1. It is our Steve who has to take the credit—or blame—for introducing Timothy Leech to our house. Now normally there was no sharing of friends between Steve and me; he, being two years older than I was, tended to have friends his own age, and though up to this point I tended to be a bit solitary, what friends I had from time to time tended to be my own age. Timmy was the exception, but his age was intermediate between Steve’s and mine. When he came round to our house he would come to see either or both of us.
My chief recollections of Timmy in the earliest days are on Sunday mornings when Steve and I would walk home from Sunday School along Victoria Road. Timmy would walk with us between Wignall Memorial Methodist Church and his house at 129 Victoria Road.
2. One Sunday morning he met us on our way to Sunday School. It must have been before Sunday School that he met us, because, I remember, he attempted to sow the seeds of evil in us by trying to get us to spend our threepenny bits for the Sunday School collection on sweets—something that it would otherwise not have occurred to us to do (we were very “goody-goody” in those days). Presumably Timmy’s intention was to share in the proceeds of the theft. And such was our innocence that we told our Mum what Timmy had suggested, who explained that such an action would be dishonest.
 Train-spotting: See Note , below. Compare The Emeralds, Mallards, Broadswords and Hellfires Club: Leech’s proposed “Anchors”.Leech’s own solitary wanderings must have taken him quite far afield around Thornton. For example, he once led me to a “secret hideout” that he knew, off the Bispham lane and away beyond the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance at Norcross. After entering a field to the left of the lane and surmounting a low rise in the ground, we came upon the spot: two ponds, a large one and a smaller one, with small trees dotted around them. It was a lonely place. I was a bit scared that the farmer might come and chase us away, but Leech pooh-poohed the idea. And so we played there.
6. Timmy used to be dressed in very light-coloured clothes—light khaki shorts, cream-coloured tee shirt—and would be terrified if he had to go home with so much as a spot of dirt on them. As the time approached for him to go home he would look himself over and become more and more panicky, moaning as he saw first one and then another spot. He might even burst into tears till my Mum took pity on him and tried to clean him up.
7. My Mum and Dad didn’t like Timmy; he was always breaking our things. And he would start to cry if he wasn’t getting his own way, if we weren’t doing what he wanted to do. The heavy garden roller ended up in the pond in the back garden, too, while he was there. Timmy was very excitable; he would leap and jump around the back garden, filling the air with his loud, high-pitched “Heeeeeee! Heeeeeee! Heeeeeee!” laugh. Perhaps it was because he was so repressed at home that he went mad when he was in other people’s homes. At such times he would be apt to forget that he was holding, perhaps, a rather fragile toy of mine, which might then just “come apart in his hand”. Our toy stocks threatened to be seriously depleted in this way. I particularly remember a favourite plastic boat, which I liked to sail on the little pond in our back garden, being dashed to pieces by Leech on the concrete path. Such outcomes of Timmy’s excitable behaviour upset me a great deal, and tended to cut short his visits to our house.
“Aw, Mum, look what he’s done!”
“You get off home, Timothy Leech! Go and break your own toys!”
They contributed to his eventual ban from the premises.
 The plastic boat was, in my private imagination, Jonah’s boat. (We met Jonah in the story Class 4.)8. As well as being noisy and destructive, Leech also had a penchant for obscene rhymes. I can’t remember if—
Lady of Spain, I adore you;is to be attributed to him. Certainly, the following is:
All the girls of Spain(This was first sung to us by Leech in our back yard under the clothes lines near the back of the house. It was his solution to the problem of rendering the refrain obscene. We had been toying with the obvious connection between passing water and the rain; Leech, however, ignored this and came up with the rhyme we have here.)
Then, there was a popular song at that time (March to April 1958) which had lines which went like this:
Never in a hundred,And Leech changed the words, rather witlessly, to:
Never in a stink muck,(The same location as that of the previous song springs to mind.)
Then there was the time when we were standing in the small alcove near the front door as Timmy was about to go home, and Timmy sang us his adaptation of “Popeye The Sailor Man”. The original, which appeared on Popeye cartoons, sung by Popeye for example after defeating his arch-enemy Bluto, was:
I’m Popeye the Sailor Man,Of course, such a rhyme was open to abuse and alteration by us kids. But Leech excelled everyone:
I’m Popeye the Sailor Man;(It is probably unnecessary to state that a “dicky” in this context is not a detachable shirt front!) I can’t remember if my Mum (who, on her own admission, used sometimes to hover round and spy on our conversations) promptly and summarily ejected Timmy from the premises, or whether we were severely taken to task after he had gone. But I remember Timmy’s performance of his composition arousing parental wrath.
 Never in a hundred etc. years: These lines come from a popular song sung by Jimmie Rodgers called “Oh Oh I’m Falling in Love Again”, which hit the British record sales charts on 28 March 1958 and remained in the charts for 6 weeks. Hence the approximation “Perhaps 1957” given at the start of this story for the date of meeting Leech.
 Around 1961: I have in my possession “The Observer’s Book of Railway Locomotives of Britain”, 1960 Edition, and in the back are some train-spotting notes, some of which are dated “10th May” and others “1st Aug 1961”. This gives a convenient date to draw this part of the story of Leech to a close.
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