Here, at last, we arrive at Christmas 2014 and once more a contented Crambie family relax as, for the 47th year in succession, my dear wife Ruth has served up a truly festive feast at our Lancaster Street home in Bonnie Colne.
As the Christmas candles flicker and glow, son Shaun raises his glass of the finest Martell Cordon Bleu Brandy calling out: “Here’s to us all in 2015”.
Meanwhile, over by the bedecked, twinkling Christmas tree, daughter Janette and Darren are both tucking into the tasty selection of this year’s Christmas cheeses.
As the snow softly falls outside, grandson Nathan sings along to Jona Lewie’s number one Christmas hit, “Stop the cavalry”, while into the room enters Ruth with her famous home-made Christmas-tide trifle to us all cheering loudly.
Now I settle into my cosy armchair with my bottle of Captain Morgan rum and a box of the finest chocolate marzipan just as the classic Christmas film “It’s a Wonderful Life” begins on our TV screen. My eyes slowly close as snow comes down on George Bailey’s hometown of Bedford Falls.
Suddenly my eyes open wide as I hear a voice boom out: “Hey four-eyes, over here now”.
A shiver goes down my spine as I see a face from the past. Why here’s Bryan (Coco) Corbridge and with him is his long-time cohort Ian (Fanny) Stansfield!
I stare in amazement as Bryan and Ian come towards me with a huge hat-pin each, as the feeling of deja-vu sweeps over me. I’m off. I remember so well my big school initiation ceremony many decades ago!
My mind boggles: where am I?
Suddenly I spy a poster in a window nearby which reads: “Primet County Secondary School: the headmaster J.A. Thorn B.A invites all pupils to a grand Christmas party in the school assembly hall on Saturday, December 25th, 1954, at 7pm”.
My head spins. I’ve gone back in time 60 years! Why I’m back at my old school where I had such happy days from 1954 to 1958.
Just then I see over by the air-raid shelter my old classmate Granton Burrows. Why, he’s holding the very same canary-yellow Pifco transistor radio when we both heard for the very first time in this very same school yard the now truly transcendent sound of “Rock around the clock” by Bill Haley and his Comets.
Our joy in hearing this two minutes and eight seconds rock and roll masterpiece changed our lives forever.
As Granton leaps around on top of the air-raid shelter I see a familiar figure coming towards me. Why, here’s dear old Mr Dowson, our much-loved science teacher. Oh how we laughed when he blew up the science lab!
Now over by the bike-sheds I see an old leather-case ball being kicked around by a dozen or so first-yearers. My eyes widen as I recognise my classmates from 60 years ago! Here’s my great pals Trevor Riddiough and Graham White. I smile as I remember the japes we had in class.
Also here are Gordon Ellis, Trevor Lonsdale, Keith Gibbons, David Heaton and Keith Carradice. Within a few years these talented Primet School Boys would become the nucleus of the all-conquering Colne Dyamoes.
As I wander near to the girls’ quadrangle, I suddenly see three fourth-form school girls. Here’s Joan Hodson, Iris Conway and Glenis Mackriel. I’m blown away seeing these stunning girls again. Later all three would become gorgeous beauty queens.
Now I spot more faces from the past. Why here’s David Walker, who would play football for both Burnley and Southampton, Jimmy Wild at just 17, the Lancashire Cricket League’s youngest ever “double” winner with Colne CC in 1959 and Barrie Gibbons, the first captain and indeed the very first goalscorer for Colne Dynamoes in 1963.
I’m seeing more now over by woodwork class as a time-honoured Mr Sharples looks out from his domain. Here’s Jack (Smiler) Pickup, Norman (Tinker) Stevenson, Allen (Oola) Braithwaite, Morris (Moss) Hartley, Dougie (Ned) Bourne and the greatest Primet character of them all, David (Codder) Cutler!
I’m smiling at how much joy I have recalling all these wonderful Primeters when suddenly my smile turns into a huge beam. Over by the main gates I can see my classmate of yesteryear Rita Pearson, who at the fourth-form 1957 Christmas party danced with me to the number one hit “Tammy” by Debbie Reynolds. It was just sublime.
Now as I rush over to give Rita a hug, who I hadn’t seen since we left school at 15 in 1958, I’m suddenly startled by a loud shout: “Geoff, behind you!” I look up to see who’s calling out and there at the top of the school’s 60ft high water tower waving their navy-blue school caps are my old classmates Roy (Granny) Greenwood and Graham (Kipper) Capstick who both yell out: “Run, Geoff, run!”
I look behind me to see a nightmare scenario: coming for me are all the Primet Secondary School staff from my “rock and roll” years there from 1954 to 1958! Here’s Mr Richardson with his extra whippy cane, then following on are Mr Peel, Mr Bannister and Mr Brindle, all with leather straps in hand. Mr Proctor’s next, complete with a gym plimsoll, and here is Mr Wharton with his trusty cricket bat and here’s Miss Atkinson with her hardwood ruler. Miss Briggs and her blackboard rubber is followed by Miss Edmundson, Miss Foulds, Miss Ashton and Miss Martindale, all with pens and paper for 200 lines of “I must not fall asleep in class!”
Still running, now over to the school allotments where I glance behind to see our school caretakers Mr Wright and Mr Cox, one wielding a broom, the other a mop and here’s Mr French, our school groundsman, who’s holding a long rake, followed by the school head cook Mrs Rollinson, who’s brandishing a pretty large rolling pin! I’m now legging it over Wackersall Railway Bridge when suddenly a balloon explodes behind me!
”Wake up Grandad; George Bailey’s made it back home”, Nathan shouts to me.
I look round and see all my dear family round me.