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Review of Wor Tomis the Polis by Tom Curry.
This book took me down the road of nostalgia. The author is a North East lad, and I hail from the same part of the country. We begin with Tom’s early life and upbringing and I identified with every word of it.
I was born at 101 Mortimer Road, South Shields, Tyne and Weir. I remember going back to visit after grandma died—same address. There was no bathroom, but they were lucky to have a private toilet in a shed, ‘Tek the bairn doon the yard, Charlie.’ They didn’t have to share it with half the street. But they did tear squares of newspaper to use as toilet roll. We had to wash in freezing water at the kitchen sink because the kettle was used for tea that you could stand a spoon in. And they made me drink unpasteurised goats milk. I’ve never taste it since, but I remember the taste as if it was yesterday—foul stuff. Grandma was laid in state in her bed, as was the custom in those days. This dead old lady of 99, had a long grey plait that was as thick as her body and ran to her waist. I had the feeling that her hair had sucked the life out of her. I had to kiss dead grandma, and later that night, after she’d been put in her coffin on the kitchen table, I had to sleep in the same bed as dead Grandma had just come out of.
Young Tom had a similar upbringing and it brought back a lot of memories.
The story is charming, local lad destined for the pit, comes good. He worked on the railway as a young man, and relates the tales of his time there well—bringing vivid pictures of the scenes to mind. Then he found his calling as a policeman.
This is a tale of two halves, early life, and police life, and both as captivating and engaging. The author tells us about his wit and humour throughout. While it’s not side-splitting funny, it does have varied shades of black and white.
A good slice-of-life read.
Born in South Shields, Tyne & Weir, Katherine Black lives on the tip of the beautiful British Lake District. She lives with her partner, father-in-law and 4 dysfunctional but co-mingling pets. She is mother, grandmother and secret keeper of all. She is Best Book Editors’ principal editor.