In the 1960’s it was great fun being a teenager when we had ‘pop’ music and lots of friends to enjoy it with. We also had many adventures where we could ‘go out and play’ for many hours feeling free to explore, unlike the situations today ! We didn’t mind staying dressed when we could have a few ‘mates’ round to dance to our records, we were allowed 3 friends each so that meant 8 of us in total. How my mother coped with two hours or more of that kind of noise is a mystery ! The adventures outside could see us walking far from home to any one of many favourite places we had. Again we would have a few regular pals going along, all of course knew and understood our home lifestyle and they were protective so that no other school friends would make any big issue about it. Where we lived it was a coal mining area and consequently there where ‘slag heaps’ that were a major attraction for us. They were huge hills of coal waste, rocks & shale that wasn’t much good as coal burning material. Along the top lengths of these coal heaps ran lengths of cables which carried buckets of ‘slag’ to be tipped at various points along the way. We often wanted to climb up the sides of these ‘mountains’ and then try to grab a ride on one of the buckets. Of course that was a very dangerous thing to do, but I’m not sure if we were aware of the hazards of if we just didn’t care ! Once or twice both of us had had serious ‘telling offs’ from our mother when we arrived home literally black from head to toes. On one visit to those mountains with just two pals, Lorraine & myself decided we wouldn’t risk getting our clothes so blackened with coal ‘muck’ so we got naked! not really ideal for climbing coal, but at 12 & 14 years old we didn’t really figure that out in our plans. Alan & Sam thought it was a great idea so they stripped aswell, Sam was a bit unsure though, only about getting naked with Lorraine seeing him, but once she got down to her knickers only he started stripping. We put all of our clothes in a hollow of bracken and shrubbery, the climb was a lot harder in bare feet so we decided to put shoes back on and take a risk with the ‘telling off’ when we would get back home.
Little did we realize how much of a problem we were creating for ourselves, with completely coal blackened skin, injury and pain on our trek back home. More to follow in part two. (if you want it ? )