Cross Country Bolt-Hole
Chris Vickers lived in the road the back gates opened onto, so we would slope off to his house during cross-countries, thereby completely negating Father Louis renowned ability to flush out the smokers hiding in back lanes!
Now, I didn't know that Chris's house was a refuge during cross-country runs. You seem to have tipped me off on that one about 38 years too late.
I do remember that as a "heavyweight" (nothing compared with these days!) I was in the group permitted to "run" a shorter route. This gave us time to stop off at that corner shop half-way round and buy ice-creams. I also remember emerging from that shop once with two other boys, holding our ice-creams, right into the welcoming arms of Fr. Louis. He was so pleased to see us.
Yes Neill, I have to apologise for not providing this bolt-hole 38 hears ago. However, I remember it was only for the select few who smoked Players No.6!
Also, I remember you were in the 'B' stream and I was in the 'C' stream. I recall there was a sort of "I look up to him, I look down on him' rivalry between the different streams with the 'C' stream being at the bottom of the pecking order.
Having very skinny legs (my wife’s nickname for me is “Chicken Legs”) + the very youngest (weakest of the litter!) of the intake (born July in a class where the oldest was born in September), I always endeavoured to ‘bunk off’ Fr. Louis’ cross country runs by taking my home key and, with characters like Dennis Dunworth, Chris King and John Burton, used to tail the run and then rapidly divert into my home for a coffee and a couple of cigarettes — Generally Players # 6 purchased in packs of 5 or as singles from the tobacconist.
Just as the leading runners made their way back past my home, we then started off again on our way back to Salvos and always arrived within the Top 15. Fr. Louis was always astonished that a bunch of ‘losers’ — we were either fat (Chris King + Dennis Dunworth) or Skinny (John Burton + Self) etc — could return within the first 15 — with only minimum shortage of breath!
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