Hovis is 120 years old.
They’re running the old advertisement again â the one with the baker’s boy pushing the bike up the cobbled street with the strains of Dvorak’s New World Symphony in the background.
Don’t they remember what happened the last time they ran that advertisement? Yorkshireman Tony Capstick did his own version. It was years before I could buy Hovis with a straight face!
âI’ll never forget that first day at t’pit. Me an’ mi father worked a seventy two hour shift, an’ then we walked home forty three mile through t’snow in us bare feet, huddled inside us clothes med out o’ old sacks.
Eventually we trudged over t’hill until wi could see t’street light twinklin’ in our village. Mi father smiled down at mi through t’icicles hangin’ off his nose. “Nearly home now lad”, he said.
We stumbled into t’house and stood there freezin’ cold and tired out, shiverin’ and miserable, in front o’ t’ meagre fire. Any road, mi mam says “Cheer up, lads. I’ve got you some nice brown bread and butter for yer tea.”
Ee, mi father went crackers. He reached out and gently pulled mi mam towards ‘im by t’throat. “You big fat, idle ugly wart”, he said. “You gret useless spawny-eyed parrot-faced wazzock.” (‘E had a way wi words, mi father. He’d bin to college, y’know). “You’ve been out playin’ bingo all afternoon instead o’ gettin’ some proper snap ready for me an’ this lad”, he explained to mi poor, little, purple-faced mam.
Then turnin’ to me he said “Arthur”, (He could never remember mi name), “here’s half a crown. Nip down to t’chip ‘oyl an’ get us a nice piece o’ ‘addock for us tea. Man cannot live by bread alone.” He were a reyt tater, mi father. He said as ‘ow workin’ folk should have some dignity an’ pride an’ self respect, an’ as ‘ow they should come home to summat warm an’ cheerful.
An’ then he threw mi mam on t’fire.
We didn’t ‘ave no tellies or shoes or bedclothes. We med us own fun in them days. Do you know, when I were a lad you could get a tram down into t’town, buy three new suits an’ an ovvercoat, four pair o’ good boots, go an’ see George Formby at t’Palace Theatre, get blind drunk, ‘ave some steak an’ chips, bunch o’ bananas an’ three stone o’ monkey nuts an’ still ‘ave change out of a farthing.
We’d lots o’ things in them days they ‘aven’t got today – rickets, diptheria, Hitler and my, we did look well goin’ to school wi’ no backside in us trousers an’ all us little ‘eads painted purple because we ‘ad ringworm.
They don’t know they’re born todayâ?.