Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday's spotlight - Summer Holidays


As a child, August meant only one thing for me. Holidays! Freedom from the restrictions of the formal state education that was enforced upon all children of my age. Six weeks of doing absolutely what ever you wanted to do. Well, not quite everything.

After just a few days at home, spent in the company of my friends, my mother and I set forth for the vast dark expanses of North Yorkshire. Goodbye any North Yorkshire readers of this blog.   It is not going to be as bad as you fear so stick with it if you can and, if you feel like it, defend your county by sending in a comment.

My destination in North Yorkshire was the market town of Stokesley. I must have been a big shock to my parents when my mother discovered she was expecting me. My sister is 10 years older than me and five years younger than my brother and so they, my Mum and Dad suddenly found themselves with another son.  

Our Yorkshire trip to Stokesley was so that we could spend four and a half weeks with my brother and his wife. They ran a cafe and catering business in the town. I have an everlasting memory of endless Saturday afternoon weddings in various village halls all around the district and the hours I spent washing up. If I was lucky, there just might be a jelly fruit salad left over from the guests that I could finish off.

It was my brother who introduced me to speedway racing. The Middlesbrough team had their track halfway between Middlesborough and Stockton. I forget which night they had their meetings on but I do remember that Bill, my brother, and I were regular visitors there. When we returned to Southampton I visited the speedway there each week, going with a friend of my sister's. This lady was a real fanatical speedway follower. The only rider whose name I can remember now was a chap called Split Waterman. In those days I used to wonder what kind of parents he must have had who would christen him "Split"!

I used to borrow my brothers father-in-law's bicycle after trips to Middlesborough speedway. There was a long and dusty pathway leading to a farm off Stokesley Lane and I could practice my back wheel skid there to my heart's content.  Pity about the tyres, though!

The photos included here are all of Stokesley.

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