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Saturday, 20 July 2019

Where were you?

‘Buzz’ Aldrin, Apollo 11 (Wikimedia commons)
Sunday, 20th July 1969

To add to all the other bloggers today, I had just hitch-hiked back from Hornsea.

I had been at work almost a year but most of my friends were still in education, either at university or waiting for ‘A’ level results hoping to go. I envied them. One was spending summer at his family’s caravan in Hornsea (see Hornsea Pottery), so on Saturday seven of us set off on scooters to look for him.

We found him where we knew we would, in the Marine Hotel. Later we sat around talking with some lads from Liverpool until two in the morning. On Sunday we got up early and built a driftwood fire on the beach. Most of the others then went off to Bridlington but I had to go to work on Monday, so hitch-hiked back on my own. If the ride there on the back of a scooter had been uncomfortable, part of the ride back at high speed on the pillion of a motorbike was terrifying (no compulsory crash helmets in those days). I also remember walking between lifts through the snobby and exclusive village of Walkington shortly before a police car drew up to investigate reports of a vagrant in the village.

I then saw the BBC coverage of the landing which consisted of little more than James Burke and the ever-excitable Patrick Moore talking over the audio feed from mission control. I did not stay up into the small hours to see the moon walk because I had to be up for the early train to Leeds. In the morning there was just time to see a few images of Armstrong and Aldrin “jumping around on the moon” as my mother put it, before I had to leave. On Monday I was not back to my digs from work in time for blast off so only saw it later on the news. None of the images were very clear anyway, except in the imagination. 

As for other “Where were you?” questions my answers are: (i) watching Take Your Pick on Friday, 22nd November 1963, when a news flash caused me to rush to the kitchen to tell Mum; (ii) walking from Manchester Victoria to U.M.I.S.T. on the morning of Tuesday, 9th December 1980, when I saw a newsstand headline; and (iii) checking the Teletext news headlines on the morning of Sunday, 31st August 1997, when I rushed downstairs to tell my wife and son. Not that I cared much about that last one. Should I remember any others? 

10 comments:

  1. Did you often get mistaken for a vagrant? LOL, great story!

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    1. They weren't used to seeing people wearing jeans and trying to thumb a lift in Walkington. It's a very expensive village with a picturesque duck pond. They may have thought I'd escaped from the nearby mental asylum.

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  2. I missed a couple of 'Where were you?' moments owing to my having not yet been born. I was only ten when Lennon died. I don't know how I felt or if I felt anything. Reagan was also shot the same year & I didn't think much of it, to be honest.

    I and a bunch of other American students studying abroad in Germany were having a meal at an Italian restaurant when an out of breath waiter came hurriedly to our table exclaiming, 'Lady Di! ('Dee'), Lady Di!' He had thought we were British & that we would have wanted to know.

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    1. Reagan hardly registered with me. As regards Di, lots of British people think she was a spoiled attention-seeking b----. I have time for Charles though - he should have been allowed to marry who he wanted in the first place.

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  3. In about 1970 my husband and I were returning home from a motorcycle trip. It was late, we were exhausted, and stopped in a little town looking for food and gasoline. For our trouble, we were quizzed by the local police and escorted to the edge of town. I'd forgotten about that.
    And to answer your question, I was in front of the ironing board, in front of the TV, watching every moment.

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    1. I feel more astonished about it now watching the hi-res films than then. The audacity! That would have been a good name for a lunar module.

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  4. You should remember 24th May 2008 - the day that Hull City were promoted to The Premier League for the very first time. As for your depiction of Walkington it is quite outrageous! I was at Beverley Grammar School and two of my best school friends came from that village. Okay there is affluence there but there are also terraced agricultural workers' cottages and council houses. Things are not always as they might at first appear.

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    1. That Dean Windass goal was uplifting in more ways than one, but I cheer for whichever Yorkshire team is in the Premier League seeing we only seem to be allowed one at a time. As regards Walkington, maybe they thought I'd escaped from Broadgate. You can go cool off in the duck pond.

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    2. Off and what rhymes with duck. Do you also support Leeds? Perhaps you have never heard the chant from the terraces, "We all hate Leeds! We all hate Leeds! Scum!"

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    3. There is of course a hierarchy. Teams whose names begin with H or S are quite high, L and M (yes it is in Yorkshire) not, and B, D and Y don't register.

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