What a funeral; I have never seen so many people but I’m not surprised, as he was a genuine “what you see is what you got” kind of man, I’ve known Dennis many years, as a cricketer for Lycett Youth but it was much later when he came to play for N&HCC and later as groundsman we became firm friends.

He was able to bring both the club and the ground to life, things became more friendly and had a more pleasant atmosphere even with him constantly shouting: “keep off the grass” or “watch that dog or it’s arse” or something like that.

Nora, his wife, supported by her children, was wonderful coping with all the friends who wanted to give their condolences.

After a couple of pints a visit or two at the refreshment table beautifully laid and prepared by Occasions; Stuart, his mate and number one mechanic who was giving me a lift home shouted “are you ready as I’ve got something I would like to do”.

As I climbed in his 4 x 4 Ranger he drove on the grass -and, to my shock he kept driving all the way around the ground; as we approached the Pavilion, the people who had all come outside, cheered and clapped shouting: “GET OFF THE GRASS!”.

Something even the priest mentioned at the funeral service, towards the end.

It was a wonderful thing to do, I thoroughly enjoyed sitting there with Stu, what a kind thought; his way of showing his appreciation to his mate.

Driving home I felt a little depressed until I seemed to hear Dennis say “You silly bugger,  get on with it” to Stu and to me: “Get a grip and pull your finger out Smithy!”

It seemed a load was taken of my chest and I hope that Nora and the family will have the same experience in the days to come. I  wish I knew how to put photos on this Blog of him perhaps Martyn or Arnie can help me?

(Thanks for that help, Tony.)









Spitting Feathers

Harold TewIt is very cold here now. I’ll tell you what is on my mind:
Clarry Reeve’s post about Harold rold Tew who fought in Korea and was friends with Bill Speakman (who won the VC) and when he returned was given a job digging in flowers at Queen’s Gardens Newcastle. I wrote about this many times; the latest on FaceBook. Also about a man I met at Keele University, who dressed up as a clown and a chicken and became friends with Lou Macari and was given the  freedom of the Borough.
Bloody hell I am mad, spitting feathers.

The central heating is on all the time. I am lucky but I feel sorry for people that can’t afford the charge for gas and electric, even the water is expensive and we have bloody floods; rain all the time.
Never mind. Keep on going hey?
I am not going to send this one around. Lyn can send it to Wendy as you value both of them. I am pretty sure the others are safe with it too but there were three new members you have not met.
I had a fish from the chippy I am sure they are losing it. Mine was smelly this week. But at least I don’t have flu. You want to make sure you go out more especially before it turns cold next time. I can tell you when that will be but the Met Office do it in time too.

Turn the heating off when you go to bed and a few times in the day. Just enough to get you over the hump. It only stays cold as long as there is an eruption so it is only a day or so. The problem is that it has been non stop the last few days.
If you are not up to exercise and don’t feel like laughing the next best thing is to sing along with pop songs. Just a little exercise like that is enough to help clear your lungs.
If you go around to Nello’s I am sure he will help. Or you could find out if Harold Tew kept his three o three see if that makes you laugh.­

My Brother

­FamilyI have too many complaints t­o mention, so let’s call it “old age” but everyone is OK although Julie seems to get worse. She’s coming here for Christmas. There will be 8 of us and three children.
They say they will all muck in as my house is the best for Julie to move about in her wheel chair.
I have a mobile phone now. It was difficult at first but I take it everywhere now. I can’t text with it but phone and receive is all I really want.
It’s been a very upsetting year for me, funerals every month. I didn’t go to Brian’s as I didn’t know he’d died. Ena has been a thorn in my side since mother died, so I thought it better to say away, nobody went from our side as far as I know but she still annoys me -as her children have had words with mine, or given them nasty looks.
This doesn’t make me so mad as I know where it is coming from. Brian and I never had words because he knows that I know about him -which he dreaded me for, as he was still ashamed.
The Sister in the nursing home where mother stayed slapped his face accusing him of attempted rape. Barry may remember her, she lived in the big old house next to the Junior School, Knutton.
Her brother accused me. He’s a nasty piece of work and thinks he should have gone to prison. …(Be more careful of your characters.)

… She Told Bobby Roper that she would not go to court. Whether this is true or not, I don’t know -perhaps Barry does?
I have written two more books. Whether I’ll have them printed I don’t know
The second one “My Brother” is dynamite my former agent says. Another chapter “Hitting His Girl friend” -when her father beat him up. His short stay in the army 9 years he signed on for but was out in 9 months after a courts martial for sodomy and a dishonourable discharge is true. Both Uncle Glen and I went to the trial in Colchester.
When we moved into this house; Ena and Brian were next door and thought that because we didn’t go to pubs and clubs we were snobs. Ena had wanted us to have Sunday Dinner together but Joyce told her:
“No, she just cooks for her own family.”
So they decided to move to Australia with you. But, as you know she changed her mind …
(I don’t think they would have allowed him in.)
So they mover to Audley. Even though they were out there there were still enough problems for a 300 page book. My agent can’t believe it and says it is going to be a best seller.
What he doesn’t know is that I won’t publish it in my lifetime as I think this will really upset the families

The Fight

DunkirkIt was the village carnival and gymkhana, in which everyone took some part as it was for charity to help widows and children whose husbands had been killed in the war. Mark’s family and other local farmers were taking a large part in organising this event, bringing their produce to be on display and with hope, win a prize. It was a beautiful summer’s day which brought people from miles around. Lots of stalls selling anything from toys to foodstuffs, ice cream, fish and chips, candyfloss and even a beer tent for the grown ups. Mark and friends decided to sample the local brews in the marquee.
As they walked in they had not realised that there would be so many people, and to their annoyance could not get to the bar as many had stayed there blocking others from being served. They were a very noisy lot of what Mark called townies, working in finance or some businesses, never done a proper days work in their lives. Laughing and shouting, and in the middle orchestrating them was Ossie; when he saw Mark he pushed his way through to him. With his arms and palms of his hands wide open and showing a big smile on his face he said “Let bygones be bygones” and stood there in defiance. They had not spoken to one another for over a year and that was all Ossie, with his head swaying, could say. Mark was in such a rage, he had a flash back of his three mates lying dead in their tank and all those men killed and dying in the prisoner of war camp. Even poor Edward, who had volunteered to go into the army, his way of shaming Ossie, had been killed on the beach at Dunkirk. All Mark could see now was Ossie’s grinning face and all his pot bellied cronies drinking champagne. How was it possible men like this made such a lot of money and became very wealthy when all around them other men were dying or being killed? Mark, turning into a massive green hulk, swung his right arm with a closed fist right on Ossie’s left side of his face. There was a loud crunch, and as he was falling over on his right side, Mark let go with an almighty left hook smashing into the other side of his face, making the sound of crushing bones; Ossie collapsed on the ground.
Sam and friends had now recovered from the shock of what had happened. It had only been seconds before they grabbed Mark and rushed him out of the marquee, where they found a quiet place to sit and calmed him down. Sam, gave him a drop of brandy from Roger’s pocket flask. Mark, looking at Sam with both hands covering his face, as though he did not wish to hear the answers said “Have I killed my own brother?”.
As luck had it, Saint John’s medics and an ambulance was on standby for the carnival; they rushed in and came out with Ossie on a stretcher. “How is he?” Roger enquired. “He’s conscious so I think he’ll be OK, but I don’t think he’ll be talking much for a while, we are taking him to the hospital” said one of the medics.
“The police are here” said Sam. After a while, the police came out saying “As usual nobody saw or heard anything, we’ll have to wait until the injured party can speak”.


A knock on the back door and the sound of it opening with my Auntie Jean’sStan2 voice shouting “Edna, Edna” as she entered the kitchen, “are you entering any children in the carnival? There are some very good prizes”. “No” mother answered, “I’ve got no money to dress them in costumes, in fact I’ve got none at all because this little devil opened the front door to the rent man. They all know never to open the door, only the rent man knocks there, all the rest come ’round to the back.” So, I had to pay him.

My other Auntie, June had entered the room saying “We will dress them, it will not cost anything, Doreen can put an apron on and her hair in a net, and walk around with a mop in her hand with a sign saying Mrs. Mop”. June said “Roy already has a football strip, so he can walk with a ball and have number seven on his back, the name being Stanley Matthews.” Everybody by now was talking and laughing, bar Doreen, my sister and myself, we weren’t laughing. “I’m not going as Mrs. Mopp” said Doreen, and “I’m not going either”, I shouted.
“But there’s good prizes even if you don’t win and you have crisps and a bottle of Vimto all to yourself” said Auntie Jean, who was very persuasive. And I thought “All by myself, I’ve always had to share with my twin brothers, could be a good thing here”. But my shirt is plain white, and Stoke are red stripes, and in any case I have not got a proper football. “Don’t worry about that, we have some red paint and I can borrow a ball from the YMCA club”, interrupted Auntie June. “OK, next Saturday morning we will be here at 10 o’clock and get you ready.”, said Auntie Jean, “Edna, it won’t cost you a penny, I’ll see to everything.”
This was the first village carnival Knutton had since after the war and Auntie Jean was on the committee, so she wanted her family to show some support. Sure enough, come Saturday, at 10 o’clock, her and June arrived with a ball and a tin of red paint. I cannot believe it, I stood there in the back garden while June painted red stripes on my shirt.
The carnival started outside the British Legion club, round the local cenotaph. There seemed to be thousands there, so I did not feel afraid and paraded and walked around all the streets, behind the Salvation Army band. And we finished on the school playing fields, where there was a stage erected with the mayor, his wife, and all VIPs, Auntie Jean was one of them. A man with a microphone called us one at a time to go up to the stage, walk across and down the other side. The crowd would clap, shout and whistle, welcoming us. On the other side we were given a bag of Smith’s crisps with a little blue bag of salt and a bottle of Vimto; also a surprise, which was a thin yellow long thing that they called a banana. It was the first time I had ever seen one. The twins would not bite into it, they were afraid, so I ate their’s as well.
“Now it’s the time for awards to the winners of the fancy dress contest”, the man with the microphone announced. “And the winner is… Stanley Matthews”. Blimey, I’ve got to go onto the stage again to that man, holding a small brown envelope. Eventually I got there and he shook my hand, gave me the envelope, and ruffled my hair, saying “Well, I had to vote for you didn’t I?” Yes, it was the man himself, in the flesh, the maestro, my hero, Stanley Matthews.




,The first time I met him was outside Havana Airport after a terrible few days and flight from Madrid [read my book about it ‘From Oatcakes to Caviar’,Walking out through the double doors I was hit first by heat and humidity then the shock of hundreds of cubans crying,shouting the noise was horrific and all of a sudden I saw a large man with a black beard wearing army camouflage denims and a black berry on his head,he was hugging all the wounded solders I had travelled with on the plane who had returned from Angola.As he hugged and kissed there was tears in his eyes he was crying,This was strange to me as I had believed him to be a monster,dictator,traitor and rebel how could this be I was used to these ceremonies by people with gloves on shaking hands.After a few minutes standing there in shock watching…

View original post 350 more words

What is Love?

What is Love?

This is from my book My Ordinary Heroes

Love is happiness; which when pursued, is sometimes just beyond your grasp.

Persevere, it may look upon you.

When it does, hold it, nurture it and treasure it like gold, for love is the greatest pleasure on earth; if there is anything greater then God has kept it to himself.

Looking at old photographs, I came across one of my late wife in her Scottish outfit from when she used to go dancing. She was very young and very beautiful. Listening to Roy Orbison sing: In Dreams I felt the tears begin to trickle down my face. I wanted to put pen to paper, as I thought there must be others that feel the same way as me when they hear certain music. So I wrote:

“I still dream of loving, talking and walking with you”.

I wish that I could turn the clock back; I would nurture all of her, not only her heart. I would start by trying to overcome my shyness, to say how much I loved her because sometimes I feel as though I let love slip away.

Granddad would say to grandma, “If you are too shy to say you love me, squeeze my hand. Not that hard!” he would add.

“Get away with yer, man.” Grandma would tell us. “Take no notice of your Granddad, he’s silly”

Most people have these feelings from time to time and simple lines of quotations spring to mind, capturing how you feel at the time. I have the same feelings reading just a line or a few sentences by my fellow writers, sometimes they bring tears to my eyes and then I take a moment to reflect, then realise that great thoughts come from the heart.

Two poems come to mind, this one is by Che Guevara, which I first heard from his wife in Cuba. It was in Spanish and she read to a meeting  in Spanish which the translator related to me in English for me.

The second is from the film: Carve her name with pride. I read the book later but no poem was printed, I don’t know why. This is my interpretation of the two:

Take this, it is only my heart

Hold it in your hand

Love is all I have to give you

For it all I own and now it is yours, all yours.

Your beautiful body will revive and nurture it

For I know that all that you are is honest and true.

When the dawn arrives,

Open your hand and let the sun warm it.

When we meet again

I hope that it is a beautiful place that we both will adore

It’s not as good as the originals I admit but I hope you get my drift. Any love or friendship you have can’t be forgotten without leaving some mark on you.

Just a glance and you have fallen in love, crazy but if the other person has the same feelings, love begins and that spark starts a fire.

The Twentieth Century

The Twentieth Century

The evil Century. The future historians will call this the evil century. I am 80 years old and have spent most of my life in it, therefore I am able to write about my experiences living and working in it. The first world war was a terrible slaughter, a stupid and cruel waste of human life.

Only the wealthy and powerful people can tell us why. And in my opinion they should have been charged with war-crimes.

I was born in 1935 so was not aware of the First world war but through films and documentaries and books I have read I feel quite knowledgeable about it.

The second world war I remember quite well as a child hearing the German bomber planes coming over us and dropping their bombs;my mother carrying me and my sister and brothers to the Anderson shelter at the bottom of the garden. My father was fighting in the terrible war where thousands of soldiers and many civilians were slaughtered,And I have only mentioned the first 45 years of the century; War after war, all my life! when will the wealthy,  powerful people realise the terrible crime or is it their way of keeping the population down?

MY belief is that is greed and they are never brought to account ,can I write down the list of wars we have that I can remember, well I’ll try:




East Africa




The Gulf States




Northern Ireland




Sierra Leone and


The 21st Century has only just started and is full of fighting already. From what I read and see on TV there is a lot more to come, As the song asks: “When will we ever learn?” The powerful say we must have a deterrent we always have had one but it makes no difference, we are peace-keepers they say proudly but if I remember correctly, when i did my national service the first thing they train you for is discipline and to do as we are told, they gave me a rifle taught me how to shoot and kill the enemy.The target was a cardboard full sized soldier. With bold eyes on it where the heart is. If you put a bullet in there that was a kill. Another face and head that also was called a kill One hit on the shoulder arm, body or legs that was called a wound. Others outside of the cardboard figure would be a miss And after the allotted time I you had not got a kill you would be posted as a driver clerk, medic or store-man.

We were not trained to keep the peace but isn’t it strange,this century must be the greatest advances in technology, knowledge and medicines of all other previous centuries.

Why was that one so warlike?

One reason may be that some countries have everything and some have nothing, we hear this said many times even in wealthy countries. with people crying out for equality, the haves and the have nots.

More News My Arse.

Why cannot our media show famous people who LIVE in our city,”because there is none,”they all make there money there,but as one famous football manager said”God Forbid I should live there! Not one live in the potteries and when one has the honour of reconition like an O.B.E.they always say they are very proud of being born in Stoke-on-Trent,but it sounds as though they would never live in such a poverty area.                                                                                                               1 comment                     Very True but got title wrong it shoud be                                                                         BORN &BRED&BUGGERD OFF.                                           2 comment                From weatherlawyer moderate the word arse,perhaps he has                                   not got one or it’s in the clouds.                                                  3comment                Location—-  Advertiser 5-3-15.