So there we were standing around in the sunshine, bored & pissed off. We were a long way from home earning lots of dosh but missing our families & girlfriends.
It was the eighties up on the miners’ strike. We were at some pit on the picket line stopping any trouble. There wasn’t any trouble. Not there.
We did a couple of hours about. There were several transit loads of us. We did a couple of hours on the picket line & a couple of hours R & R. At this particular place the R & R was either sitting in the mine canteen listening to all the walkman’s we’d bought or wandering round the local estate.
Being pretty resourceful we soon found the miners’ club. We were made welcome & went in for a pint. Word soon got round & we about doubled the clientelle. We’d have a pint or two on the club & then go on the picket line withy the same guys we were drinking with half hour earlier, only we’d be on different sides of the line.
I went in the club once to find one of our lads, jumper & tie off, sleeves rolled up, behind the bar serving police & miners alike.
So back on the picket line two girls approach us on horses, which we thought was pretty unusual. The only horses I’d seen on the whole strike were Met or GMP & usually not in quite such peaceful surroundings.
I can’t remember how the conversation started but it involved asking the girls for a ride (of the horses) and before I knew it I was on the back of a horse disappearing up the road away from the pit. Strangely, after a short ride the girls actually let me & a mate ride their horses on our own. God know what they were thinking as none of us had ridden before, and I’m sure Brian, who was our shift’s area car driver at the time, was half pissed. I managed to take mine about 400 yards up the road without changing gear or falling off. Turning the bloody thing round, mind, that took a little persuasion, but I eventually made it back to the pit without damaging the poor thing.
One of my prized photographs is sitting outside a coal pit somewhere in the Midlands in full uniform astride a horse. I thought it looked so good I put in a suggestion when I got back that we should restart a mounted section. It never got very far.