For years, there was a small plastic hoop stuck up in a tree by Firth Park boating pond. You could only see it from the top deck of the 75 or 76 bus.
Once a week in the school holidays, mum would send me to the butchers to get four lean lamb chops. They had sawdust on the black & white checker-board floor.
The farmer down off Woolly Wood bottom always had gravy stains on his tie and a crumpled collar. That’s where we got our eggs.
Auntie Dora always said she would buy me a banjo one day. She died before that happened. I must have been about nine.
Sometimes on a Saturday, dad took us to Violet May’s record shop just off The Moor, to flick through the vinyl records.
We always went to the dentist every nine months. It was Walker Park’s down in Ecclesfield. If we’d had a filling, we had an ice cream on the way back.
Dad has always said he wants to have “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” by George Lewis played at his funeral.
On Hatfield House Lane whilst walking home from Boys Brigade one Friday, I saw “Sid Viscous R.I.P.” graffitied on a phone box.
On Sundays, when Grandma came for tea, she always had bread and butter with her fruit salad and Carnation milk. We couldn’t afford cream.
At Whitsuntide we paraded down to Firth Park for the mass sing. Boys Brigade bugles, church banners, new sandals and white socks.
Every Whitsuntide holiday we went to Bridlington for the week. Camping. On the way, we always stopped off at Beverley for a picnic lunch.
We had to sell out first VW caravelle (Campervan) in about 1967 or 68 when our Ruth grew too big to sleep in the back window. It was maroon and white.
The orange carpet tiles we had in the living room were hard wearing and practical. They weren’t very comfortable though – too prickly.
I always found it slightly unnerving walking past the Brightside & Carbrook dairy on Bellhouse Road.
Beans on toast at Auntie Ena’s house was a real treat. I think it was because they had butter instead of margarine.
In the Sixth Form I was in the chorus for a production of “Ruddigore” by Gilbert & Sullivan. Afterwards, I had to go and buy the record. I ended up seeing quite a few amateur productions of “The Mikado”.
Towards the end of my time at Sixth Form, we had an acoustic music night in the Common Room. Dave Watson and I sang a couple of songs including “We Can Swing Together” by Lindisfarne. He was a Geordie.
I was given a second-hand mandolin for my twenty first birthday. I had to fix it up but it still works great.
Sometimes, after tea, we’d unwrap a Club biscuit really carefully, eat the biscuit then put the re-folded wrapper back in the biscuit tin. It really wound my dad up when he picked up an empty wrapper.
Everyone my age ridiculed Mildred but in hindsight, she was more forward thinking and rebellious than any of us teenagers.
Mum was in the kitchen making sandwiches for our packed lunches when she told me Grandma had passed away. She wiped a tear away with her sleeve and carried on.
Stepping into Andrews (the art shop round the back of the City Hall) for the first time was like walking into stationary heaven. I bought my first and only Rotring pen there.
Dad-ism 1: “Go and get a piece of paper…” You knew that meant a long explanation to help you with your homework was about to begin.
My first gym was actually just a room above a Kwik-Fit exhaust garage, just along from The Pheasant pub at Sheffield Lane Top, next door to the chippy we knew as Lee Chong Russell’s. At least it had a shower room.
We knew Alzheimer’s disease was kicking in with Grandma Asplen when she went to our front window, looked out and said, “Which one’s your house then?”
When our Neil was in the fourth year at Lindsey Road Junior School, Mr. Lovett, the head teacher, would often send him to the local shop at play time to get him his 10 Park Drive cigarettes.
For a while, I couldn’t go swimming at Junior School because of verrucas. Our teacher, Mr. Crossley, left me to make models out of balsa wood. I made a great church.
Dad-ism 2: If any of us ever got the mardy face on, he’d say, “Are tha’ going to bed wi’art thisen?”
At Junior School I used to perform “comedy sketches” in assemblies with my mate Kevin Gaunt. They were held in the building used by the youth club in the evenings.
In 1985 I ran the Sheffield Half Marathon with my brother, Neil. He also did the full marathon the following year but I hurt my knee on a training run. It’s never been right since.
My dodgy knee put me out of the running for Sports Aid on Sunday May 25th 1986. I did a sponsored press-up at Redscope School instead.
My dad had to come and fetch Kevin Gaunt and me out of the Essoldo cinema on Barnsley Road. We’d already watched “Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines” once but decided to hide in our seats and watch it again.
We couldn’t speak any Spanish and the villagers couldn’t speak any English, so I don’t suppose it was a real surprise when Don and I ended up with a piece of cake and a plate of chips for breakfast on our first morning in Benaguasil. We managed to get coffee though!
The Nolans – Sheffield City Hall 1981: We went in as punks, under the cover of darkness. We came out with heads held high, wearing our badges and in the mood for dancing.
When Uncle Mike was having hospital treatment for depression, mum just said, “Oh, I haven’t got time to be depressed.”
In 1979 we went to see ‘Moonraker’ at the Rotherham Odeon. Every so often you would be shaken in your seat by the drop-forge hammer working in the steel works behind the cinema.
Mum-ism: There’s only me and thee that’s alright, and even tha’rt a bit weird.
Grandma-ism 1: He’s that mean he’d cut a fart in two.
Grandma-ism 2: He wouldn’t give thee t’drop off t’end of ‘is nose.