We did not have a television so as a treat I was allowed go after school each Wednesday to my friend’s home where we would watch back- to -back TV before, during and after tea. My dad would meet me a little after 8 o’clock – at the end of her lane where it joined the A27.
Pat was my best friend and an only child who not only had a television but a Dansette record player and a new red bike –things I could only dream about. Her home was so different to mine – it was a semi-detached house; the front door had a knocker and there was a garden swing! We would love to sing and dance to her little collection of records by Neil Sedaka, Frankie Vaughan or Brenda Lee. Best of all we loved to watch the TV.
I particularly enjoyed Robin Hood staring Richard Green and the Adventures of Sir Lancelot (Lancelot played by William Russell), fuel for my eager imagination. Popeye added to my delight before tea.
Then my friend’s parents watched the news and programmes such as ‘All our yesterdays’ presented by Brian Ingles and ‘Tonight’ with Cliff Mitchelmore . Meanwhile us giggling girls energised by white Mother’s Pride sandwiches with Shipham’s paste followed by butterfly cakes would re-enact the antics of Hood’s merry men in the back garden. A listener would have heard us singing the constant refrain of the theme tune that was requested each Saturday morning on Children’s favourites. It was a lively ditty that I could easily repeat today – ‘Robin Hood Robin Hood riding through the glen … with his band of men’
However the highlight was yet to come – Coronation Street the brand new ‘soap opera.’ After my home bedtime! It was my first experience of ‘grown-up’ television and it was a wonderful story set in Manchester – a million miles away – I got to know the bold and brassy Elsie Tanner, and her son, the loveable rogue Dennis, also Harry Hewitt the bus driver the single parent of Lucille who went on to marry Concepta the resident barmaid of the Rover’s Return. There was Florrie Lindley – a shy lady who owned the corner shop and the out-of-place university student – Ken Barlow. All the characters gathered in the Rover’s return or in the Glad Tidings Mission Hall to gossip and unravel the everyday story of a northern town – to our delight!
I, enthralled by the accents and ‘sophistication’ would remain rooted to the seat only rushing to the outside toilet during the commercial break.
Although our backgrounds were poles apart, Pat and I we were constant and true friends together until we left school years later.