A new addition to the family arrived as a small bundle of fur just before Christmas 1950.  Bobby became an inseparable mate during our school years and Bobby and I ‘left home’ together on a number of occasions. He was my confessor and Bobby loved me back unconditionally. He was pretty scruffy and his pet hate was policemen on bikes. His favourite activity was to roll in the horse dung left behind by the milk cart, especially if he had just had a bath.

Bobby – oil on chrome leather – 20/12/1955

He was part Old English Sheep Dog and an assortment of other doubtful breeds. We often walked to Pallister Park to give him a good run. The second time we took him to the park and let him off the lead, Bobby took off across the field and disappeared. We looked frantically for him everywhere with no luck. Eventually we gave up and went home without him, broken-hearted, wondering what to tell Mam and Dad. As we rounded the corner of Hymers Street, Bobby met me with his tail wagging furiously.

One day at the park he followed me up the steps to the top of the big slide. I slid down expecting Bobby to follow. He just stood there confused. Stupidly I called out “Come!” He followed the command instantly and leapt from the top. He landed with a crunch then limped to me, wagging his tail, with blood trickling from his nose.

In the summer, if the weather was fine, Mam let me, Coral and Bobby take the train from Cargo Fleet Station to Redcar. After a spot on the sand was reserved with towels and bags, usually close to a family group, the three of us raced for the sea. Bobby loved the water but was afraid of the breakers. He was frantic if I went swimming out past the breakers and he barked furiously. On one occasion his concern for me overcame his fear. With sheepdog instinct he leaped through the waves and swam out to me and rounded me up. When we emerged from the sea I was covered in scratches down my side from Bobby’s claws where he had pushed me towards the beach.

Perry Como – ‘A, You’re Adorable’ 1950
A, you’re adorable
B, you’re so beautiful
C, you’re a cutie full of charms
D, you’re a darling and
E, you’re exciting
F, you’re a feather in my arms


Bobby’s aversion  to the boys in blue got him into trouble on more than one occasion. Tommy answered the loud aggressive knocking on the front door that had all the hallmarks of the law. A large policeman entered the room. We had just finished dinner and were seated around the fire.

“Is that your dog in the street? He’s just had a go at me,” he said sternly.

“He really is harmless – he just barks,” replied Dad, apologetically.

“It’s a dangerous dog and should be put down,” he answered.

Coral recalls

 The policeman wanted the dog licence and Mam got into an awful tizzy trying to find it, bearing in mind that we didn’t always have one. We were crying ‘cos he was saying the dog should be put down. Ray shouted at the policeman saying that “One of you must have kicked him at some time or he wouldn’t go for them” . Of course Mam told Ray to shut you up so as not to antagonise the bloody bully any further.

I was sitting on the floor by the fire and instantly burst into tears. “He doesn’t bark at anyone else, just policemen. One of you must have kicked him or something,” I sobbed.

The policeman was taken aback by my defiant comment. “Many in the force have pet dogs, that wouldn’t be true!” he replied indignantly.

“Well why doesn’t he like you then?” I answered through the tears.

My reaction seemed to unsettle the policeman who paused, then added gruffly: “Well keep an eye on him in future,” before retreating back into the street.

Franky Laine – ‘Rose Rose I Love You’  1951
Rose, Rose I love you
With an aching heart
What is your future
Now we have to part

Next: General election 1952

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