Dad was progressing with the building of our new home.
Being a “self builder” got him lots of regular attention both from the local newspaper and local politicians. He worked on the house during the day, and then went to work at the Empire Theatre in the evening. Conversely, Mum worked at the Embassy Theatre during the day and came home for the evening.
During those times there were ample piles of sand and stones to play with, and many a happy hour was spent tunneling through a pile of sand and then creating roads. It was on one of these occasions while I was driving my Dinky cars through the tunnels that a little lad stopped near me and said “Hello! My name is Patrick. Can I play?”
He had just moved into a new house further up the road and had no brothers or sisters. His Mum and Dad apparently saw me playing and suggested he come and introduce himself. He went to get some of his cars and I was impressed because, whereas my Dinky cars did not have anything in the window openings, his cars were Corgi’s which had clear plastic windows. He even let me drive his Corgi cars!
It was not too long before I found out that Pat loved train spotting and so we would often meet at Walton Crossing but, even better, his Mum and Dad had a car (we did not) and so they used to take him to other areas of British Railways.
On a few occasions they thought that it would be so nice for Pat if he had a friend who could come with him, and so I had the pleasure of train spotting in Rugby and in Wellingborough with him on a number of occasions.
Pat was also more knowledgeable about our area, relative to trains, than I. He knew that we had locomotive sheds about a 20 minute bike ride away and, if we went on a Sunday, it would be filled with all sorts of locomotives! Of course we were not supposed to be in there but Pat knew a way in so we could “do” New England Sheds!
We walked up and down the rows of locomotives frantically scribbling down the numbers and then we moved to those that were outside the covered sheds. It was not uncommon to hear “Hey! What are you doing there?” at which point we ran as fast as we could back to our exit.
If we were doing really well (not getting noticed) we would climb up into the cabs of some locos. We then had the prestige of knowing that we had “cabbed” certain locomotives! We never did get caught but I suspect that it was by choice. The railway men working there were all boys once and as long as we were only collecting numbers, they were probably not too concerned!