Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Men At Work - Down Under




MEN AT WORK - Down Under


My first job never lasted very long. I was eleven and I agreed to do an older boys paper round for a couple of mornings. I received the large heavy bag of newspapers and had to put them through the letter box of each  house ready for them to read with their breakfast.

It was windy and then it started to rain, then pour,  I was soaked I dropped the bag the wind caught the newspapers and they all swept up into the air and disappeared all down the street. I had enough, I just went home almost in tears and I never went back.

I was thirteen when I started in a Grocers shop and ever since that time I have never been unemployed until I retired at the age of 60. I think the wage was equivalent to about £1 and for that I worked a couple of hours after school and all day Saturday. It effectively finished my football career. 
I was Captain of the first eleven and played right half in these days. Nowadays that would be a mid-fielder.

The Boss was pretty tough and did not take any nonsense but for some reason I quite liked him. There was a big shed at the back of the shop where backup groceries were kept. I found half bottles of whiskey hidden behind boxes.  It was well known that the Boss was an alcoholic.  My mate Hugh, who also worked there would often hide these bottles in different locations.  If only we could have seen his confused face when he went for his top up..

The girls in the shop had this control over us. They knew what Customers were the good tippers, as we did and we would have to suck up to them so we would get best tips. If you were not in favor then it could make a big difference in the tips you earned. Tips were very important as I had to give my Mother half of my wage. She had no control over the tips. If you get my drift.

My Brother Cliff  who was 11 years older than me bought me a little transistor radio with a single ear phone.  It revolutionized my life and it never left my ear all the time I was delivering the groceries. Music on the go. Music while you work.  Saturday morning you had Children's favorites followed by Saturday Club. Guests were the Beatles and the Stones and all the up and coming new Bands. I loved it. You will have to remember the quality was not nearly as good as we have today but I did not know any better.

Christmas was the best time as we made a lot in tips although we worked long hours. I always had money not like most of the kids of my age. But I fear I lost a lot as I was good a sport and was unable to carry it forward  due to working. 

After about a year or so I managed to secure another job at a Bakers in the same street. I now had two jobs. My father would get me up about 10 past 6 in the morning, I would have tea with toast and marmalade. I would be out the door by 25 past 6 in all weathers and reached the Bakers in less than 10 minutes. I would pick up the bags of rolls and quickly set off . I had it down to a fine art. There was one place where I had to go up 3 storey's and the lights were never on. I hated it and just ran up the stairs and threw the rolls and ran to escape the monsters that I am sure lurked up there in the darkness.

I was home just after 7 and went back to my bed where I always listened to a Dylan album on my tape recorder. My ear was next to the speaker so it did not disturb anyone. I quickly fell asleep and would get up again about 20 to 9 to be in School by 9. Sunday, like the bible was my day of rest. Well day of rest from working that is. But I had money in my pocket.  
I remember one day my Dad got me up a little earlier as he knew Cassius Clay was my hero and they were doing a recording of the first Liston fight which happened earlier in the morning.  Clay won.
'He is the greatest, he is the greatest'. I don't remember delivering the rolls that morning I was so excited that Clay had won. 

Part 2 next week

Related Posts

Men At Work - Down Under
4/ 5


31 July 2016 at 08:59

My parents bought me a small transistor radio, similar to the one in the photo, sometime around 1967 or 68. I used to have it under my pillow when I went to bed and I vividly remember freaking myself out with late night ghost stories on what I suppose would have then been the Home Service. I was forever falling asleep with the radio on, much to Mum & Dad's dismay - it must've cost them a fortune in batteries! Later, when I was a little older and getting into music, I'd listen to the famously wayward signal of Radio Luxembourg. Kid Jensen, Paul Burnett, Stuart Henry and of course 'your royal ruler' Tony Prince - happy days. I found that little radio again a few years ago when clearing my parents' house after Mum died. I donated it to a charity shop, but kind of wish that I'd kept it.
(You got tips at a grocers shop? Never heard of that before.)

31 July 2016 at 10:04

TS - Maybe I was not clear what I actually did in the grocer shop. I delivered the groceries to peoples homes on a bike. Good old Radio Lux happy memories.