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January 18, 2008


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Dr. Jules

A doctor writes:

It is a well-known medical condition that you have been suffering from: foodboozebloodylovelyitis. You can't get enough and you're not alone.

I myself was a skinny kid. I also lived up north and one would have thought the diet of fish and chips and chip butties and Tizer and Mars bars etc would have piled on the pounds but they did not.

Age is cruel in many departments, a tendency to put on weight being one of them.

Exercise in itself will not see you lose weight. Trust me, I'm a doctor. No, my advice is to give up food entirely and just drink vodka. You will lose weight but after the first week you won't care either way.

Bill Taylor

I tried this last year for three months, with a report once a week in the Toronto Star (and a very embarrassing video on our website that I think is still up on YouTube somewhere)to keep me honest. It didn't produce any lasting results. But I had my three-yearly annual physical a few weeks ago and my doctor, bless her, told me that while I could stand to lose a few pounds I shouldn't sweat it (literally or otherwise). Blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol level were all good and I get a reasonable amount of fairly strenuous exercise. As she said, taking weight off is one thing but keeping it off is another and yo-yoing up and down is not healthy. So work out by all means but don't go all obsessive on us.
Meanwhile, I have fading (but still quite vivid) memories of you in the yard of King James I as possibly the world's youngest (and skinniest) bookie.


How about some stuff from the lads who went "Downstairs" ? all you grammar school lot got things like chemistry sets for xmas (like that overacheiver out of Albert st) the downstairs boys got what shildon shops could provide, that is, what god did not, so maybe that was the problem at tunnel top?

Colin Randall

I'm sure you have a watertight alibi Bassy. Not getting a chemistry set for Christmas would have been thin mitigation otherwise.
ps my first job was at Shildon Shops where men in certain trades (eg toolmakers, fitters) earned a bit more than a cutting room manager at Northern Clothing

Bill Taylor

It would be an implausibly happy coincidence if your 11-year-old assailants turned out to be the same trio whom in later years you trounced after they taunted you on the steps of the Waltzer at Shildon shows. You presumably had by then gained a little beef to back up your derring-do.


I popped over from Dumdad's place and I have to say I love your blog! I'll be back to read more, Salut North is on my favourites now. :)


I came here by way of Dumdad and enjoyed reading some of your older posts. You have the natural gift of a story teller and I enjoyed myself tremendously and therefor can't wait for the next installment. I have bookmarked your page and come by here every day to see if there is anything new yet. Your stories are wonderful and well told and draw you in as if you were witness to them yourself. I imagine you telling them with some wonderful British accent (I am from the Netherlands myself), although I don't really know what that accent would be. I'll see if I can find out about that on your blog somewhere. Please keep the stories coming, as I am hunkering for them. There is nothing like some entertaining literature to start the day with, and I do mean you!

Colin Randall

Thank you......Irene et al. Please see my new posting

Dave Williams

As entertaining as ever Colin.
Came across this whilst looking for the colour that Shildon FC play in as I'm off up there tonight to see them play Bish., First time for 40 years or more.
Will send this link to our old Geog teacher, George Dixon who I'm sure will appreciate it.
All the best marra

Joseph Stubbs

Re Bassy's comments, I’d like to point out that some of the “downstairs boys” did go on to better things despite the beckoning of steady work at Shildon Shops and the local mines.

Anyone remember Bob Whittaker? Who sat next to Geoff Carnan in the E stream under the tender mercies of J Wynne. Bob was last heard of as the owner and executive producer of Orion TV. There’s also a couple of other millionaires I can think of who emerged from the underworld that was SBM.

Unlike your man from Albert Street Bob’s journalistic and business skills have taken him away from the North East and the groundhog days of the Echo, where the same bits of local “news” have been recycled through the John North column with the regularity of an Andrews junkie. I’ve heard of professional northerners but a “Professional Shildoner”; Walter Nunn & Percy Douthwaite not withstanding. As a junior reporter was once heard to loudly proclaim from the back room of the Red Lion “writing about food isn’t journalism”.

Still it looks like a family business there with “our lass” employed and recently the young un (who went to one of the top five uni’s you know). Now’t shy about these folk? Bit like the Shops when you think about it. If your father worked there -----. Still if Alan Coren can do it for Giles on the nationals why not.

I don’t there’s been much over achievement, apart from a smart move to an upwardly mobile area of North Yorks; just the steady plod of a hack when compared to a life of his contemporary “downstairs boy”.

Bob Whittaker

To the Shildon gang including Geoff Randall, Mike Amos and Geoff Carnan my former best friend. I'd like to point out that contrary to what Joe Stubbs says above I am NOT a millionaire and have not left the North East. Though come to think of it I must be quite rich as I have a house in Northumberland and one in Kent.But I'm still poverty stricken compared to Randall.

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