Racing pigeons was the hobby of a few

There was Mounter, Poulter and Longstaff too.

Were their wives pigeon widows? We daren’t push it,

But could they tell a chequed hen from a cushet.

Quoits was another hobby you’d find

And Freddy Gibson’s name springs to mind.

Mainsforth Row allotments, a popular site

Smell of garden fires and fresh horse sh***

With greenhouses and pigeon lofts

And hen crees and chesty coughs,

But the strong winds here would cause some times

For a hen to lay the same egg three times.

IN May 2018, our Page in History came from the Geordie Telegraph, a newspaper created in the pitmatic dialect by Dave Griffin, of Ferryhill. He drew cartoons and wrote stories and rhymes.

Dave, who started in Mainsforth Colliery as a wages clerk in 1957, has now published a book of humorous poems, anecdotes and cartoons about life in a County Durham mining community.

Dave, 78, has a most peculiar memory. Although he left the colliery in 1966, he can remember about a thousand names of miners and their pay number.

This is because in the late 1950s, he was off work with Asiatic flu and, bored to tears, wrote down as much of the wages ledger as he could recall. When back at work, he discovered he’d had almost total recall. The names remain with him, and make the last chapter of the book.

It is available for £3 from Dave (£5 to include post). Email or phone 01740-653591.

Here's the story of a chap who was always tinkering with his car:

Belt fitter Bob Jones loved his car

It must have been the oldest in town by far.

He had a black 1952 Morris Minor

And to Bob there was nothing finer.

When asked why he didn’t get one more up to date

He’d say: “Not until this one’s paid for, mate!”

To Bob, the car’s maintenance was recreation

And FFV 176 was its registration.


And finally, right on cue, here's Dave's story about a chapwho wasn't very good on the beize after a few beers:

Now one miner was called Syd Gray

And we’re sure he worked hard for his pay,

But if Syd played snooker, you didn’t go near

In case one of the balls ended up in your beer.

See, when Syd was having a pint of jollup

He’d give the balls a real good wallop,

So it was wise to wear a safety helmet

In case one of the balls dislodged the pelmet.