Saturday, September 06, 2008


#1 I used to work in a lovely little factory making bears. I started out on the stuffing machine, progressed up to eyes and bows. I loved it there – such a cozy team. The man who ran the place was a bit haphazard, but we managed. He’d stamp his feet a bit when we’d take our lunch break in the pub next door, and then finish off the afternoon with the arms and legs a bit skew-whiff, but he was happy enough. Five shillings a week. Not much, when you think about it. But I was younger then. I just seemed to cope with things better. It was just a tiny little mews factory. Not there now, of course. But the pub is.

#2 I was born in Sunderland, knocked around there until my National Service, then when I came out I moved down to London and got a job as an ambulance man. That’s why I’ve got this scoliosis of the spine and my knees are worn out, but that’s the way of it. All that lifting. I worked over in the Wembley area. We used to volunteer to do the big matches. Once, I was at the Cup Final, 1973, Sunderland versus Leeds United. Well. As you probably know, Sunderland won. Amazing. Fantastic. We were in the tunnel, and I says to my mate ‘Why don’t you go to the dressing rooms and get us some signatures?’ and he says to me ‘Why the hell don’t you go yourself?’ And I says ‘Well I’m shy’ And he turns to me and says ‘You’re a Geordie, man. Away with you to the dressing rooms.’ Well, I certainly was scared about doing it. It was one hell of an occasion. But I did go down to the dressing rooms. Of course there was this enormous party going on, shouting, carrying on, everyone spilling about and everywhere. And this man – don’t know who he was – he claps me on the shoulders and gives me a hug and says to me: ‘Can I help you?’ and I says ‘I wonder if I could have a few autographs, like.’ And he says: ‘Where are you from, then?’ and I said: ‘Wearside’. So he shouts across the room: ‘Hey! Let’s have that cup over here. This here ambulance man’s a mackem.’ And do you know what – they passed over the FA Cup, and I held it in these hands, and I had me a big old drink of champagne.’


uphilldowndale said...

Brought a tear to my eye,because I suspect the folk you were talking too might not have so many good times like those to look forward too

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, I love hearing peoples stories.

H said...

It just shows what an insight you have on peoples' lives by doing this type of job.

Anonymous said...

I love hearing patient's stories like this. I once took care of someone who at 6 years old escaped being killed in the Russian Revolution by walking 500 miles with his family.

Spence Kennedy said...

Thanks LRN! Me too. It's what makes the job such a privilege.

What a fantastic story. Imagine walking 500 miles - at any age(imagine walking 50!)

Thanks for the comment :)