Inside this issue:

Just me and my mates
This is the story of a true Northwold man. A man whose life has revolved round his friends, his family and his love for the village. He left briefly and moved as far away as Whittington. He married a 'foreigner' - one Janice from Foulden. When their Jason and Sarah came along he took a risk on a bigger house, bigger business and moved back to Northwold. Now, he's at everyone's beck and call because he is Graeme Victor Cooper - electrician extraordinaire!
'I was born at my grandmother's house in Northwold. St. Andrew's Close. So, I'm a  village boy. I'm 45 now, and I don't look a day over 30 do I? My father was a bus driver for Carter's buses that used to be just down by Riverside, and mother was a schoolteacher at Methwold Secondary School. She taught Domestic Science. Everyone from school knew her as Ma Cooper'.
'The first school we went to was Hall Lane - that was the first house in the lane after the Village Hall. You would have to go across to Norman School for your dinner and then back for your lessons. There were about 15 of us there at the time. One teacher. I'm talking about when I was 5 and that.
Then we changed over to the other school, Norman School, but obviously that was before there was the big classrooms on the front and the toilets were still outside and there was no playing fields there either in those days. The playing field used to be where the bungalows are now up Church Lane.'
What else was there to do when you were little?

Duke and David Backmann.' 
Out of school?
'You'd just bike down to the Chapel Corner, right outside my house now, and everybody'd congregate and we'd go off and do something. We'd make it up ourselves, we didn't ask anybody.'
Kids all sit in front of the computer or the television nowadays, and they don't want to do nothing. If they had to do like we did, they'd go out and find something to do, wouldn't they?
I used to skive off school some days to work for Eric Kemp who'd taken over Catlin's butchers shop. I had a trade bike and I used to go all round the houses on a Friday and a Saturday delivering the meat. You'd just open the back door and there'd be a plate there and you'd put the meat on the plate. There was a bit of greaseproof paper round it and that was it. I used to get a couple of quid a week for that.
Funnily enough that job helped me do a school project on Northwold, 'cos I knew every house and who lived there and where they worked as well. I even knew how many vehicles they had - cars, tractors, lorries. That was a good project to do.'
(The school project is still in tact, if a little battered, and shows all the houses, shops, buildings and farms, old and new, circa 1971. It's a remarkable document. Even the number of car passing on the A134 between 9.00am and 10.00am are noted. It ought to be laminated before it crumbles. Any offers?)
'They were good days. Colin Ambrose taught me how to make sausages, you know. Eric Kemp showed me how to cut a piece of meat up and how to gut a chicken. John Haylock and Henry

'We use to go swimming at Didlington river. We'd all congregate there in the summer. Everybody used to go swimming by the second bridge. I don't know who it used to belong to. Crikey, there'd perhaps be 20 or 30 of you up there. So many you could go on forever if you named them - from about 8 years old to 16. No one came to look after us. You could perhaps be up there all day. You didn't bother about whether you were hungry or not. We just used to swim or jump off the banks and off the bridges. All the things you shouldn't do - we done. That was how it was wasn't it? I don't remember there being no trouble - ever. They were brilliant days - better than what these kids do nowadays - a hell of a lot better - never bored, never dissatisfied. We used to make up our own fun.'
'Some days you'd go round Margaret and Rex's (Osbournes) and there'd be a gang of boys and girls come round there. Everybody just mixed. She'd bung you something to eat. She was marvellous - she was brilliant with us. I don't know where she got all the food from. She had her seven and there'd perhaps be five extra of us round there, too. You'd just turn up, wouldn't you?'
'I took my 11 plus and ended up at Methwold Secondary School. What was I best at? Nothing. Nothing at all. I didn't enjoy sport. I enjoyed metal work I enjoyed car maintenance. Exams? Well, I got about a 10 in maths, a 5 in English - (laughs) nothing very good at all. We all just used to have fun. I got the cane one time. Old Drew Muir gave me the cane. I was about 14, I suppose. We'd upset the groundsman I think, I can't remember exactly what for. Just me and me mates. Me, Stephen Eyles, John Waring, Stephen

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