Youth employment

Friday 23rd March 2012

BABY-sitting and… er… cleaning the family car perhaps. Is that it? The few remaining paper rounds probably require taxis between letter-boxes on health and safety grounds. One website lists modelling, but that’s hardly an
after-school-hours job. Are there no vacancies any more for stable hands or barrow-boys?

Having done the Sunday papers, I’d cycle up to the golf course in Kirkella, hoping to fit in two rounds, preferably with tips. The professional was an ill-tempered Scot who often swore at us for smoking behind the shed.

Eventually I was taken on by one of the club’s top amateurs, caddying for him in championship events at Fulford and Ganton. My enthusiasm for ‘attending the flag’ led to a parting of the ways.

After an inadequate grade in re-sat A-level Greek, I briefly entertained the romantic notion of living hand-to-mouth on the Scottish links… whereupon Bristol University took pity on me and I headed south, disguised as a scholar.

It would have been Mum who, earlier, found me a job with the Co-op greengrocer. She had an eye for postcards in windows:

Delivery boy
3 hrs Fri & Sat
Apply within

Fun came in the shape of a tradesman’s bicycle, with its small front wheel and an iron framework where you’d stack as many as three cardboard boxes, laden with fruit and vegetables in brown paper bags.

Returning empty, you’d holler to the bus shelter girls…

“Who wants a ride then?”

…while knowing you couldn’t compete with the dark-haired lad in a navy-and-white striped apron whose newer, faster bike had Hodgson & Sons, Family Butcher painted on a metal plate below the cross-bar, between his sturdy thighs.

Precariously loaded, I’d test the balance while pedalling slowly across the walkway fronting the row of local shops. Riding on the pavement was a proper offence then. Didn’t see the copper till it was too late, putting my feet down to avoid hitting him, the brakes being useless.

Felt sorry for my boss, who was charged with negligence. I was let off with a warning.






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One Response to Youth employment

  1. Anonymous says:

    Then there was bob-a-job, toggled scarf, three fingers and ‘be prepared’. Ah, those were the days.

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