The Winterfood Diaries

The Winterfood Diaries

Thursday, 17 August 1989

Another Potted History of Winterfood

‘Dance of Knights’ – Prokofiev

Today, I finally met Flash’s friend Elbow (Elliott Barlow) in the flesh.  And a nice cheeky, chirpy chappie he really is!  I really like him. 

Well, we all went to Wakefield, got conned in WIMPY, met Raquel and then watched BATMAN again. 

It was STILL good, but I don’t want to see it again for years or I’ll go off it, as one invariably does with this sort of thing.

Anyway, Raquel was ace and Elbow was ace and we all drank a cup of tea on the way to, in, and from the shop down Flash’s road.

At about 6.30pm, Paul (my first step-dad) collected me and I spent time with him and Jack at Paul’s flat in Pontefract, talking of many things and listening to Prokofiev and Fleetwood Mac.  He’s doing well career-wise, playing in the clubs.  It was good to see him.

Paul and I had a few lagers and he mentioned his lover, circa 1980-1984, Suzanne, who we were all rather fond of.  Apart from the fact that I had a pubescent crush on her, she was a very lovely woman.  Anyway, for ages she was living as a nurse in Saudi Arabia.  The latest is that she’s met a bloke and now lives in the UK again, but will soon be moving to Africa.  She and Paul are no longer in touch, though.  Sad, really. 


My No.1: ‘Hey DJ / I Can’t Dance To That Music’ by Beatmasters and Betty Boo

I realise I’ve been recording a diary for so long that you may not even remember who Paul is. 

Here’s another quick, sketchy update on my complicated life as a child…

My parents are Betty Pritchard and Jon Winterfood.  They met in the mid- to late-sixties in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, where they both lived.  After a while together, they found themselves expecting a child – me.  They married in late 1969 and I was born in June 1970.

Sadly, when I was about two-and-a-half years old, they split up and got divorced.  Betty got custody of me and I didn’t see my Dad again till I was about eight.

After about six months of living with various friends or relatives, Betty and I finally moved to Rossington, Doncaster.  We lived here with Paul Jones, an old friend of Betty and Jon’s, who became Betty’s next husband.  They were married in 1974, and in July of that year, my brother Jack Jones was born.  To maintain family uniformity, my surname was unofficially changed to Jones (which would continue until about 1985).  I started school in Rossington and disliked it.  In 1976, Paul left his job as a miner (he’d been a nurse before that) to become a policeman.

We left Rossington and moved into a nice police house in a pretty bit of villagey countryside just outside Wakefield, called Nostall.  Over these years, I grew well acquainted with Paul’s mother (Jack’s grandmother) and came to know her as Grandma.

Living in Nostall was fun.  After an early life which I look back on as quite depressing and full of fear and worry, moving to Nostall was idyllic and much … richer.  It always seemed sunny.  I had a lot of friends and lots of magical and wonderful places to go out and play.  I even had my first (pre-pubescent) sexual encounters there.  I think I established my TV sci-fi fan thing here.  To be fair, it kind of emerged in Rossington, where I fell in love with Doctor Who and Planet of the Apes, but it was full-on when I lived in Nostall – and it was from here that I first came across Star Wars, which was a huge thing for me for the next five years or so.

Y’know, I suppose I became a ‘thespian’ in Nostall too, when I played Andy Pandy in a school production.  Okay, so I’d played a tiger or something at Sunday School in Doncaster, but this was my first proper outing – no lines, but a lot of skipping and dancing about on stage (and through the auditorium, where ‘Teddy’ and I made our entrance from behind the viewers).

‘Gotcha’ – Crass

But by the middle of 1978, Betty had realised she didn’t love Paul.  She’d been working at Wakefield Theatre Club and had met bar steward George Baker.  They fell in love, had an affair; Paul found out, there was a fight and he hit Betty and that was that.  In quite a whirlwind, we left Nostall and were suddenly living with Betty’s sister Vi, her boyfriend Brian, and her three kids in Pontefract again.

Just before we left Nostall, I’d been able to re-connect with my Dad’s parents, my Gran and Granddad Winterfood and his sister, Louise, who I adored (and still do).  This carried on over into the period in which we lived with Vi (one of the unhappiest of my life, I’m sad to say).  I began to see my Dad again and his ‘new’ wife, the lovely and beautiful Annie (they’d got married in 1975).  I’ve been able to see the Winterfood side of my family ever since and it’s been an emotional lifeline for me over the last 11 years.

After the time at Vi’s, during which I used to have sex – very willingly – with the babysitter, Cheryl, Betty, Jack and I moved in with George into a house in Pontefract.  Like Paul, George was a great surrogate father and a wonderfully nurturing and loving influence on my life and ideas.  We also had Cheryl babysitting us here, which I always looked forward to.     

After a short time, Betty and George were married and we moved to Leeds where they took over the running of a Sports and Social Club for the employees of St James’ (‘Jimmy’s’) hospital.  Leeds was great – a very new kind of life, quite urban – and we got a dog, Sam, to go with the cat we’d got in Nostall (Sooty).  Every Sunday, Jack and I would go out with Paul and I also saw a great deal of my Winterfood family.

After a couple of years we moved back to Pontefract where Betty and George ran a pub, and then wrenched ourselves out of Yorkshire in 1983 to move to the Fenland border of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.  In 1985, Betty left George for Freddie Dale, which is pretty much where this diary begins properly.

I still see all my dads and love them all a great deal.


[Images subject to control of individual Copyright Holders including works originated by Elton Townend Jones, but excluding any images or design attributed to ‘The Situation’ which are copyright of The Situation (see specific acknowledgements in the ‘Thanks to…’section below) / ‘Berwin Groomstool’ is an iteration of the Situation character ‘William Whicker’ and falls under joint copyright of Elton Townend Jones and Waen Shepherd / Based on true events and designed as a study of parochial British cultural and emotional life in the late 20th century, this blog is a work of fiction – cultural icons excluded, all characters and incidents featured are entirely fictional / This blog is non-profit; all video clips are used for illustrative purposes and almost always come from YouTube / No copyright infringement is intended – just trying to get things into context. Never forget: no man is an island. If you think anything I’ve used is damaging you in any way, please comment and immediate action will be taken to minimise offence / This notice was amended on 1 July 2012 and is intended to cover this and all posts on that precede it]

Elton Townend Jones plays Ritcherd Winterfood in the above photographs (not including the Joker), copyright Elton Townend Jones.

Next time: ‘A visit from Elbow…’

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