THERE are more questions than answers! Anyone who dabbles in local history knows this to be true – and that what you think is true today might be totally disproved tomorrow. Frustrating, but then that’s what makes it so fascinating.

And what’s even more annoying is when you’ve only latched on to half the story – and that is why, dear reader, I ask for your help from time to time. I know that somebody out there will probably have an answer. And this informant need not necessarily live in Cumbria. Even before the growing popularity of the Internet, our local papers were mailed off to readers who lived elsewhere in Britain – and out in the big, wide world.

Nothing can quite compare with handling a real newspaper – or sorting through a few elderly cuttings.

One such caught me off my guard – a small press cutting of a coupon inviting younger readers of the Evening News & Star to become members of “Jay’s Junior Club”. The coupon was dated March 1 1971.

I know it’s a long time ago, but were you ever a member of this club? And who was “Jay”?

This use of pseudonyms by earlier contributors is extremely annoying. Trying to unearth their identities, especially the very early ones, can sometimes prove to be almost impossible. It is annoying, but then, as “How Michael”, I’m one to talk!

Back in 2007, the Times & Star, used to run a whole-page “One2One” feature which invited readers to “Find love” via the paper. At the time it was not a page I ever read. But how many readers back then were seriously looking for a date?

Were you looking for love? And did you find it? Some of the adverts were quite intriguing. How about: “Silly bald male, 39, miserable, unsociable, seeks similar female for fun times.”

And what about: “Stunning female, 31, curvy, blonde, blue eyes…seeks male to make her smile again.”

Just two out of a few hundred ads in only one issue of the paper I wonder just how many did find love – and perhaps got married? Not that we’re ever likely to find out!

Knife crime has sadly been in the news these past few months. Almost inevitably certain politicians and ordinary citizens have started moaning about how people can commit crime and escape any serious punishment. Carrying knives was quite common back in the Fifties. Flick knives were favoured by certain sections of the community. As I remember, and please correct me if I am mistaken, it was quite usual for boy scouts to carry knives – which were hung on their belts. I am assuming that this is no longer the case!

Teddy Boys, also had the reputation of carrying knives – tucked into the top pockets of their jackets – as I remember. But then they attracted a lot of criticism – much of it totally undeserved – at the time.

It was a bit before my time – but were you ever a Teddy Boy? And if you were, I wonder if you are one of those vintage pop music fans with an authentic Teddy Boy outfit stowed away in your wardrobe, worn only when attending vintage pop music events.

I missed out on that scene. As I remember, much of my teenage youth was spent pretending to be a Beatnik, in tatty jeans and a woolly shapeless pullover that came down over my knees and, of course, a pair of brothel creepers. I wish I still had them, they’re now probably quite collectable – and worth a few bob.

I still have a few photos stowed away somewhere. Not that I ever dig them out to show anybody. Have you got any old photos of yourself in any such vintage garb?

I want to finish by going back to when committing a crime earned some form of punishment. Back to a case in the Workington of 1889. One Sarah Howard was walking down Finkle Street when a boy tore a silver brooch and a flower off her dress and ran off.

Appearing before the Bench, he was ordered to receive three strokes with a birch-rod. The lad was nine years of age. I wonder if he ever offended again?