When I was a kid it was normal to play with all the kids in the street all day and all night, well at least until it got dark. We would rush in from school, dump the bags, get changed and meet ‘out the front’. We’d play rounders, Akky 1,2,3, curbies, race around on bikes (helmet free) and sometimes with no hands, rollerskating down huge hills and of course the odd naughty game of knock n run!
I loved my bike, I had a Raleigh Racer, blue with white flashes on it. My brother had a skateboard which he drove the neighbours’ mad with as he would skate along their front walls bashing all their plants. Neighbours thought nothing in those days of coming out and shouting at you and you would apologise for fear of them telling your parents. Respect was still a big thing then, none of this answering back malarkey!
Friends had a farm which was two fields away. We would wander over these fields and tracks alone and play in the woods. We would collect frog spawn from the pond, climb trees, build dens and paddle in the stream, all unsupervised.
They had a huge hay barn filled high with hay bales, we’d climb to the top and make slides all the way to bottom. Had I have known it was full of rats it probably wouldn’t have bothered me then, but today I would FREAK OUT!
I remember lobbing huge sticks up at the conker trees and watching all the conkers fall, along with many branches which you had to dodge…..quickly. Are you even allowed to do this anymore? I don’t know?
We also used to walk to local park, in which we would have to cut through a dodgy looking alley, a graveyard and cross a main road to get to. Beacon Park was a great park back then, it felt safe. Friends and I would spend many summer holidays in that park. My mam would wave us off and tell us to be home by tea time and nothing more was said.
I was never really the type of child who was into going to play in other kids houses, I was always wanting to be outdoors. Amazing times and happy memories….would I let my kids out alone to cross two fields into the unknown? Would I let them cut down alleyways and cross main roads to a park……? I doubt it very much, which saddens me.
Today is a different world. Who is lurking in woods? What if a car stops on the main road? What if they fell in that pond or fell out of that tree?
How times have changed.
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