Adapt and Recover

"Adapt and Recover" which tells about two boys growing up in the 1970's in which was still known as the Ridges Estate. Michael and Lizzy Fox live in Oakwood Avenue they have friends who live across the road; Connie and Bob Harris. Both of their sons Roger and Ronnie play together and go to the same school. Infact they are inseparable. This story takes you through their childhood together and their desire to be Royal Marine Commandos after Lizzy, Rogers mother buys Roger an Action man toy for Christmas. As young boys they join the Army Cadets until they reach the age of eighteen where they sign up to take on the hardest training regime in the world. see the boys grow into men as they are sent to fight in the Gulf War in 1991. This is a story of friendship and comradery. one that will last a lifetime.

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15. 15

Again Roger had something interesting to write in his jotter.

The Job at the Neptune Yard was going well and there was plenty of work going.

Michael was work three half shifts and a Saturday and Sunday Morning as well. By February 1971 we had gone decimal and people found themselves at a loss not only how to use the new money as it was called; but in monetary value as well. Under the old system there was two hundred and forty pennies to the pound. Now there was only one hundred, a loss of 140 pennies. The government assured us that the prices in the shops would not change and the prices of things you bought would end up actually cheaper. This was not the case the half penny was done away with and the prices rounded up. The pound was devalued the things you used to buy increased and the pound that once was worth a pound in monetary value became only worth ten shillings. It was the biggest con trick in history.

Many workers found themselves out of pocket under the Tory regime. Edward Heath was in power and the working man was not happy. Strikes were brewing all over the country. First came the post office workers then in 1972 the miners came out demanding a 43% pay rise. The government were offering only a 7-8% pay rise this was unacceptable to the men and on the 9th of January 1972 every pit in Britain came out on strike. 135 pits, 50 collieries, and 85 private mines closed. Miners from every part of Britain picketed the power stations. A state of emergency was called by Edward Heath and a three day working week was to be implemented.

On the 28th of February 1972 Heath was defeated. Miner’s wages became the highest in the working classes and the men returned to work.

In 1973 Heath who was still in power tried to introduce a wage freeze to help the economy due to the increase in oil prices and the Arab – Israeli War. On the 9th February 1974 the miners came out on strike again. The government refused to bend to a 7% pay rise. Again Heath was defeated. Michael Foot Secretary for Employment introduced a super- annuation scheme and compensation to the victims of pneumoconiosis caused by breathing in coal dust. The strike action had a knock on effect on the whole of the country and other workers were forced to come out on strike for higher pay. The ship yards followed then the steel workers in 1975 asked for pay increases. Michael’s job looked on shaky ground but he hung in and the union managed to secure a pay rise that was acceptable.

By the time Roger was eleven he had grown to five feet seven and was now taller than his mother. He and his mate Ronnie Harris started Norham High School. It was now 1981 Mr Slatery took them for most of their lessons and the classes were now mixed.

Roger helped his friend with his homework because he seemed to learn faster than anyone else in the class. His school reports were exemplary. His father had bought him an air rifle for his birthday and he would go down to the railway lines at Percy Main and shoot rats. There were literally hundreds of them and no mater how many Roger shot the numbers never seemed to dwindle. He learned how to strip a rifle down and put it back together again and he showed his friend how it was done. After every shoot Roger would meticulously clean his weapon. The parts were placed in order on the kitchen table then put back one by one. He tested his friend and it wasn’t long before they 

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