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Rocky (Turner) MCMLXX - An Ordinary Bloke Pt. 9
Posted by southstander on January 09 2007 - 08:24:20

By McLaren_Field

In the ninth part of our new series for the long winter months we bring you McLaren_Field's 1970's Diaries.

Its the story of an ordinary bloke, living an ordinary life, in an ordinary street, and his love for his rugby league club, in other words he's just like you and me. Set during the second half of the winter season of 1969/70 it follows his devotion to the Leeds RLFC through the league title games, a challenge cup run and a championship final appearance. Characters and matchday reports are fictional but the fixtures, results and player names are real enough, as are some of the more unsavoury elements of the period.

You may find parts of this story distasteful, but it's told realistically for the time.


v Batley (home) Sat 7th Feb 1970

Down on the corner, out in the street,
Willy and the poorboys are playin;
Bring a nickel; tap your feet.

Down on the Corner - Creedence Clearwater Revival - #31 Feb 70

He pulls back the single curtain on the living room window and sleepily gazes out at the lashing rain which has relentlessly pounded the grey cobblestones of Burley for the previous four days.

The small front yard of the back-to-back property on Lumley Mount that his dad rents from a man who lives in the posher district of Roundhay, a man that they have never met but a man who employs a particularly obnoxious, oily little runt to collect the rent every Friday night, is flooded to a depth of a couple of inches near the low front wall and if the pool of water encroaches any nearer to the house he knows his dad will make him go out there in the rain with a broom and sweep it into the street before it starts to flood the cellar.

He takes three steps across the tiny living room to the old utility sideboard on the wall opposite the fireplace and turns a dial on the huge Pye radio that sits atop the austere, dark veneered plywood cabinet that his mother polishes with love every day as if it were a Chippendale, and watches as the tuning dial glows a dirty orange and eventually from somewhere inside the mysterious depths of the two waveband machine there comes a hissing noise because once again its moved off its Radio One tuning spot and so he tweaks the tuning dial a fraction to catch the last of the monotone refrain of Lee Marvin groaning that he was born under a wandering star.

Ed Stewpot Stewart reads another dedication to another child somewhere in the south of the country and the sounds of White Plains "My Baby Loves Lovin" fills the small, cold and slightly damp living room as he goes into the scullery to put the kettle on the gas ring for the first of this mornings cups of tea and while he is in there his dad stomps down the staircase and slams open the door into the living room,

"Eric, where are you"
"In the scullery dad, cup of tea ?"
"No, put yer coat on, I might need a push again"
"I'm in me pyjamas dad"
"Nivver mind, get some boots on and put my raincoat on, I'm late"

His dad has got an overtime shift this saturday morning in the joinery shop at Kirkstall Forge but he's late and his Honda 50 moped hasn't been starting that well in the rain this week, if it wont fire up on the short descent down the hill onto Lumley Road then he'll have to push the bloody moped until it does start while his dad sits on it peddling like buggery.

"Jesus christ, you need to get rid of that bloody thing"
"Nowt wrong with it once it gets going"
"It won't get going though will it, thats whats bloody wrong with it"
"Stop bloody arguing and put that raincoat on, come on I'm late"
"Jesus christ..."

By the time he's dragged his work boots down from the shelf at the top of the cellar stairs and pulled on the old raincoat that always hangs behind the cellar stairs door his dad is outside and has pulled back the tarpaulin that shelters his Honda 50 moped from the worst of the rain each night and he helps the old man wheel it out onto the street and holds it while his father straps on the off white "tin pot" helmet with the scuffed leather sides and pulls on the old goggles that he bought in an army surplus store, "Monty's desert goggles" his dad always calls them, he'll need them today in this rain.

More next time....



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