Me and my Dad by Sylvia

Me and my Dad
Sylvia Rice-Oxley (Nee Iceton) born 1948

In those days, in the 50s and early 60s, we lived on the A66 half way between Scotch Corner and Brough, on a big corner where there was many and accident. I remember a butter lorry coming off the road and we had half a barrel of butter which lasted for ages! Dad had helped at the accident.

About a mile up the road was Rokeby Church, not far from Barnard Castle. My older brother and I and later on, our younger sister, walked from home to Sunday School in the Church, led by our elderly vicar. I don’t remember much about the Sunday School except for an argument with a friend about who was the oldest! But I do remember a Harvest Festival when I stood next to my Dad in a packed church singing the traditional Harvest hymns. My brother was standing next to the organ pulling the arm which worked the bellows, up and down, up and down throughout the music. Dad had a warm tenor voice and I remember being proud of standing next to him and trying to keep up with the hymns.

One of my earliest memories is at a Christmas Party put on by the community for local children, and there seemed to be lots of them, mainly offspring of farmers and farmhands. I was maybe three or four years old and sitting with my mam in the big school room. Dad had gone to school there as a boy. I don’t remember the tea or the games, but at subsequent parties we played spin the plate when one child spun the plate and called out a name. Then that child had to run to catch the plate before it fell. Another game at Harvesttime was catching apples in the mouth hanging from a long line and seeing which child could catch theirs first. Sometimes the apples would be put in a bucket of water and each child tried to catch one in their mouth, hand behind their backs.

Sitting next to my mother in the old School Room there was suddenly the loud sound of the old school bell being rung and the door in the corner being opened. A large figure dressed in a red suit with a black belt, a bushy white beard and a sack over his back appeared. He proceeded to ring the bell loudly and walked to the other side of the Hall. Childrens’ names were called out and each child went and received a gift from the figure. When my name was called I wouldn’t go because I was scared. My mother kept pushing my forward and telling me to go, but I still wouldn’t go. then she pulled me to her and said” Go on. It’s only your dad dressed up! I wasn’t sure I believed her but gingerly crept towards the figure in red sitting down with his bag open and full of presents. He smiled and me and I looked and looked. I took the present and ran back to mam, still not sure as to the identity of this strange figure.

Me and my Dad
by Sylvia Rice-Oxley
In those days, in the 50s and early 60s, we lived on the A66 half way between Scotch Corner and Brough, on a big corner where there was many and accident. I remember a butter lorry coming off the road and we had half a barrel of butter which lasted for ages! Dad had helped at the accident.

About a mile up the road was Rokeby Church, not far from Barnard Castle. My older brother and I and later on, our younger sister, walked from home to Sunday School in the Church, led by our elderly vicar. I don’t remember much about the Sunday School except for an argument with a friend about who was the oldest! But I do remember a Harvest Festival when I stood next to my Dad in a packed church singing the traditional Harvest hymns. My brother was standing next to the organ pulling the arm which worked the bellows, up and down, up and down throughout the music. Dad had a warm tenor voice and I remember being proud of standing next to him and trying to keep up with the hymns.

One of my earliest memories is at a Christmas Party put on by the community for local children, and there seemed to be lots of them, mainly offspring of farmers and farmhands. I was maybe three or four years old and sitting with my mam in the big school room. Dad had gone to school there as a boy. I don’t remember the tea or the games, but at subsequent parties we played spin the plate when one child spun the plate and called out a name. Then that child had to run to catch the plate before it fell. Another game at Harvesttime was catching apples in the mouth hanging from a long line and seeing which child could catch theirs first. Sometimes the apples would be put in a bucket of water and each child tried to catch a bobbing apple in their mouth, hands behind their backs.

Sitting next to my mother in the old School Room there was suddenly the loud sound of the old school handbell being rung and the door in the corner being opened. A large figure dressed in a red suit with a black belt, a bushy white beard and a sack over his back appeared. He proceeded to ring the bell loudly and walked to the other side of the Hall. Childrens’ names were called out and each child went and received a gift from the figure. When my name was called I wouldn’t go because I was scared. My mother kept pushing me forward and telling me to go, but I still wouldn’t go. then she pulled me to her and said” Go on. It’s only your dad dressed up! I wasn’t sure I believed her but gingerly crept towards the figure in red, sitting down with his bag open full of presents. He smiled at me and I looked and looked. I took the present and ran back to mam, still not sure as to the identity of this strange figure.