Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I grew up in the small farming town of Ballymoney in N. Ireland from 1952-1970 and after that I left for England and only returned sporadically to see my parents.  My dad died in 1986 (aged 74) and mum in 2003 (aged 80).  I've not been back since her death.

And that's more than enough personal stuff for now !

Back in those sepia days, we young 'uns had no Playstations, Gameboys or even Sex In The City to keep us amused and so we played outdoors a lot and were all the healthier for it. Obesity hadn't been invented yet and I was your typical weedy geek (waiting for NASA to head hunt me) with teenage acne, brylcreem hair and glasses lenses so thick that I used them to start many a bonfire. My life of arson can be traced back to those days ! 

As I've said many times before, I can't remember much of my childhood/teen years but I do remember having a home made go-kart at one time.  My dad was a painter and decorator and was one of those men who could turn his hand to just about anything.  I inherited none of his skills which is why, even today, I believe I was adopted. 

I'm sure that building a go-kart wouldn't have been beyond his skills and just writing about it now, takes me right back to those days and I can SEE myself sitting on the kart with the steering string in my hands all ready to set off on some amazing ride - lasting all of 5 seconds and taking me a heady 30 yards from my starting point.  And this was all done without the aid of a GPS, I'll have you know.

I'd have had a standard kart of the day - a T shaped construction with old pram wheels and a short length of bailing twine threaded through both ends of the movable steering block which could also be turned with my feet.  In those days of unlimited energy, aerodynamics wasn't an issue and I braved the elements without a crash helmet, knee pads or personal protection of any sort.  We tended to take Vatican edicts a bit too literally at our house. 

And so I finally get to the point.....the Ulster Word Of The Day !!!

Guider :  a home made go-kart.


Daphne said...

Hurrah! Another great new word, you wee dote! I've never heard that one before - - mind you, I think most young people would be wondering "what's bailing twine?" too. I used to love go-karts but never had one of my own - I suspect the Communist thought they were dangerous, though he had no such scruples with sledges.

Jan said...

Those were simpler times, but as you say, there weren't many fat kids in those days.

Go karts were called guiders in Yorkshire, in Lancashire we called them trollies for some obscure reason.

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