By guest blogger Pete
On Friday of this week - and for you, dear reader, LAST Friday - I am due to take the annual school leavers service for the pupils at St Peter at Gowts School. These leavers will not be finishing their education then but moving on from Primary School to the "Bigggggggg school". We have a lot of Eastern European children at St Peter's and this makes communication quite difficult at times, both with the pupils and also with their parents. Children do pick up English but whilst doing so there is a real danger of them falling behind in other subjects. St Peter's School serves a more deprived area of Lincoln and many of the pupils receive free school lunches and also free breakfasts. But before the move to the big school there is a 6 week summer holiday and no free meals available to any pupil.
As a youngster I lived in Southampton and each school holiday, my mother and I took the long trek from there up to northern Yorkshire to spend this holiday with my brother and his wife in the small market town of Stokesley.
Me and my brother Bill
Now Stokesley had - and still HAS - very little to offer anyone of any age. As a boy I can remember a dark little cinema - rather a flea pit - that showed old films about twice a week, Middlesbrough was about 12 miles away and occasionally there were visits to Ayresome Park to see Middlesbrough Football Club and its star players Wilf Mannion, Geoff Hardstaff (or it could be Hardcastle!) and their Italian goalkeeper, who rejoiced in the unusual name of Ugolini. More frequently, my brother - 15 years older than me - took me to see the Middlesbrough Speedway team in action.
Gradually I acquired "summer friends" at Stokesley and, when we'd saved sufficient pocket money, we'd beg a packed lunch and catch the bus to the seaside. Redcar and Saltburn were to two choices of destination we could head for.
Redcar was a rather run down resort - maybe it still is but I haven't been there for decades so can't say - and not our favourite. It could best be described as "Kiss me quick" hats and candy floss. I remember once going there with the family and my brother's mother-in-law expressed a before hidden delight in paying to be a passenger on a 20 minute rowing boat (quite large "rowing boat") ride from the shore and back again. Fortunately we didn't have to row for this was done by four or more burly fishermen. But then the final demand came out - the weather had to be bad and the water rough. It was both that day and, in my innocence, I was the only one in the group who said I'd go with her. I ended up having to travel the 1 hour bus journey back to Stokesley dripping wet. My cheerful mother told me that she wouldn't be at all surprised if the bus driver refused to take me, Take about Job's wife!!!!!!!
Saltburn was more upmarket. The town stands at the top of a tall cliff and so hasn't interfered with the sandy beach down below. It's a lovely beach there and, despite the fact that it was 1 1/2 hours by bus from Stokesley and therefore more expensive to get to, it was our favourite. Here we could play games and indulge in other beach activities, find an ice cream (if we were rich enough) and, providing we got the times of the tide right, could walk along the beach to nearby Marske and then back along the cliff top to Saltburn.
Despite all this, it was good to get back to Southampton, even if that meant a return to the drudgery of school.
Keep taking the sea air - if nothing else it helps the hair to grow.