Worth a free hot dog.

Sunday evening was a good evening. I went to Costa in Barrow where first Sunday of every month they have started running a live music night. It’s sort of organised by St Mark’s church in Barrow, and for five minutes at half time, Ian, the vicar there, will say something. Not a sermon, barely a ‘thought for the day’.
But anyway, as we say in Cumbria, it were a good night. Live Jazz from local people, double bass player, sax (imported from Kendal no less), keyboard, and for certain numbers, a lady of a certain age who wore a black spangly dress because what else could she wear for that sort of do?
And they were good, the double bass solo was spot on, the sax was haunting when it should be and the keyboard player was absolutely on top of his game. And the lead singer hit every note with power and passion and was obviously having a lot of fun. Indeed we all had a lot of fun.
Waiting for the do to start, when people were gathering, there was three of us chatting and for some reason we got on to what we did as kids. There were tales of going out, (aged about twelve) setting long-lines, taking air-rifles and a few butties and being away from home from morning to night. Swimming in the reservoir on the way home from school and having to wait to dry in the sun before daring to go home, going ‘caving’ in the old mines, making rafts from the roof of a car ‘borrowed’ from a scrap yard, climbing on the slag bank.
The theme continued, in his talk Ian was telling of his escapades, rock climbing unaccompanied at the age of twelve without safety harness or rope.
Then I remembered a tale of my fathers. It’s from before the Second World war is this one. He was born and brought up in Askam in Furness (and I’m not proud, I’ll even admit that) and he’d be fourteen when he started work (£13 for a half year). But when he was still living at home, if there was a young mum with a new baby, a couple of the better behaved girls would borrow a pram and turn up and ask whether the young mum (this trick probably worked best on them, the middle aged ones had wised up) would like them to take baby out for a walk. Young mum would agree and the two girls would sedately make their way down the street to the railway line.
Across the railway line they’d be met by everyone else, the other lads and lasses of their age group, and they’d push the pram up Ireleth hill (which is both long and steep). At the top, they’d get their breath back, perhaps even admire the view, and then they’d all climb into/onto the pram and ride it down (no steering, no brakes, but plenty of screaming and fun) the hill at high speed, across the railway line and if no one had spotted them, they’d go back up the hill for another go.
Like our fathers before us, we didn’t just read ‘Just William’ we lived it.
Kids of today, they don’t know they’re born. I feel sorry for them; I genuinely do; trapped by the technology.
Last summer I was helping out at the church fun-day in Gleaston. Someone has to barbeque the hotdogs, and why shouldn’t it be me? Not that these are frankfurter sausages out of a tin. Real sausage from a good local butcher, the pig would be proud to have ended up in a sausage that good.
But anyway, the fun-day has free entry. Not only that but all the games etc are free, and you even get a free hot dog. We discovered that if you put out collecting buckets, people donate enough to cover the cost, and it means that kids don’t have to keep running back to the bank of Mum and Dad.
Anyway, about half way through these three lads turned up, they must have been about twelve. They left their pushbikes by the gate, they got their free hotdog, had a whale of a time on the games and finally they threw water soaked sponges with devastating accuracy at the vicar’s wife in the stocks. I was so proud of them that I gave them a second free hotdog.
So when we worry about the ‘kids of today’ there are still some good ones out there.



There’s somebody else who knows how to have fun

Available from everywhere else at


Yet more observations on rural life. We have cattle, environmentalists, a plethora of new thinking as Defra plunges into the new world but more importantly we still have our Loyal Border Collie, Sal. She is joined in a starring role by Billy, the newly arrived farm cat. As well as this we have diversification opportunities for those wishing to serve niche markets, living in the past, and the secret of perfect hair.

As a reviewer commented, “Another gentle and entertaining read about the pros and cons of Farming, ably assisted by Sal the collie dog and Billy the feral farm cat.
As always, I’m amazed Farmers make enough money to keep their farms and families going, given the ‘guidance’ given by the ‘experts’ in government and the Civil Service…”

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