Sinatra Sings But Walt Disnae!


On this day 1971 Walt Disney World was opened in Orlando, Florida.

It was a day of excitable kids, colourful characters, mixing with goofy, a rollercoaster ride of emotions and constantly dipping into dad’s wallet. That’s how my mum remembers that day at our Low Fell home anyway! …….. I’ve no idea what Disney World was like on 1st October 1971, as I wasn’t there.

I’ve never been to any of the Disney theme parks. In fact the only theme park I went to as a kid was Birtley World in County Durham. Although to be honest it was just a swimming baths with a few buoyancy aids, so I’m not really sure if you can class that as a theme park!

Back in the 1970’s we kids didn’t have the multitude of venues to keep them entertained as they do now. Not that it bothered me, because any free time I had was spent playing football, cricket or scratching around.

Scratching around was what you did as a young lad if you didn’t have a ball. In a nutshell it entailed sitting at the local dene for an hour or so grumbling to your friends that you wished you had a football!

Scratching around never really took off as a fulfilling pastime and was replaced by mooching around in the mid 70’s.


It’s amazing how you filled your time in back then. I recall on occasion at school break time we’d play a game called ‘Japs & Commandos’. To enlist participants for the game, a group would meander around the playground chanting “Who wants a game of Japs & Commandos?”

When there was enough to play the game it commenced. I can’t recall what the game entailed but it must have been bloody short as we only had a 15 minute break and the first 10 minutes was spent walking around the playground chanting “Who wants a game of Japs & Commandos?”

It was probably five minutes of using your index and middle finger as a gun and making shooting noises, but I honestly don’t recall. However, it obviously kept us entertained as we regularly occupied ourselves with such nonsense.

finger guns

Actually, I’ve just remembered I did go to a theme park as a kid. The family went to Flamingoland near Malton in North Yorkshire on a few occasions. It was like Birtley World with good bits!

As a young kid I loved seeing the animals, going on the rides and watching the show with the bloke in a gorilla outfit escaping from his ‘secure’ cage.

A man in a gorilla suit and a gorilla in a man suit! ….. Oh and a rabbit holding a man in an armchair! ….. Just another normal day in the Strachan household!


The bloke dressed as a gorilla used to attract big audiences. It was an indoor show where the ‘gorilla’ was stood rattling the cage door trying to get out. The zoo keeper, who was stood outside the cage door, would poke the gorilla suited guy with a stick to antagonise him further. Eventually his shaking of the door became so vigourous he burst out of the cage.

At that point the audience, including myself, screamed in fright at a ‘gorilla’ on the loose! I’m not sure why as it was pretty obvious it was a bloke in a gorilla suit. The biggest giveaway was the wording of ‘Sponsored by Malton Granary Loaves’ on the front of his outfit!…….. Unless the real gorillas are actually sponsored by Malton Granary Loaves………… Bloody hell it could have been a genuine gorilla all the time!

The 1st October also saw the formation of the 30th September Procrastination Club in Illinois, USA. It convened then because they couldn’t be bothered to meet on the 30th September, so they put it off a day.


It is now six months since I started my blogging website . In that time I have written 139 blogs and 1 about page, had around 3400 site hits, drank 150 cups of coffee, been interrupted 260 times by people trying to sell me solar panels and been told by my daughter 139 times “No dad, I don’t want to read your blog!”

I have found writing them has been a helpful distraction from the more challenging circumstances the family are going through at the moment!

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read them! ……………. Oh, and happy birthday Disney World!

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