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Hello, this is a book I have always wanted to write but never got round to it. Now I am glad I have, is it a biography, or just a tale of a boy growing up in Bolton, Lancashire the in Seventies? Tell you what, you decide!!
Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy this book, and I hope to take you through the way things were back in the seventies and beyond, best wishes, Norrms and long suffering family.
I would like to dedicate this book to all those wonderful Dinner Ladies who kept me well fed during my schooldays, and to all my friends I grew up with (You will know who you are) without the ups, downs, laughs and tears we all shared this book would have never been possible, May your God walk with each and every one of you.
The Adventure’s Of Billy Gillam
Billy was a scamp!! His mother knew it, his Dad knew it, his brothers and sisters certainly knew it and the neighbours had
been saying it for years, but to his grandad he was just a “Lad “being a lad!! True, he was boisterous and true he was loud!! But he had a heart of gold and his grandad knew it! Just a pity nobody else did!! But grandad had faith in him and that`s all that mattered. Billy had been close to his grandad for as long as he could remember, and considering he was now nine years old that was, well, ages!! Oh, don’t get me wrong, he loved his Mum and Dad to bits!! And sometimes even his two brothers!! But wasn’t too sure about his older sister?? Having an older sister was defiantly a disadvantage he always thought. Not someone you could talk to about the local football team or his last scrap with Ste Robson, not like Grandad, he always listened, and somehow always said the right things. This is a story about Billy growing up in the seventies and coping with everyday life, hope you enjoy it.
Chapter one First day back
It had arrived, after six weeks of absolute bliss, sleeping in, playing out late and driving everybody mad, it was back to school. Billy dreaded this day more than most because at nine years old he was already a free spirit. He loved the
outdoors. He loved to walk all by himself in the countryside, and most of all loved the freedom of doing what he wanted, well, to a certain degree!! If Mum and Dad knew half the things he had got up to in the six weeks holidays he would be grounded for life!!! So here it was, that Monday morning feeling that he dreaded every Monday. Something he was sure would follow him into later life unless he was allowed to do what job he wanted. Grandad had always said, if you enjoy your job, then you don’t really work, you just have a good time, he was a clever fellow Grandad, he had all sorts of sayings to fit the occasion but his favourite one was “Don’t trouble trouble until trouble trouble`s you “Billy kind of understood that one, well, he liked to think so anyway. Just then he heard a familiar voice, BILLY? Are you up yet? Come on your going to be late!!! It was mums hi pitched tone that went through him every morning, why couldn’t she come up and gently shake him on the shoulder to wake him? Then again?
Yes mum!! Shouted Billy, I’m just getting dressed as he stuck one leg out of bed and stared to stamp the floor. Billy? Shouted mum, can you now put two legs on the floor now please and run down here before you strain something? How did she know? Thought Billy, how did mum always know?? Women!! Billy mumbled, he had heard grandad say that to his grandma so that was ok to say as far as he was
concerned. Billy yawned, stretched, went to the bathroom and got ready to go down stairs. Morning Mumsy he shouted as he bounced down the stairs three at a time!! Will you stop calling me that! She shouted!! God knows where you get these names from, I blame your Grandad! Poor Grandad, he always got the blame! Billy`s mum put the cereal bowl and milk in front of him and he ate it, as loud as possible, he certainly knew how to wind mum up, but he loved her dearly, it was just a game they played out every morning, a bit like groundhog day really. As Billy stepped towards the front door his mum stopped him, as always, licked the palm of her hand and tried to stick his hair down, and with a quick peck on the cheek, he was off down the road. Three steps into his journey Billy run his fingers through his hair and scuffed it all up again, that`s better he thought and went on his way. The morning was a warm one and the walk to school was a pleasant one until he turned on to Mitre Street. There stood his arch enemy Ste Robson!! Hello ugly!! He shouted at Billy, ready for another exiting year? Listen snot face!!Said Billy, if beauty is supposed to be skin deep then how come you were born inside out???? There was uproar as Ste Robson went for Billy but Billy was too quick for him and ducked out the way so fast that Ste ended up on his bum on the floor!! “When you are quick
enough you will be too old “Laughed Billy and went on his way, but knew full well that wasn’t the end of it! How it all started he had no idea but knew it had been going on for long enough now and had to stop sometime, but not just yet eh?? Too much fun thought Billy .The morning was taken up with the usual registrar and getting to know your new teacher. Dinner time was always the best time of the day for Billy as he loved the home made school food. Things were a bit thin on the ground since dad was made redundant from the Automotive factory after the huge fire they had two years ago, so he ate what he could when he could, after all, I am a growing lad he smiled to himself!! The only thing he didn’t like was Rice Pudding and when the teachers weren’t looking he would put some on the back of his thumb and flick it onto the ceiling!! If the dinner ladies ever looked up there they would see patches of hardened Rice pudding stuck fast to the ceiling just above where Billy had sat over the years, he was the champion Pudding flicker!! With a bit of luck they would never catch him as he was always treated to seconds as he always ate his greens!! Billy didn’t have many friends at school as most his friends lived near his home and the school was on a posh estate, a completely different way of life to what he lived, but he didn’t care, he was happy, most of the time! I like living on a council estate anyway, thought Billy as he walked home from school, everybody knows everybody and usually look out for
each other. Well, apart from the time I pulled the lever on the back of the Tarmac wagon and three tons of hot Tarmac went spewing down the road like gallons of Guinness he remembered! Or the time I got stuck up the tree and they had to get the fire brigade out to get me down. When the fireman said climb down the same way you went up, and i answered “I came up head first!!!! I was only being honest!! Everybody else found it funny but not the fireman, who clipped me round the ear so hard i could hear bells ringing!!
But such is life, thought Billy, and entered his front door hungry and ready for his tea. Some hope!! Dad was sprawled out on the settee and mum wasn’t home from work yet, his older sister Maggie in front of the mirror as usual and his two younger brothers were bashing the living daylights out of each other as usual!! How they never got seriously hurt God only knows!! So, as usual, it was up to Billy to make the Jam Butties (Sandwiches they called them on the posh estate) for everybody and disappear round to grandads. As he walked through the back door of Grandads he could smell the chip pan as always and hot pies just out of the oven. Mmm, this is what i call home he smiled.
Chapter Two Billy`s Grandad
His grandad was a big fellow and had the friendliest biggest smile he had ever seen. People always say the he looked like his grandad when he was young and that was good enough for him. Grandad had worked all his life as a gardener and because of that he had a big red faced ruddy complexion, (Though mum said it was all the cider he drank!) and what he didn’t know about plants wasn’t worth knowing!” That`s real dirt and hard work under these finger nails” he would say. But he had been retired as long as Billy could remember, something to do with his back, well, that`s what they`ve always tell me thought Billy. Billy crept up behind his grandad as quiet as a mouse and was just about to shout hello when grandad just calmly said,” Hiya Billy “ there`s a meat pie on the table for you , go wash your hands and I’ll pour some tea out! How the hec did you know I was there? Asked a puzzled Billy, I`m your grandad, it`s my job to know!!He laughed! And said” hurry up or your pie will be cold. Billy tucked into the red hot meat pie and as usual all the gravy came spilling down his cheeks making them glisten in the sunlight from the window nearby. You’re a mucky pup! Said grandad and wiped his cheeks clean with his handkerchief, grandad always had a handkerchief at the ready for all occasions. Have you had any trouble with Ste Robson today? He asked Billy. Nearly, said Billy and told him
how he ducked and dived out of his way just as his grandad had taught him. He wants teaching a lesson he said, and I don’t mean English!! Billy nodded and finished his pie. Did i ever tell you? Grandad started to say, and quick as a flash Billy shouted YES!!! As much as he loved his grandad he could only listen to the same story so many times!! He looked at Billy over his glasses, peered a bit closer then started to laugh. Ok Ok I get the message he said. Billy couldn’t imagine life without his grandad and sometimes it frightened him to think so. He had always been his favourite and he knew it, but never played on it, well, not much anyway!! They ate the rest of their pies in silence and then it was time for Billy to go. For God sake eat all your supper when you get home or your mother will kill me!!! Again!!! No problem said Billy, wished his grandad a goodnight and set off for home. His mums` house was only three streets away but just before he turned onto Eden Street where he lived he saw something out of the corner of his eye.
Just further down at the bottom of Berkley Road were some public toilets and there was a right commotion coming from them. Billy walked down slowly and he could see Mr Williams shouting and waving his arms at a toilet attendant also stood outside. From what he could make out Mr William had tried to go down the steps to the toilet when the attendant had
stopped him and told him he was too late!! Don`t be stupid man!! Shouted Mr William’s, how long do you think it`s going to take me to have a wee?? But the attendant wouldn’t budge and stood in his way. Mr William`s stormed off and walked towards the park where he knew he could have a wee in peace, still mumbling and swearing! Billy stood just round the corner and waited for the attendant to disappear down the steps to the toilets to do his nightly check. The, Billy saw his chance, he ran over to the iron gates, closed them as fast as he could, wrapped the chain around and clasped the lock down hard !!! By the time the attendant realised what was happening it was too late! To make matters worse, he had left the keys in the van which Billy had taken and thrown over the nearest wall!!! Billy stood there triumphant!! And said, “that’ll teach you to be nasty to people” and walked away laughing so hard he thought he would have to go back there to use the toilet!!! As he strolled home he could still here the attendant shouting “HELP HELP”!!! Billy`s mum opened the door to him and asked “Whatever is that commotion”? Dunno? Smiled Billy and walked inside.
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