The days when playing hide and seek was free

Geoffrey Shryhane
Geoffrey Shryhane

Memories and musings with Geoffrey Shryhane...

Let’s be honest, the Beatles – well John Lennon - said it all in one song. Yeah, yeah, yeah he did.

And it’s true... how we long for yesterday when our troubles seemed so far away.

Mr Lonnon was warbling about the good old days and now it’s been confirmed. Kids had better quality of play half a century ago.

They may have been simple games that didn’t cost a lot – hide and seek is just one example. The truth is kids were happier in those old days than they are today. They wouldn’t believe it, of course. But it’s true.

So let’s slide back the magic “My World” curtain to a time when after school, we all rushed to the sweet shop to spend a penny.

Oh that Penny Tray was fantasic and boy how did our mucky little fingers scramble for the “biggest gob stoppers.”

We oldies folks look back through our rose-coloured glasses at our childhood games. Here are a few to bring the memories flooding back:

Playing kiss and chase; kicking the fresh grass, playing marbles and conkers, making dens, running into the sea, making fires, climbing trees, skipping, playing hopscotch, collecting shells, daisy chains, building trolleys, collecting franked stamps, watching our little black and white TVs, hitting balls against brick walls, and roaming the woods with the dogs.

Is it any wonder the Beatles longed for yesterday?

Neighbours Ethel and Doris – the best of friends and the best of enemies – were dithering with delight.

Their high emotions came after a highly-coloured leaflet just delivered saying experts were in the village offering cash for a whole host of items.

Watches, pens, silver, paintings, diamonds and old gold, toys, banknotes, fur coats. The list was endless.

Doris, a woman with a penniless purse, said: “Just think Et, this is mi chance of gerrin some dosh. I’m not tellin Bert as e’d want half.”

Ethel: “Sellin’t family silver eh? But war if he finds aht? You knows wot ‘appent when you pornt his overcoat?”

Doris: “Ah’ll tak mi chance. I wants buy a new ‘at for our Willie’s weddin.”

Ethel, ever the toot, asks what her friend is taking to sell?

Doris crosses her arms and a cheeky smile cracks her face.

Ethel, in a whisper: “Well you knows that vause ‘is mam left him. I’ve ‘eard it’s Royal. ‘Eel ner miss it.”

Doris gasps at Ethel’s audacity and says she’s taking the precious fur coat her mam she bought her “fir me ‘oneymoon.”

The day of the sale comes and goes.

The ladies sit on the sofa, faces maps of frustration and grim disappointment.

Ethel: “Oh I felt proper showed up. Fella said vause was not royal thingy all but foreign rubbish. I was that ‘urt.”

Doris: “Me too cock. Mi fur was what thay caw foo. Label said it were fox but it were a fraud. I felt a foo too.”

The ladies agree: “Uz ...weer alus aht ut loop.”

To burn the toast. Or not to burn the toast. That’s the question.

I was as usual fascinated and somewhat over-excited when it was announced that burnt toast was, well, almost life-threatening.

Apparently, when the bread burns, there’s a chemical change and there’s a chance it becomes a carcinogenic.

It was all on the telly of course. One expert saying “don’t burn” the other saying you’ve have to eat thousands of pieces of burnt toast for it to make any difference.

So am I right in thinking that millions – like my good self – are now in a state of toast-confusion. Yes.

But wait a minute, am not I right in thinking the dangers of burnt toast were made public 20, even 30 years ago.

Again the answer is yes.

And that’s why lots of us – faced with a piece of burnt toast – simply get a knife and scrape off the burn.

Over the years there have been so many food health warnings, it’s amazing that so many of are fat. Sorry, that doesn’t apply to you, dear reader. There was all the bother over eggs. Remember the poisonous eggs issue?

We were told we shouldn’t consume more than two eggs a week. Then, after we’d weaned ourself off over-egging our systems, there was a change of heart. And we bow were’re told to ear as many as we like. I’m clucking, honest.

We’ve been told to avoid saturated fats. To cut down on biscuits, cakes, muffins, baps and a hundred other things, including full-fat milk.

Now we’re told that sugar is a killer.

Anyway time for lunch. Heathy and life-giving or course.

Anyone for a lettuce leaf?

Wigan’s Kym Marsh deserves an acting medal the size of one of Coronation Street’s dustbin lids.

The 40-year-old , who plays Michelle Connor on cobbled Coronation Street, has had millions in tears as she acts out the part of a mother who loses her prematurely-born baby in the most tragic of circumstances.

Talk about tear-jerking scenes at the hospital and at the funeral. Th e actress from Ashton is now one of the leading characters in the Street and she’s acted out some high profile story lines in the last decade.

But the ones involving the premature birth of her baby boy has, without doubt, put her into the award-winning category. She’s also talked how how art has imitated real life. She lost her young son Archie at birth eight years ago. She told OK magazine: “Filming the scenes were challenging.” And she spoke of how she was determined to raise awareness of premature baby deaths.

Back in 1969, Kim and then partner Jamie Lomas were expecting a baby. However the little boy came early and tragically died after birth.

The actress added: “Losing a child is something that never leaves you.”

Two tragic deaths were recorded by the Wigan Coroner at the end of the Victorian era.

One died accidentally, the other judged temporarily insane.

On Saturday afternoon, an inquest was held at Wigan touching the death of a man named Harold Craven, aged 30, who had committed suicide under the following circumstances.

Deceased for the last five years had lodged in the house of a widow in Scholes and had formed an attachment to her daughter.

The banns had been published and the marriage was fixed to take place on the Sunday morning. A few weeks go, an abscess began to form in his hand and her was told an operation would be necessary. He told his sweetheart of this and when they retired to rest that night, he was described as being very down-hearted.

During the night, he cut his throat. The Coroner asked if there had been any dispute with the deceased on Friday.

The witness, sobbing violently, said: “No. Not a word.”

A verdict of temporary insanity was returned.

n Michael Drudy, aged about 30, a labourer living in Kirkless Lane, Ince, was found dead last Friday near a furness of Wigan Coal and Iron Company.

The deceased was employed at the blast furnaces and on the evening before his death, he seemed all right until supper time. But after that he went away and returned much worse for drink.

He looked unfit for work and said he would go for a lie down. He proceeded to a furnace which was still emitting a quantity of gas. He lay down beside it. When found he was dead. All efforts to revive him failed.

An accidental death verdict was recorded.