Chapter 11


Teenage Years with the Lads


The next few years were very enjoyable watching the lads growing up and Violet and I went    every week end away for a good trip out. We bought a small 16 foot boat with an outboard motor on a road trailer and went fishing out of Hartlepool when ever we had the chance. Ian & Paul used to have the trailer ready to hitch up as soon as I came home from work, a quick change of clothes and off we’d go.

Saturday mornings was spent watching the two lads playing for the school teams. It used to make me very proud to watch them doing what I’d done some 20 years earlier. They were both excellent Rugby Players and I was very surprised that neither of them played after leaving school.

We decided to have a two week family holiday and arranged to go with Albert, Evelyn and their family to go down to Devon and take the boat with us, it took about 10 hours to get there, and we booked two caravans on a site about 1 mile from Blackpool Sands and a few miles from Dartmouth. The sun shone for the whole fortnight, it was a great holiday.

One day we took the boat down to Dartmouth harbour and were enjoying ourselves taking turns to run it up and down the river. Then came Violet & Evelyn’s turn to have a ride we fitted them both with a life jacket, but it was funny to see the two sisters sitting in a boat with their handbags more akin to a shopping trip and shouting at our Ian who was steering the boat to make sure that he avoided the ferry that was going back and forth across the river.

Blackpool Sands on the Devon coast was a privately owned stretch of beach which was Ideal for families. It had a Café with good toilet facilities and excellent parking facilities. There were no launching facilities but we were given permission to carry our boat which was quite light and put it into the water from the beach. We didn’t use the boat in a way that might annoy anyone and had a great time using it as a diving platform and sometimes going further out to sea to fish, we even doubled up as beach guards, once we were approached by some anxious parents whose kids were getting out of their depth using Inflatable. Ian, Paul & Richard went in the boat to their aid and pulled them back to shore. We had a marvellous holiday, two great weeks and as I said the sun shone everyday.


We enjoyed another two similar holidays with both of the lads and each with a friend. In Conway North Wales, each time taking the little boat with us. Ian passed his driving test shortly after his 17th birthday and was forever borrowing my car. Soon he got himself some wheels, a Ford Cortina in which he took his friends to all sort of venues, both Ian & Paul were Playing Guitars and driving us nuts with the loud jam sessions they practiced in the house. Paul used to play with a couple of local lads and you can imagine my surprise to see him on the stage at a local club with a guitar in one hand and a pint of lager in the other aged 14, I decided not to show him up. Ian had his car stolen when he was with some friends in Newcastle. It was later found by the police it had been stripped of radio, battery, engine and dashboard etc and fitted with bald tyres. It was left at the bottom of a bank just a short distance from a dodgy council estate. To cap it all Ian was told by the Police to remove it and whilst in the process of towing it away, he was involved in an accident; a family friend called George Charlton was driving the tow vehicle.  Initially the Police were intending to prosecute Ian for the accident but because of the circumstances thankfully they took no further action. Paul passed his car test shortly after his 17th birthday and I gave him my old car to get him started.