Bringing up a family 1970 on:
May 10th 1970 (Sunday)
Karen christened at Our Lady of Lourdes Partington. It was still a sad time but I think it helped my parents to
forget Brian’s death.
I seem to have lost the seventies it was all a blur with my new job on the buses, bad shifts and overtime, plus
bringing up a family. So once again I will write memoirs as they come in my head and will not necessarily be in order.
I remember decorating the kitchen in the flat while Glen was in hospital having Karen. Just after finishing the
wallpapering I was having my breakfast and got the brown sauce to put on my food, and after shaking the bottle
the top came off and the sauce went all over the new wallpaper.
Around this time a middle aged couple living at 8, Hare Hill walk which ran alongside our flats, asked us if we
would like to do a exchange from our flat to their 3 bedroomed house. We said yes. The reasons were obvious for us, the problem at the moment was taking Karen up the 3 flights of stairs in the new large pram.
The house was not heated but I now had a garden.
All the years of trying for a family and Glen is now again pregnant within 9mnts of Karen.
February 4th 1971(Thursday)
My second daughter born:
At 09.50. Weighing 6lb 8oz. In Tameside Hospital. We are calling her Joanne.
Because our parents lived so far away I had to look after Karen while Glen was in hospital with Joanne.
I remember the smell of buckets full of dirty nappy’s, we did not have disposable ones, but expensive terry
cotton nappy’s, so after dunking them, we put the cloth nappy’s in napisan in a bucket to soak. Lots of them.
Another expense was the price of milk powder, until a friend told us to go to the clinic and buy there brand.
About this time we rented a colour television for the first time from a company called Townsend in Woodley.
I remember the colours seemed to drift off the football player’s shirts.
I also bought my first car about this time. A work mate recommended it. It was going for £40 , it was a:
Austin Cambridge estate, in a pretty bad condition but it was my first car and did not mined. I had the car for a while doing any work on it my self, but I soon got conned when I saw a smart looking Austin Cambridge saloon, blue in colour with a white stripe down the side. It was on a plot of ground near Hyde bus station and really took my eye. I soon traded my old banger in for it and went on H.P.
Soon after this car purchase we booked a holiday in a chalet on a site in Dawlish Warren down in Devon, along
with Bill and Angela. To help pay for this holiday I went to Manpower Services (Temps Employment) for a job on my first weeks holiday. I got a driving job for a local depot (based in Ashton near the bus station) of well known tea company, Brook Bond that delivered all over the north west to schools, homes etc. I soon learnt the ropes and on the last day I was finished for 2 o’clock, and was given a large tin of coffee for my services.
We set off on our Holiday in Devon, and we got there OK and had a really good holiday. But on the way home
The car started acting funny at the back by making rubbing noises on the back wheel, eventually we decide to call out the A.A it was that bad. The A.A man had to call out a garage from Stroud to come and tow it on a wagon because the rear near side suspension had gone. The nice garage man lent us the train fare home saying they would put it on my bill. I can’t remember how we felt or how we copped especially with the two small girls but we did.
A couple of days later I got a phone call from the garage in Stroud saying that the chassis was that corroded he was not prepared to fix the suspension and I would have to arrange for the car to be picked up. I was now in a mess, and went back to the garage in Hyde which was run by two young blokes, the first one I saw said it was nothing to do with them because the car, I must admit, was sold to me without warranty. I was now in confrontation with the Hyde garage, so I went to the Citizen Advice Centre in Stalybridge, although they could do nothing to help me said I should go back and talk to them about getting the car brought back and repaired and tell them I have been to Citizens Advice and was told to take court action because they had sold me a dangerous vehicle. When I went back I saw the other chap who was better to talk to and we agreed that if he went and picked it up and did the repairs, I.E chassis and suspension I would pay for the labour. They went for the car and did the work and I agreed to pay in instalments I Think I paid some money but I reneged on the deal they came around to the house threatening me but my conscience was clear they sold me a dangerous car, they just resprayed the body, and just a general service. So why should I pay.
I got involved with a loan company called Provident and although the interest was high, they collected every week and it did get me out of a lot of financial trouble.
Sometime after the two girls were born Glen unfortunately carried a pregnancy for about 6mnts but the baby was dead inside the womb, so glen had to have a D.N.C.
Eventually we had another girl.
25th June 1975
Weighing 6lb 10oz. We are calling her Alison Denise.
Glen was going to be sterilised. But after a good talk I decided to have a vasectomy.
I had my vasectomy at the Doctors surgery. Every thing was quite straightforward.
About this time I came home from work to find Harold had come to visit and Glen had talked him into going for a dog. It was a 6mth old Black Labrador, we called him Mac. He was very hard to control, apparently Labs take years to train. He was very active.
Another time that Harold visited with Anne, we went out to Glen and Anns Mam’s twin sister Mary’s house in Stockport, Mary’s husband Arthur had a bar in the cellar and made his own brew which was very strong. Harold even drove us home and during the night, because he was used to living away, went to the toilet and was going though the front door.
I eventually traded the Cambridge in for a old Vauxhall Victor, with a column gear change this lasted me for
along time and the best car I think I had.
By now I had A Greenhouse and was doing some serious gardening. A very good friend from work called Jim
Pollitt joined up with me. We stated using the garden of another lad from work, as a allotment, but it did not last long.
We started putting 50 pence each into a kitty to finance a commercial set-up in amateur gardening and it worked, we sowed seed’s of bedding plants and vegetables, and sold them quite cheep. I remember going up to the new motorway on Hattersley in my Victor and bagging up good soil which was just plough into mound’s, when we pulled away I could hardly see through over the bonnet I was that leaden down in the back.
Some time around this period Jim went on holiday to Jersey and when he came back informed me that he had
ordered some Carnations from Jersey (Jersey is renown for it’s Carnation’s) out of his own pocket. They turn out to be absolutely beautiful florescent flowers and lasted a good few years.
(one day I will re-buy some).
Sadly, Jim died of heart disease soon after our venture, he was only 50. I remember him as a quiet friendly bloke with a quick sense of humour, for example once while digging a garden over I dug up a bedspring and Jim said spring had arrived.
One of the business transactions I did was, while growing Daffodils in bread containers, when they came into flower I asked Danny our Provident collector if he wanted some flowers for his wife and he bought a bunch of Daffodils.
On another occasion a lad at work said it was his wife’s birthday on such a date could I do him a bunch of flowers, I said yes not realising how hard it was to get flowers to open on time, I had some Gladiola in the greenhouse and kept the windows shut to force the blooms out. I manage a good bunch of flowers and bought some wrapping paper, and even delivered to the house. Sadly very soon after this the lad was knocked down in Denton while getting in his car and was killed.
One day I took my sister Catherine on a driving lesson. We decided to take our Mam and Dad and my two girls Karen and Joanne to Tatton Park. On the main Chester Rd the car had a rear tyre blow out, and caused Cath to loose control and spin round facing the oncoming traffic, a TR7 sports car hit
us head on. We were very lucky but my car was a write off. Unfortunately as well I had forgot that at the renewal of
my insurance, because the car was now paid for I did not go fully comprehensive, so I had to find the money for the
damaged sports car which was expensive, I had to borrow from Provident to pay for the damage to the TR7 car,
and I got a fine plus a endorsement on my licence.
About this time a friend Brian hall advised us to buy our own house, in them day’s you could get a grant to modernise old properties, so we found a Two-up Two-down Terraced house on Lumn Rd, Hyde. It had just become vacant because the old couple that had lived there had both passed away. The house was in a bit of a mess, it had a lot of carpets on top of each other, and very old furniture, and the chairs stank of urine. The house had a musty pantry, a old wooden lean-to shed with loads of rusty tool’s, and a outside loo.
We applied for a mortgage off the council, who were offering low fixed rate’s for tenants, and we bought the house for £2,600, we used a solicitor called Cohen’s who were very good.
An old workmate off the bus’s who had gone into the demolition business, and had a flat wagon, moved us. I got the house as clean as possible to live in. Then I applied for a grant, to which I had to submit three estimates from builders, I already knew who I wanted because he was highly recommended, the company was called Hardy’s, the other two estimates were from more expensive builders to get a larger grant. We got the grant and had to live in the house while it was being done up, the builders were brilliant. We had central heating installed, using a Baxi back boiler, new windows, a new inside Toilet and shower cubicle, fully fitted kitchen, the old pantry and wall under the stair’s was knocked down to enlarge the kitchen, and new asphalt floors to both downstairs’ room, I remember sitting upstairs’ while they laid the asphalt with all the steam coming up from the hot asphalt.
I remember at Xmas when the builders had finished for the break, they had just finished the plumbing, so I decided to lay some stair carpet, so I had to nail down some floorboards on the top of the stair landing, and not realising to check where the pipe run was, I nailed threw the copper pipe, and had to embarrassingly phone Mr Hardy up for help, he suggested I get a piece of rubber tubing and jubilee clips until after the Xmas break.
About this time Mac took ill, I took him to the vets and was told he needed a op on his kidney, so I paid a fortune to have the op, but he died soon after.
We had a couple of good holidays over the following years:
I booked a week at Butlins all in and hired a car to get us there. It was a Brill holiday especially because they had a baby watching service patrol that allowed Glen and I to go out at night. The three meals a day were excellent but the girls would hardly eat them so guess who had extra helpings.
A colleague at work, Tony Knight, told me that they had took in a stray collie bitch but they had there own dog, so was I interested in taking her in. We went for her, she was in a terrible state she had just had pups and was very timid especially of men. We brought her home and she was the best dog we ever had. We called her Cindy. Cindy did not like being shouted at but was really very obedient, but once not long after bringing her home, I
took her up to the allotments on Grange Rd about 2Mls away, and she went running after another Dog so I shouted at her to come back but she would not come back and ran off. So I had to pack up and go home I had just got in the house and going to look for her and there she was at the back door, I still don’t know how she found her way home.
Because we had a dog we had to start going on hols with Cindy so we went to a caravan site on Anglesey. Glen looked after the children of a teacher friend, Chris Thompson, whose caravan was rented to us. We went for several years it was a good base to site seeing around Wales.
We once went on holiday to a farmhouse in the north of Wales, which was superb plus with our milk delivered straight from the urn.
I decided we needed a car so I went to Collier’s Garage and went into debt for a Metallic Gold Vauxhall Viva £800. I had a good few years out of it.
We needed a car, and it allowed us to visit Ann and Harold more often.
I was by now well into bird watching and bird photography, I used to take Glen and the girls to Eastwood reserve in Cheethams Park but I don’t know whether they appreciated it, I was probably very selfish, but it got us out of the house. Whilst up geodie land I used to go to a hide on the way to Seal Sands, and also around here on the inland water’s was a flamingo that had escaped and was surviving very well. I did take some pictures of it I will try to find them.
It seems that every time we went up north a problem occurred. I will put them here out of order:
1. One year Karen and Joanne went to a camp up north with the school, so we took a week’s holiday at Ann’s. Whilst we were there we got a phone call saying Joanne had come down with the Chicken pox, so I had to go for her and take her back to Anns, then I had to go back for Karen at the end of her holiday fortunately it was only 1 hr away.
2. On another holiday at Ann’s we went out for the day to Scarborough, we were on the sand when Allison, who was about 2yrs old, started crawling and saying her leg hurt, we just assumed it was just tiredness. But when we got back to Ann’s we phoned the Doctors and they examined her but could not diagnose Anything but said that when we got home to go to Hospital for a check-up.
3. In later year’s when Allison was a lot older, we had just arrived at Ann’s and the girls went to play out with Carol. On some playing fields. The next minute one of the girls came screaming back saying Allison had fallen off a goalpost, me and Harold dashed around in the car, our Allison was on the floor with her left arm in a terrible twisted shape. Harold took us all to the Hospital, Allison had broke her arm in two places one near the wrist and one near the elbow.
Going back to the second incident, it was to affect our lives for a few years. When we got home Glen made a appointment to take Allison to the Hospital for a check-up. Glen took her on her own because I was working. I rang Glen up, whilst still at work, and was told Allison had an x-ray, and the result was a diseased hip called perthes which is usually found in young boys and is a wearing away of the hip bone, but if caught early and rested the bone grows normally. I was confused and I finished my duty like a idiot, I don’t know how I drove my bus, I will never do it again I should have gone home. Our Allison had two choices of treatment, One was to lay her up for at least a year whilst the hip bone repaired its self or rest for a couple of months whilst a pair of callipers were made so she could become mobile but one of the callipers kept her leg off the ground keeping the hip from any usages. The Doctor called Mr Weebles preferred the calliper method, so Allison was in hospital for about 3 mths, work were very good with me they allowed me to do early turn duty’s so I could be with her in the afternoon. Once Ally had the callipers fitted, they were strapped on in the morning and took off at night, she was very mobile and had very little problems. We also had to have a wheel chair to help us get her about. Ally was like this for two years. One of the hardest decisions we had to make was in her second year whilst on holliday we allowed her to take off the callipers to play in the sand, hoping it would not put her back. She started pre school with the callipers on at first the headmaster was a bit concerned, but he took her in and she was brill even riding a Three wheeler bike. She was eventually passed OK.
Around this time I got into difficulty with the payments on the car and so I sold to my brother Peter.
I eventually bought a very old banger, a Vauxhall Viva, it really was a bad one but I was desperate and it did me OK.
One day I was working on the back axle, I had a bad oil leek, and it needed a gasket, I had just took the plate off when Glen came rushing to me to say that we had to take Ally to Hospital, she had put a small plastic bead up her nose. I could not take them because of the car being repaired so Glen had to go herself, I finished the job and went to pick Glen and Ally up at the Hospital, Apparently Ally after a bit of probing for the bead sneezed and out came half a dozen beads.
I bought a large shed from a company called Wharf Mill, and what really swayed me was the fact that there roofs were made of timber not chipboard, it cost about £140 and we put it in the yard.
I think our Karen brought home a cage with a Zebra Finch, and this got me into breeding them, so I started using the shed to breed the Finches, and I built a netted outside cage onto the shed with a hole cut in the shed with a sliding wooden bar to close the hole at night. The finches were very prolific breeders so I had to sell the young at a pet shop.
I had always wanted a pond again, so one year I bought a medium sized plastic pond and sunk it in the back garden next to the greenhouse.
One of the worst moments at work came with a international oil crisis, which caused a very severe petrol shortage. This affected the buses diesel and so the company only ran buses in peek time, creating us to all work 5 Days of split shifts, this caused a lot of lost wages, fortunately it only lasted a short while.
One Saturday after going back to work to do some overtime, I arrived in Manchester Piccadilly and felt so bad I thought I had had a heart attack, I asked the inspector to send me to hosp. Funnily enough a friend at work had remarked how much weight I had lost. I got to hospital and there was know heart attack so they took some blood and I had to go back for the test results. When I did I was told I had a over active Thyroid which caused me to have a very high metabolic rate which causes weight loss sweating and chest pains. I was told of two treatment’s, one was a operation to cut some of the Thyroid but that might cause it to under act, or I could try a new tablet treatment which they recommended. This treatment lasted for 6mths and I had 3mths off work, but it worked.
Me and Glen decided, after seeing house for sale around the corner that we would go for it. We knew the new house needed a lot doing to it but we thought we would get a grant, the thing that swayed us was the size of the garden. The couple selling it were emigrating to Australia. We put our house up for sale and it took age’s to sell but the first young couple who viewed it bought it. The house we were selling was for about £13,000 and the one we were buying about £17,000, I applied for a mortgage that would leave my small profit to buy new furniture etc. I needed and a mortgage for £12,000, and we moved in around March 1982. I brought my shed and greenhouse with me. There was a very large old out building with a flat concrete roof just outside the yard and the roof was on level with the garden which was raised to bedroom window level. It was also the sunniest spot, so I put my 6ft x 8ft greenhouse plus a new 8ft x 6ft greenhouse on the top of this building and I had great success.
I put my shed at the very back of the garden and also had to build a aviary, which I did with thick wooden spars and proper aviary netting, I put a door in so I could go into the aviary.
We enjoyed spending our profits on new furniture although we went mad we bought some decent stuff for the first time in our life.
One of the jobs was to apply for a grant, but unfortunately they no longer were available. So I was left in a bad situation, I had to raise the money by loans. The first job we got talked into was double-glazing on the front, which were the old sash windows and very draughty, the company were called Storm Seal and were very good, I had a debt of £2,500. I put in a new bathroom suite, I had the old gas boiler removed and replaced with a new wall mounted boiler. A lot of the old copper piping was stupidly embedded in the plaster and caused me all sort’s of problems. I was getting quite good with DIY.
I had then a good local builder to do odd jobs that I could not do. One job that I got into a mess with, was the new bath, I took the old one out and reset the new one, but when I came to fit the cold water copper pipe because it was plastered in the wall there was no movement at all and it was not possible to connect I tried for over a day, I had to ask my odd job man for help and even he had problems but he sorted it. Another job I should have had done, my odd job man told me that the chimney stacks needed taking down put it was a big job so I left it. One bad windy day it came down and really could have been a serious accident. I got it sorted on my house insurance.
I had made another pond in the garden, only this time I made it from a proper liner about 6ft x 6ft, and made a rockery all round, it was fine until some idiot got in the garden and tried to catch the fish and to make thing worst they emptied a container, from next door, into the pond and it was paint stripper and it burnt the liner. I then went and bought a new liner. I was looking in a pet shop in Stalybridge and they had a liner, which was made in Germany, was extra large and quite strong for £50 so I bought it. It made a pond aprox 10ft x 9ft. (This was in 1990 and is still going well now 2000.)
I had stopped smoking now for several years and had put on a lot of weight, and I saw a driver from Tameside depot running and thought I wouldn’t mined doing that, his name was Mick Farnworth. So I went out and tried to run to Wall’s which was about half a mile distant, I walked and jogged there and back, eventually I got as far as the roundabout at Hattersley, about one and half miles, unfortunately I only had cheap trainers and they caused me to get sore Achilles, so I went to Burtons the tailors and bought a pair of Hi Tec trainers, these were far better. I found that I could get no further than this Hattersley roundabout, and told a other lad at work who had been running longer than me, his name was Steve Varey, he suggested that I should try to run beyond the roundabout for about 10Mins more, because I might only just getting my first wind then, and I needed to get my second wind., so I tried it and it worked, the run back to home did get a bit easier. Eventually I became friendly with Mick Farnworth, I increased my mileage to long runs and Mick got me to do a 10k fun run at East Cheshire Running Club, it was a off road run and I ran it in 48mins and got a medal (everybody got a medal) and I felt like a super star. We both trained harder for our next race which was The Marple 7Mls, and I ran it in 52 mins, Brill. We then decided to do The Bolton Marathon, and did some very long runs, I ran Bolton Marathon, which was a very hard course, in a time of 3hrs 41mins. I was over the moon. We both decided to go to East Cheshire Running Club to train and join, this was a big commitment and very scary because you felt they were elitist, but they were very good I went on my own the first time and went with group led by
Billy Standering and he was Brill with me, when the others pushed on he stayed with me and helped me to get back to the clubhouse. I must admit my dedication got me quite good within a year and my goal was to run a marathon in sub 3hrs. My Running career is still going and I will try to put highlight’s as I go along.
I finally achieved sub 3hr Marathon at M/c Piccadilly Marathon which had joined up with the Bolton Marathon, in a time of 2hrs 58mins 01sec.
My Assesment of being good at Running
(I did not have all these quality’s, but I gave my best)
1. Natural Ability.
2. A strong mental approach, and a high mental pain threshold.
3. A Professional Athlete or at least an easy normal job.
4. Financially ok or sponsored.
5. A commitment to train regularly and consistently.
6. To train at least twice a day. To do at least 3 quality sessions a week.
7. To Race consistently and use a sensible attitude to your results.
8. The will to do well and a strong belief in your self and training.
9. To have a key element training structure that allows rest periods and peeking periods.
10. To have a very good coach who can be a friend, mentor and hardnosed at the same time.
1991. This year the council started a renewal of Hyde and we were one of the first in the pilot scheme. It seemed ok but all three houses had to be done together, also if we did not agree we would have the house put in a possible demolishment area and we would never sell or get a loan on the house, talk about blackmail. Our house was the worst even though I had done loads of work on it, they were really going to almost rebuild, the main problem was that me and Glen were means tested and accordingly had to find £15,000 towards the work. We agreed and again unfortunately Glen was pensioned off and my own job was going through a privatisation program and my earnings were being reduced, but we could do nothing about the £15,000 because we had already signed, we even took legal advice. We had to move out for about 6mth, we chose a three bed roomed house on Hattersley. We were here for 9months We had a real problem raising the remorgage, we finally got it sorted but I now had a big debt over us for hopefully only 10yrs. The council paid for the removal both to Hattersley and back to Mottram Rd. The builders replaced the back wall of the house, the roof, all the walls and ceilings were stripped and replastered, replaced the central heating, made a brand new bathroom, took down the old outhouse building and built walls and fill it with soil.