John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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A walk with Jones

Early Days
 1. One day, shortly after I got to know Jones,[more] we were walking along Fleetwood Road, Thornton, towards my house. Jones was on my right, nearer the road. We had got about as far as the “Castle Bungalows” and across the road just ahead was the little grassy triangular island which marked the entrance to Anchorsholme Lane; and we were walking at a leisurely pace and talking.
 Now whenever there was a General Election, my parents, and in fact my grandparents on my Dad’s side, always voted Conservative. I didn’t know much about politics; but the kind of unquestioned assumption that I had, was that anybody who was in any way respectable voted Conservative. And it came out in the conversation, to my surprise, that Jones supported and believed in the Labour Party.
 I said something like, “Oh, well, we always vote Conservative.”
 Jones probably then gave out one of his disdainful laughs, “Ha!— Ha!— Ha!—”, and said something derogatory about “Tories”.
 I took this as a direct insult against my family, so I hooked a punch round and hit him in his soft, grey-pullover-clad belly. He bent forward a little, with an immediate “Ooh!” (a windy sound with his mouth shaped like an “O”): Biff! “Ooh!”
 Jones didn’t retaliate against this at all. He probably realised that he had overstepped the mark in some way.

 2. Anyway, the stroll continued. And a bit further on, we had got to a place where there was a house set well back from the others, with an access drive which cut across the pavement
[sidewalk], just where a set of bungalows started; and by that time we were discussing something else. Perhaps Jones had questioned me about my family, and I said that my Dad had responsibility for Civil Defence activities at Norcross. (Norcross is the name of an area just beyond and behind my house, where the “Blackpool Central Office” of what was then called the Ministry of Pensions and National Insurance was located.)
 And Jones said, in a scornful tone, “Oh—Civil Defence!”, and said something bad about it; so it was Biff! “Ooh!” again, as I gave him another punch in the belly.

Sketch of the continued stroll, from when I first attempted to write this story in 1976. I had the impression that a blind man lived in the “house set well back from the others”. I don’t see such a house now on aerial photos, so assume that it was demolished to make way for other housing.

Sketch, again from 1976, but reflecting our impressions of Jones from the 1960’s

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