New book explores the highs and lows of growing up in a village near Kettering

The autobiographical account of life in Broughton will evoke memories for many readers

By Kate Cronin
Saturday, 23rd May 2020, 6:00 am
Paul's book will be launched next Sunday at 2pm
Paul's book will be launched next Sunday at 2pm

A fascinating account of childhood in Broughton during the 1960s has been brought to like in a new book by a local man.

Paul Manning's new book, The Middle of Next week, provides a look back at some of the touching and often hilarious experiences he had as a lad in Broughton.

From walking all the way to Kettering to buy a catapult to being run over by a car, the book will evoke strong memories for many people raised in the area.

He said that many people who grew up in that era will share some of his experiences including having one hot bath a week on a Sunday night.

"Children had so much more freedom then," said Paul, who still lives in the borough.

"I think it was that parents just didn't want them under their feet. My mum used to say 'out you go' and if it was raining she'd just tell me to put my anorak on."

Paul, now in his 60s, wrote the book after being urged to share his vivid anecdotes by old friends.

He said: "I was just messing about putting old memories on Facebook and my old school teacher from Bishop Stopford and one of my friends Rob Daniel said I should write a book.

"I didn't really have the time as I had my own business then so it's taken a while to get it done.

"I'm going to keep it live so I can carry on adding to it."

Paul will hold an online launch of his book at 2pm on Sunday, May 31, and it will be available electronically at first, followed by a paper edition when bookshops are allowed to reopen. You can find out more details about the launch and watch it live on his Facebook page.

Here's a taster of the book:

Dicing With Death

It was the middle of September when, desperate to get to a football match in the village, I exited the bus and in my attempt to outrun it veered into the road. As I out-ran the double-decker I was struck by the car as it overtook the bus. While I lay stricken in the road unable to walk I begged my friends to carry me to the match, adults were everywhere shouting in panic and an ambulance was called.

Eventually I persuaded my friends to carry me away with people shouting about internal bleeding and hidden damage, while the ambulance was already tearing around the village sirens blaring looking for me. We managed to hide in my mates front garden halfway up Cransley Hill, because I was terrified of what my parents would do to me for the damage I’d done to the car.

The windscreen had shattered as my head made contact and the front wing and bonnet were badly damaged. I remembered the moment I’d veered into the opposite side of the road, I thought I was safe as I could see nothing heading towards me and I was much quicker than the bus. A second of pain, a moment of sickness then darkness, a rush of swirling sound, another burst of pain and a feeling of wanting to vomit followed by that swirling sound, darkness, pain, followed by more darkness.

Dizziness and pain as my eyes opened. Confused and dazed, I tried to stand but couldn’t. People were pushing me down and telling me to lay still but my shoes were missing. Panicking I begged for my shoes. My mother was around at her friend's house when her friend's son burst through the door.

“Broughton lost 2-0 and Monty has been run over”, he shouted. Seconds later mother was out into the street. A passing girl looked at her and said, “He’s dead you know”.