‘Cup of Tea Tales’ – High Ho Silver Lining Always Got Them on Their Feet. – Summer Nights and the Icy Kiss of Winter Frost. Discos at North Leeds Cricket Club!

Youth clubs were all so well and good, but eventually we progressed beyond them and one local attraction was North Leeds Cricket Club. Now I never played cricket there, but many Roundhay School boys did. The club was ideally located on the edge of the Soldiers’ Field and it had, and probably still does have, a wonderful rural cricket club feel to it. When you were there you had almost no view of any part of the city and yet it was located in the middle of bustling Leeds. From my recent ventures back it appears much as it did in the late 1960s early 1970s. The cricket club comprised of a small single storey building and most of it was taken up by the bar room, changing rooms and toilets. I well remember that one of the changing rooms also housed spare kegs of beer for the bar. It was relaxed and welcoming and in order to raise funds it used to hold regular disco nights for youths in the area. The main attraction of these was that the bar would be open and there was a very, shall we call it, enlightened attitude to age regulations. The bar was always run by middle-aged members and wives, and certainly Roundhay students and guests were welcome. If you looked very young, which I never did, then the most they did was not allow you personally to buy alcoholic beverages, but they turned a blind eye on others buying them for you. The boys would mostly drink pints of lager or bitter. The girls tended to drink lager and lime, or lager and blackcurrant, both of which are a strange combination.

North Leeds Cricket Club

The big advantage for me and many others was that we lived in the locality, but some of our friends did come from Alwoodley, which made it less handy for them. As it was, I could walk there in about thirty minutes and walk home through Oakwood and Gipton Woods in probably forty-five minutes. Why the discrepancy in time, you may well ask? Well, by the end of the evening my walking would be less direct and my wandering gait could probably add almost half the distance again. The other reason was that, if lucky, I may well have to go off my route and escort a young lady home and then head back. Oh, the days of chivalry! Well that was how I hoped it appeared, but I may have had ulterior motives.

David Cameron · I’m Leaving

The track above was written by Peter Selby with imput from John Baker, David Cameron and David Bellwood. It was recorded on a cassette player during rehearsals at Leeds Polytechnic on a Sunday afternoon in 1977. The band at this time was called the Men From Planet X and comprised of John, Peter and David from Atlantis, and David Bellwood and friends.

The events were always well attended by pupils from Roundhay Boys’ and Girls’ Schools and most people seemed to know each other, even if just by sight. Payment was made at the door which was manned by a member of the club, usually a sixth former or two. After paying, the top of the hand was stamped so that you could wander out and back in without having to pay again. This was fairly essential as the temperature inside the club, with a crowd of drinking and dancing teenagers could reach levels only found in Scandinavian saunas set on overload. The heat was matched by the noise. The music and forced shouted conversations strained even the loudest patrons and eventually the quiet and peace of the outside world was a truly essential break. In summer the atmosphere was heavenly, soft insect calls and the gentle buzz of the traffic on Princes Avenue and maybe the occasional car on Old Park Road. There was the scent of cut grass and blossom from the flowering trees. Of course you experienced this only if you mentally blocked out the thumping bass of whatever track was pumping out of the club. In winter the air could cut the throat like a knife and clouds of mist escaped the mouths of any standing outside. The contrast with the heat of the inside couldn’t have been any more extreme and I remember gazing up at the myriad stars. Sometimes though, a thick fog would obscure the view of the road and the sounds were muffled and even more distant. Couples and groups would huddle together to maintain their core temperature, but certainly us boys never complained if it enforced close contact with the girls.

North Leeds Cricket Club and soldiers field

I cannot say whether this area is a place of staggering beauty, or whether it is in my memory of growing up there, but the seasonal changes to the trees on Old Park Road, the expanse of green playing fields, and the magnificent very large houses, conjure up a way of life that was tremendously appealing and still is. I had many acquaintances and friends who lived in the area around the two schools and their lives seemed very different from those of Harehills and Gipton where I lived and went to primary school. The canopy of wonderful tree-lined roads and drives, houses with grounds, not small gardens. Parkwood Avenue, Davies Avenue, The Drive, North Park Road and many others, made this area special and were home to many of my school friends and families. It certainly opened my eyes to how the other half lived, but it never made me envious as I was happy with my family and home.

I can’t remember how it happened, but I was asked to DJ some of the nights at the cricket club. There was a double record deck and it was just a matter of putting on the music that either the club had, or the more up to date records that people brought to play. It was good fun and there would be a stream of girls asking for requests. The evening would always start out quite sedately, but as time passed and the alcohol was consumed, it became more raucous and the dancing wilder and noisier. There was one record that always got a great reaction and was in great demand towards the end of the evening and it was ‘High Ho Silver Lining’ by the guitarist, Jeff Beck. I thought he had written it, but when I checked it was actually written by American songwriters Scott English and Larry Weiss and released in 1967. I had no idea what the song was about at the time and after checking the lyrics I still am not sure, but it was the song that always got everyone joining in with the chorus. Here are the lyrics. See if you can figure it out.

Hi Ho Silver Lining

You’re everywhere and nowhere, baby,
thats where you’re at,
Going down a bumpy hillside,
In your hippy hat.
Flying across the country
And getting fat
Saying everything is groovy
When your tyres are flat

And it’s hi, ho silver lining
and away you go now baby
I see your sun is shining
But I won’t make a fuss
Though it’s obvious.

They’re waving at me
Anything you want is yours now
Only nothing’s for free.
Lies are gonna get you some day
Just wait and see.
So open up your beach umbrella
While you’re watching TV

And it’s hi, ho silver lining
and away you go now baby
I see your sun is shining
But I won’t make a fuss
Though it’s obvious.

And it’s hi, ho silver lining
and away you go now baby
I see your sun is shining
But I won’t make a fuss
Though it’s obvious.

And it’s hi ho silver lining
And away you go now baby
I see your sun is shining
But I won’t make a fuss
Though it’s obvious.

I didn’t get paid in cash for my services, but got free drinks for the evening. As a result, my skill as the DJ tended to suffer as the evening progressed, but no one seemed to notice or care. I am afraid to say that my friends and I didn’t always behave as well as we should have and I do remember a keg of beer being opened with the end of an umbrella. This resulted in a fountain of beer spraying around the change room, but there was no real damage and no one seemed to know. Until now, that is!

Keg

They were good times and I never saw any aggression at any of these events and licensing laws meant that the evening finished fairly early. Everyone just wanted to have a good time and let their hair down. I am sure there would have been many sore heads the following morning. Our group of friends would tend to wander home together and we often cut through Roundhay School grounds. I remember that we would pass the weather station near the Mansion building and on the Monday the rain gauge would often show several inches of heavy rain, despite their being no rainfall in the area. Such was our teenage sense of humour, particularly after a few pints of beer, and I apologise for anyone who took the readings after the weekend.

Most nights I would have to choose between walking through Gipton Wood or take the longer route up the steps near what was Turnways’ Garage. I almost always took the route through the wood. It is funny how your mood affects how you see the situation. Some nights I never gave it a thought and I took the most direct track and in time I got to learn where every root was that could cause you to trip. Other nights it was a really scary experience and you heard noises everywhere. I would often find myself walking faster and faster until eventually I was running. It was with a great sense of relief that I emerged out the far end and back onto the streets. The truth is that I never had any bad experiences, but I can’t speak for how safe it would be nowadays and I probably wouldn’t encourage my own children to take the same route. We never listened to our parents, so I guess they wouldn’t have listened to me. A friend of mine’s printing work had a sign on the wall, at the time, saying ‘Employ a Teenager Whilst They Still Know Everything’. I guess there was and still is a ring of truth in it!

3 Replies to “‘Cup of Tea Tales’ – High Ho Silver Lining Always Got Them on Their Feet. – Summer Nights and the Icy Kiss of Winter Frost. Discos at North Leeds Cricket Club!”

  1. I really enjoy your memories, being an old Roundhegian and living then in Easterly Avenue.I didn’t play cricket,but used to play tennis at the park,even. Xmas or New Year’s Day,when they often cleared snow for us ,such was our enthusiasm.Iwas at virtutem Peta is between 1954 to 1961 and am now 77.
    Keep well and keep safe,Geoff Menzer

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “Fly’s are in your pea soup baby” the missing lyrics Ha, Ha. It’s the age that gets you. Nice stories,

    Liked by 1 person

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