Reflecting, as it were, upon a strange phenomenon – and not just sunshine at Consett – the column two weeks ago noted that spectators had to swap sides during an Ebac Northern League game up there after being dazzled by the glare from the synthetic pitch.

Hadn’t there, we wondered, been an incident during one of Durham’s early first class cricket fixtures – at Gateshead Fell, memory suggested – in which play was suspended because of the glare from a car windscreen behind the bowler’s arm?

Don Clarke thought not – “no public car parking at the Fell ground” – though he recalled the setting sun stopping play during a Durham match at Old Trafford – “ironically after rain had stopped play earlier in the day.”

The revered Tim Wellock, long the Echo’s man in the county press box, also doubts the Fell version but recalls an incident at Chester-le-Street in 1998 in the days that Newcastle United trained on an adjacent pitch and the sun beamed back brightly from John Barnes’s Toyota Lexus. He had to be summoned to shift it.

“In the same game,” Tim recalls, “a six by Wasim Akram smashed a headlight of a car parked next to the cabin we used in those days.

“It belonged to Radio Lancashire’s John Gwynne, better known for his darts commentaries, who dashed out and shook his fist at Wasim.”

Refulgently reminiscing, Don Clarke remembers being at the Riverside in those neighbourly days when the guy in front of him was being photographed at length. It proved to be another Magpie, Rob Lee – “being photographed from all angles for the mystery guest spot in A Question of Sport.”

The blog, bless it, has been recalling the great parliamentary debate in 1960 in which Houghton-le-Spring MP Billy Blyton – later Baron Blyton of South Shields – spoke forcefully about the menace of tic-tacking in 5s and 3s and successfully argued that it was a game of skill (“much more than chess.”)

It prompted Don Clarke – again – to recall that, upon ennoblement, the long-time former miner was approached by the College of Arms about a suitable crest. He asked for a pint of brown ale quartered with a greyhound rampant, crossed darts and a miner’s lamp.

Told that it wouldn’t be possible, he cheerfully retorted that he’d keep his £300.

Ralph Alderson, whose funeral was held last Friday, had in his time been both chairman of Barton Cricket Club – Darlington and District League – and for almost ten years of Northallerton Town FC, in the Northern League. He’d also been a churchwarden in both places.

“He would have hated all this,” said Fiona Mawer-Jones, Northallerton’s vicar, a reference not to death – to which few may much look forward – but to funereal fuss.

Ralph, 86, was one of the Swaledale Aldersons, of whom there have been a great many. Born in Reeth, a canny goalkeeper by every account, he served in the Royal Signals, became a police officer and later a Lloyd’s Bank man. He also supported Manchester United.

He was, said the vicar, both a gentleman and a gentle man. They played him in to Swaledale, a national anthem up there, and out again to Nat King Cole, Autumn Leaves.

Believing that their support increases as Boro’s declines, Stockton Town FC were well represented at Whitley Bay last Saturday – one of the flags declaring them to be the “Sherry barmy army.” It should not be assumed that the boys have taken to the fortified wine, however.. They’re from the Sheraton pub and, perhaps happily, are sticking to the beer.

Last week’s column noted that former Sunderland manager Peter Reid had used the f-word 75 times – and never mind all the others – in a 30-minute speech in Newcastle. That same morning, the Guardian carried an interview with the gentleman.

The air, it said, turned “royally blue” when Boris Johnson appeared on television while they’d been talking.

The Guardian uses language that the Backtrack column wouldn’t care to. Suffice that the old Evertonian believes the old Etonian to be overweight, mendacious and spurious (or words to that effect.)

Still on Merseyside, last week’s report on the Lower Breck v Shildon FA Vase match recalled the 1967 hit Thank You Very Much and wondered – like many before – about the “Aintree iron” for which Scaffold were so very grateful.

Mike Floate reckons his “racing obsessed” grandfather thought the Aintree iron a type of whip; Alan Macnab believes it more likely to have been the stirrups.

Suggestions via the blog have ranged from famous cast iron urinals made by the Aintree Iron Company to the local name for the Edge Hill railway sidings. There’ve been many more, ferrous and against us.

Mike McCartney, who wrote Scaffold’s only hit, has always refused to say what he was on about it. He simply insists that everyone’s wrong.

We reported on October 26 that former Quakers directors Peter Ellis and Gordon Hodgson wanted to sell their “Darlington” steam engine nameplate – a replica but made at the same brass foundry as the originals and correct in every detail. It’s now listed in next Tuesday’s sale at Thomas Watson’s auction house in the town – guide price between £2,000-£4,000.

and finally, the three football men who’ve clocked up 400 or more top flight matches as both player and manager (Backtrack, November 2) are Steve Bruce, Mark Hughes and Sir Bobby Robson.

Michael Rudd in Bishop Auckland today invites readers to name the last player to sign for Sunderland straight from Newcastle United. Another short journey and the column returns next week.