Tell Your Story….
  Sutty’s Ditchburn Story and More.    By Stewart “Sutty” Sutton
10. Posted 26-01-19
After   starting   work   at   Ditchburn’s,   I   realised   that   this   was   the normal   factory   shop-floor   banter   of   the   day   and   as   I   sat   and remembered   it   all,   I   found   that   it   was   this   cross   talk   and   banter that   I   seemed   to   remember   foremost   in   my   mind.   I   was   even chuckling   quietly   to   myself   as   I   wrote   down   these   memories,   so I've   decided   to   share   these   memories   in   that   same   manner.   I   can only hope you have a little chuckle as well. When    I    started    to    think    about    how    to    put    this    rather    bawdy language   down   on   paper   without   causing   offense   this   put   me   in   a bit   of   a   quandary,   I   wondered   how   it   would   look   to   a   reader,   I found   that   as   I'm   thinking   about   my   time   at   Ditchburn’s   and   what to   write   about,   much   of   the   strong   memories,   that   my   young 15/16/17    year    old    post    pubic    brain    remembers,    happens    to include   the   sexual   banter   between   the   sexes   and   the   amusing situations   they   led   to,   so   I   decided   to   see   if   I   could   write   it   like   it was,    omitting    the    expletives    of    course,    leaving    them    to    your imagination! Having   just   moved   to   Lancashire   just   before   I   started   work,   that   in general   I   found   the   Lancastrian   working   folk,   extremely   friendly, funny   and   forthright.   They   were   straight   as   a   die,   calling   a   spade a   spade,   take   it,   or   leave   it!   Then,   when   you   added   to   this,   a   fair old   sprinkling   of   "good   old   Anglo   Saxon",   it   made   the   already amusing situations, even funnier!  
This   story   was   sent   to   us   by   Stewart   Sutton,   after   he   had   read   the   article   by   Arthur   Phillips   in   this   section   of   the website,   this   prompted   “Sutty”   (as   he   was   affectionately   known)   to   write   his   own   story      of   his   time   at   the   Ditchburn factory   in   Lytham,   its   a   great   and   humorous   tale   of   working   at   the   Lytham   factory,   and   the   wonderful   characters   he worked   with,   and   many   times   whilst   reading   this   it   had   me   laughing   out   loud,   working   at   Ditchburn   also   helped   Sutty steer   his   career   into   show   business   which   allowed   him   to   travel   on   Cruise   ships      and   entertain   people   all   over   the   the world. Enjoy this wonderful insight into the Ditchburn Factory at Lytham and Sutty’s venture into show business.
MY TIME SPENT AT DITCHBURN VENDING MACHINES, DOCK ROAD, LYTHAM My   name   is   Stewart   “Sutty”   Sutton,   I   was   mentioned   in   an   article   on   this   website   written   by   Arthur   Phillips,   about   his time   working   in   Ditchburn’s   Vending   Machines   Dock   Rd,   Lytham,   Lancashire,   from   1963   until   he   left   ten   years   later   in 1973.   These   are   my   memories   of   working   at   Ditchburn’s,   from   when   I   left   school   in   1959   until   1963,   when,   for   about three   years   I   worked   as   an   electrician   wiring   houses   on   building   sites.   I   then   went   back   to   Ditchburn’s   again   in   1967 for a short time, before finally leaving in 1968. This   account   of   my   time   at   Ditchburn’s   are   memories   told   through   the   eyes   of   a   15   to   19   year   old,   and   should   be taken   as   such.   When   I   first   arrived   in   Ditchburn’s,   I   was   a   quiet   15   year   old,      just   out   of   school,   quite   small   in   stature, due   to   suffering   from   bronchial   asthma   for   most   of   my   life,   most   certainly   I   was   immature   and   unworldly,   to   say   the least,   By   that   I   mean,   that   I   was   quite   shocked   by   the   attitudes   of   the   adult   male   and   female   factory   workers   towards each other when speaking and joking about things, especially sexual matters. There   was   also   the   prolific   use,   of   old   “Anglo   Saxon"   words,   used   by   the   men   amongst   themselves   as   an   adjective   for ALL   scenarios,   including   tools,   people   and   places   they've   been   etc.   In   fact,   practically   in   every   sentence   that   came out of their mouths, tee-hee !
Photo Ref: DB360 Courtesy of Stewart Sutton, Me in the electrical Department in 1963, just before I left to go house bashing!
Because   of   this,   I've   decided   include   a   few   milder   swear   words   where   necessary,   to   try   to   give   the   reader   a   true picture   of   what   factory   life   was   like   in   post   war   late   1950s   early   60s   Britain.   I   hope   you   find   them   as   amusing   as   I   did, as   I   slowly   extracted   them   from   my   75-year-old   brain.   I   found   that   with   each   new   memory,   a   new   face   appeared   and with it of course, another very amusing new memory. When   I   started   in   1959,   it   was   only   14   years   since   these   working   men   and   women   came   back   from   the   greatest   war   in mankind’s   history   so   please   also   bear   in   mind,   that   the   post   WW2   world   in   1959/60/61   and   62   was   vastly   different   to today.   It   was   a   man’s   world   and   they   were   still   using   the   same   language   they’d   used   as   they   fought   on   front   lines   of WW2! They   were   what   I   call,   when   I   look   back,   pre-everything   days,   Pre-contraceptive   pill,   pre-Beatles,   pre-miniskirt,   in   fact, lacking in all of the things that made the "Swinging Sixties" swing! In fact, all the things that we take for granted today! I   hope   you   enjoy   my   memories   of   my   early   Ditchburn   years,   as   much   as   I   did,   slowly   extracting   from   my   dim   distant past.
So off we jolly well go… I   was   what   they   called   a   "forces   child"   because   my   father   was   in   the   R.A.F.   He   joined,   circa   1939   and   left   in   1961,   22 years   later.   This   meant   that   my   schooling   was,   to   say   the   least,   fractured,   meaning   that   every   two   years   he   was posted   to   a   different   R.A.F.   base,   so   literally,   every   two   years   I   attended   a   different   school.   His   final   posting   was   to R.A.F.   Warton,   a   small   village   just   outside   of   Lytham   in   Lancashire.   The   estate   was   called   Harbour   Lane   and   right across   the   road   was   a   B.A.C   airfield   and   testing   area   for   the   Lightning   P1B,   a   cutting   edge   supersonic   fighter   aircraft of   the   time   that   could   fly   at   twice   the   speed   of   sound,   +/-   1600mph,   which   was   Mach   2,   using   a   new   super   charged method   of   thrust   called   "afterburn",   which   consisted   of   pumping   jet   fuel   directly   into   the   red-hot   emissions   from   the   jet engines   after   take-off,   giving   huge   extra   thrust,   acting   more   like   a   rocket   than   a   jet   engine!   My   father   was   a   servicing engineer working on these for the R.A.F. in the large B.A.C. factory in Preston Lancs. I   did   my   last   15   or   so   months   of   schooling   a   Kirkham   Carr-Hill,   which   was   a   brand   new   secondary   modern   school   on the outskirts of Kirkham, situated on the Frecleton road. Because   of   my   fractured   schooling,   and   also   the   fact   that   I   was   a   very   sickly   child   suffering   from   bronchial   asthma   for most   of   my   school   days,   I   also   missed   a   great   deal   of   lessons,   therefore   had   no   qualifications   when   I   left   school,   after the summer holidays in 1959. (that’s my excuse and I'm sticking to it) Therefore, factory work seemed the only option. In   that   year,   I   think   there   was   also   a   recession   on   at   the   time   in   the   U.K.   and   none   of   the   factories   were   hiring,   so   after the   seven   weeks   summer   holidays,   my   father   actually   got   the   Carr-Hill   school   to   let   me   return   and   continue   for   the last   term.   When   I   left   again,   a   term   later,   I   found   myself   in   Dock   Rd   Lytham,   with   my   mum   and   dad,   going   from   factory to   factory,   which   were   mostly   like   small   family   run   businesses.   We   simply   asked   each   one   if   they   were   taking   on   any apprentices, or trainees.
MY FIRST INTERVIEWS I   remember   the   first   factory   that   offered   me   a   job   was   a   welding   firm,   but   as   we   were   going   around,   we   noticed   a   sort of   blue   haze   in   the   air   and   a   strong   smell   of   oil   and   diesel,      my   chest   started   to   react   to   the   fumes,   and   I   tried   to   clear my   throat,   I   eventually   started   to   cough,   Instantly,   my   mother   said,   "Come   along   Joseph,   he   can't   work   here,   he'll   be   ill in no time"! Further   down,   there   was   an   ice   cream   factory,   which   I   think   was   called   Eldorado   Ice   Cream,   but   I   can't   be   sure?   This was lovely and clean, but they'd just hired a young guy a week or two earlier so nothing there for me. There   was   also   a   fairly   large   factory   called   “Mullard”,   they   made   electronic   valves,   which   were   used   in   every   form   of radios,   televisions,   amplifiers   and   every   other   type   of   electronic   appliance   (including   the   Ditchburn   Jukeboxes)   No luck there, because although it was nice and clean, nearly all of their staff were young female school leavers. I   might   add,   that   a   few   years   later,   the   transistor   replaced   the   valve   and   in   a   very   short   time   their   business   started   to decline when cheap imports of Japanese imported solid state electronic goods, flooded into Britain. Eventually,   at   the   bottom   of   the   road   we   saw   a   larger   factory   with   "Ditchburn   Music   Maker"   on   a   big   sign.   As   we entered   the   nice   clean   reception   area,   I   noticed   pictures   on   the   walls   of   "Wurlitzer   Juke   Boxes"   which   were   from   the U.S.A.   and   were   the   latest   craze   in   the   cafes   and   coffee   bars,   playing   all   the   latest   pop   records.   My   mum   and   dad thought how clean it was and our hopes were very high. The   pretty   young   receptionist,   said   in   conversation,   that   she   thought   there   may   something   available   for   me,   and   told us   about   how   well   the   Juke   Boxes   were   selling   and   how   great   it   was   that   staff   got   very   cheap   pop   records. After   the service   engineers   periodically   updated   the   machines,   they   brought   back   the   older   hits,   which   were   then,   of   course, worthless   to   anyone,   so   staff   could   buy   them   at   a   huge   discount.   I   started   getting   quite   excited   by   this   prospect   of cheap   records,   however,   when   she   enquired   about   the   job,   she   was   told   the   Music   Maker   side   didn't   need   any   one   at this time, but, Ditchburn Vending Machines did.
She   informed   us   that   Ditchburn’s   had   just   obtained   a   licence   from an    American    company,    to    manufacture    and    distribute    these cutting   edge   hot   and   cold   drink   machines   in   the   UK   and   that someone   was   coming   to   see   us.   in   a   few   minutes,   A   man   in   a white   boiler   suit   came   in   and   introduced   himself   as   Harry   Barber, the    foreman    in    charge    of    the    small    team    making    automatic vending   machines,   selling   coffee,   tea   and   chocolate   in   offices, factories   etc.      During   his   sales   pitch,   he   said   that   the   old   char,   or tea   ladies’   jobs,   would   soon   be   obsolete   due   to   these   machines. The    automatic    tea    coffee    and    chocolate    machines    called    a "Hotspa"   and   the   cold   drink   machine   called   the   "Coldspa",   selling cola,   lemonade,   and   orangeade,   would   both   soon   replace   the   tea ladies in most factories and offices in no time at all. Harry   Barber   told   us,   that   a   young   lad   called   Barry,   who   had   only been   there   for   a   short   time,   decided   to   join   the   R.A.F.   and   his   call up   had   come   through   quicker   than   expected,   so   the   job   was   mine if   I   wanted   it.   My   dad   asked   what   I   would   be   trained   as,   and   was told   that   I   would   have   extensive   electrical   experience   in   circuitry and   wiring   diagrams   and   would   also   be   qualified   in   refrigeration engineering. We shook hands and I started soon afterwards.
MY FIRST EXPERIENCE OF FACTORY LIFE I   was   employed   initially   on   the   production   line,   which   assembled   the   coffee   tea   and   hot   chocolate   vending   machines. The   single   man   on   the   production   line   that   I   worked   with   assembling   all   the   components   into   the   cabinets,   was   called Neville.   I   can't   remember   his   other   name.   I   think   we   turned   out   3   or   4   machines   a   day,   which   when   completed,   were rolled   around   to   the   inspection   bay,   where   a   little   tubby   electrician   called   Eddie   Clegg,   (Cleggy),   as   we   called   him, made   sure   they   worked   correctly,   and   did   the   final   tune   up   making   them   ready   for   sales   and   final   delivery   to customers. My   one   memory   of   Cleggy,   was   one   that   taught   me   a   very   serious   lesson   about   working   with   moving   machinery   in   a factory, and what appropriate clothes to wear during work hours. Eddie   had   come   over   to   the   production   line   and   told   us   that   we   hadn't   drilled   a   certain   hole   in   a   bracket.   He   told   us not   to   worry,   he'd   do   it   and   proceeded   to   put   the   bit   into   the   drill   and   started   drilling.   All   of   a   sudden,   the   electric   drill snatched as it bit into the metal, and flew from his hands! Still   going   full   speed,   the   momentum   made   the   drill   start   to   spin   on   the   deck   top!   In   the   blink   of   an   eye   the   quite   large bit   in   the   drill,   grabbed   Eddies   tie,   which   was   red   in   colour. As   the   tie   wound   around   the   drill   bit,   it   was   pulled   upwards, towards   Eddie's   stomach   and   chest   and   still   spinning   very   fast,   heading   upwards   towards   Eddies   throat,   Bits   of   red were   flying   everywhere,   which   we   all   thought   was   Eddie's   flesh,   Eddie   just   grabbed   the   drill   in   time   and   yanked   it away   from   himself,   When   we   found   out   it   was   only   his   tie,   we   all   gave   out   a   few   nervous   chuckles,   as   did   Eddie himself,   He   looked   down   at   the   shredded   tie,   looked   up,   and   said   the   a   rue   smile,   "Anyone   got   a   pair   of   scissors,   I never did like this bloody tie anyhow".    That   sort   of   broke   the   ice   and   we   all   had   a   bit   of   a   nervous   laugh   about   something   that   could've   been   far   more serious,   Cleggy   held   the   tattered   ends   and   with   a   swift   snip,   cut   off   it   off,   leaving   a   2-inch   stub.   He   then   turned   to   us and   said,   in   a   very   nonchalant   manner,   "Oh   well,   back   to   bloody   work   lads   and   lasses,   and   cheerfully   went   back   to   his inspection work!   That   early   lesson   taught   me   never   to   wear   dangly   bits   that   could   get   caught   in   moving   parts   of   any   type   of   machinery or work equipment, Health and safety didn't mean much in those days!
At   that   time,   the   team   was   a   small   one.   There   were   three   women cutting    the    wires,    soldering    them    and    making    up    and    the    wiring harnesses,   with   all   the   appropriate   switches   and   plugs   etc.   for   the machines. One   of   the   ladies   was   called   Maud   Sharp,   she   was   the   loud,   funny   little one   of   the   group,   short   and   stout,   with   a   great   sense   of   humour,   using every    opportunity    to    make    double    meanings    of    everything    you happened   to   say.   The   other   two   were   called   Cathy   and   Dorothy.   I   can't recall any of their surnames. Dorothy,    (or    Dotty    as    we    called    her),    always    got    embarrassed    by everything   Maud   seemed   to   say,   and   was   always   saying   ,"Oh   Maud, you   are   a   one,   saying   such   things!"   This,   of   course   made   us   all   laugh. along   with   them,   In   the   end,   whenever   Maud   said   anything,   we   were   all saying   "Oh   Maud,   you   are   a   one,   saying   such   things".   Of   course,   this made   Dotty   even   more   embarrassed,   much   to   everyone’s   enjoyment, We    all    thought    Dotty    reminded    us    of    "Mavis"    the    character    from Coronation Street, which should give you an idea of what she was like.
Maud   Sharp,   sort   of   took   me   under   her   wing,   and   mothered   me,   as   I   was   small   and   under-developed   for   my   age,   due to   my   bronchial   asthma.   She   too,   was   very   small   in   height,   and   as   I   found   out   later,   she   had   no   children,   so   I   think   I became   her   substitute   child   in   those   early   months   at   Ditchburn.   To   emphasise   just   how   small   we   were,   she   and   her husband   invited   me   to   go   on   a   day   trip   with   them   to   Chester   Zoo   by   car.   When   they   turned   up   to   pick   me   up,   they were in a B.M.W. Sounds good when I write it, but not when I tell you that it was a “B.M.W. ISETTA BUBBLE CAR”!    My   first   thought   was,   how   the   hell   will   we   all   fit   in   there.   However,   Maud’s   husband   was   also   a   very   small   man,   who was   about   the   same   size   as   me,   and   to   my   great   surprise,   the   3   of   us   fitted   quite   comfortably   into   the   single   front seat, needless to say, a great day was had by all. The   delivery   driver   at   Ditchburn   was   also   a   very   amusing   character,   his   name   was   Reg   Udall,   who   I   often   helped secure   the   completed   machines   with   ropes   into   the   back   of   the   pickup   trucks   used   for   delivery.   Once   again,   he   was always   cracking   jokes,   an   telling   me   about   some   his   experiences   he   encountered   as   he   travelled   the   country   as   a long-distance   delivery   driver.   He   was   certainly   another   fun   person   to   be   at   work   with,   making   the   life   of   a   long- distance   lorry   driver,   sound   very   exciting   indeed.   From   my   memories,   the   majority   of   my   workmates   were   a   happy crowd and fun to be around.
Another   funny,   witty   guy,   was   the   supervisor   called   Tommy,   again,   I   can't   recall   his   surname.   This   was   not   Tommy Greaves that Arthur Phillips talked of in his story, Tommy Greaves,  took over from my Tommy some time later. My   Tommy   in   the   early   days,   seemed   to   be   the   supervisor   over   everyone   on   production,   but   he   also   was   the   main engineer   who   serviced   the   large   red   milk   machines,   which   were   the   first   type   of   automatic   vending   machines   which   I remember   seeing   and   using   at   the   time.   There   were   always   a   couple   of   them   standing   around   in   those   early   days waiting to be fixed. They   were   round   with   a   +/-   3   feet   diameter.   Inside   there   was   a   wheel-like   mechanism   divided   into   segments.   where milk   bottles   were   stacked   3   or   4   deep   in   each   segment,   which   were   spring   loaded.   In   the   front   of   the   machine,   there was   one,   or   maybe   two   windows,   about   6   inches   wide   and   about   the   height   of   a   standard   milk   bottle,   so   you   could see   if   the   machine   was   either   full   or   empty   before   you   put   in   your   money   in. The   empty   glass   window   on   the   right   side had   a   knob   on   it,   and   was   movable.   When   you   put   your   money   in,   the   wheel-like   mechanism   inside   moved   the   milk bottle   behind   the   glass   window   on   the   left,   around   one   segment   to   where   the   movable   door   gave   you   access   the   milk bottle. Maybe someone else out there, has a better description of them? A   simple   technology   by   today’s   standards,   but   quite   cutting   edge   for   its   time.   They   were   probably   on   the   way   out, because   when   they   came   in   for   repair,   I   remember   Tommy,   actually   had   to   make   any   parts   that   had   broken,   or   worn out, on his lathe. Actually,   something   way   back   of   my   mind   is   telling   me   that   Tommy,   might   have   actually   made   them,   and   that   maybe, he   sold   out   to   Ditchburn.   Then   Ditchburn’s,   probably   realised   that   there   may   be   a   future   in   automatic   drink   vending machines   and   bought   the   US   licence   to   manufacture   the   Hotspa   and   Coldspa   machines.   in   the   UK.   I   can't   be   sure, and will probably never know, because most of that generation will have passed away by now. I   remember,   that   as   you   entered   the   main   large   factory   area,   in   the   main   building,   the   vending   machine   stores   and   the production   area   were   on   the   right-hand   side   of   the   main   factory   area.   Tommy   had   his   work   bench   alongside   our production   line   benches,   up   against   the   wall   of   the   store’s   office,   from   where   we   withdrew   components   when   they were   needed   for   constructing   the   vending   machines.   The   other   Tommy,   Tommy   Greaves,   in   Arthur   Phillips   blog   has his picture, working at, what could be, the same bench a few years later.
Photo Ref: DB374 Courtesy of Richard Wink
The   managerial   offices   were   on   the   left-hand   side   and   had   an   open   corridor   running   past   each   of   the   office   entrances for   access.   Running   down   the   right   hand   side   of   the   corridor   there   were   rows   of   empty   vending   machine   cabinets, standing   side   by   side   .   These   empty   cabinets   formed   a   sort   of   barrier   between   the   offices   and   the   production   area. they   stood   awaiting   the   insertion   and   assembly   of   all   the   components,   that   made   up   the   completed   working   vending machines. Eventually,   the   production   line   was   moved   into   a   two-storey   warehouse   across   the   yard   at   the   back   of   the   present factory   building.   As   you   exited   the   back   door   into   the   yard,   there   was   a   machine   shop   on   the   left,   filled   with   lathes, large   drills   and   metal   saws   which   would   also   make   any   parts,   if   needed,   for   any   of   the   Juke   Boxes,   or   indeed,   any   of the   machines   that   Ditchburn’s   manufactured.   The   man   that   ran   the   machine   shop   was   tall   young   man,   with   a   big round   face   and   glasses,   also   called   Tom.   There   was   a   ramp   just   past   the   machine   shop   leading   up   into   the warehouse   door.   Straight   through   the   door,   there   were   stairs   to   the   upper   level,   which   eventually   became   the   new electrical department, The lower level became the new production assembly area. Behind   the   warehouse   at   the   back   of   the   building,   it   overlooked   the   muddy   creek   leading   to   the   sea.   The   move   to   the warehouse across the yard happened about 18 months after I started work. As   I   was   the   newest   and   youngest   in   the   factory,   I   was   nominated   the   "tea   boy",   collecting   all   of   the   guys   cups   at   tea time,   which   was   a   daily   ritual   that   took   place   I   think,   at   around   10am   each   morning   and   3:30pm   each   afternoon.   I remember   thinking,   when   I   first   started   doing   the   tea,   what   an   awful   selection   of   really   grubby   looking   cups   there were. As   I   said,   Tommy   was   a   tradesman,   who   was   a   cut   above   most   of   the   other   unskilled   guys,   who   most   probably,   had all   worked   in   the   past,   on   building   sites,   where   they   were   in   much   more   harsh   conditions   than   this   nice   clean   new factory, so some of their cups were not exactly in pristine condition, to say the least! They   were   mostly   of   the   old   white   enamel   type,   very   old,   chipped   and   badly   stained   from   their   building   site   days.   I   had all   of   these   cups   on   a   tray   and   when   I   went   to   collect   Tommy's   cup,   he   winked   and   said,   in   his   broad,   forthright Lancashire   accent,   "Hells   bells   an   buckets   of   blood,   look   at   the   state   of   them   bloody   cups.   One   sip   of   tea   outa   one   of them would give ya galloping polio" ! I   remember   cracking   up   laughing   at   the   term,   "galloping   polio",   for   obvious   reasons,   and   I   laughed   even   more   when he   added,   "Jesus,   Christ,   look   at   them   stains,   you   wouldn't   even   have   to   put   tea   leaves   in   the   bloody   cups,   just   add boiling water and a dash of milk and it would brew a cup of bloody tea all by itself"! More   laughter   from   me,   although   you   shouldn’t   laugh   really,   because   polio   was   a   very   serious   disease   to   contract   in those days. Polio,   is   a   water   borne   disease   which   was   quite   a   common   during   my   early   childhood.   Mainly   caused,   due   to   bomb damage in WW2, which resulted in many badly damaged sewer pipes. The    shop    floor    made    jokes    just    about    everything,    nothing    was    off    the    table,    race,    religion,    blacks,    whites, homosexuals,   nothing   was   sacred.   What   was   said   then   in   normal   conversation   would've   made   todays   workforce easily   offended,   Liberal   snowflakes   would   turn   in   their   graves!   But   all   in   all,   even   with   such   openness,   everyone seemed   to   get   on   and   my   memories   of   my   early   work   experience   were   very   happy   ones,   and   I   suppose   that's   all   that matters.
EXPANSION OF THE WORKFORCE Production   soon   picked   up   and   new   faces   arrived   to   increase   the   output,   one   of   whom   was   a   young   20   odd   year   old refrigeration   engineer   from   Birmingham.   I   can't   be   sure,   but   I   think   his   name   was   John   something,   It   may   come   back me as I write! I   do   recall   him,   being   a   real   "Jack   the   Lad"   city   slicker,   with   swept   back   hair   and   with   loads   of   Brylcreem   on   it.   He always   had   a   lot   to   say   for   himself,   so   as   usual,   the   older   guys   gave   him   a   nickname. They   nicknamed   him,   "The   Bum from Brum"! Eventually,   he   married   one   of   the   office   girls   from   the   juke   box   side   of   Ditchburn,   Who   I   think   was   called   Christine? As he   was   the   second   youngest   on   the   shop   floor,   we   sort   of   became   buddies.   He   taught   me   about   fridges   and   how   to charge them up and service them in those early days on the factory floor. After   a   few   months   he   said   he   was   going   home   to   see   his   mum   and   dad,   and   asked   me   if   I   wanted   to   go   for   the weekend   and   see   Birmingham.   As   I'd   never   been   before   I   thought,   "Why   not"!   There   had   recently   been   some   news articles   in   the   papers   about   the   new   redevelopment   of   the   Birmingham   town   center,   called   "The   Bull   Ring"   and   of course,   the   new   "Spaghetti   Junction"   they'd   built   as   part   of   the   brand   new   M6   |motorway.   Mind   you,   there   was   only the   Birmingham   ring   road   part   of   the   M6   built   at   that   time,   going   from   where   the   M1   finished,   up   to   the   "Spaghetti Junction. The rest of the M1, up to the lake district was a long way off completion. Still, it made a nice break.
After   I'd   been   at   Ditchburn   for   about   six   months   or   so,   I   had   a   lesson   in   one   of   life's   many issues, one of which was honesty, and whether it really was “The best policy” For   some   reason   I   had   to   cycle   to   work   earlier   than   usual,   and   that   winters   day   was,   cold and   crisp,   as   they   say,   As   I   cycled   down   Dock   Rd,   I   approached   a   brown   object   in   the middle   of   the   road,   When   I   got   closer,   I   could   see   that   It   was   a   small   brown   leather   bag, about 20cms by 20cms, with a lock on it, and written on it was Nat West! I   knew   that   this   was   a   bank,   but   as   I   looked   around,   there   was   not   a   soul   in   sight,   or indeed   any   sounds   coming   from   any   of   the   factories   in   the   road.   So   I   picked   it   up   and   put   it in at saddle bag and continued to work. It   was   now   that   I   had,   what   I   called,   the   first   test   of   my   character   in   my   life.   There   was obviously   money   in   the   bag   and   it   wouldn't   have   taken   much   effort   to   open   it.   I   have   to   say that   it   did   cross   at   mind   to   just   say   nothing   and   take   it   home   after   work,   force   it   open   and enjoy    the    proceeds.    That    question    gnawed    at    my    mind    until    tea    break,    when,    in conversation,   I   told   everyone   that   in   the   paper   there   was   a   story   of   a   guy   who   had   found   a locked   cash   bag   with   the   bank's   name   on   it.   He   didn't   report   it,   and   he   seems   to   have   got away with it! I put the question to them, “What would you have done”? We'll, out of the ten listeners, only one said they'd take it back to the bank!
Reasons   given   ranged   from,   “Listen   lad,   if   you   lose   something,   someone   else   finds   it   and   they   gain   from   it”.   “Other people   lose   something   and   you   find   it,   you   gain”.   It's   called   swings   and   round-a-bouts.   That   made   the   problem   even worse.   I   suppose   that   as   I'd   never   really   wanted   for   anything   in   my   life,   due   to   the   fact,   that   in   the   force’s   men   were housed,   paid   reasonably   well   and   able   to   lead   a   normal   life,   therefore   my   values,   on   things   such   as   this,   had   never been   tested   before,   So…   after   much   thought   and   procrastination,   I   proceeded   to   the   Nat   West   Bank   in   Lytham, where   a   very   surprised   bank   teller   took   the   bag   and   told   me   to   wait   there   until   she   came   back,   When   she   returned she   told   me   that   it   had   been   reported   missing   by   the   factory   owner,   who'd   lost   it   when   the   doors   of   his   van   had   come open   as   he   turned   into   his   factory   in   Dock   road,   (it   was The   one   with   the   polluted   atmosphere   where   I   went   for   a   job), but   they’d   given   up   any   hope   of   getting   it   back. They   are   very,   very   grateful,   because   it   was   the   weeks   wages   of   over £110.00 pounds that they thought they’d lost and want you to call in after work tonight and see them. I   “floated   on   air”,   back   to   work,   in   anticipation   of   what   I   might   get   from   the   factory   owner   and   I   then   informed   at workmates   of   what   had   happened.   “Oh,   so   now   we   know   why   you   asked   that   stupid   bloody   question   at   tea   break”, came   their   replies.   A   few   of   them,   that   had   said   they   would   keep   it,   said   that   this   would   be   a   good   test   of   who   was right and who was wrong won't it, as for finding £110.00 you should get at least a fiver, or even a tenner! Nowadays, you might think, how could that be a total weeks wages for a small factory come to £110.00 ? Well,   in   those   days   an   unskilled   worker   might   get   around   +/-£10.00   per   week   and   a   skilled   man   +/-   £13.00,   so   with   a workforce   of   a   small   engineering   firm   of   nine   people   with   a   few   skilled   guys   and   a   few   unskilled   guys   and   the   boss,   it works out about right. I   went   to   the   factory   after   work   and   saw   the   boss   who   shook   at   hand   and   went   through   his   speech   about   being honest   and   that   it   was   refreshing   to   meet   someone,      “who   did   the   right   thing”,   by   handing   in   thee   wages   bag.   He   then finished off with a final thanks and handshake, pressing a half a crown coin into at palm as he did so…. My   silent   thoughts   screamed,   “HALF   A   BLOODY   CROWN”!      Well,   even   I   could   do   the   maths   on   this,   eight   half crowns to the pound X 110 = 880. This equals a reward of  0.88%! When at workmates heard the news, a chorus of profanities filled the air! The   most   popular   one   seemed   to   be,   when   translated   into   usable   English   was,   that   the   boss   was   an   “Effin,   tight, fatherless man”! Tee-hee! Oh,   by   the   way,   my   wages   at   the   time   at   Ditchburn   were   £2.50   per   week   so   you   can   see   why   I   felt   a   bit   hard   done   by, I   must   admit   that   I   had   to   agree   with   the   guys   and   I   vowed   that   if   ever   I   found   anything   similar,   ever   again,   that   I would keep quiet about it, unfortunately, that situation has never happened to me again!
THE INFAMOUS OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY There   may   have   been   a   “class”   barrier   between   management   and   workers   throughout   the   year,   but   by   God,   did   that barrier come crashing down at the Christmas office party! At   the   parties   I   went   to,   they   usually   started   by   us   all   lining   up,   to   meet   and   shake   hands   with   Mr   Ditchburn   and   all   his management   staff.   I've   included   a   photograph.   This   would   then   be   followed   up   by   a   speech   by   Mr   Ditchburn,   giving us his round up of how well Ditchburn’s had done and his aims for the future. Then   the   bar   opened   and   the   drinking   began,   They   always   started   of   slowly,   in   a   sort   of   sedate   manner,   but   given   an hour, the power of alcohol took over it was every man for himself, especially under the mistletoe Tee-hee. I'll tell you now, there were always a few rather embarrassed faces on the first workday after the night before! I   remember   Cathy   came   over   as   we   were   standing   in   a   group   and   proclaimed,   “Got   him”.   It   seemed,   the   shop   floor girls   had   a   little   bet   on,   as   to   how   many   of   the   managers   they   could   kiss!      “That's   Mr   Walker   off   my   list”.   She   proudly said   with   a   huge   grin   on   her   face.   We   looked   over   by   the   bar   at   Mr   Walker,   and   sure   enough,   there   he   was,   pouring himself another large scotch, also with a huge grin on his face. Cathy   always   wore   bright,   cherry   red   lipstick   and   the   proof   that   Cathy   had   nailed   him   was   there   for   all   to   see, because   his   lips   and   cheek   had   huge,   bright   ,cherry   red   lipstick   smears   on   them.   He   didn't   seem   to   care,   as   he downed   half   of   the   large   scotch   that   he   had   just   poured,   He   was   certainly   living   up   to   his   nickname   of   “Johnny Walker. Soon   everyone   was   dancing   and   had   party   hats   on   and   those   things   that   you   blow   into   and   they   shoot   out   about   a foot   and   spring   back   again,   making   that   wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee   noise   like   a   siren!         One   time,   I   went   over   the   yard   to the   warehouse   get   something   from   my   workbench   and   as   I   went   up   the   ramp   I   heard   some   giggles   coming   from   the office   in   the   electrical   department.   I   quietly   sneaked   into   my   test   area   and   got   what   I   wanted   and   got   out   again   before I   embarrassed   anyone!   Just   before   I   went   down   the   stairs   to   the   ramp   outside,   I   blew   as   hard   as   I   could   on   my blower   from   the   party   making   the   loudest   wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee   siren   noise   I   could   muster,   then   made   a   dash   for   it, leaving behind me lots of shuffling about, squeals and giggles! Tee-hee! As   always,   by   the   day   after,   they   all   had   returned   back   to   their   prim   and   proper   facades   they   displayed   during   normal office hours, that is, until the Christmas party came around again next year. I   also   remember   that   we   had   “Cabaret   Nights”,   where   we   had   “The   King   Brothers”,   one   of   the   British   star   recording groups   of   the   time,   who   had   a   number   of   hit   parade   songs,   one   of   which   was,   “Standing   on   the   Corner   Watching   all the Girls go By” There   was   another   time   a   really   popular   Saturday   morning   radio   show   called,   “Workers   Playtime”,   broadcast   live from   our   shop   floor,   starring   a   very   young   Des   O’Conner,   The   Vernon   Girls   and   a   couple   of   other   lesser   known   acts that I can't remember. This was very unusual, for a local factory to do such things and I think I might know why? On   the   Ditchburn   web   site,   I   read,   there   was   a   man   named   Jack   Hylton,   who   was   something   big   on   the   music   side   of Ditchburn’s.   I   learned   that   this   man   was   the   same   Jack   Hylton   who   became   a   big-time   impresario   in   the   1960s,   70s, and   80s   who   probably   had   a   lot   to   do   with   bringing   the   bands   and   shows   we   had   earlier   on,   and   was   probably   very involved in Ditchburn’s going into recording and record production after I left the company! (Editors   Note:   we   have   now   found   out   that   Jack   Hylton   didn’t   have   any   connection   with   Ditchburn   after   they   bought the   rights   to   manufacture   the   jukeboxes   from   Hawtin’s,   in   fact   Hawtin’s   had   removed   the   Jack   Hylton   name   from   the Jukeboxes   by   the   end   of   1947   and   we   understand   from   Arthur   Philips   that   Jack   Hylton   actually   took   Ditchburn   to court   around   1955   (needs   verification)   for   using   the   Music   Maker   name   which   Hylton   had   registered   and   was   still   the owner   of,   the   most   likely   reason   of   the   involvement   of   the   big   stars   was   through   the   record   companies   that   they   were signed   to   and,   these   record   labels   would   have   wanted   Ditchburn   to   put   their   performers   records   on   the   Jukeboxes that Ditchburn operated across the UK )  
Because   of   reading   the   Ditchburn   website,   another   small   piece   of   my   Ditchburn   puzzle   fell   into   place.   It   must've   been early   1963,   just   before   I   left   for   the   first   time.   Ditchburn’s   had   some   sort   of   get   together   and   two   of   the   Ditchburn’s staff sang a song each! I   don't   recall   the   name   of   the   other   guy,   but   he   was   trained   tenor,   who   worked   in   the   office,   but   who   also   did   amateur dramatics and musicals. He sang songs from the shows. The   other   performer   was   little   old   “ME”.   I   sang   a   great   Clarence   Frogman   Henry   jazz-   rock   song,   called,   “I   Don't Know Why I Love You But I Do” When   I'd   finished,   one   of   the   sales   representatives,   who   I   only   knew   as   Jim,   came   up   to   me   and   asked   about   my singing and if I wanted to make an effort to sing in the clubs etc. I, said of course, yes, I was. He   then   asked   if   I   would   like   to   go   to   Manchester   on   the   coming   Saturday   to   watch   a   group   called   “Le   Nocturne” recording a song in a studio. I said, “You Bet”, and off we went that weekend, and did we go. Phew!   It   was   a   good   thing   I   wore   my   kaki   underwear,   because   he   had   one   of   those   huge   Ford   Zephyr   6   cars   with   the huge square bonnet and I must admit, I'd never travelled so fast in all at life! On   the   way,   Jim   told   me,   that   he   thought   that   they   might   go   big   time   very   soon,   because   of   the   lead   singer   called   Eve Eden.,   plus   the   super   harmonies   etc.   Well   they   did,   but   not   quite   as   he   imagined.   They   never   quite   made   it   in   that form,   but   within   18   months   or   so,   they   reformed,   Eve   Eden   became   Eve   Graham   and   the   “New   Seekers”   were formed.   They   had   great   harmonies   and   their   sound   was   fantastic   and   they   had   “overnight   stardom”   and   a   worldwide hit with, “I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing”. Well, that certainly is the wonderful world of “Show Business”! As   Ditchburn   expanded   even   more,   new   faces   appeared.   an   electrician   called   Jack   Matheson   who   they   nicknamed (Tweeny)   because   he   was   smaller   than   all   the   other   men.   He   didn't   seem   to   mind   the   men   calling   him   it,   but   when   I tried   it   on,   he   said,   very   light   heatedly,   "Now   listen   lad,   they   can   get   away   with   it,   but   let's   have   a   little   bit   of   respect from   you   youngsters.   I   agreed,   and   gave   him   an   apology   and   we   carried   on   playing   our   game   of   chess,   which   he   was teaching me at the time. Jack   also   passed   on   quite   a   lot   of   electrical   knowledge   to   me   which   helped   me   a   great   deal,   not   only   in   Ditchburn, but   all   the   way   through   my   lifetime. Another   new   guy   was   I   think   called   either   Eric,   or,   Keith?   I'll   settle   on   Eric.   I   can't remember   his   sir   name,   but   he   was   always   sucking   on   his   pipe   as   he   worked.   He   joined   Jack,   myself   and   the   women in the electrical department, doing the harnesses and selector switches etc. for the Hotspa and Coldspa machines. Another   new   face   was   a   very   handsome   young   Italian,   called   Italo   Maruchi,   who   was   brought   in   as   electrical foreman,   He   was   very   tall   for   an   Italian   and   looked   very   much   like   the   young   Clint   Eastwood   when   he   played   Rowdy Yates from the popular "Rawhide" TV series, but spoke a very charming broken Italian / English. As   you   can   imagine,   the   older   ladies   used   to   cast   a   wistful   eye   at   him   as   he   passed   by.   They   certainly   weren't allowed   to   forget   it   either.   Both   Jack   and   Keith   noticed   this   and   used   to   kid   them   on.   Jack   would   say,   that   it   was   so funny   to   see   how   all   you   girls   seem   to   need   so   much   more   help   doing   your   work   these   days,   since   the   dashing   Italian became   the   foreman,   Keith   would   add,   that   we've   seen   how   you   get   a   little   bit   flushed   when   he   stands   close   and leans over you to show you which hole it was that you had to put your little wire into! Of   course,   quick   as   a   flash   Maud   Sharp   come   back   with,   "You’re   only   jealous,   because   we   never   ask   you   which   hole it was that you had to put your little wire into"! Lots of laughter, then Dotty saying "Oh Maud you are awful"! Then of course we all followed up with each of us saying, "Oh Maud you are awful"! Lots more laughter, then Italo saying, “No, no, no, No laugh, work only, we need harness, urgent”. Maud Sharp certainly lived up to her name, which kept us all smiling for many years! Another   of   the   many   amusing   incidents   with   Maud,   was   a   day   when   everyone   was   working   quietly,   soldering   away, when   all   of   a   sudden,   Maud’s   little   voice   said,   "Ooooh,   I   think   I   need   a   new   end",   After   the   obvious   comments   from Jack   and   Eric,   plus   the   laughter.   I   leaned   over   and   asked   her   to   show   me.   She   showed   me   that   the   small   copper   bit on   the   end   of   her   soldering   iron   had   become   all   pitted   and   uneven.   I   told   her   that   this   was   quite   normal   and   it   was because   of   the   reaction   between   the   solder,   the   flux   inside   the   solder   that   eats   away   the   copper   bit.      All   that   was needed was filing flat again. As   she   had   no   file,   I   offered   to   do   it,   but   with   a   coy   little   smile,   she   said,   “No   bother,   I   think   I'll   call   Italo",   giving   Jack, Eric and I, a little wink. Jack said, “Oooooh yeah, so now we're not good enough for you eh, Maud” ? “Just you wait, to when Italo's not here, then you'll be in trouble, right boys", nodding at  Eric and I. Maud   told   us   to   shush   and   be   quiet.   Then   in   a   coooooie   seductive   little   voice   she   said,   "Oh   Itaaaalo,   Itaaalo,   I've   got a little problem, and I think only you can sort it out for me"? With   a   little   chuckle,   Jack   muttered   quietly,   “I   don't   think   he's   allowed   to   do   things   like   that   Maud,   it's   not   in   his contract,   and   he'd   probably   get   the   sack   if   he   did",   Followed   by   Eric   saying,   "I   don't   think   she'd   mind   if   he   got   the sack.   She'd   probably   get   into   the   sack   with   him",   More   titters   from   everyone   ,   followed   by   Dot   saying,   Oh   Maud, aren't   those   men   awful",   Followed   by   a   few   more   titters,   followed   by   Italo   coming   over   and   saying,   "No   no   no   no laughing, only working, working!  Italo said, “Now Maud, what is ze problem"? Maud   showed   Italo   the   problem   and   he   assured   her   it   was   quite   normal,   and   all   she   needed   was   a   file   to   make   it smooth again and that he'd go and get all the ladies a file each, from the storeroom. Italo   arrived   back   with   some   little   boxes,   which   he   gave   to   the   ladies.   Maud,   as   usual,   was   the   first   to   open   hers, saying "Ooooooh my, what's this then? Inside was the file in a paper sheath and on it was printed SMALL BASTARD! Maud   said,   "I've   got   a   small   bastard,   have   you   ladies   got   small   bastards,   I   suppose   you   men   have   all   got   big bastards"?   Jack   said,"Oh   Maud,   stop   your   chirruping,   for   god’s   sake. A   bastard   is   just   a   type   of   file.   It's   the   pattern   of the   cutting   edges   on   the   file.   You're   only   filing   the   small   end   of   your   soldering   iron,   so   you   don't   need   a   big   bastard, get it filed and get on with your work"!    Of   course,   Maud   always   had   the   last   word   in   most   things,   and   as   she's   filing,   she's   saying   herself   in   a   quiet   voice, but   just   loud   enough   so   that   we   could   all   hear,   "I   think   I'd   like   a   big   bastard,   don't   you   think   girls,   why   should   only   the men have big bastards"?    Followed of course by, "Oh Maud, you are awful", and so on and so on! Now   you   may   think,   that   we   weren't   working,   but   production   started   to   increase   dramatically   around   this   time   and more   new   faces   appeared.   Two   were   handicapped.   I   think   that   the   government   had   asked   firms   to   employ   as   many handicapped   people   as   possible,   so   we   got   one   guy   who   was   slightly   mentally   impaired,   called   Les,   and   one paraplegic   guy   who   was   paralysed   from   the   waist   down   and   used   two   shoulder   crutches.      I   can't   recall   the   name   of the paraplegic guy, probably because he was only there for a short time. He   was   taught   how   to   solder   and   put   on   the   electrical   wiring   section   making   the   harnesses   etc.   However,   because the   benches   were   quite   tall   you   had   to   sit   on   slightly   higher   seats   and   we   had   to   give   him   a   hand   to   get   up   onto   the seat.   Now,   you   don't   realise   how   many   times   a   person   has   to   get   on   and   off   a   seat   during   the   normal   working   day. Toilets,   tea   breaks   etc.   Then   a   few   days   after   he   came,   he   was   stretching   over   to   get   some   components   and   he   fell off his seat! A   few   of   us   guys   rushed   over   to   help   him   back   up   on   to   his   chair,   which   we   found   quite   difficult   to   do   from   the   floor level.   Of   course,   we   had   no   training   in   how   to   lift   someone   with   no   power   in   their   legs.   Anyway,   when   it   happened again   a   week   or   two   later   and   he   hurt   himself   in   the   process,   the   management   sadly   decided   it   wasn't   practical   for him to continue working there. The   other   young   man   called   Les,   who   was   slightly   mentally   impaired, You   could   have   a   simple   conversation   with   him, but   you   couldn't   discuss   anything   with   him.   He   would   sometimes   go   off   into   his   own   little   world,   sometimes   talking   a language   that   only   he   understood.   Luckily,   he   was   only   employed   to   sweep   up,   so   once   he   got   the   idea,   he   certainly did   it   with   much   enthusiasm   and   gusto,   which   led   to   an   amusing   little   interlude   with   Tommy,   the   supervisor,   The   large factory   floor   was   made   of   cement,   so   there   was   always   layer   of   dust   on   the   surface,   Les   was   given   a   bucket   of   damp sawdust,   which   he   had   to   scatter   it   over   an   area   of   the   floor   before   he   swept   it.   The   theory   being,   that   the   dust   would cling to the damp sawdust and not rise up into the air and get up our noses etc.  Tommy   came   around   the   corner   just   as   Les   started   sweeping   vigorously   on   a   piece   of   floor   that   he'd   spread   the sawdust   on,   with   the   dust   rising   in   circles   in   front   of   him.   He   was   going   so   fast   that   he   simply   walked   through   the rising   dust   rings,   which   the   proceeded   to   go   over   his   head   and   land   on   the   floor   again   behind   him,   “Bloody   Nora, Look   at   that.   We're   all   gonna   end   up   with   sinusitis,   Hey   Les!   Les   lad,   can   you   just   hold   up   a   minute   and   slow   down with   your   sweeping”   ?      A   serious   look   came   over   Les's   face.   "Slow   down,   oh   I   can't   do   that.   I've   been   told   to   do   a good job If I don't sweep it well, they said I might lose my job, and I don't want that” Tommy   said,   "Listen   Les,   you   won't   lose   your   bloody   job,   you   can   be   sure   of   that,   because   I'm   the   supervisor   here, so   I'm   not   going   to   sack   you.   I   just   want   you   to   slow   down   a   bit   and   sweep   slower.   There   was   still   a   look   on   Les's face, that he hadn't quite grasped the theory of it all, so Tommy tried a new tack. Look   Les,   he   said,   have   you   noticed,   that   when   you   sweep,   the   dust   seems   to   rise   up   in   little   circles   in   front   of   your brush.   As   he   said   this,   Tommy   made   backward   circles   in   the   air   with   his   two   index   fingers,   rising   from   the   floor,   up and up  and up, until the circles went past his face and over his head. Les nodded a yes. Tommy then gave a double thunbs up and said, "So you've got it then lad"? Les looked him in the eyes, gave a single thumbs up and in a deep serious voice said "Fifteen"! "Fifteen,"?  said Tommy. "What the bloody hell are you talking about lad", again, Les said, in an even deeper, stronger voice, "FIFTEEN GOOSEN"!  Tommy’s voice went up an octave, "FIFTEEN GOOSEN, What the hell is FIFTEEN BLOODY GOOSEN"?. Tommy   looked   round   at   us   and   we   all   shrugged   our   shoulders.   Then   one   guy   gave   Tommy   a   thumbs   up   and   said, "FIFTEEN", Then the rest of us gave the thumbs up and said "FIFTEEN GOOSEN"! Tommy turned away with a smirk on his face, saying, "Don't you lot bloody start, Get on with your work"! As he's walking back to his bench, he's muttering, "Fifteen bloody goosen, this factory is turning into a madhouse"! For   a   while   after   this   incident,   "Ooooooooh,   you   are   awful   Maud"   went   out   of   fashion,   being   replaced   by,   either “FIFTEEN” or "FIFTEEN GOOSEN", whenever anyone asked a question! As   I   said,   Les   was   a   good-natured,   harmless   little   guy,   who   in   general,   fitted   in   with   things,   but   we   found   out   there were   people   who   took   advantage   of   him   and   his   disability.   One   day   he   came   in   quite   late   to   work   and   we   asked   why. He   told   us   that   his   moped,   that   he   came   to   work   on,   had   stopped   suddenly   when   he   was   half   way   to   work,   but   luckily there   was   a   nearby   garage,   so   he   took   it   in   for   them   to   look   at   and   they   were   going   to   tell   him   what   was   wrong,   when he called in tonight after work. When   he   came   in   the   next   day   on   his   moped,   we   all   asked   what   was   wrong.   Quite   openly   he   said   that   it   was because   of   the   sugar   that   he'd   put   in   the   petrol   tank,   it   had   clogged   it   up   so   it   stopped   it   working,   Everyone   said, "What! You put sugar in the petrol tank"? WHY? Les   told   us   that   he   was   in   a   cafe   with   some   guys   he   knew.   He'd   had   told   them   that   he   was   tired   after   working   all   day at   Ditchburn’s.   One   guy   told   him,   that   what   he   needed   was   a   couple   of   extra   spoons   of   sugar   in   his   tea,   because sugar   gives   instant   energy,   and   you'll   feel   a   lot   better   after   a   few   minutes   if   you   do   this. As   they   were   leaving   the   cafe, they   saw   Les's   moped,   telling   Les   that   it   didn't   look   very   strong   either,   and   maybe   if   he   put   a   couple   of   spoons   in   the petrol tank as well, saying it would go like a bomb! Of course next morning Les remembered this and did just that!    Some people really are scumbags! So life went on at Ditchburn’s. Les, with his daily sweeping sessions, under Tommy's watchful eyes. We   knew   Tommy   was   watching   him,   because   every   so   often   we'd   hear   Tommy   say   quite   loudly,   "Leeeees….   “   With Les   replying.   "Sorry Tom.   I   forgot",   putting   his   thumb   up   saying,   "FIFTEEN"! Then   even Tommy   started   to   reply,   with   a thumbs   up   and   a,"   FIFTEEN   GOOSEN"! After   which,   when   he   heard   us   chuckling,   Tommy's   eyes   would   roll   upwards and he'd say, "Well, if you can't bloody beat um, join um"! Another   guy   that   came,   who   was   some   sort   of   technician,   always   had   very   dark   glasses   on      and   wore   a   dark   blue boiler   suit.   I   can't   remember   his   name,   because   I   don't   think   he   stayed   long,   (maybe   someone   out   there   knows   his name)   but   his   bench   was   all   by   itself,   away   from   the   rest   of   us.   I   pointed   this   out   to   one   of   the   guys   and   he   told   me,   it would be better to keep away from him, because he was very emotionally upset and disturbed. It   was   because   of   what   happened   to   him   in   Burma   following      his   harsh   treatment   by   the   Japanese   soldiers   during WW2   when   he   was   forced   to   work   on   the   infamous   River   Kwai   railway.   He   said,   so   whatever   you   do,   don't   mention the   war,   especially   anything   to   do   with   Burma!   He   then   added,   that   even   though   it   had   been   14   years   since   the   war, this   guy   still   woke   up   screaming   and   in   cold   sweats   etc.   He   also   had   malaria   issues.   Being   the   youngest,   I   obeyed and kept out of his way. Regarding   this   guy,   and   the   shortness   of   his   stay.   I   do   remember   there   was   some   sort   of   an   incident   which   the   shop floor   grapevine   said,   involved   another   of   the   new   workers   that   arrived,   I   don't   remember   his   real   name   either,   but   the shop   floor   guys   nicknamed   him   "Captain   Kettle",   which   seemed   to   be   because,   he   had   just   come   ended   a   career   in the   merchant   navy,   which   he'd   joined   as   a   cadet.   He   was   quite   a   small   man,   in   his   forties,   with   a   full,   but,   short   black beard,   which   was   very   neatly   trimmed. Another   thing,   he   had   slightly   oriental   features,   which   may   have   been   part   of the   reason   both   he   and   the   ex   WW2   Burma   campaign   soldier   disappeared   after   a   few   weeks   of   working   there. Maybe there was some sort incident, between the two of them.  In   any   war   when   atrocities   occur,   as   in   Burma,   the   deep-seated   hatred   built   up,   doesn't   just   disappear   when countries   sign   a   peace   treaty   on   a   piece   of   paper,   as   we   had   seen   by   our   emotionally   traumatised   ex-soldier,   even after 14 years! Sad, but true. Also,   around   this   time,   another   amusing   event   took   place,   which   could   have   been   connected   with   above,   which although rather basic in nature, certainly imprinted itself in my young mind as being very funny. It   was   during   a   tea   break   and   we   were   all   just   having   our   tea.   Someone   had   brought   in   a   large,   brown,   Lyons   Swiss roll,   which   was   on   a   plate,   half   cut   into   a   few   slices,   and   people   were   invited   to   take   a   slice   if   they   wanted   one, All   of   a sudden   old   Ben   appeared.   Ben   was   probably   the   oldest   employee   in   Ditchburn’s,   being   a   re-employed   retired person,   around   70   years   old.   He   did   general   odd   jobs   for   the   Music   Maker   side   of   things,   Ben   was   wide-eyed   and breathless,   he   said,   "Hey,   I've   been   cleaning   the   loo   and   I've   just   seen   the   biggest,   longest   poo,   I've   ever   seen   in   MY LIFE! The girls said, in unison, "Oh BEN!, Ben continued, "It's ENORMOUS! He   then   caught   sight   of   the   brown   swiss   roll   on   the   plate   and   said,   "Why,   it's   almost   as   big   as   that",   pointing   to   the swiss   roll,   Peels   of   laughter   from   everyone,   even   the   girls,   "BEN,   we   don't   want   to   hear   about   things   like   that,",   said the girls, pretending to be cross, but laughing away amongst each other. Ben   said,   "It's   all   right   for   you,   I've   gotta   get   rid   it,   I   tried   poking   it   with   a   stick,   but   it's   stuck   fast,   he   must've   eaten   a bag of bloody cement for his breakfast", More laughter! The   girls   said,"BEN,   will   you   just   tell   the   boys,   not   us",   By   now,   everyone   had   put   down   their   partly   eaten   swiss   roll and for some reason, taken a large swig of tea! Tee hee! Most   of   the   boys   had   rushed   off   to   the   loo   to   see   this   monster. As   we   were   gazing   down   in   wonderment   and   disbelief at   it,   Ben   came   in   "What   did   I   tell   ya,   that   guy   must   have   a   double-barrelled   arse-hole"   Everyone   collapsed   with laughter    at    this    expression,    which    all    of    us    agreed,    completely    described    and    summed    up    the    situation.   The expression   most   certainly   stuck   in   my   mind   and   I   still   find   it   amusing,   enough   to   have   a   little   chuckle   to   myself   when   I picture us guys in the loo at Ditchburn’s, nearly 60 years ago. After   the   initial   banter   about   it   had   died   down,   life   continued   on   for   a   few   days,   when   all   of   a   sudden,   Ben   hurried   in and said quietly to a small group of us guys, "He's back"! "The phantom strikes again", We all said, "Who's back, who's the Phantom"? "Him,   the   one   that   left   the   big   poo,   I've   called   him   the   "Phantom",   'cause   nobody   knows   who   he   is, Anyway,   I've   made up   my   mind,   I'm   gonna   nail   the   bugger.   I'm   not   gonna   put   up   with   this   any   more.   I've   got   a   nice   little   spot   that   I   can keep watch on the loos at tea breaks and lunch hour, I'll get him" Ben told us not to worry, he'd get him, and that he did, about a week later! An excited Ben came in saying, "I got him, I nailed him, and you'll never guess who it is"? “It's Captain Kettle"! Each   of   us   gave   an   opinion,   "NOOOOOOO,   surely   not.   "Someone   said,   "He's   too   small".   Another   said,   "His   bums never that big", We all killed ourselves laughing. However,   Ben   told   us   that   he'd   had   words   with   him   and   had   given   him   a   piece   of   his   mind.   Telling   him,   to   make   sure he   didn't   do   it   again,   otherwise   he'd   make   sure   that   he   sorted   it   out   himself,      Now   whether   it   was   the   embarrassment of   it   all,   or   he   had   some   sort   of   encounter   with   the   ex-Burma   army   soldier,   we   will   never   know,   because   they   both seemed   to   disappear   at   the   same   time,   and   with   no   more   visits   from   the   "Phantom",   life   returned   to   normality   once again on the Ditchburn’s shop floor.
Life   went   on   and   Ditchburn’s   vending   machines   was   becoming   a   great   success   and   it   didn't   take   long   before production   increased   dramatically   and   new   faces   began   to   arrive   as   we   expanded.   The   production   team   was   joined by   a   rather   posh   spoken   older   guy,   called   Ron,   who   was   in   his   mid-50s   and   another   guy   from   Halifax   who   was   about the   same   age,   I   think   was   called   Ray,   who   was   the   complete   opposite   of   Ron   in   the   way   he   spoke.   He   had   the broadest Lancashire accent I have ever heard in my life! I   recall   that   in   my   early   Lancashire   days,   I   found   the   really   broad   accent,   with   its   numerous   strong   dialects,   using completely    different    words    for    things,    quite    hard    to    understand    when    in    conversation,    often    sounding    quite aggressive,   when   it's   not.   That,   coupled   with   the   prolific   use   of   old Anglo   Saxon   thrown   in   for   good   measure,   almost got me in trouble once.    Like,   when   Ray   from   Halifax   wanted   some   help   and   was   saying   something   like   "Oh   I,   ee   knows   nowt   t-bout   owt"!   I quickly said, Err…  sorry, I didn't quite understand. He turned and stared at me and said, "Whadda ya mean lad" ? "You being 'effin' funny lad" ? ( I'm sure I don’t have to explain the word "effin") "Don't ya speak 'effin' English lad" ? I said, "Well, it's just the nowt t-bout owt, that I don't quite understand".  Ohhhh…  so ya don't quite understand "Nowt t-bout owt" ay? You’re a bit posh ay, what's that effin accent you've got? I   told   him,   that   my   accent   was   because   my   dad,   being   in   the   R.A.F.   used   to   be   posted   every   2   years   to   a   different part   of   the   country,   therefore   I   seemed   to   have   developed   a   middle   of   the   road   accent   that   could   be   understood   by everyone.   He   then   said,   (putting   on   the   poshest   accent   he   could   muster)   "So,   let's   see   now,   you   would   probably   say, "He knows nothing about anything". "Is that a bit clearer for you lad" ? By this time, I just wanted out of the conversation, so I said “ok Ray, thanks for explaining”. A couple of the guys also said, "Oh, leave him alone Ray", he means nothing wrong. Ray   just   looked   at   the   guys   and   said,   “Ay,   I   suppose   so".      I   quickly   made   a   swift   exit   to   the   loo   for   5   minutes   to   let things   cool   off   a   little.   I   was   a   bit   more   careful   in   the   future   as   to   what   I   said,   especially   to   Ray,   I   was   starting   to   learn, that it was a bit of a jungle out there in the big wide world of the shop floor! Tee-hee!  In   general   though,   we   all   got   on   pretty   well   with   each   other   in   those   late   50s,early   60s   days.   Things   were   a   lot   more class   conscious   then,   before   the   phenomenal   rise   of   the   Beatles,   with   their   broad   scouse   accents,   that   more   or   less started   the   "Swinging   Sixties",   which   most   certainly   changed   British   attitudes,   indeed   the   worlds   attitudes,   to   accents and dialects, making them far more acceptable to everyone. There   was   a   few   new   office   staff   as   well.   The   main   office   staff   were   the   General   manager,   Mr   Walker,   nicknamed “Johnny   Walker”,   due   to   the   fact,   of   the   amount   of   whiskey   the   shop   floor   guys   saw   him   consume   at   the   annual   office party,   The   production   manager,   was   Harold   Foy,   who   had   a   very   posh,   but   very   nasal   accent.   The   sales   manager was   Mr   Town,   who   had   had   received   a   very   bad   facial   accident   which   left   one   eye   slightly   higher   than   the   other. There   was   a   little   bald   headed   guy,   who   had   something   to   do   with   the   production   side   of   things,   who   I   think   was called   Wilf   Barton,   and   he   had   a   secretary   called   Audrey.   I   think   the   last   office   was   for   Harry   Barber,   the   general foreman. These   offices   were   all   situated   behind   the   two   rows   of   empty   vending   machine   cabinets   which   separated   us   from those   pretty   little   office   girls   that   we   could   hear   clicking   up   and   down   in   their   stiletto   heels,   going   between   offices,   so tantalizingly just out of our reach and out of our sight, Actually,   having   these      empty   cabinets   there,   forming   a   barrier,   actually   boosted   production,   because   a   couple   of   the guys,   who   had   an   eye   for   the   ladies,   realised   that   if   they   did   a   bit   of   a   spurt   and   completed   2   or   3   machines   quicker than   usual   ,they   could   open   up   a   gap   in   the   dreaded   barrier   that   had   previously   stopped   them   feasting   their   eyes   on the   little   lovelies   that   clickety   clacked   past   at   regular   intervals.   Their   excuse   was,   that   it   helped   to   ease   the   boredom of their working day! Tee-hee I   remember   a   young,   very   eloquent   and   extremely   well-spoken   ex   university   guy   arrived   and   caused   quite   a   stir amongst   the   shop   floor   guys.   His   first   name   was   Peter.   He   was   about   twenty-one   years   old   and   his   accent   was   about as   far   back   as   you   could   go.   Imagine   the   men’s   faces,   when   Mr   Foy,   the   production   manager,   came   to   them   and   said Peter   was   going   to   spend   a   week   in   each   department   to   learn   the   ropes   in   all   the   aspects   of   vending   machine production   and   that   he   hoped   they   would   bear   with   him   and   teach   him   as   much   as   they   possibly   could! After   Mr   Foy and Peter had left, the majority of comments by the guys were definitely unprintable. Tee-hee! Apart   from   teaching   this   “alien”   from   another   world,   I   think   that   it   was   his   posh   accent   that   intrigued   them   the   most. The most printable statement being, “He speaks so far back, that it's coming out of his backside”! Well,   Peter   started   the   next   day   and   I   must   say   they   gave   Peter   some   stick,   relentlessly   calling   him   by   a   variety   of names   which   mostly   had   gay   connotations,   eventually   settling   on   “Peter   the   Ponce”,   Peter   took   it   all   in   his   stride,   with much   good   humour   all   round.   He   got   though   his   ordeal   with   no   bad   feelings   and   in   fact,   a   couple   of   weeks   later   he sold   a   Mini-spa,   which   was   a   quite   a   real   feather   in   his   cap.   When   I   bumped   into   him   afterwards,   he   actually   said, that   he   could   never   have   done   it   without   his   shop-floor   training   from   the   guys   and   offered   his   many   thanks   to   all concerned. As   with   most   then   factories,   there   is   a   hierarchy,   which   was   a   sort   of   class   system   between   the   management   and   the workers   and   you   notice   this   as   soon   as   you   start   work   in   the   morning   .The   workers,   being   at   the   bottom   of   the   heap, start   at   8   o'clock   in   the   morning,   whereas   the   office   staff   start   at   nine,   or   say   they   do?   We   often   noticed   them   coming in   at   anything   between   5   or   10   past   nine,   then   they   rubbed   it   in,   by   standing   by   the   coffee   machine   for   another   10 minutes,   before   they   went   into   their   offices,   We,   on   the   other   hand   were   treated   very   differently.      We   had   to   clock   in with   a   punch   card,   before   8   o'clock   in   the   morning   as   we   came   through   the   door,   the   clock   card   gave   the   exact   time, to   the   second,   when   you   entered   the   Ditchburn   building,   If   that   wasn't   bad   enough,   if   you   were   1   SECOND   late,   you were   docked   a   quarter   of   an   hours   pay,   This   was   certainly   a   big   bone   of   contention   with   the   guys   when   they   saw   the office   staff,   not   only   arriving   late,   but   standing   at   the   coffee   machines   at   ten   to   fifteen   minutes   past   nine, Them   and   us was very much alive in those days. “Still, you can't beat city hall”, as they used to say! Funnily   enough,   my   sister   Yvonne   became   one   of   those   girls   that   clicked   and   clacked   up   and   down,   when   she   also got   a   job   at   Ditchburn’s   as   well,   just   a   few   months   after   me.   She   was   a   top-class   secretary,   working   at   the   huge Cookson’s   bread   factory,   which   was   situated   a   few   hundred   metres   up   the   road   from   Dock   Rd,   on   the   corner   where the   huge   grass   area   started.   This   grassed   area,   ran   the   complete   length   of   Lytham   sea   front   promenade.   After   my sister   Yvonne   arrived,   I   seemed   to   notice   all   the   new   secretaries,   who   became   her   friends,   there   was   Val,   Heather, Barbara and Julie. Julie   was   Neville’s   favourite,   She   was   what   he   called   a   real   buxom   lass.   He   knew   her   clickety   clack   footfall   by   heart. As   she   went   wiggling   past   in   her   tight   skirt,   he'd   always   down   tools   for   a   few   seconds   and   gaze   at   her   rear   end   until she'd   disappeared   from   view,   then   he'd   say   to   me,   "Oooooooo,   sweet   as   a   nut”      "Did   you   see   that   Sutty,   how   she pointed at us with her jumper", Of course I laughed at that. "And what about the beautiful bum Sutty"? "Ooooooohh   and   did   you   notice   that   movement   she   has,   when   she's   walking   away   from   you,   how   she   sort   of,   leaves it there, then snatches it back at the last minute"? "Ooooooohh, it looks like two little boys, fighting under a blanket" By   this   time,   I   was   in   fits   of   laughter.   Being   a   young   16-year-old,   I'd   never   heard   adults   talking   like   this   about   women. It certainly was an eye-opener for me, but have to admit, I enjoyed every minute of it. Tee-hee ! Val,   Barbara   and   Heather   became   my   sisters’   close   friends,   who   often   did   the   night   spots   together   in   Blackpool   when any   recording   celebs   were   doing   gigs   nearby.   Trad   jazz   was   the   favourite   music   choice,   Acker   Bilk,   Kenny   Ball   and the   Jazzmen,   Johnny   Dankworth   etc.   Val   still   is   a   close   friend   of   Yvonne   to   this   day,   still   living   in   Kirkham.   She   and Yvonne   still   keep   contact   by   mail   and   visits   after   all   these   years,   even   though   my   sister   lives   in   Florida,   and   has   done so   since   the   mid-1970s.   Yvonne   worked   for   Mr   Town   and   then   Mr   Walker   for   a   few   years.   Heather   was   my   little dream   girl   that   I   loved   from   afar. Although   we   were   the   same   age,   she   was   miles   ahead   of   me   in   the   mating   game,   as is the case with many male and female teenagers around 16 or 17 years old. 
Photo Ref: DB361 Courtesy of Stewart Sutton. Me at an office party in 1962 aged 18. I'd just shaken hands with Mr Ditchburn, who is next to me, on the right.
THE BIG MOVE ACROSS THE YARD TO THE WAREHOUSE Just   after   this,   we   had   the   big   move   to   the   warehouse   across   the   yard,   that   I   described   earlier   and   within   the   next   few months there were quite a few staff changes! In   our   new   warehouse   both   sales   and   production   increased.   It   was   now   that   I   got   involved,   working   with   a   young electrical   technician,   called   Philip   something?   I   had   a   blank.   Then   Latham   came   to   mind.   I   really   can't   remember,   but this   definitely   rings   a   bell.   I   shall   describe   both   him   and   his   girlfriend,   who   also   worked   there,   in   case   it   jogs somebodies memory. He   was   about   twenty   years   old,   very   Nordic   looking   with   very   light   blond   hair. A   guy   called   Tab   Hunter   had   just   had   a hit   with   the   song,   "Young   Love"   and   this   guy   was   as   equally   handsome   as   he   was.   His   girlfriend   was   also   classically pretty, but her hair was jet black and it hung down to her waist, making them an extremely attractive striking couple! Indeed,   when   they   walked   through   together   sometimes,   our   girls   would   comment,   saying   things   like,   "Gee,   I'll   bet their bloody kids turn out to be real lookers"! Philips   department   was   research   and   development,   who   were   experimenting   with   dual   price   machines.   This   was needed,    because    when    commodity    prices    rose    at    different    levels,    say,    coffee    became    more    expensive    than chocolate, the coffee drink had to be fourpence, instead of the standard price of threepence. Therefore,   a   more   complicated   wiring   diagram   for   the   new   coin   mechanism   had   to   be   used,   using   two   extra   relays and   two   start   up   micro-switches,   instead   of   one,   as   with   a   single   price   coin   machine.   One   micro-switch   for   the threepenny   bit   and   one   for   the   single   penny. A   relay   is   simply   an   electrical   switch,   activated   by   electrical   power.   I   got really   interested   in   electrical   circuitry   with   Phillip,   and   he   taught   me   a   great   deal   about   the   electrical   side   of   the vending   machines.   this   enabled   me   to   test   the   electrical   components   in   emergencies   when   Italo   Maruchi   was   ever called   away,   or   had   to   attend   managerial   staff   meetings,   which   took   place   most   mornings   for   about   an   hour   with   all the   other   managers.   Someone   had   to   stand   in   to   keep   up   the   steady   stream   of   components   needed   downstairs   on the production lines and I really enjoyed responsibility of doing test inspection. It   was   only   by   me   doing   this   testing,   which   gave   me   the   experience,   that   then   led   to   me   being   temporarily   in   charge   of testing all the electrical components when I was only nineteen, two years later. It   was   in   the   middle   of   this   very   changeable   period   after   the   move   that   Italo   Maruchi   suddenly   left   and   was   replaced by a real cockney guy called Tony Toose, who was completely different to Italo Maruchi! Italo   was   a   rather   dashing   young   man,   whereas   Tony   Toose   was   a   real   east   ender   who   chain   smoked   and   swore   like a   trooper,   even   in   front   of   the   ladies   and   they   didn't   like   it   at   all.   but   he   was   in   charge,   so   we   just   got   on   with   our   work. When   he   found   out   that   I   could   do   the   testing,   he   often   used   to   call   me   to   do   it,   while   he   had   meetings,   or   a   quick   fag somewhere. I didn't mind because I was getting more and more experienced doing the testing, which I enjoyed.  More new faces came in as production increased. There was a young welsh guy in a brown overall called Brin joined our department. One   was   a   new   fresh-faced   school   leaver,   for   the   life   of   me,   I   couldn't   remember   his   name   until   I   contacted   Arthur Philips   who   did   the   first   blog   regarding   the   Vending   machine   side   of   Ditchburn’s,   Arthur   informed   me   that   his   name was David Horrocks. I remember that he looked so young, which made me feel so old. I   felt   I   should   have   remembered   his   name,   because   Maud   seemed   to   transfer   all   her   affections   on   to   him,   as   soon   as he   got   there.   One   perk   that   I   missed,   was   the   occasional   free   cigarette   she   always   used   to   offer   me   as   she   lit   up. Now that little perk went to him. I   supposed,   that   it   was   because   I   had   grown   up   a   bit,   being   now   17   years   old,   and   no   longer   the   shop   floor   baby.   I suppose   I'd   become   more   like   one   of   the   old   boy’s   network   in   the   work   place,   therefore   she   needed   a   new   baby   to care for, I remember thinking to myself, "Oh well, that's life"! More   new   faces   came   to   the   electrical   department.   One   was   a   very   attractive   30   something,   called   Sheila,   who   most certainly   awakened   and   stirred   up   those   "funny   familiar   forgotten   feelings"   in   Both   Jack   and   Eric   and   indeed,   all   of   the older   guys,   in   both   the   electrical   section   and   the   production   section   downstairs,   I   remember   one   time   she   was   talking to   Jack   and   Eric,   who   were   sitting,   and   staring,   transfixed   on   her   every   word.   As   they   were   gazing   longingly   at   her rear   end,   as   she   walked   away,   I   made   the   comment,"   You   two   sure   fancy   her,   don't   you,   Personally,   I   think   she's   a   bit old, Don't you think"? Eric   turned,   and   his   eyes   opened   wide,   he   then   did   something   you   didn't   see   very   often.   He   removed   his   pipe   from his   mouth   and   said,   "Laddie,   laddie,   laddie,   how   old   are   you   ?,   sixteen   or   seventeen".   My   god,   you've   got   a   lot   to learn   in   the   next   five   to   ten   years. That   woman   is   just   about   reaching   her   prime,   so   I   suggest   that   you   go   a   play   on   the swings   in   the   school   playground,   then   see   your   doctor   and   find   out   if   you've   gone   through   puberty   yet” Again,   lots   of laughter. Also,   around   this   time   Jack   Matheson   was   promoted   to   quality   control   and   inspection   down   in   the   old   factory   where the   completed   machines   were   tested   before   they   were   dispatched   out   to   customers,   I   started   to   do   the   testing   of components,   quite   by   chance.   Having   been   there   a   while,   I   knew   how   the   electrical   side   of   the   machines   worked, because   of   what   I'd   learned   from   Jack   Matheson   and   Phillip   Latham,   from   research   and   development,   and   with   the refrigeration side taught by John, "The Bum from Brum"! I   will   always   be   grateful   for   to   these   guys,   for   the   electrical   knowledge   they   gave   me,   which   enabled   me   to   become the   component   tester   at   such   a   young   age.   I   also   used   it   to   great   effect   in   many   aspects   of   my   future   life   after Ditchburn’s   where   I   have   hardly   ever   had   to   call   in   a   tradesman   on   any   household   job,   saving   me   and   at   wife   a fortune over the years.
   It   was   also   around   then,   that   another   new,   slightly   older   teenage   face   appeared!   He   was   about   my   age   and   he   was called   Bob   Shaw,   which   was   nice   for   me,   having   a   person   of   a   similar   age   around.      He   was   a   real   rocker   who   had greasy,   combed   back   hair   at   the   sides,   which   he   combed   into   a   DA   at   the   back   (DA,   for   the   uninitiated,   being   a   Ducks Arse) His hair at the front was combed up from both sides, towards the centre, making a huge quiff! With   his   black   jeans   and   his   black   leather   jacket   it   gave   him   a   classic   biker   look.   He   was   a   bit   of   a   throwback,   because the Beatles had arrived and then the "Swinging Sixties" were upon us. After   he'd   been   there   a   week   or   two,   we   were   talking   about   the   cheap   records   that   the   Music   Maker   side   of Ditchburn’s   sold   off   when   they   restocked   the   juke   boxes   with   the   latest   hits.   Bob   thought   it   was   great,   because   he could   get   them   cheap   and   learn   the   chords   from   them   and   then   play   them   on   his   guitar.   He   said   he   fancied   doing   what all   the   young   guys   fancied   doing,   which   was   to   form   a   group   like   the   Beatles   and   start   playing   the   local   venues.   I   told him   I   could   sing   a   bit   and   knew   about   four   songs   all   the   way   through.   Bob   said,   great,   do   you   fancy   getting   together   in my   front   room   and   see   how   we   do.   I,   of   course,   jumped   at   the   chance   of   having   some   proper   backing   to   sing   to.   Bob then   asked   what   the   songs   were.   When   told   him   that   the   were   "The   Young   Ones"   by   Cliff   Richard,   "I   Think   of   You",   by The Merseybeat’s, "Like I've never Been Gone", by "Billy Fury" and "Chain Gang" by Sam Cooke. Bob   said,   "A   bit   tame   aren't   they,   still,   they'll   do   for   a   start.   Come   around   Saturday   afternoon   to   my   house   and   we'll give it a go”. After   we'd   run   through   my   songs,   which   I   thought   sounded   pretty   good,   Bob   was   sort   of   quiet,   so   I   asked   him   what's up.   He   said,"   That   lots   OK,   but   can   you   do   more   up-tempo   stuff,   you   know,   where   you   scream   down   the   mike   and   we can shake go mad and shake our heads and hair around with the beat"?
Well   I   tried   it,   but   I   just   couldn't   scream!   That   just   about   knocked   it   on the   head   and   we   didn't   do   it   again.   Bob   knew   he   wanted   "Hard   Rock, Head Banging" stuff, so I was out. However,   the   memory   of   how   good   I   sounded   with   backing,   inspired me   enough   to   continue   singing.   So,   with   any   chance   I   got   each   week,   I went   to   anywhere,   where   someone   was   playing   a   piano   and   asked   the pianist   if   I   could   sing   a   couple   of   songs,   to   get   experienced   enough   to fulfill my dream of singing in the working men’s clubs etc. You   could   say   that   the   rebuttal   by   Bob   Shaw   changed   my   life   forever, because     with     his     rebuttal,     I     eventually     made     a     living     in     the entertainment   world,   which   many   would   be   entertainers   will   tell   you,   is no   mean   feat, Thank   you   Bob   Shaw.   I   hope   that   you   see   this   blog