A Boy's Own Dale
This is another of the books
I bought last summer at The Little Ripon Bookshop. I am such a slow
reader these days, it takes me almost a year to get through a small
pile. That has to do with two things: 1. My eyes are not as good
anymore as to allow me hours of reading before lights out. 2. I read
on my kindle while on the train or elsewhere, and physical books are
mostly kept for bedtime reading.
"A Boy's Own Dale"
consists of Terry Wilson's memoirs, describing his childhood in the
1950s in Settle, a small town in Yorkshire.
Many people see this now as
an enchanted time, a "golden" past where and when
everything and everyone was, somehow, simpler and therefore better.
Of course we all know it
wasn't like that; there was no such thing as the good old times.
For many who lived their
(adult) lives in those years, post-war Britan (like most post-war countries in Europe) largely meant hard work for little money and conservative role models to
adhere to with hardly any personal free time or room for the individual
life styles we so appreciate today.
Still, for a little boy like
Terry, it was his childhood, and a good one at that.
Yes, he worked hard at
school, especially once he became eligible for the prestigious school
in the next town. "Not the gas works for him", his Grandma
said when he passed the entrance exam.
But Terry loved the
outdoors, and outside school, nearly all his activities are set
He often went out on his
own, disappearing all day until tea time, and nobody was worried -
different times indeed.
Unlike many children nowadays
who spend more time indoors than out, either watching TV or playing
computer games, with sports often happening only in the organised
manner of a club or at school, Terry was always out and about. He
shot, he fished, he grew his own vegetables (and fetched prizes at
local shows for them) and did a hundred other things without ever
I bet he was not overweight
and plagued by allergies like so many children today.
It was an enjoyable read,
easy to imagine the places and people the author described, without
making me want to turn back time and live in those days.
Terry Wilson died in 2015 at