On reflection I don’t think I could have picked a better time to have been alive. I managed to dodge World War Two by a whisker being born in 1946, although if the land mine the Germans dropped on Potters Lane bless ‘em, had hit me mam’s house, things might have been somewhat different.
I just missed the last trams running along the Foreshore, although I did see the tracks being ripped up which was quite sad. It was as if they were killing the last remnants of the Victorian era off, an era which gave us so much. I would have loved to have met a Victorian lady - still, never mind.
I have little recollection of the cold freeze of 1946, although I did witness the great storm of 1953 which killed such a lot of people along the East Coast. I remember all the railings on the Marine Drive were twisted and bent, and a lot were missing. The beach chalets on the North Side were smashed to matchwood too, and Monkey Island where we played was washed away, and incredibly, the huge stones from the Corner Cafe wall, which must have weighed two or three tons apiece, were bowled up the road and into Peasholm Lake like pebbles, such was the ferocity and the volume of water involved.
It was a great shame as a young boy to see Gala Land being demolished, and later the South Bay Pool, both symbolic of a wonderful bygone era. I was lucky to have been part of it all.
I managed to get through the Sixties, arguably the most divisive and derisive decade without too much trouble, although many of its traits I believe have not enhanced society, they have corrupted it.
I’ve witnessed the advent of space travel, and actually seen a man stand on the moon I think. I’ve seen the pace of life increase, to such an extent it’s mind boggling. Indeed, as I’ve progressed through my life, I’ve seen technology evolve all around me everyday.
Faster cars, faster aeroplanes, faster trains, faster this and faster that. I’ve seen the introduction of computers and mobile phones, but sadly I’ve also seen the rise of selfishness and greed, and the demise of the family, and the community, along with many of the morals and ideals I was brought up to believe in.
I’ve seen off 16 prime ministers, and 12 American presidents, but thank God I haven’t seen off good old ‘Lizzie’, and in truth I hope I never do.
I am so privileged to have known so many good people, and have no doubt, having taken the pill on my 70th birthday, will go to my grave giving thanks for my time on this beautiful planet.