Featured Stories


Tattoos by PAT

Tattoos and their stories are designed for all to see. My tatts are my life story and I don’t mind sharing them. 

I’ve got ‘Always on my mind, forever in my heart’ on the inside of my arm. This is for my mam and my big sis who passed away and my first hubby who took his own life. I’ve got one written underneath my wedding ring. A simple message to make my husband at the time feel secure. When I left, I wanted it removed, but he died before I got the chance and now it wouldn’t feel right to have it taken off. 

I’ve got ‘Two Angels’ written on the back of my neck for the daughter and granddaughter I lost. Feathers are important to me, I love feathers. They signify angels. If you see a feather, an angel is near you. I’ve got a feather and a dandelion floating away on my right collarbone for angels and baby loss. I’m having another tattoo soon, a feather behind my right ear. 

‘I love you to the moon and back’ is on the side of my leg in an infinity loop to show my never-ending love for my eight grandchildren. There’s another one to show my deep love, it’s ‘Love you to infinity and beyond’ and it’s written across my collar bone. This quote from Toy Story is for the memories I have of my children’s childhood and it measures how much I love them. 

Music means a lot to me and there are certain songs that will always have a special meaning, so I’ve got a heartbeat line with a music sign on the top of my left arm. 

Just above my heart I’ve got my wedding date in roman numerals with ‘Always’ written underneath it and on the side of my wedding ring finger I’ve got ‘Ditto’ written – a unique way of saying I love you. Me and my husband Steve got matching ones. 

One tattoo is in Latin and means ‘through hardship to the stars’ which shows the strength I have to overcome what life throws at me. The fairy on my left leg signifies represents my belief that we should sprinkle fairy dust wherever we go. Fairy dust is what powers me! 

And the flowers on my hand? That’s the only one with no meaning. I just liked it! 

snowden's wood

mill wagon

by mick

When I was about nine or ten down Hope Street there used to be a wagon that took wood from a place called Snowden’s. The wagon used to come up and down the street, all planked-up with wood and what have you. The planks of wood used to hang over the back edge of the wagon and us kids, we used to jump on the wood at the back to get a ride down the street. 

The driver was a man called Sam. He had a big black horse to pull the wagon and Sam had a great big bushy beard. As soon as he saw us, he’d shout, ‘Get off you kids, get off, get off’ and he’d pull up to sort us out. We’d shout ‘Yeah, yeah’ back at him and we’d all get off but as he rode off, we’d shout ‘Sam, Saaammm’, after him, as kids do. On this particular day, we jumped off and straight away we thought right, we’ll get back on, and we did. We were obsessed with riding on this wagon. Sam did the usual, ‘Get off,’ he shouted, but we didn’t listen. Anyway, I climbed up on the wheel. The wheel was obviously going around because we were moving and stupidly, I kept me foot there and the wheel went around and straight over me foot, and I had a broken toe. Well, I made a right fuss, screaming arrrggghhhh, screaming and shouting and he stopped the wagon and give me a smack across the head for being a stupid boy and climbing on his wagon. He shouted ‘Get off’ one last time then pulled off and rumbled away down the street. 

Well, my dad looked at my foot and said, ‘You’ve got to get to the hospital,’ so they took me to Grimsby General, as the hospital was called then, and put a pot plaster on me foot. Me sister, well she took one look at me when I got home and laughed. She got it right though, she took me to school in a pushchair and I had me dummy in one pocket. I was nine before I got rid of me dummy by the way. I see me granddaughter now, she’s three, and I say, ‘Get rid of that dummy!’ 

So, there I was at nine years old getting pushed to school in a pushchair! I loved it. 

by PAT
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school experiences and their impact


Ever since I was a small boy, I’ve never been able to accept praise. I think this is probably because I’ve never achieved anything worth praising. 

At school I was just someone who was pretty average, and my spelling can best be described as bloody awful. When I used to write stories, there were more red lines on my work than my own writing, highlighting all my spelling mistakes. At the time, I believed what I had written was good and that my writing said what I wanted to say. 

Every Friday at Junior school we had a spelling test and if you got less than fifty percent, you got the slipper, or you got lines. I always got lines. 

Thinking back though, the teacher got me wrong. These low marks didn’t apply in any other subject, only in English where I was always picked out for my poor marks and spelling abilities. This led to bullying by my classmates. I was pretty good at Maths, but the teacher never praised me, not even once. 

My own view, looking back, is that the teacher, though not intentionally, started the bullying that was to follow me around for the rest of my life. When I took my eleven plus, like most kids, I failed it. Despite doing well in the Maths section. 

It seems that before you even reach the age of twelve, society has already put you in a category from which most of us can never escape. Why? Well, it’s because, for most people, the pathway leading to a good education has already been limited by the system which is supposed to help them. 

In later years, I was told by my schoolteacher, ‘I don’t know why you want to see the Career’s Officer because you’re just going to prison. This was despite the fact that I’d never had the police at the door. The teacher told the class that I was a well-known burglar because some pupil had told him that, and why should they lie? He was a bully – that was why. This teacher could never provide any evidence to prove what he’d said about me, he said he just knew it was right. 

The only person who’s ever believed in me was my wife, who sadly is no longer with me. She was mentally handicapped, and I was always under the impression that her opinion didn’t count to others and her beliefs were of no value in today’s society. In my opinion, to be of value in today’s society, you have to wear a suit. 

I’m sixty now, so my hope of achieving anything has gone. Technology has pushed my generation down the slippery slope of life. I can’t even download music or use an iPhone – whatever that is! Or download books on the Kindle, so a new generation of people are now calling me stupid, because in their words, ‘It’s easy.’ 

I don’t understand the modern world and I feel more isolated in society than ever before.