Wednesday, 22 April 2015


Continuing on the theme of violence....

My Dad worked in the steel industry all his life - at Britannia, Cargo Fleet, Port Clarence and for Cleveland Bridge in Darlington, Dubai, Iraq, Saudi Arabia.

My Dad said: “I met one of the old platers in Darlo. We were talking about Duffy. He was a real rough bugger, worked in the stockyard. Fight anyone. The only bloke he wouldn’t take on was an erector, Davy Walker – ex-paratrooper, hard as nails, came out of South Bank. I said to this Duffy, “If you're so tough how come you’ve never had a go at Walker”. He said, “I’m waiting till he’s past it… And he’s almost past it now.”
"This Duffy, he’d have six, seven pints and his fingers would start curling and flexing, curling and flexing. Blokes saw him doing that, the pub cleared out. The old plater said, “His wife was the only one who could control him. When she was with him everyone could relax. After she died he went berserk.”
My Dad said, "It's a good job he was in his seventies by then, or somebody would really’ve got hurt”.

He says: "It's lucky the stockyard never got to play in that bloody inter-departmental football league."

The inter-departmental football league at Cleveland Bridge only lasted one match. It was the brainchild of a new personnel manager who'd arrived from the south. He had a lot of clever ideas about bonding and team building between the different skill bases in the works. He said, 'If you defence doesn't know who your attack is, then how can you expect to win the game?'

The first and only match in the inter-departmental football league was between the welding bays and accounts.

My Dad said: "It was abandoned midway through the second half when the accounts team was reduced to six men by injuries. Three of them were hospitalised. This big gangly welder that everybody called the Praying Mantis did most of the damage. The Praying Mantis was a bloke who looked like he had twelve elbows, and he wasn't particular about where he stuck them."

"I went down to the welding bays next day. I saw one of the foremen. I said, 'What was all that about yesterday then?" He said, 'I don't rightly know. But I tell you what, I bet it's the last time the fuck up our overtime payments."

That was over twenty years ago, but my Dad still chuckles every time he thinks of it.


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