Ken Smith Points Of View
ive opened this post especially for you as there are so many interesting things and points of view for you to get across to us all.
You can add to it and the other Diasborians can respond so that you can see everything in one place.
Keep posting your comments are appreciated and make this blog what it is.
Thanks OFB. Much appreciated.
Hartlepool United have an FA Cup replay tomorrow night against Division 1 opponents Wycombe, the winners to play away to Lincoln City. It seems a big ask for Pools who have only one away win this season. Also Pools have been drawn away in the FA Trophy to Sheffield Wednesday, the first meeting between the two clubs since the Division 1 Playoff Final at the Millennium Stadium in 2005 when Pools were only 8 minutes away from a place in the Championship.
No need to apologise. But having lived through the Second World War when churches were fuller than perhaps they are today that people needed some reassurance and turned to God for that. Also when one gets nearer to death some of us hope that they will be reunited with their loved ones. I know it sounds illogical, but I still live in hope that there is a form of everlasting life in paradise, though well aware that nobody deceased has confirmed that paradise or heaven exists, not Jehovah’s Witnesses nor even my late wife but I still talk to her every day as if she’s still beside me although I admit it’s a one way conversation.
For what it's worth I have had two experiences in life which fill me with great hope of something after we leave this life and go wherever it is we go to. The first one I witnessed left me absolutely speechless (a genuine "you had to be there moment") and the second one, was, I suppose what some may call a "visitation" for want of a better explanation, and this is from someone who is quite cynical and distrustful at the best of times.
I don't subscribe to blind faith and I don't believe in religion, I've seen too many painful things and have too many experiences of so called righteous people worshipping then quite happily shooting, bombing and maiming others who ironically worship the same God albeit at a different place of worship. I do however believe that something way beyond our intelligence and understanding is responsible for our universe, world and our life. That in itself probably aligns very strongly with those who believe in God. Where we would agree is that I don't believe that he/she/it/them would want us to kill or injure in their name as human kind have done and sadly continue to do down the centuries.
I vehemently despise differentiation on any grounds, be it creed, colour, sex, ethnicity, football club or any other label that people seemingly want to divide us with. None of us are any better than anyone else, highlighting differences just builds resentment on both sides, divide and conquer only ends one way.
For me religion was created by mankind to invoke fear and thereby control and with it building wealth and power at the expense of those they claim to be "looking after". The only "Church" I respect is the Salvation Army who go out and actually do what I think would be appreciated by whatever all powerful, all seeing entity, energy or force there probably or possibly is out there. I hope it is and I hope that reward in some way comes their way. Perhaps the feeling those kind deeds give them of contentment and kindness is the reward itself?
Anyway my original point is that despite my personal dismissal of religions my belief of something that may have been before and something that may lie ahead is strong and unshakeable. As Boro fans I suppose we all must at some level have a sprinkling of faith or at least hope of some kind.
For what it's worth I believe your late wife hears every word you say, but deep down I think you know that already.
It’s when one gets nearer to death one questions the logic of it all. When my wife died I heard her last breath, saw her lying in her coffin, watched the coffin slide behind the curtain to be cremated, have her ashes in a sealed urn on a table, and when the sun shines through the window can actually see the level of the ashes but have never accepted that she’s dead but just moved to another room. Talking to her is my way of coping. I watch ‘Songs of Praise’ and especially those from the Caribbean sing joyously about how wonderful it will be when they meet Jesus in paradise, and I find myself joining in the singing with them. They’re all a happy bunch, but look forward to dying. Well I can understand that if they’re in pain, and sometimes I almost look forward to death yet not in a melancholy way. I find television a bore because I regularly fall asleep watching it, I’ve become housebound because I’m afraid of falling outside. I’m becoming afraid of driving if the sun’s too low in the sky. I’ve had a good life but sometimes think that enough is enough, and I’m ready to meet my maker, but how are all these dead people accommodated in heaven? What if I don’t like it there? There’s no turning back, so I reckon I may as well hang around talking to my wife on this side of the divide even if she doesn’t tell me how life is like up there.
A humorous aside was on my wedding day when making my vows when I said the words “according to God’s holy war” instead of ‘God’s holy law” and had to correct it. Wedding day nerves? It had been chaos at my parents house in the morning with whose turn it was for a bath, that I absconded from the chaos and rode my bike to my house a mile away to cut the lawn. Then later I heard all the plans that my wife’s relatives planned to congregate on Redcar Central Station to wave us off to Harrogate for our week’s honeymoon. My wife and I didn’t want all that fuss so my best man arranged for the taxi to drive us to Redcar East Halt Station further back up the line and as the train approached Redcar Central we hid in the toilet.
Then when we reached our boarding house in Harrogate and were shown our room, it contained twin beds. We both laughed about it, but after 3 days we curtailed our honeymoon as we couldn’t wait to get into our new home and didn’t tell our parents until later. We got into a lot of trouble for that ruse, but we didn’t care as we were just happy to be alone together in our own home. Who needs a honeymoon to start their married life? Different values of married bliss, but it was 60 years ago.
That makes me larff, I spent my honeymoon in a small caravan up on the cliff at Filey - bloody awful September weather all week!
There was no Ibiza, BVI or Dubai in those days.
@Allan in Bahrain
What’s more it was two years before we bought a black and white TV set with a 12 inch screen and only one channel the BBC in those days which opened at 2pm and closed at 11pm with the playing of the National Anthem. However we were lucky as my wife’s parents gave us what was know as a radiogram, so we listened to Radio Luxembourg, played our small collection of vinyl records, played cards, and went to the cinema once a week. My wife worked in Tyler’s gents outfitters 6 days a week for about £6, I worked in the Treasurer’s Department along with Paul Daniels for £380 pound a year, whilst the Borough Treasurer’s annual salary was £1,202-10 shillings, and I remember saying to my wife that I’d be well satisfied if I ever earned a £1,000 a year. However my mortgage for a 3 bedroom house was only £12-10 shillings per month and it cost only 3 shillings to watch the Boro. But happy days as we had a week’s holiday in either Scarborough or Blackpool most years.
Where have those 60 years gone?
@ken So you were married the year I was born?
Yes, where have those years gone, I wonder, too. The price of housing is very deep nowadays. But still we have too much material. Strange as I do not think we are not more happy.
Except when Boro won the Lsague Cup at Cardiff. Up the Boro!
England’s 10-0 win last night was too easy but not their biggest ever. Apparently they have twice beaten Northern Ireland by scoring 13 goals, 13-0 in Belfast on the 18th February 1882, and on the same date seven years later 13-2 in Sunderland. But during my lifetime on an end of season tour I remember England winning 10-0 in Lisbon against Portugal in May 1947 with hat tricks from the great Tommy Lawton and Stanley Mortensen. The Preston maestro Tom Finney scored one, and even Stanley Matthews scored a rare goal. Apparently England also beat the USA 10-0 in New York in 1964 but that one passed me by. But just for the record Roger Hunt scored 4, Fred Pickering 3, Terry Paine 2 and Bobby Charlton 1.
I smiled to read Ken's posts about his wedding/honeymoon and the black+white TV and working at the Treasurer's Dept. In my own time I must have caught many hundreds if not thousands of trains both at Redcar Central and the East Halt.
There were also some years when I caught the bus in good old Dormo, to go to work in Middlesbrough. One Boxing Day when there was snow about, when I was still unmarried and living with my parents, I stood at the bus stop for ages. But no bus came (it was a Bank Holiday!) and, of course, the office was shut anyway. No idea why I thought it would be open! It must have been the previous day's Christmas Spirit. I guess I must have phoned the office from our fairly recently-intalled phone at home, to confirm the office was, in fact, closed.
I actually started work in an office on New Years Day.
Every firm had the bank holiday except this company who were London based and didn’t realise that we had a holiday on New Years Day!
So there was a senior, myself and another new starter and that was it! Everyone else took the day off!
The first and last New Year’s Day I ever worked !
I don’t think New Years Day became an official Bank Holiday until the early 70s.
In the late 60's the advertising agency where I worked in London gave everyone a letter saying if they weren't in work on New Year's Day you were fired. That was after a train from Kings cross to Darlington after work on Christmas Eve and back overnight on Boxing to be in work the next morning.
Mind you the trains did run on time!
...and you try tling the young folk that 5oday and they'll never believe you...
To miss quote Monty Python
@john-richardson: I don't think Boxing Day is a public holiday in Scotland but, as we know, Hogmanay there is the "Big one". There 1st AND 2nd January are a public holiday (I won't say Bank Holiday as most bank branches seem to be closing down, so every day is a holiday for them).
@powmillnaemore: Thanks for that. My sister-in-law was a sub-postmistress in the NW Highlands and the bank holidays in Scotland are not all the same as those in England. However since the Post Office is UK wide, her branch was open according to the dates in England even if, in Scotland, other shops up there were closed that particular day.
On a slightly different tack, I remember going around Glasgow with my wife about 12 years ago. Sauchiehall Street pubs looked so uninviting that they should have had a "Women not encouraged to come into this bar" sign on the outside. (In the same way that, ten years or more ago, maybe longer, betting shops in England were designed in such a way almost to discourage people from entering the shop to undertake "disreputable gambling").
Public Holidays in Scotland are different from one location to another across the country, never mind being different to those in England. I have never u destroy the history of this. Perhaps I will research it or maybe Malcolm (who is the real deal rather than me who is a Smoggie interloper) knows ?
That said, a large number of employers, mine included, follow the English Holidays.
' u destroy' should have been 'understood'.
There you go Forever Dormo, you really are not alone when it comes to fat finger syndrome!
@powmillnaemore And I thought it was your Scottish accent... UTB!
You would upset my wife, who is the genuine Scottish article, if she heard you say that!
Me, I'm from Middlesbrough me... as they say. So, anything but a Scottish accent from my lips (except when I am taking the rise out of Mrs Powmill 😉
THE CRAZY SEASON OF 1927/28
We’ve all heard recently how crazy the Championship is, but the First Division of 1927/28 must have been the craziest ever. The Boro had just broken the goalscoring record of the old Second Division with 122 goals which still stands today, and George Camsell had just scored 59 of them in 37 appearances yet didn’t take either of the two penalties converted that season, so speculation was rife how he and Middlesbrough would perform in their first top league appearance for 5 years.
Well Camsell suffered undulations in form upon his elevation to the big time. The Boro lost their opening match at Old Trafford 0-3 where Camsell missed a sitter by thrashing at the ball when a side foot would have sufficed. However he scored in the next match at home to Spurs in a 3-1 win, and scored all 4 in the next one as the Boro beat Everton 4-2 at home. But then the great man scored ONLY 15 more that year as the Boro slipped to mid table.
Seemingly Camsell had suffered a minor scoring slump although he did score 4 in a 6-1 win over Bury, and spoke revealingly of an inferiority complex as he talked about players at the top level who were scoring more than him. He mentioned about missing a couple of sitters in a 2-3 home defeat to Burnley although he still managed to keep his place over his predecessor James McClelland. However Camsell only scored once in the final 5 matches missing 3 gilt-edged chances in the penultimate match of the season at Derby where the Boro lost 1-2 and slipped from the relatively safe position of 17th to 20th out of the 22 clubs.
Then came the final match at home to Sunderland and the highest crowd of the season some 41,997 attending, and all that the Boro needed was a draw to avoid relegation. But they lost 0-3 and finished bottom with 37 points. Spurs finished with one more point and were also relegated, but seven teams - Sheffield United, Sunderland, Liverpool, West Ham United, Manchester United, Burnley and Portsmouth all finished with 39 points. A draw would have placed the Boro on 38 points, the same as Sunderland but with a superior goal average, and Mackems would have been relegated for the first time. In fact it took another 30 years before Sunderland were first relegated.
As for the craziness of that season Derby County finished 4th in the league only 6 points more than relegated Spurs. However the Boro soon bounced back as Champions in the following season and remained in the First Division for the next 25 years.
Redcar Races are 150 years old next week.
Up the Boro!
Just to update you on Redcar Races which started on Redcar beach in the early 18th century and as reported in the Northern Echo opened on Redcar Racecourse in 1872 with a grandstand erected 4 years later. The biggest attendance was for the Bank Holiday Zetland Gold Cup meeting in 2016 with 45,768 punters. It has several unique developments being the first English racecourse to install closed circuit television, a timing clock and the introduction of furlong posts, 8 furlongs to the mile. It is also one of the fewest racecourses to have a straight mile, although very rarely used today as most races are longer than one mile and start parallel to West Dyke Road in an anti-clockwise direction.
The Queen’s daughter HRH the Princess Royal who represented Great Britain in Olympic equestrian events at Montreal in 1976 and turned her hand as a flat racing jockey thereafter rode her first winner on Gulfland at Redcar in 1986 after several attempts elsewhere. Redcar was noted for its Donkey Rides for children on the beach and Donkey Derby races were held on the racecourse during Carnival week with professional jockeys such as Billy Nevett the Champion jockey of the North astride one of the donkeys. That only lasted one year as children replaced professional jockeys in subsequent years, but I was glad to see them completely abolished later as I thought it cruel to ask donkeys to run even 100 yards.
As for Billy Nevett he won 3 successive Wartime Derbies on Dante, and the Donkey Derbies have been replaced by football club mascots. I’m not sure whether Roary Boro’s mascot takes place, but H’Angus the Hartlepools mascot certainly did one year and was beaten on the finishing line exhausted by a mascot from one of the Bristol clubs.
I’m watching the Stage 4 of the Tour of Britain Cycle race on ITV 4 today which started from Redcar and ends at Helmsley. Unfortunately I forgot to record the start but there’s an hour’s highlights from 8pm on the same channel tonight to watch the beautiful scenery of North Yorkshire tonight.
Another terrific night of Grand Prix Speedway from Vojens in Denmark on Saturday night with Britain’s Richard Lambert just failing to win the 8th round of the World Championship but finishing runner up. The standings now have Bartosz Zmarzlik of Poland leading the track on 128 points with Denmark’s Leon Madsen in second place on 108 points and Britain’s Dan Bewley third on 91 points with only two meetings remaining. Therefore it’s difficult to see anyone preventing the Pole from winning his third World Championship this year.
However Britain’s Robert Lambert 5th on 86 points and former World Champion Tai Woffinden who has had several injuries this year is 7th on 74 points and both assured of partaking next year barring any accidents of course. This is the first time since 1949 that Britain have had three riders in the top ten when Tommy Price, Jack Parker and Louis Lawson dominated speedway.
I had a couple of years of working on the coverage of Grand Prix Speedway back in 2001 - 2003.
I knew nothing of the sport beforehand and haven’t really followed it since but enjoyed it back then. The riders I can remember were Jason Crump, Tomas Gollob and Tony Rickardsson (though I had to look up his name).
Julia Bradbury was the main presenter for those few years and as such I enjoyed several weekends away with her back then!
My father’s cousin starred for Boro Bears Speedway team in 1947 when they won the Second Division. He was Norman ‘Pansy’ Evans, not a very flattering nickname given to him but because he always wore a beret when not riding. He told me that he once played football at Wembley Stadium representing Speedway riders against Boxers which was apparently an annual match after the Second World War.
My interest in Speedway stemmed the late 50s watching on a 12 inch television set which was regularly shown on the BBC with such riders as Split Waterman, Jack Young, Jack Parker though to Ivan Mauger, Barry Briggs and Dave Jessup who I once watched trying to break the speed record on Redcar beach.
However I regularly followed Boro Bears when they had brothers Frank and Jack Hodgson, Wilf Plant, Eric Boocock, Fred ‘Kid’ Curtis, and Eddie ‘Crusty’ Pye. But it was the reopening of Cleveland Stadium in 1968 when they changed their name to Teesside Tigers that I had got used to not following them as much.
However the most successful period began when occasionally my wife accompanied me to Cleveland Stadium after which we always had a fish and chip fish supper bought at Henderson’s chippy in Lobster Road, Redcar. In 1981 Middlesbrough won the National League with such riders as Steve Wilcock, Geoff Pusey, Mark Courtney, ‘Mad’ Martin Dixon, Mark Fiona and a teenage rider called Gary Havelock who later became a great star with British League Bradford Dukes and became the youngest World Champion in 1992.
After Cleveland Stadium closed the Eaglescliffe born rider rode and captained the newly formed Redcar Bears at Cargo Fleet, South Bank although nowadays there are only ten teams competing whereas 18/19 clubs used to participate in the halcyon days of 1981.
Sorry, I’ve misled you. The annual football match at Wembley for charity was between Speedway riders and JOCKEYS not boxers.