Thursday, 20 February 2014

The adventures continue....

Firstly I would like to say, Susan has not proof read this post so there may be some spelling mistakes as spelling is not my strong point. Secondly I would like to thank you for tuning in once again to read about my life.  Thirdly, sorry Mam you probably don't know any of this... hehehe

To start with ill post a few pictures of when I was young....
looking out of the window.

Along time ago where my Dad looks quite evil... Sorry Dad but you do.  And Holly has your eyes!

Did they use a bowl? Thanks Mam and Dad...

Me, my Aunty Barbara and my Amazing Grandma Ann (Dads Mam) who was super clever, like scientist clever.
I will be talking about her on another post.

Drinking a milkshake or a pop and ice-cream shake I cant really remember.
Somebody elbowed me when I was young and knocked my teeth out.

My Mam don't know who she is holding.... It may be my cousin Michael. 

The lads used to play in the the Burn often.  A long, wide path stretched up the middle of the valley like a curving snake with a beck type stream running down the side, this continued from the bottom the the Burn Bank all the way through to the sewer system near the Hall Grounds.  I don't know why it was called the Hall grounds, maybe there was a hall on it at sometime but there wasn't one when I was there.  On the left side of the Burn on the other side of the stream a thousand trees covered the hillside, I used to think they looked like broccoli...  More on broccoli later!
Me at around the age we
hung around the Burn

The opposite side was long steep bank up to a housing estate at the top and the old ruins of a monastery.    I remember one day in my dinner hour, we walked over to the ruins where workmen were digging to make sure it was safe and I hear one shout the the other "Dave, come see mate..."  I cant remember who was with me, but we ran over to the fence and peered through, as we were trying to glimpse what it was we were seeing, the workman pulled out a human skull from the hole he was digging and popped it on the tarpaulin next to him.  We were shocked yet intrigued... It was morbid yet amazing.   We went back the next few days but only spotted the odd bone.

Human Skull similar to the one
we spotted at the ruins...

I remember one day playing with a friend on my dinner break in the burn, we were in the trees which were next to the school.  I heard a cracking noise, more like a snapping noise.  I couldn't work out what it was, snap, then a few seconds later another SNAP.  It sounded like it was getting closer.  We peered through the trees towards the path running down the middle of the burn and spotted a couple of older lads probably about 15 or 16 walking along with an air rifle.  The snapping was the two lads taking pot shots at the younger children as they played in the burn.  They were nasty buggers.  I remember saying to my friend, quick lets go.  As I said that the taller of the two boys, the lad who was holding the rifle turned and made eye contact with me, he lifted up the rifle and took aim, we started running and SNAP.  I suddenly heard my mate shouting.  I've been hit.  I thought he was winding me up, but he wasn't.  He had been hit in the leg, but not with a pellet.... With a dart.  All I could see was the green feathers sticking out of his skin, there wasn't even any blood.  He was taken to hospital and I was asked a few questions.  I know the Police were involved but I heard nothing back.

Identical to the dart my mate was shot with.  Green too!

Talking about playing in the Burn, we found just past the school an old mud mound.  This mound was fun to dig in with sticks.  One day while digging in it we found an old bottle.  We kept digging and digging and must have found about 10 or 12 valuable bottles.  We hid these but my friend Chris had a bit of a big mouth.  I think he to was being bullied so he used to try and make friends with people by telling them cool things.  Sure enough, the bottles were gone at the end of the day.  I was gutted.

Very like the bottles we found....

Talking about Chris, I spend about 7 months of my life hanging around with this lad.  He was OK, but he tended to do really mischievous things.  I was easily let I think due to the fact that I wanted people to like me so I tended to be the passenger and not the driver.  I spent many a day at Chris's, his house was in a rich part of our area and both his parents worked, leaving him in at 14 all hours of the day.  They made it up by buying him pretty much anything he wanted.  I had my Amiga plugged into an old TV and went half blind looking at it.  He had a full colour monitor a hard drive which cost about £500 then! and also a dot matrix printer in COLOUR!!! Hugely expensive.  I only dreamed about owning this hardware.

Chris's Actual Computer

I had an advantage though, I knew how to use mine, so I too great pleasure writing silly little programs to wind him up, for example I wrote a great little program that looked like his loading screen, then it continued to delete everything on his hard drive.  It didn't really it just looked like it was.

One night at Chris's, he asked me if I could get a hold of the infamous Cook Book.  I took pleasure in charging him £3.00 for it which no doubt I spent on sweets. He asked me over a few nights later and we started trying to make some of the recipes.


We mixed a few household chemicals together placed it into a pot and took it out into the middle of nowhere to try and set it off.  I remember that day well as it was a particularly cold winter and we walked miles freezing our buts off to the small lake.  It was completely frozen solid.  The ice was at least 10 inches thick so we walked into the middle and placed down our so called explosive.  Chris pulled out a lighter and was just about to light it when I shouted "STOP! What are you doing??!!" .  Yes Chris in his wisdom was going to light an explosive compound with a lighter.  If it ignited, it would have blown the both of us into small bits.  I told him to grab a few grains and take it to another part of the ice and try lighting it to see what happened first.  He done what I said and lit the tiny pile of mixture.  It sparked a little and went out.  He walked back over to the big pile, I decided to walk off the ice at this point.  He lit his lighter and took it to the mixture... KABBOOOMMMM!!!...........  naaa only kidding, nothing happened apart from a few sparks.  We had made the wrong mixture. But the moral of the story is, NEVER mess with silly things like this as you can easily die.

Chris got it into his head that he wanted to rob the telephone box over the street from his house.  I dont know why, he had everything he wanted, I was from a poor estate and I never wanted to steal anything, however being keen on hacking software, I took it on as a bit of a challenge, I didn't think about the fact I was stealing.  Firstly we tried a hammer, Chris spent so long hammering on this steel box that his dads hammer head fell off and hit him in the shin!  I laughed for days about this and still to this day I snigger....   We tried picking the lock, which failed.  We even mixed up a very low explosive (which worked).  We tested it by throwing it against a hard surface.  It was pressure sensitive and was very much like one of those snapper devil banger type things, just a bit stronger.  We decided we would put the mixture around the metal box and Chris asked how we were to detonate it....  I instantly thought, instead of throwing the mixture on something hard, throw something hard at the mixture.  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.....  I pulled out my Black Widow slingshot which every kid had in those days and fired a pebble which I had in my pocket along with other suitable ammo I used to find.  Nothing happened.  I took aim once again and from about 20 foot away, fired again.  Bang!, plumes of white smoke bellowed out of the holes where the windows once were.  The windows didn't even break they were made of plastic, so they simply popped out of the telephone box.

The Indestructible Telephone Box or DOOM!
(Sorry B.T.)

We legged it back to Chris's house and spend a good couple of hours waiting for the police to come and arrest us.  I was in shock to be honest.  Nothing happened, not even a neighbour looked out of the window.  So after about a further 2 hours, when it was getting dusky, we decided to get our booty.  We walked over to the telephone box and examined it.  There was absolutely no damage at all, not even the paint was damaged, it literally just popped the plastic clips off the windows and produced lots of smoke and a sticky substance which was stuck to the case.  We popped the windows back in and wiped off the substance with our coats.  We walked back to his house again!

A bit like Asquiths bike but this is much better condition
and I guess it wasn't Asquiths anyway... 

A few weeks later Chris told me that he was watching a stolen motorbike for the hardest lad in school, Asquith.  Asquith was the school nutter, to be honest I didn't know him much and out of everyone he never really gave me any bother.  Chris decided he wanted to take the petrol out of it to set a fire, I found myself once again doing something illegal that I didn't want to do. We took the petrol tank off and Chris thought it would be a good idea to set fire to it right in the middle of the grass outside his house.    After about 15 minutes, once he had finished being a fire bug, a group of girls from our school came waltzing over, "We are gunna tell Asquith you set fire to his bike, you two are DEAD!"  they continued laughing.  It was like a sledge hammer in Chris's face.  I sort of knew this was the direction it was heading in and although I didn't get involved knew that I was guilty by association.  As we walked back to Chris's house he told me that he was not going in in the morning and he suggest I didn't too...  I had never wagged school in my life.  I wasn't a bad kid and didn't want to hurt people, I did have an over excited imagination and was intrigued by puzzles and I liked to know things I wasn't allowed to know, but deep down, Wagging???  Come on...  that was what bad kids done.

Me and Chris met up with each other as we normally did at 8:00 am.  We decided that we were going to wag school.  We travelled to my dads Chalet which he had in Ovingham.  It was more like a little wooded house that he had on a farmers field, they were there as holiday home, however a few people lived in them permanently.  Of course I didn't have any keys but I had remember my dad was working on the floor and the plan was, that if I crawled under it, I could crawl up through the hole and open the doors from the inside.    I had never been that far away without an adult, I was only 14.  We travelled on train for a good 40 minutes and got off at Prudhoe.  I found the path that led down to the Chalet, it was a good 25 minutes walk.  We eventually arrived at the Chalets and I entered the gate.  I walked up to the Chalet and noticed that My dad had been working on it.  I crawled under the building and edged up to the hole in the floor.  To my amazement, my dad had fixed the hole and it wasn't there any more.  I crawled back out and we decided to do something that every immature adolescent boy does, "Lets have a catapult fight".

We stood about 50 foot apart and took turns firing rocks at each other (Dumb or what).  After my fourth go, not thinking in what I was doing, I zeroed in on Christ and fired a small pebble.  It hit him on the side of the head and for a good 40 minutes, he was sobbing holding his head.  We travelled back about 15 minutes after that.

I managed to persuade my mother I was ill.  I stayed off for another few days then it was the weekend. I handed her a piece of paper and a pencil to write me a note.  I had thought this through, if I handed her a pencil and instructed her what to write as "Daft O Clock" in the morning there was a good chance I could extend the date by rubbing it out and re-writing it.  It worked like a dream and I was never found out for wagging the one and only day I took off!

OK so getting back to living at home with my Mam....  My Dad thought it would be a good idea to buy me a computer, he looked through all of the papers for weeks and bought me a 286 DX 50mhz machine.  This was an amazing machine for its time and was only surpassed by the 66mhz machine but that was way to expensive.  I was a little mischievous at this time and I was pretty confident with computers.  I found that this machine had QBasic which was very similar to the basic I once programmed in on my Amiga.  So I set to work memorising all of the commands and how it worked.  At the time the system was running Windows 3.1.  I managed to get a hold of a disk containing nude images of girls and set one as my background page.  It was in colour!!!  I remember my Mam walking into my bedroom while I was talking to Bruce.  I quickly turned off the monitor, of course she turned it back on and I got told off.  I remember getting a hold of a 14400 kbps modem.  That's was pretty good at the time.  I used to dial a number for a bulletin board that contained text files and articles on computing.  This ran up my mothers bill as it was a national rate number.  I remember her getting a pin code put on her phone to stop me from using it.

I sat down and took turns with my mate in trying every number from 0000 to 9999.  We would write down an X every time we had tried 100 numbers.  Luckily it started with a 2 so we only had to do around 3000 tries.  It is amazing how quickly you can do that when you set your mind at it.  It took us two nights.  Then we had the pin.  I once again ran her bill up.  She changed the code, so instead of manually tying in the numbers one at a time I wrote a small program which instructed the modem to dial tones and listen for a connection.  It dialled 0000, waited for a connection, then tried 0001, waited for a connection and so on. With this little program I managed to crack my mothers phone pin for a further few months until I lost interest.  Looking back I now realise, I must have been a little bugger!

Around about the same time I decided I would see how fast I could get a motor to turn that I had taken out of a broken tape deck.  I scoured the house looking for batteries.  I must have had about 15 or so.  I taped them all together into one big sausage and attached them.  The motor turned really fast, but I wanted faster.  An idea popped into my head.  What if I plug it into the mains?  I spent a good 30 seconds wiring this motor up to a mains lead by simply poking the wires from the motor into the socket on the end of the lead.  I plugged it in and switched it on.  BANG!  The motor proceeded to explode firing bit of metal all over the room. At that time I didn't know the difference between AC and DC.  My mother ran in the room and asked if I was OK and what was the bang.  I said I didn't hear one, I am amazed she didn't suss me due to my pale white face and the smell of soiled underwear.... lol

Looking back I didn't realise how much of a little sod I was.... OMG!

Getting back to Broccoli.... Once when we were staying at my Nana's house (by the way I love my Nana Nan she is lush)  My mother fed me a Chicken and Broccoli bake.  I was up all night vomiting and violently ill, I must have been about 10.  I was told I must have been allergic to Broccoli.  Now I look back it must have been food poisoning.  I spent every day until I was 24 avoiding Broccoli as I thought I couldn't eat it.  Then Susan said she had been feeding me it on the sly for weeks.... lol  Now I love Broccoli and am gutted I didn't eat it for so long... lol

I cant remember how I met David, but David soon become my best friend.  David and I were inseparable.  He was a couple of years younger than me but was pretty mature for his age.  His Granddad was Chinese and if you looked closely enough you could see that some of David's features were like his Granddads.  David was proud of his heritage and liked to talk about his Chinese family.  One thing I remember is David had and Uncle Office.  I found that very amusing.  David and I started Jujitsu at Wallsend Boys Club just down the hill from the Buddle Arts Centre.  We walked over to the doors and went into the passage where we were met by the smell of stale smoke and and old guy with really bad skin and glasses.  "What?" said the guy behind the table.  "We have come for Jujitsu" we replied, "Upstairs" he grunted to us.  We walked through the hall and into the main arena for the 5 a side football tournaments that were held regularly.   I remember seeing the Dads creaming at their sons, "Get the ball, NO get the f'XXXing  ball!".  I was shocked at how they treat their kids.  The boys all dressed in their pristine football strips were trying so hard.  We walked up the open planned stairs and into the room marked HOKTO IRIGUS RYU JIU JITSU - DOJO.  I remember that as we had to learn it.

We were met by a huge fat man covered in tattoos from head to toe.  We must be in the wrong place we both though to ourselves but were to scared to talk.  "Have you come to fight?" the large man aggressively said. "Errm... We have come to learn Jiu Jitsu." we quietly said.  "Good lads, its not about fighting its about discipline, get yourself sat over there on the edge of the mat.".  We sat down where he pointed and were a little intrigued by the black judo suits they wore with the Yin Yang on the lapel.  We ever spotted a good looking girl learning how to spar. However she wasn't  wearing a suit.  A few months went by, grading after grading passed.  I loved it, so did David.  We were both hooked.  The large man was called Geordie, he was an amateur Sumo and even travelled to Japan to fight in the championships.  He was such a nice guy but I wouldn't mess with him as he was a 3rd dan black belt and 37 or so stone to go with it. He always taught us to use controlled aggression within the ring and the ring only.  I started getting good at sparring and although I only weighed 7 stone I found it easy to take on people bigger and heavier than me.  You see....  I was fast, lightening fast.   For every one punch they managed to land on me, I landed 5.

I was hooked on Jiu Jitsu and found it a very good way to keep out of trouble and to get out my aggression.  The thing I liked was if your opponent or yourself had enough, you would submit and shake hands, the odd cuddle was exchanged too in a comrade type of way.  At my peak I trained 8 classes a week one every day and two on a Sunday.  I ate and breathed Jiu Jitsu.

One day Geordie took our class up to the Battlehill community centre to meet another class and spar.  I think he was interested in taking it over.  We met a group of 12 students dressed in lilly white suits all pristine and shiny.  We all had to line up on the mats, our group sanding shoulder to shoulder facing the other group.  It was Winner Stays On.  I always used to psyche myself up before a match and then stair straight into the eyes of my opponent with a really evil look.  I used to practice this look in the mirror at home.  I once read that you can win a fight by just your mind.  It worked most of the time.  We were told "Ajimi" (don't know if its spelled like that) and the sparring match began.  I beat 11 of the 12 in the class and only got beaten by the last one due to being exhausted as I was fighting for about 45 minutes.  I submitted and David took over.  Between me and David we had  defeated the entire Battlehill Jiu Jitsu class in less than an hour.  It was good times......

Well that's it for this time.  Please tune in again for Tom meets girls and cigarettes.....


  1. OH my some of your tales brings back memories of what my dad told me he got up to as a kid. He and his mate blew up the school outside toilets and I mean he really did blow them up LOL . I miss him telling me his tales :(

  2. This installment was fab xx

  3. Great read Tom, I can go to sleep now.x

  4. your poor have put your fair share of grey hairs on her head x cracking read though!

  5. Love reading this! What a clever young man xx Zoe xx

  6. Another great episode in your life, you little bugger! Can't wait for the next one am loving it. xXx

  7. Flippin 'eck.. I'm worn out just reading all this... you are so lucky that your still alive! ... Great post Tom and a lively read, but I expect your mum must be horrified by some of the stuff you got up too!
    Eileen xx

  8. Thanks for commenting everyone, ti be honest i didn't really know how much of a dafty i was when i was a kid, i got up to loads if stupid stuff. It was all part of growing up.