Jacqueline told me (I didn't know) that we got engaged on Christmas Eve of 1960. She still has the ring (see the book Jackson Antiques) but doesn't wear it because it wore thin and she had a new one.

On 24th March 1962 we were married at the same church as my parents:

St Mary's on Bramhall Lane. At this time I was a very keen supporter of Sheffield United and I had not missed a home game for 12 years. Well that came to an end because without realising the wedding date coincided with United playing at home that day. I remember standing in the church at 3pm and hearing the roars of the crowd as they beat Bolton Wanderers 3 - 1.

Just behind the metal door railings in the arched doorway you can just see  black wooded doors. They have a significant memory for me. Our Wedding Reception was to be held in a hall at St Mary's and we had booked Norton Caterers to provided the food and drink.

At 2pm I went down to the church to deliver the wedding cake. I knocked and tried to open these doors to no avail. Panic set in - the caterers should have been there by now. I rushed round to my Uncle Mac's in Clough Road and telephoned the caterers. I was told they WERE there. I went back to the church and this time pushed much harder on the doors. They opened and I found the caterers doing their work. By now it was about 2.30pm and the wedding was at 3pm. When I got home my mother was in a right flap thinking that I had chickened out of the wedding and absconded.

I had still to get ready and just managed to finish when the wedding car arrived:


Being very cautious about taking on a large mortgage we opted for buying a house in Rotherham rather than Sheffield.

In hindsight this was not the wisest thing to do; it would have been better to have obtained the maximum mortgage my salary allowed. Then as the years go by, with promotion the mortgage becomes less of a burden. Also more expensive houses increase in value to a greater extent than less expensive ones, so, when you sell it becomes easier to move up the property ladder. This policy is, however, not an all-win situation because the more you are paying out in mortgage repayments the less disposable income you have to spend on holidays, entertainment etc.

We chose a house on Brinsworth Hall Avenue, Rotherham and moved straight in after our wedding:

The price was £1,800, in early 1962.

I mentioned previously that my mother was a very good friend of Bert and Harry, the owners of the drug store where she worked. Bert wanted to show his appreciation for how he valued my mother and offered us some financial assistance with buying a new home. This assistance was an interest free loan of £400 which we paid back in two years.

In 2008 I went back to the house and took the above photo. The brick gateposts, which I built, and the wrought iron gates we had made were still there.


During my life I experienced 3 academic failures. The first, my 11 + exam I have already mentioned. The second occurred at the Central Technical School. I said I obtained 6 GCE O Levels - here they are:

Well I sat 7 subjects (the maximum we were allowed to sit) and failed one of them - ENGLISH LANGUAGE. Strange I could pass French but not my native tongue.

Not liking to carry a failure against my name, 15 years later IN 1971 I decided to correct it. I enrolled at night school and attended a course at a Brinsworth school building near to the Three Magpies pub. I guess that English had always been my weakest subject ( probably the result of reading too many Enid Blyton children's books when a was young). If you look at the next photo you will see that Spelling was also a problem for me.

My form teacher, Mr Wragg, had obviously spotted this weakness when I was around 9 years old.

I was now determined to improve these failings and put a lot of effort into this course. I think I succeeded because I once had to correct the teacher. He had just marked an essay of mine and I had used the word "Manageable". He had corrected the spelling to Managable. When I asked him why he had crossed the "e" out he said - words ending in e that are given the suffix (ending) "able" lose the "e". I pointed out that this was not the case if the word ended in "ge" or "ce". In these cases the e is retained. He still didn't agree and disappeared, presumably, to the school library. When he returned he apologised and said I was correct.

I subsequently passed the O Level exam and received a book prize, The Concise Oxford Dictionary.


Around this time we upgraded our motor scooter to :

A Lambretta 150cc and joined a local Lambretta Club.

After 2 years in our first house we moved to a slightly bigger one, still at Brinsworth:

November 1964. 10, Godric Drive. 3 bedroom. Cost £2,600.

We had an extension built (planning approved 4th August 1967) to make it 4 bedroom. Cost £640.

In January 1965 Jacqueline was expecting our first child and would be giving up work so it seemed an ideal time to take on a pet. In 1957 whilst visiting houses as a Telephone Engineer I encountered a breed of dog I had never previously seen and I promised myself that one day I would own such a dog.

The nearest place we could find a breeder was Liverpool. We ordered one and went to collect it:


BENNY - our Basenji.


The Basenji is an African hunting dog that was introduced into the UK in the 1930's. It is about the size of a Corgi and has the distinctive features of creases in its forehead and has a curly tail.

The Basenji is the only breed of dog that cannot bark, when excited it makes a sort of yodelling sound. A veterinary surgeon, doing a post-mortem on a Basenji, once exclaimed " This dog couldn't possibly bark but it looks as though it could talk".

Also, as far as I am aware it is the only dog not to pant because it has sweat glands similar to a human. One other aspect is that it has no doggy smell.

What I didn't know before we purchased it was that the breed was not properly domesticated, a fact that gave us many worrying times. As a pup we had few problems other than when it snatched our fish supper from a low coffee table.

When fully grown he was not content to stay in the back garden which I had fenced off. He would escape by leaping over it - so I built it higher. He then forced his way under the wire-netting so I secured it with metal stakes. He then bit his way through the wire-netting.

One day whilst I was cleaning our car a heard a loud voice shout "I'll kill that bloody dog of yours!"

I looked up and saw Benny dragging something down the road. He had been into a neighbour's house, stolen their large Sunday joint and because it was too heavy for him to pick up he was dragging it home.

A short distance from our home several houses were being built. On more than one occasion Jacqueline had to make up replacement sandwiches for the builders. Our Benny would go into their huts and steal their pack-up dinners.

In spite of being small he would pick fights with much bigger dogs and usually come off worse. I would smack him on his backside to try to make him behave but it had no effect because he didn't seem to feel pain.

The Basenji is a very rare breed of dog and one day whilst driving along Bawtry Road we spotted one on its lead. We stopped and when the man saw ours he seemed relieved and said "Are you having any trouble with yours?" He lived with his sister and the dog ruled the house. It would sit in all the best chairs and if they tried to remove it they would get bitten. It would steal food from their plates whilst they were eating - the man's arms were covered in bites. We felt lucky that we had never been bitten once.

I have said that the Basenji can't bark but his ability to yodel was a party trick for visitors. If he heard trumpets this would start him off. MATCH OF THE DAY on TV his favourite. I bought him a record called 633 SQUADRON which we used to put on for visitors.

Basenjis are well known for their intelligence. One evening we were sat in the lounge when Benny pushed the door open and came in. He had in his mouth his heavy water dish which he had brought in from the kitchen. It was empty and he placed it at my feet. He looked at me with eyes that were saying "fill it up please".

Although he never bit us he showed aggression to people approaching our house. I lost count of the number of times I took people to hospital for a tetanus injections after he had bitten them. On another occasion Jackie was afraid when she found him curled up beside our new baby son, Dean, in his carry cot.

After 3 year's of Benny's bad behaviour Jacqueline said she'd had enough. She had to contend with most of the problems whilst I was at work so I reluctantly agreed that Benny would have to go. It was pointless to try and find another owner, that would just hand the problem to someone else. I took him to a Rotherham vet, explained the situation and held him in my arms while he gave him a lethal injection. I returned home and sobbed my heart out for the rest of the day.


Continued, click here: