Wake up early on Saturday morning.
Up before the rest of the house.
Dash downstairs to get a bowl of Cornflakes and settle in for the morning cartoons.
Get dressed, grab my stuff and leave the house, hopping on a 102 (I’m a Lupset lad, born and bred) to Wakey.
Get off in the bus station and nip into the bogs, passing by the bus drivers puffing away on fags outside their staff room. I use a cubicle – the graffiti on the walls mean it’s always an education in there – and I make a mental note to ring Sandra, she sounds like a nice girl, although I can’t believe she’ll do all that for ten bob.
I head down to the clock tower and take a seat underneath it, on the cold concrete, sheepishly eyeing up a couple of girls leaning on the railings next to the phone boxes. It’s not long before my mates roll up and we head down to the indoor market to have a gander.
We push through the doors – it takes two of us to open them – and go straight upstairs to browse the computer games stall. We’re not buying ‘owt, we just like looking.
One of the lads wants something new to listen to, so we stop off at the record stand and he buys it.
Then we make our way to Sun Lane, paying our fee and heading inside where we spend a happy hour-and-a-half splashing around and sheepishly eyeing up some girls.
We dry off and get dressed and leave and head straight for Chucky Chicken, pumping ten pence after ten pence into Final Fight, Robocop, Aliens, WWF Wrestlefest and many, many more.
We’re hungry now, so we go to McDonald’s just across the way. We get in line and queue. And queue. And queue. It’s always so busy in here, so many people. We get our food, but it’s standing room only so we head outside and eat on a bench, sheepishly eyeing up some girls while we do, and marvelling at how many people there are. Wakey is always rammed on a Saturday.
We stick our wrappers in the bin and head up the precinct, then we duck down the side of Boots and head inside The Ridings. We ride the glass elevator up and down, up and down, up and down, till the short stocky security guard with the moustache – the one that looks a bit like Super Mario, but with a redder face – starts eyeballing us, and we leave.
To the ABC cinema now, to finish off our afternoon. The smell of fresh popcorn hits us as we enter and pay. We take a seat and the sounds of Pearl and Dean greet us:
‘P-pah, p-pah, p-pah, p-pah, pa-pa-PAH!’
Then we disappear into another world for an hour-and-a-half or so.
The film finishes and we emerge, blinking into the daylight, and we each go our separate ways. I grab another 102 home.
I get off the bus, spotting a few local lads I head over and join them. We play hide ‘n seek and tigs as the sun goes down, only stopping when our mums yell out that ‘tea’s ready!’ at the top of their lungs.
We all say our goodbyes and head inside, the end of another lovely Saturday.
I miss Wakefield.
I miss the Wakefield of my youth.