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Re: The Most Reliable One Arm Bandit

Postby badpenny » Thu Apr 02, 2020 1:49 pm

That's a long story.
Uncle Gordon had many fingers in many pies. He bred horses, had holiday caravan sites, numerous used car sales, rides that travelled with fairgrounds across the South and South East of England. He had arcades that moved regularly between his caravan sites to beneath the pier, to on the pier, to Torbay Road and then back to the holiday sites. I don't know why ;-)
My side of the family were poor and the only chance I had of a holiday in the Summer was to be farmed out to Paignton on a working holiday.
My naïve Mother thought I was shovelling horse poo on the farm, my Father guessed the truth and just didn't ask questions as he thought it good grounding for his son.
The first couple of years I was sent off to catch up with the fair, it wasn't the fun you'd think it was. I wasn't born into it, I didn't speak their language (although I quickly learnt what "There's rowin" meant when shouted between the gaff lads after dark) So far as they were concerned I was a flatty and would always be. It ended after the second Summer when my parents collected me from Coventry Station and I got off the train aged 14 swigging from a bottle of Double Diamond and asked them "How the f*ck" they were?
Apparently meaningful conversations were had via the call box at the bottom of the road. The next few Summers for me were spent in Paignton. Officially I was key man. Factually I spent a lot of time on my own in the arcade as Uncle G also had the car sales and caravan sites to show his face at (other family members were running those day to day).
As for being his favourite nephew ha ha :lol: He barely remembered my name and referred to me as "Coventry". The float he left me to give out change had to balance to the penny, and he didn't leave me any keys (I was the key man remember?) I just turned machines to face the wall if they jammed. All pennies I reimbursed had to be entered onto a "Non Revenue/Refund Sheet" for his scrutiny. Upon his return it was my job then to unjam machines (down time was an unacceptable evil) and empty the machines to return the pennies to the Change Booth. It was years after that I realised why he made me wear a special uniform when I was emptying or fiddling around in the back of an errant machine. It was only a pair of overalls with the name of the arcade crudely written on the back, but the pockets were sewn up and the legs had no turn ups!
If I'd turned up with a camera one year I wonder what his reaction would have been - all answers on the back of a used £20 note to the usual address.


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Re: The Most Reliable One Arm Bandit

Postby arrgee » Thu Apr 02, 2020 3:40 pm

Love those old reminiscences of yours BP in the arcade, I have fond memories of spending summer holidays at Paington back in the late 50s early 60s - likely I would have frequented uncle Gordon's arcade.

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Re: The Most Reliable One Arm Bandit

Postby 13rebel » Thu Apr 02, 2020 5:31 pm

A great read, BP Love the bit about the 'uniform'. :HaHa:

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