Thanks for the Memories
Jean's story is pictures of her childhood and the village she lived in growing up.
Cullercoats, Cullercoats how I miss thee and the fisherman's cottages down by the sea. A little village on the Northumberland coast renowned for its beauty and brave fisher folk.
From street brown buildings and Simpson street too the rows of cottages all small and neat. At number 7 Browns building lived 3 little girls, down the lane grandad Taylor at number 4.
Life was hard but never a bore, he often beach combed along the shore. Penny's for pocket money and what's more, he'd cut us jam sandwiches, great big door steps. We often went home with jam tats in our hair and crabs on string to play with as pets or we thought. As often we were feed by the fish he caught, warm summer days we would spend on the rocks, we'd collect wilocks to boil in a pot and eat them with pins on our doorstep.
The coal man’s horse was our trusty steed, we thought we were rich riding a horse, black beauty of course. The rhythm of life ebbed and flowed like the tide. No colleges for us, at home we would bide. University of life trades and traditions, passed down by mums and dads.
On the job training, it starts very young, learn your business and have some fun. Mam and gran showed us how to cook, keep house, knit socks and embroider tablecloths. We helped the old men on the bank top to mend their nets; listening to tall tales they reminisced and painted pictures with words.
Three pubs and a club and the Bay Horse served refreshments. Newcastle arms, the Ship and the Queens. In the Queens the old men play dominos, we used the back room to practice our guitars. The Salvation Army, Methodist Mission and St George's church looked after our souls. Services taken alfresco on the beach in the summer once a week.
We knew it was Christmas when on the hour at midnight the Salvation Army music was heard.
Memories play tricks, was it so ideal? A less complicated life. No worries it seems but how hard was the living in this paradise, were the little cottages really slum hovels, no doubt. No electricity, they were lit by gas, a coal fire burned to warm the hearth and hot water was boiled on top of the stove. The bath outside on a hook and the netty was shared with folk in the lane. No central heating or bathroom ensuite, no washing machines for laundry neat. No flowers grew on the cobbled stone, cries of canny hinny, fresh lobster and ling. Replaced now by ice cream vans, burger vans and rubbish bins. Life, folk and times absent makes sweet . No familiar faces walk down the street.
So why in my heart do I long for this place, in my heart I'm a fisher wife from Cullercoats bay.
Stories from the Studio
Stories from users of North Tyneside Art Studio, touching on themes of recovery, art, friends and family