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  • Theo Chatzakis

Reflecting on the Past

I've been told that writing a blog is as easy as falling off a bike. Having fallen off and crashed several two wheeled machines I don't think it is. My first job was to find out what a blog actually is. It seems that it's a ramble through someone's daily diary a bit like Samuel Pepys but with spelling mistakes and no grammar. Sounds ideal for me and my 15 year old computer.

My history with UBU started when Northern Life Care first started.

In those days none of us needed a police check to go into the houses and we often popped in to see people and have a cup of tea, cook the bonfire night bbq or even on one occasion came up from York and cooked Sunday lunch when they ran out of staff. We met and chatted with some lovely people who lived there, Graham who had an amazing memory for registration numbers and always greeted us with a list of both our cars and the lovely lady who insisted on doing a member of staffs (who still works for ubu today) ironing and could fold a sweater down to the size of a fluffy dice. (She wore smaller sweaters in those days).

In this over-regulated world in which we now live I can't see people being supported being allowed the freedom to go out and wander around the park or the town and know someone would bring them back home. We've just been chatting about disabled people and wondering where they were when we went to school. Neither of us can remember anyone with a mental or physical problem at school. Did we care for our own? I don't think they came into my consciousness until my daughter went into the business.

I came into a very different world in 1946 which in history is only a blink of an eye but in my history is almost a lifetime. Which takes me back to my earliest memories which start somewhere about the coronation (Elizabeth II), not Victoria. I can remember a bit of what happened about that time like the end of sweet rationing and falling off a wall and breaking my arm and cutting my head open but please don't ask me what I did yesterday.

At that time we lived in a railway house which was supplied for employees who worked on the line and usually situated next to the track and in the middle of nowhere. Our nowhere was a small collection of houses surrounding the railway station at East Cowton near Northallerton.

The house consisted of two up and two down with one bedroom for mum and dad and the other for us two boys which subsequently became three. The two downstairs were a scullery where the laundry was done and consisted of a 'copper' which was a receptacle into which we put water and a fire underneath to heat it. After boiling for a while it went into a tub called a dolly tub where it was pressed up and down with a poss, a bell-shaped thing on a broomstick..

Next came the mangle, two rollers turned by a wheel to squeeze out the water. We had no running water, electricity, or heating. We collected water in buckets from a tender in the rail sidings, light was kerosene lamps and heat and cooking was courtesy of a fire and range in the living room. Needless to say this was only done when absolutely necessary. The toilet was a shed in the yard with a wooden plank across a hole under which was a metal container into which it all dropped. This was collected by the Night Soil Man, a local farmer who then spread it on the land which grew the spuds which he sold back to us. Kind of getting your own back!

Times have changed so much for us through the decades how have they for you? …


Why not, sit back and read more about some of our great successes.

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