A tribute to my mate Nobby Gubb
My family moved to Canvey in 1947/48 Nobby and was my very first mate that I made when I went to the William Read secondary school on Canvey, he was in the same class that I joined This was a co-ed school which made learning more interesting, some of the teachers I remember are Slasher Eales who taught scripture and gardening, a member of the local church he was a strict disciplinarian who used to hit you on the knuckles with his ruler or kick you up the backside with his winkle pickers if you as much as spoke during his lessons I am sure that he had eyes in the back of his head because if he was writing on the blackboard and you looked out the window he would whip round and throw the chalk at you when you were doing gardening if Slasher said dig you dug and in scripture when he said pray you bloody well prayed.
Another teacher was Miss Darimple the music teacher very demure and timid and she used to try and get us to sing "Who is Sylvia what is she?." And you can imagine 20 demure sexy girls and 20 puberty testosterone active boys (some with their voices breaking) all trying to harmonize it was a sound well worth listening to. The maths teacher was Gilly Potter and he was a nice teacher a red chubby face and very easy going,we sat near each other and that was the start of our friendship I was only at this school for a year as we left school at 15 and got a job.
We both left school at 15 years old and both got a job with Gouldings I worked at the Wireworks factory which was just across the road from Maurice Road in Yamburg Avenue and Nobby got a job at the other factory just down the road in St Ann's Road made sheet metal products, our starting wage was 10 pence per hour for a 44 hour week which gave us the grand total of one pound sixteen shillings and eight pence per week
I then also became friends with Harry Court who was home from school during the holidays but when he went back to boarding school Nobby and me became close friends
We went together for three years until we did our National Service, It was always a laugh when we went around Nobby's house as his mum had a woman living there she was about twenty-two and her name was Doreen a we used to take the mickey out of her something horrible and pretend we were going to molest her (we were not very nice young boys then)I still haven't yet worked out if the look in her eyes was fear or hope. We used to meet on a Saturday morning at Cockle Jacks the local meeting point for all the youngsters Which was run by Cockle Jacks wife Ann and her helper Kitty and decide where to go it was usually Southend then go by train , have a feed at Peggy's which was at the top of Pier Hill (they had all of the food in hot trays in the front window) then down to the seafront and the amusement arcades, in the evening we used to go roller skating at the Gliderdrome upsetting all the other good skaters by continually falling over bringing them down as well
On many occasions we would miss the last train home and walk back to Canvey and at every fish and chip shop that was open we would walk in and ask the proprietor if they had anything left and if they said yes we would say “You shouldn’t have cooked so much” and walk out, on numerous occasions we were asked by the local constabulary to keep our singing noise down which, like all good citizens we did (for about 2 hundred yards) then down Essex Way and along Lakeside Path to our homes
AS well we linked up with Derrick Kneller another classmate and Derrick, Nobby and myself had quite a few laughs together I remember we all went to the pictures at Rayleigh to see "The Jolson Story" and Derrick (flamboyant as he was) thought he could sing like Jolson so he got down on one knee in the aisle and started to sing “Sonny Boy" as load as he could and he got thrown out so we went out as well in sympathy and missed the rest of the film.
Another one of our adventures was down the Casino, the penny machines in the Casino were ripe for cheating, when you won on the machine you were supposed to turn the knob twice and get your penny back but we turned the knob very slowly until it was about to click then you spun the knob very fast and it clicked past the stop and you kept doing it and getting pennies every time, also all of the money used to fall into the bottom of the machine which had a wooden door so as the owner could get the money out but there was a gap at the bottom of the door and there was enough room to slide an hacksaw blade into the gap and slide the pennies out and we did quite well out of this. The owner of the Casino was a Mr. Beaumont and him and his two sons used to walk around with huge bunches of keys hanging around their necks (these they used to open the machines when they broke down) so we had to keep an eye out for them as they knew what was going on it was just a case of catching us, which, with our street wise intelligence, was a very difficult task.
There was never any violence, vandalism or graffiti (never heard of that back then), we did what most teenagers did that was upset the older generation but everything revolved around the word FUN the thought of using weapons and boots in a scuffle was repugnant to us
I did an extra year in the army and when I came out Nobby was courting Avril Lewis as during this time that Nobby he met Avril through his work connection with Gouldings as Avril’s father used to drive a van as a salesman there
The highlight of my friendship with Nobby was when he asked me to be best man at his wedding at St Katherine’s Church down the village, after that Nobby did what was the right thing and put the marriage first but we still kept in touch, I then emigrated to Australia and last met Nobby when we had a reunion at The Windjammer pub in 1996 when I came back to Canvey to sort things out after my mum’s death
There is so much more I could say but that would turn this tribute into a marathon book so I will finish and say that my time as a mate of Nobby was a very enjoyable experience and the memories will stay with me forever
My memories are inside me - they're not things or a place - I can take them anywhere