Hot Legs!

Yes, I've been watching 'Rod the Mod' on the telly! Don't know which programme or channel it was, but there was Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood, carrying on like they were young kids again (instead of the old geezers they really are) and being interviewed by Botney (Alan Yentob) along with clips from old film. It was very amusing, and we had a good laugh at the fashions of those far-off days.

Later on, it had my mind wandering back to those times, as well. Those days and evenings spent in 'The Park', Saltwell Park, that is. I used to go there as a small child, with my mother of course, as my Grandma lived only three or four minutes walk away. (I was born in her back bedroom!) We would feed bread to the ducks on the lake, and fish for the little sticklebacks with a fishing net and a jam jar. The days seemed to be so long back then!

Later on, during our teens, we'd (Fatty Wilson and I) walk the mile or so there in the summer evenings, and at weekends too. There were always plenty of girls to impress with our macho games and testosterone-filled bodies, or so we thought. They probably thought we were a scream! Never mind, they were happy days.

Freda and I took a walk around there yesterday, to exercise my poor old legs, and to rekindle a few old memories too, perhaps. There have been many changes; too many to explain, or even photograph. Many of the familiar pathways have simply disappeared! The the two large shelters, at the top of the park, have had the seats taken out and notices saying that it's illegal to consume alcohol in public. The big shuggy-boat and the high slides have been taken away, I've no doubt at all that they would have fallen foul of the Elf 'n' Safety brigade. (Probably rightly so, as we were often almost killed on them as wild teenagers!) There doesn't seem to be any 'Parkies' to keep unruly youths in check any more, either.

We didn't get lost at all, but one or two areas weren't where we remembered them being; faulty memories, likely! Eventually, we came around the back of (what used to be) the Museum. It's now been converted in to a small cafe, but that's only the downstairs, the upstairs was closed-off, so we didn't get to see it. Anyway, here are a couple of shots of it, the fabulous 'Saltwell Towers' which used to be a house.

Of course, we had to sample their, fare!

Shared, as usual. 
I had schoolfriends at Jarrow Grammar, whose Sunday School trips used to come to Saltwell Park by coach, that's how famous and wonderful it was!

We moseyed on, after our re-fuelling, and had a look at the Maze, which has been completely re-planted since our day, and has a metal fence within the hedging (to stop the cheating, I suppose) it didn't look as nice, but then; things seldom do, do they? Then we came across the lake; I could hardly believe my eyes! They've replaced the rowing boats with plastic swans and dragons, which you have to pedal!!!! The little cordoned off part, where the small paddle boats for the young'uns used to be, has gone altogether. And, they've put a fence around the lake, so that you cannot get close enough to fish with your net!

We used to sit on our hunkers (Colloquialism, hunkers = haunches) right at the water's edge. We also used to save our crusts to feed to the ducks, everybody did, but now, it's 'not allowed'; you have to buy proper 'duck food' at £1 a bag! When we were young, we were never off the boats at the weekends, but now they're a fiver for half an hour! Now that just has to be hyper-inflation, surely? And we could only find two swans, maybe the Council have put their rent up? 

With our memories rekindled and our hearts warmed, we made our way back to the car, noticing that the public toilets had gone along with so much else. I crossed the entrance to a back lane, and thought that I'd better get a snap of it too, as it was an old fashioned, cobbled, lane and so probably was due for ripping up any day now!

See ya!

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