I am John Bernard Sunderland, normally answering to "Bernard". Since the advent of the internet I have been persuaded to use my unfamiliar first name on several occasions. This confuses me as much as anyone else.
For example, I entered two classes of a Fly Dressers' Guild fly-tying competition and when the results were announced I saw that 'J Sunderland' was a runner-up in one class. I could not remember under what name I had entered and wondered if it was me. Today (19 Sept 2012) I have received a Diploma!!! in the name of J Sunderland. The all-important 'B' is missing. It causes me to feel that the award is somehow impersonal or some distant aspect of myself.
My family presented me with a ceremonial fork to mark my having survived three score years and ten:(I have blanked the date to discourage phishing)
Born 1943. My mother told me about gatherings in the nearest air-raid shelter but we suffered no great hardship around here.
Had chorea (a form of rheumatic fever) at an early age. Don't remember it. It supposedly left me with an unreliable heart but so far of my 3 younger brothers, the youngest has died from a heart attack and the other two have had operations. I am apparently still as good as new. Apart from geriatric tendencies, of course.
2014 update - now taking statins.
Went to Highfield Infants school at 4, then at 7 to the National School. ("Nashpots"). Memories are neither good nor bad, but one stands out, that is The Fight with Ernest Hanson, the little rat-faced coward. It was a 2-part fight. The first part was official, i.e. arranged with 3rd party knowledge, staged within the usual ring of eggers-on. We waved fists at each other, no blow was landed and I was declared winner by default. I never did understand why. However, Ernest was not satisfied and challenged me to a private fight on waste ground after the next day's school. I attended at the appointed hour. He was not in sight. I waited and eventually I heard a whistle, at which signal a hoard of small boys armed with sticks came running from various hiding places. 10 years old myself, they were even smaller and could do me no harm. Neither could I do them any harm due to their diminutive size so I ran away. End of The Fight. Beginning of my view of Ernest Hanson as a little rat-faced coward.
Move on 9 or 10 years. I was working at my first job - Silsden Dyeing Co. - and during the break I read in the local paper a report of an attempted bank robbery by Ernest Hanson. Driving a van, he had picked up two girls who wanted a lift. He drove to a bank at Crosshills and told one of them to go into the bank and come out with lots of money while he held her friend hostage. She went into the bank, told them the score, the police were called and dimwit Ernest was wheeled away. Status as a little rat-faced coward hereby confirmed. No further knowledge of him.
Started fishing at 10 years old. Caught very little for some time.
Joined 12th Keighley New Church cubs, moved on to Scouts, also to Keighley Boys' Grammar School. Was more interested in the Scouts than school. Summer camps at Kirkcudbright, our big camp fire night became a local attraction. Someone even ran a coach from Kirkcudbright town. Camping with the Scouts was a big part of my life. After attending the funerals in recent years first of Brian Thompson ('Brit') and Hugh Bottomley ('Kragg'), former Scoutmasters, I find that the gap left by the loss of my parents has grown much larger.
Got a modest steel string guitar for Christmas when I was 16 or 17. Played it continually for several days, after which I had grooves in my finger tips. Heard someone play a classical piece on the radio and thought, 'He must be using all his right hand fingers to play the strings. Impossible?' Practised for a while and found it was possible, decided this was the style I wanted. Bought a nylon string, better quality instrument during my early twenties. Played such classical as I could without lessons, joined the folk scene during the 60s. Played until my fingers started to stiffen a few years ago. The guitar hangs on the wall now, but I get frustrated if I try to play.
This Christmas (2013) decided to revert to the old suck and blow mouth organ. I used to enjoy it in a small way, still have a chromatic but it is worn out. Had a tremolo but lost sight of it years ago so I have now bought a Hohner 'Echo Harp', double sided keys A and D. Makes a glorious noise. Great fun.
(and then more. See the music page)
Left school in 1961 and went to work for Silsden Dyeing Co. The firm closed aftger a couple of years and I was redundant for the first time. No difficulty getting jobs in those days, went straight to Horsfall's at Glusburn (Hayfield Knitting Woools). (In fact, I took the place of David Binns, wildlife artist, who had just left. He left a few doodled sketches behind)
The dyehouse manager was Michael Switalski, a likeable bloke in spite of all...he was a somewhat upper class displaced Pole. (Several 'other class' Poles worked in the dyehouse.)He had been a flyer during the war and had taken part in a crazy scheme which involved crossing the channel in gliders. But I understand that he was later grounded due to excess craziness. After the war he gained some kind of concessionary degree, hence to a managerial position.
Went from here as colour matcher to J.P.Heaton, worsted spinner, allied to R.V.Marriner hand knitting yarns. Part of Union International, owned by Lord Vestey who is very much disliked in Australia. Designed colour mixture yarns, including some for Zandra Rhodes. (Yes, some elements of her colour designs were mine, not hers, though she would never have recognised any siginficance in this).
Made redundant in 1983.
At the New church, Sid Worboys, organist and choirmaster, started producing annual shows. I was persuaded to paint scenery. Sometimes it was a pantomime, other times a variety show. Sid's enthusiasm carried these performances to a much higher level than the normal Sunday School production. The hall had a good stage and professional lighting was set up by Harold Williamson. I eventually took part in some of the shows. I enjoyed painting the scenery and as I remember it, it looked pretty good. Sid went to great lengths to find the right materials for ambitious sets. For some obscure reasonI liked the idea that my painting was used and then thrown away.
Met Jean Hinchliffe during a holiday organised by the New Church in 1968. Married in 1970. Our daughter Janice was borne in 1978 and son David in 1984.
After using all my redundancy pay for housekeeping, went to TRICO (The Rustless Iron Co) as a sprayer. Joined technical staff after 2 years then became technical manager. This was vitreous enamelling, technically a mixture of chemistry, alchemy and luck. Colour control was an important aspect but at 800C rather than the 100C as in dyeing. TRICO changed hands several times and was finally sold down the river by David Simpson, then chairman of the board, who lied in his teeth about his intentions for the firm and put our Sovereign Health payments in his pocket.
In 1998 joined Optical Technology Training, a husband and wife partnership in Skipton, running training courses in the fitting of optical fibre. I was resposible for maintaining the equipment and the logistics of distributing it to courses run locally and around the country (and to an extent, the world). A very interesting technology, more so because I was allowed to take all the courses and gain the qualifications. Unfortunately a general downturn in the fibre optic business necessitated a reduction in staff so I was redundant again.
During this period, son David pressed me to take an interest in fly fishing and Geoff Peacock (work colleague) aided him by pointing me toward some low cost fly tackle. David and I both started tying flies a little later and joined the newly-formed Craven Branch of the Fly Dressers' Guild in Skipton.
Peter Nightingale, via the Skipton fly tyers, introduced me to a family firm in Skipton, Dalesway Stairlifts, who required someone to run a new branch in Bradford's John Street Market. Here I met some of Bradford's congenital no-hopers who wandered daily in family groups round the eating places in the markets (very large mother on a hired scooter) . I also became aware of the range of disability aids and chatted with many disabled people. I also learned to detest that aspect of Islam which makes women utterly subservient to men. There were many who would not look at me or speak to me except via their husbands.
It took me a couple of weeks, and my employer a couple of years, to realise that this would never make a profit. The impressive 'footfall' cited by the market overlords was in fact created by the same people day after day.
When I was made redundant this time, I was told at the dole office about 'pension credits', and effectively I retired at 62.
About 2004, I started selling flies on eBay then raised a web site and sold under the name of 'Ytye Flies' (Yorkshire-tied flies) for about 10 years until Jean became ill. I tied almost every day, totalling about 3000 flies per year. (Nowhere near as many as a colleague who earned a full-time income.)
2016: while on holiday in Scotland, my wife Jean found a couple of lumps below her right knee, the area around looking like a bruise. Came home, area became swollen. Went to doctor several times, after running through insect bite (but no puncture) and 'erythema nodosum', diagnosed as phlebitis which is painful. It became widespread on both legs. During this period she started coughing. After 4 weeks it became very persistent, saw the doc, had an X-ray, found 'an abnormality' on the left lung.
As I write this before she sees the specialist, there are 2 possibilities:
a pulmonary embolism caused by the phlebitis, not very common.
I might report the result of this, or might lose all interest in this web site.
In fact, both those possibilites occurred.
I was holding Jean's hand as she took her last very small breath at 4.08a.m.on 22nd October 2016.
I have reached a stage today, 28th December, where I am now able to write this. I learned that two aspects of oneself, rational and emotional, can be in serious conflict. Neither has won, I think a compromise has been reached.
You might suppose that I still have my own life. Actually the life I chose, to be with Jean, has ended and I have only a sort of half-life left. Of course, our union continues in our children but this is independent of myself.
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Be aware that ALL material in this web site - pictorial, text or other - is the work, for which copyright subsists, of John Bernard Sunderland unless otherwise stated. If you wish to use any of it, email me. I will probably be amenable.