Bella’s 1961

That was what we called wellingtons when we were kids.

I do not know where the name ‘Bella’s’ comes from, but that was what we called wellingtons when we were kids. In these times, summer or winter, 95% of the time we seemed to be wearing them for some reason or another.  I suppose it could be the fact that we were always on the North Shields Fish Quay or Black Middens, digging for ragworms, lugworm or looking for peeler crabs to go fishing or sell.

The one thing that does spring to mind was the top of the wellies were always turned over.  Now two things always happened.  The water got inside, but you also had a ring around your leg just below the knee where the top chafed day after day.  None of this bothered us, but as some people would point out now and again your feet were honking.  The fact that in these days everything went into the Tyne and one way or another it ended up back inside your wellies.  Now just add a bit of sunshine and bingo you could gas anything within 20 yards with your feet odour being so powerful.

For the likes of me it meant nothing, for half the time me and soap never mixed.  My idea of a wash in these times was a quick rub over the face and hands, done.  Thinking of today we must have been manky but you just took it in your stride.  Today if you asked the kids to wear a pair of wellies you would get those immortal words “I would rather die”.  I suppose like other things wellies are just from the dark old days of long ago.

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