Can’t wait for next year’s outing

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BACK in the early 1960s one of the places I used as a playground was a new building site on the site of the old Lower Crow Nest Farm in Smith House Lane which was demolished to make way for a new sheltered housing community.

These new bungalows, once finished, were given the address of Laburnum Grove and as soon as the building site was finished, another playground had gone.

Little did I know that in 1975 I would be back as the community policeman for the Stoney Lane estate, the same estate I grew up on from being a child.

Part of my duties was to visit the various community centres to give talks on local crime issues and the preventative measures residents could take to stay safe, and generally foster community relations.

On these visits I was always included in the afternoon raffle and having visited many times over the years to win the odd tin of carrots or beans was considered a good win.

I remember visiting another centre where I won a prize on their raffle. “Go on lad,” I was told. “Choose summat off yon tray.”

I decided on a packet of jelly as it had been a while since we’d had any.

Mrs Helme agreed to dish it up on Sunday but noticed that the sell-by date had passed some five years earlier.

We decided to go ahead and eat it without any ill effects but after that I always checked if I’d won something - or politely refused.

Before my talk to these groups the secretary would go through the business of the meeting. This would be followed by a discussion about what was one of the highlights of the year – the annual outing.

This week’s featured photograph was taken by the then Echo photographer, David Green, someone who was well known to all the community groups in and around Brighouse.

David took the photograph featured here on the coach just as the Laburnum Grove Centre members were about to set off on their annual outing, on this occasion to Morecambe, in 1986.

Looking down the rows of familiar faces I can spot Bill Sidebottom, Henry Martin, Mrs Odell,Mrs Peel, Mrs Ricketts and a number of others.

If I visited any of the centres and it just happened to be the day after the trip everyone was full of what they did. Usually the chosen cafe was not up to much and it chucked it down all day.

Nevertheless when asked if they enjoyed it they invariably responded with “Aye, lad. I can’t wait for next year’s outing”.

We Brits have a funny way of expressing ourselves after what should be an enjoyable event. On arrival back from holiday and asked if they had a good time the inevitable response would be “Not bad.”

“What was wrong with it?”

“Well, nowt really.”

Similarly, the food “weren’t bad” meaning it was good and the company “were all right” indicating a decent crowd.

Try it sometime and “not bad” will be what is often considered to be the stock answer from a Brit who, without exception, takes his pleasures seriously.