hunslet Hall", more of that in another blog entry). It was a lively street I suppose, with most of my Mother's side of the family living there, my Grandad Frank lived at the top, my Auntie Elsie and cousin Anne lived just opposite us and my Uncle Frank did live just up the street, before he moved to Cottingley. If you have not experienced the Back to Back Houses with outside lavatories, then you have never lived.
We lived at No 8, 2nd from the right
We lived at number 8, the second one up from the right, just off the picture at the RHS was the entrance to the outside loos. Not a good experience in the dark, cold and snow....not a good experience in the summer either....we also shared the loo itself with the people at no 6, fortunately, 10 and 12 Elcho St had their own stall.

It was in those days without computer games etc, we did have a Black and White TV though..we made our own fun out in the streets. 

This was 'The Gang', which one am I?
Some names I can remember, Tommy Snowball (front next to me), Philip Wiles (my best mate, behind me)), Andrew & Paul Thornton (at the back)...and they sat on my "Bogie" or soap box cart, old pram wheels and bits of wood which my dad made.

One of the highlights of the year was Bonfire Night, we always had a massive fire outside our house on the cobbled street. We always had the best party around because one of the people in out street worked at a wood yard so we did'nt have to go "Chumping" or scavenging  for wood. 

We moved from this house on Easter Saturday 1968 to a new housing estate in Holbeck, (30 Meynell Walk) as the area was destined to be pulled down under the slum clearance scheme.

Some Good Times........

Saturday, 24 December 2011

SQUASH- I'll drive the Steam Roller!!!

Going back to the late 70's, when I worked at BT, when exercise was something that others did!! (No not really I used to belong to a swimming club). One of my work mates used to always tripping off during working time playing Squash...which was very popular then. It this time, I used to swim, (more about the lunchtime swimming later)... play a little badminton, but never tried squash.  However, just near to where I worked in the village of Robin Hood, on the Leeds- Wakefield Road, was the 'Johnny Lawrence Squash and Cricket Club' and this has some indoor cricket practice nets (watched Geoff Boycot once there) and a couple of Squash Courts. So some lunchtimes, Lex (short for Alexander) used to play there every now and then.  What a great game...much better than Badminton, I got the bug I think...(the flu usually as it was so cold there in winter...brrrr). No really I really enjoyed playing and joined the club as a member. Not the fanciest place in the world, but, it had a bar which was open each evening also. 

It got to the stage with playing on a block booking twice a week at lunchtimes, plus playing socially and in the mini leagues in the evenings, I finished up playing sometime 7 times a week, twice on some days but always had a rest on a sunday....and of course drinking there usually most times.

So what about the social side of squash...a great way to get and keep fit....but also how to have a good time in the drinking stakes. Some of the guys in their middle year, not us youngsters, sort of formed a loose association of a drinking sub committee and also took on other clubs in friendly squash matches. This group was called 'F-Troop', now if you are old enough, you will remember in the early 70's a comedy TV show about the US Cavalry called 'F-Troop' and this social group was named after them.  Well to get around being beaten at all squash matches, some of us young ones, were drafted into to F-Troop. (  Someone in the group had created a logo and someone else had organised some sew on logo badges for our tracksuits. The Logo was a couple od racket handles in a V shape..(just see it on the photo), with words to match in Latin:
'Semperit en Vino et decorum', (hope I have spelt it right), which translated means, 'When pissed always polite'. or words to that effect.  Great times and great fun.
In those days, my fitness was very good and just being a little overweight for my height, I could move around a court pretty well and with coaching from the club 'Pro',  Lionel, I managed to get into the top mini league a couple of times and played in the Summer Metro league (just about good enough!!!)

In addition to this club I also played at the Queens Hall Squash Club, which had some courts upstairs in the attic I think (for those of us who remember the Queens used to be an old tram shed......

As my mate Lex moved on to be the National Squash organiser for the BT Sports Clubs, I took over the running of the Local BT Sports and Social Club Squash Team, which meant taking a team during working afternoons to other areas for matches, (Sheffield, Newcastle, Bradford etc) nice afternoons out....but as life moves on, the playing became less and less, the club was closed and land sold for housing. So now, how I would so love to restart playing again, racket sports don't mix with high blood pressure!