52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Pets

This is the 17th challenge in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.  Week 17 – Pets.

The very first pet we had was a budgie called Dinky. We got him in about 1954 and for some reason my parents bought him from Clitheroe in Lancashire and had to take him back to Yorkshire where we lived. He was a really good talker but I don’t recall him having a Lancastrian accent – thank goodness.

My dad used to tell the story about eating his breakfast and Dinky walking across his plate and through his fried eggs. Hmm – not sure i’d be too keen myself.

Dinky went to live with my grandparents when my brother was born in 1958.

I mentioned in week 4 of this series that we lived in a pub for about 18 months when I was about 4 years old. It seems that most publicans have to own a dog – often a big one. My dad was no exception.

We had a German Shepherd called Rinty – named after Rin-Tin-Tin from the movies. I have some vague memories of Rinty – or perhaps they are stories told to me by my parents. After all it is fifty four years ago.

I guess that one of the reasons my parents got Rinty was for security and protection against unruly customers. He was also apparently a good guard dog especially when assigned to look after me! We had a large enclosed yard at the back of the pub and that is where I used to play.

I know from stories told to me that Rinty would often be out in the yard with me. One such tale is of me shouting for help and when my parents came out they saw me running on the spot with Rinty just sitting there firmly gripping the seat of my pants in his mouth.

Anyway, when we left the pub we moved to a much smaller house and my parents decided not to keep Rinty. My dad said that he went to train as a police dog but I was never too sure about that!

My sister had a rabbit called Snowy – I think he was white. I don’t recall much about Snowy apart from he came to a very sad end. He was found dead on the back lawn after being attacked by another animal – presumably a dog.

We also had a goldfish called Tinkerbell whose party trick was leaping out of the bowl and flopping around on the floor.

Jayne and I have had three Persian cats over the past seventeen years – Horlicks, Willow and Wellington. They gave us so much pleasure and fun but sadly they are no longer with us.

Wellington and Willow



Wellington passed away on 24 March this year – here’s his obituary on one of my other blogs.

I think we are going to be pet free for a while.


52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History – Toys

This is the seventh challenge in a weekly series from GeneaBloggers called 52 weeks of personal genealogy and  history, suggested  by Amy Coffin,  that invite genealogists to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.  Week 7 – Toys

Probably like alot of boys in the UK in the 1950‘s and early 1960‘s my toy box included Dinky and other model cars.  I didn’t have anything rare or unusual – although if I had kept them and still had the original packaging I guess that they might be quite rare and even valuable today.

I remember visiting my grandparents in Leeds and playing on the floor with my cars.  They had a carpet with a design of squares and quite wide tram lines between the squares.  These tram lines were perfect for roads and junctions.

I also had soldiers, cowboys and indians, horses and farmyard animals.  They were more interesting to play with when I got my wooden fort and a wooden farmyard complete with farmhouse, stable, cowshed and pigsty.

Over the years playing with toy soldiers has become big business and there are now online forums and battle re-enactment associations.

I remember having a small train set and a Scalextric track with racing cars.

However I can’t do a post about toys without mentioning the one thing that provided me and my brother with so much entertainment and drove my mother mad.  The good old Subbuteo table football – although in our case we played it on the floor.

We had our own mini league – just the two of us.  We had maybe four teams each, I just can’t remember exactly, and had a fixture list and kept league tables after each round of games.  We set up our Subbuteo football pitch on the floor behind the sofa and we would play for hours.  We didn’t always play to the rules – we bent them a bit.  Instead of flicking the players we might shove them towards the ball.  We shouted and argued with each other – all in the name of winning of course.

On one occasion our mam must have been having a bad day!!  Me and my brother were having our usual heated discussions about whether there was a foul, an off side or whether one or the other of us had cheated in some way.  Suddenly, out of nowhere, our mam appears complaining about our shouting and arguing.  It had obviously got too much for her and she stamped all over our football pitch breaking and severely injuring many of our star players.  Luckily we had other teams of players that we could use.

This incident has gone down in our family folklore and is now recorded for all to see.