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Archive - Thursday, 7 February 2002
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Wonderful stories from local folk
THIS week has been full of interesting chat - with equally interesting folk - arising from mention of Shackleton's Expedition. I asked questions about his cook, a man named Green. Seems my memory hadn't been playing tricks after all, for Ron Sargeant, one-time local teacher who I knew well when my boys were at school, but who I'd never heard of for years, gave me a call. I knew his voice straight away, and pricked up my ears when he told me that Mr Green had given a slide lecture to the children at Greengate School in the fifties, and this would no doubt be the same day that he gave it again to Malton Wheelers in the evening.
He told me an amusing tale which Mr Green had entertained them with. It seems that he had worked for a baker, and one of his jobs was to deliver bread on a carrier's bike with a huge basket on the front. His route took him past the docks and he stopped to watch the departure preparations of the Endeavour. On sudden impulse, he leaned his bike against a wall and went to the dockside asking if they needed any crew. No, they didn't need any crew, he was told, but they were short of a cook. "Well, I'm not a cook, but I do work for a baker." "You're our man", he was told, whereupon he abandoned the bike with the load of bread and went up the gang plank, which became the start of his journey to the Antarctic. "I often wondered what happened to the bike and the bread," said Mr Green.
The next polar story comes from Pat Hitchcock of Pickering who was able to confirm my recollections of Commander Adams, who I recall living at Norton when I was a schoolboy. Pat's father Jimmy Buckley (they lived at Peasey Hill, Malton) left her his book with the title Conquest of the Poles, and in the front is written 'To Jimmy Buckley, from his Godfather, Jamieson Boyd Adams. Xmas 1924'. Commander Adams no less, and the name 'Jimmy' was given to him as a shortening of Commander Adams' first name. Pat's dad's father, Bertie Buckley, was batman to Commander Adams and was a crew member on board the Endeavour on its journey to the south pole.
Wonderful stories from local folk which needed recording.
Latest letter from across the Atlantic is one from Las Vegas, no less, which was prompted by my tale of my days atop Staxton Wold in '39.
It's from Herbert Wentworth, who was 13 years of age in 1939. He tells that his brother Thomas, ten years his senior (and both born at 22 Potter Hill, Pickering), was also a Green Howard on Staxton Chain Home Station. Herbert went on to survive Dunkirk, and I expect there may still be a few of their friends in Pickering who remember them, perhaps some ex-Green Howards. As for the Gazette & Herald, it's great to know that it's read in such exotic places as Las Vegas, isn't it?
Some interesting comments about Saltersgate from Ron Scales of Pickering who connects the name with the supply of salt to Whitby for use in the preservation of fish there. As for the 'gate' bit, well, Ron is of the opinion that this relates to the fact that there was a toll bar just past the pub at the bottom of the bank and close by Bar Farm, from where it got its name, and so, between the two the word Salter Gate was derived, and ultimately Saltersgate.
Thanks Ron. I'd often wondered if that cottage which I've many times ridden by, had been a toll house, for it has the look about it, and now I know.
Back to today, and to the ever-changing scene on those parking permits. I'm sure there must be a reason why Ryedale District Council changed around the travel tokens in the first instance, however the result was never a happy one, for those of us who opted to use them to purchase the good-value short-stay disc lost out completely. It was a rather raw deal. The proposed 'smart card' doesn't look as though it will be universally popular, for it will mean that all folk used to simply setting a disc in the car, and it will mean a more regular emptying of the cash boxes, and the need for more tickets. Left alone, as the system was originally it was fine and everyone got a share of the cake. Now it looks as though many are going to lose out again. As Bert Lance in 'Nations Business' said: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
I see Percy Flint, another ex-Green Howard, has just celebrated his big 'Eight-O'. Good for you Perc, and congratulations. I well remember him way back to school days when he was known as 'Punch' Flint, and then again in the army. A smart soldier, and when you see him today you'll notice that his trousers have the sharpest crease in the town. One of the old school - there's not many left!
Ode to Europe (seen in a Yorkshire Butcher's Shop).
Germany makes the rules
Britain obeys the rules
France bends the rules
Spain breaks the rules
Greece and Italy don't know there are any rules
Updated: 13:42 Thursday, February 07, 2002