Memory Lane - Monkey with bubblegum and nappy

I saw the story about Jojo the monkey’s escape.

Owning a monkey in Hartlepool brings a smile to anybody’s face.

There was another primate named Gussie. He was featured in the Northern Daily Mail (as it was known then), photographed with my brother, Tony Blair, and Blackie the puppy Gussie adopted.

Gussie was a gift from Harry Tones to our family.

He was well trained though. He would sit in the basket of my mam’s bike when she went messages.

One day the policeman directing traffic at Church Street/Stockton Street junction couldn’t believe his eyes.

He froze at seeing Gussie grinning at him and caused a traffic snarl up.

Gussie knew when the kids in St Joseph’s School would be out at playtime. Our back door in Whitby Street faced the school field.

He had to go and play with them.

He could also go to the shop over the road and put a penny in the chuddy machine, get his bubblegum ball and return home to eat it.

It was Peppert’s shop I believe.

He would often climb the streetlight outside the Empire Fish Grill to get in and out of the upstairs window.

Many a drunk gave up drinking after seeing this from the Black Lion pub opposite the streetlight.

It wasn’t pink elephants but a monkey, with its face covered in pink bubblegum and a nappy on, making monkey noises and grinning from ear to ear.

He didn’t get hanged but a political correctness type syndrome crept in and he was classed as a dangerous animal so we had to pass him on to someone else.

Hartlepool and monkeys don’t mix it seems ever,

Jimmy Blair,

Lime Crescent,