They say travel broadens the mind, when really all it does is make you realise how mundane normal life really is…
Likethewheels has been away for some time, simply because I’ve not had the hours nor the inspiration whilst attempting to get back on the wheel like a hamster after putting the breaks on my continuous galavanting. So at the minute I’m living a so called ‘normal life’ and I think it’s about time to continue likethewheels. For now we’ll be concentrating on some of the places in England I’ve visited in the last few months, places on my own door step that I’ve so far taken for granted. Some people who I’ve met whilst travelling may have been following this blog, so for you, the first of my new series of posts documenting England will be giving you an insight into my home town…Boldon Colliery.
Boldon is divided into three small villages, East Boldon, West Boldon and Boldon Colliery. It’s one of those places where rumours spread like wildfire and are twisted so much that if you tell someone in East Boldon you have a cold, by the time the story gets to the colliery, you’re dead.
The word Boldon is thought to have derived from two Nordic words ‘Bult’ meaning river or building and ‘dun’ a Norse word for hill. So a hill over a river it is then, which sort of makes sense, the Boldon leap being the hill and the village’s answer to Everest. The river is non other than the river Don, home to the most diverse array of shopping trolleys and bucket kits in the North East of England.
England is famous for its social clubs, cheap and decent lager to satisfy the everyday working man. Boldon’s premier club ‘The Shack’ is a typical cliché of most Northern social clubs, and it’s name originates from the days when it was literally just a shack acting as a pit stop for pit men on their way home from a hard day’s graft. Call in for a pint any time, but don’t mention Margaret Thatcher…
The Crown Inn is colloquially known as ‘The Dyke’, although nobody knows why as this place is certainly not a lesbian bar. It was once the filming location for an episode of crime drama Cracker, is there a small chance that the mystery Dyke could in fact be 90’s criminal psychologist Robbie Coltrane?
Another of Boldon’s boozers is the Flat Tops, originally called the Queens Head, the locals began calling the establishment the ‘Flaties’ after the building’s roof was blown off during a WWII air raid in 1943. The heating is seldom on, but you’ll never get a frosty reception in this friendly watering hole.
Boldon leap offers excellent views of the, urm…skyline. Again, I’m not sure why it’s called the leap, possibly because you take a leap of faith when flying down it at Christmas on your sledge or stolen road barrier. I remember being told when I was young that there’s a Viking longship buried beneath the massive pile of earth, bearing mind these words were uttered from the same lips that claimed if you pick dandelions it would make wet yourself…
Boldon has produced several known sportsmen. Sam Bartram, a Charlton Athletic goalkeeper who was luckily spotted by a scout when playing for Boldon Villa FC. Sam went on to break numerous records for the Addicks including most ever appearances for the club. Simon Brown was a Durham CCC fast bowler who had a successful county career but could only manage one test appearance for England.
For you celebrity spotters out there, Faye Tozer from Steps resides here now, and can sometimes be sighted walking her dog around West Boldon.
I could go on about Boldon till I’m blue in the face, but I’d like to hear some other local’s history and pointless information. OK, so Boldon may not be the most culturally significant or exotic place to feature in this blog, but isn’t it funny how you’ll always have some kind of strange attachment to a place you call home.