Friday, 24 April 2020

Friday

When I have  run out of reading matter, have done the mind games in The Times - and read it from cover to cover- done the Crossword and done various jobs around the house/garden, there comes a point when I need something to do.   I make myself take a walk round the block even though I have probably already been on my feet too long so that the walk is painful to do.    This morning at half past eight my order from Tesco came.   The delivery driver unloaded it into plastic boxes in my garage and I spent the next two hours disinfecting it all and putting it all away.   I find this very tiring.

An hour's rest with my feet up and then lunch before that walk.  Sausages left from yesterday with wilted spinach, chantenay carrots and Majorcan new potatoes (delicious) followed by what was left of the rhubarb today served with evaporated milk.

So what to read?  I am waiting for another of Carol Drinkwater's Olive Farm books to arrive so turned to my rereading of Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons books.   They are easy reading and I love them.   So far Winter Holiday and We Didn't Mean to go to Sea.  Starting Swallows and Amazons it struck me just how life has changed for children (not that these were 'normal' children anyway).   Terribly middle class/boarding school educated - many children must have read these books over the years with a kind of envy.   I doubt many children had this kind of freedom, even in those days.   But they are escapist.

How did we play in those days?   Middle class I certainly wasn't.   Never went hungry - in fact always ate well - and always had enough clothes (and always a complete new outfit for Sunday School Anniversary) - had a new bike for my birthday when I was old enough to go off on it - always had pocket money.   That was our standard of living.   But of  course I came to the Arthur Ransome books as a mum, not as a child.   As a child, in the school holidays we went off together on our bikes, sandwiches (meat paste or jam) piece of cake and bottle of water, down to the beck a couple of miles from home with a jam jar and a fishing net to see what we could catch,or to paddle in the shallow water or just to laze on the bank  until time to return home for tea.  (always best to keep out of the way because parents could always find work for idle hands in the school holidays).

Of course there was little traffic on the roads in those days so cycling along with all that paraffinalia was quite safe.   Cossies might be taken if the weather was really hot (wasn't it always in those days?)

'Every dog has its day' they say and didn't we just.   There was no staying at home staring at a screen all day.    I really do think we had a wonderful childhood in those days, don't you?

25 comments:

Tom Stephenson said...

I'm a bit younger than you Weave, but I agree. I don't know whether or not the days were better in the 50s for me or the 40s for you, but in hindsight it seems so.

Bea said...

Your childhood sounds like a full, rich experience. Even for me in the 70s we rode our bikes all around the neighborhood & didn't need to watch for road traffic so much as there was hardly any. We played in the hills at the end of our street. Hours were spent there fashioning rope swings on tree boughs, digging for goodness-know-what, and cardboard sliding down grassy hills until it was time to come in for dinner at dusk.

Sheila said...

I also agree, having grown up in the 40s and 50s. In the States I think it was primarily the absence of predators which allowed us to go off on our own without our parents having to worry so much about our disappearing. Of course the lack of cars meant that walking and biking was so much less risky. When I was about ten, I remember riding my bike for at least 4 miles one way along country roads to the stables where I took horseback riding lessons. No one ever gave it a second thought.

Derek Faulkner said...

I'm just coming up to 73 but had a very similar childhood to you and most of it was based around making our own pleasures each day and having few luxuries. It's that kind of start in life that makes it easier for us to adapt to hardship when it comes along, as it is now.
My fall back books are the Famous Five ones, I have all twenty one of them and in their original covers.

JayCee said...

I was born in the mid 50s and my parents were definitely not well off. My dad got me a second hand bicycle when he thought I was old enough to ride one but, living in a London suburb, there was more traffic than I suspect you encountered so I was not allowed to go too far. There was a disused gravel pit behind our estate so we kids used to play over there. I remember we used to go over to the "fort" beside the railway line. It was actually just a concrete, windowless bunker, possibly left over from WWII. Stinging nettles featured regularly I seem to remember!

Meanqueen said...

My childhood was good most of the time. Father didn't do much for us, but mother did the best she could. I loved playing outside, up and down the street, with my friends, on my scooter. There was an atmosphere in the house so I went out whenever I could.

Ruth said...

I remember those carefree days, think about them all the time anymore. One thing that parents worried about then was polio. There was one girl my age who contracted it and spent months in an iron lung in a children's hospital at quite a distance, leaving her with lifelong problems. The dog days were the time of year when my Mom would sometimes add Lysol to our bathwater (a germ killer.) Isn't it amazing that toys weren't even part of the picture, other than bicycles. And we never had a dull moment.

Mary said...

Born early 40's, bombs still falling on Torquay! Recall a wonderful childhood well into the 50's. Played 'Cowboys & Indians' around the housing estate, tennis in the road as there were few cars, went to Sat. morning kids' movies then walked up the hill to grandma's tiny flat for lunch. Received my first bike at age 12 when I passed the 11+ (money sent from my mum's aunt in California), and rode into the Devon countryside with best friend Carole - soggy but delicious cheese sandwiches in our bike baskets. Sunday afternoon picnics with friends who had a car (we never did) on the banks of the River Dart on Dartmoor. Swam at the beach after school once it warmed up in June, gardened (FLOWERS and VEGGIES) with mum who had the green thumb. Very little money for anything extra or fancy, but good healthy food, new pair of Clarke's sandals every year and - lucky me, with mum a London-trained dressmaker, lovely clothes!


I fondly recall my childhood full of amazing times - so many wonderful outdoor days year round - and feel really sorry for today's children who will never experience anything so special.

the veg artist said...

Many of my childhood summers were spent with a group of my cousins, all living within a mile or so of my gran's farm. Outside all day, playing in the sheds or by the river, back to one house or the other when we were hungry. Together and safe, and still friends today.

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

My childhood growing up in the late 50s and 60s was full of tramping about with chums, catching lizards, playing in the woods and on the streets, bicycling everywhere late into the night. So different from now. I would love to feel like that again.

Anne Brew said...

Pat there is one thing you could do with your groceries to make life easier - select a box of stuff you won’t need for three days and put it to the back of the garage with maybe a note saying what date you can use it eg Monday of next week. I’m told the virus won’t survive without a host after that time. Those items shouldn’t need an exhausting clean. xx

Joanne Noragon said...

Yes, out and about was much better than being home, underfoot. Although we were forced to spend one hour indoors every day, from noon to one, out of the worst heat of the day, so to avoid catching polio.

Red said...

Yes , I look back at the fun we had we were on a farm and went all over the place...no supervision. My own kids(48 and 50) remark about being away all morning or afternoon without supervision. I remember the good times we had. I wouldn't want to be a kid today.

Cro Magnon said...

My sister and I were named after S & A characters; I always say it was a good thing my mother didn't have another daughter, she might have been named Titty.

Bovey Belle said...

We had a wonderful childhood, my friends and I, walking for miles and miles (in search of ponies to fuss!), climbing trees, jumping over streams, exploring, making swings and dens, playing in the disused brickyard and scrumping! Such freedom. I was interested in wild flowers at the tender age of 6, and used to go looking for them, and picking blackberries with my mum at summer's end. We had lizards and slow worms in our garden, so I used to watch those and sometimes pick them up (they were not amused!)

Librarian said...

I was born in 1968 so my childhood was a bit later than yours, but there was still no staring at screens all day. Germany only had three TV channels, and "Children's Hour" really WAS only one hour long when I was little. And when we were out playing - which was the case when the weather was fine - our Mum would not call us in just to watch TV but let us keep playing outside with our friends and other kids around the neighbourhood. The condition was that we'd done our homework first, and that we would be home by 6:00 pm - everything in between was completely up to us, and our parents more often than not had no idea where we were, especially not if we were on our bikes.

Jennyff said...

I totally agree, my childhood was like yours, we just took off for the day not telling anyone where we were going. Here I see a little girl come out to play on her bike in the communal square but always with a parent, even in lock down and in full site of a lot of houses. In Italy the children still run around unsupervised, as a friend told me if a child is lost someone will bring it home, we all know each other we all take care of each other.

Jules said...

My childhood was also similar yours. And yes, I'm sure the sun was always shining. :)

wherethejourneytakesme said...

I was born in 1954, but I can relate to your childhood. At age 6 we moved to a tiny village and I would spend most of my days just wandering around in the woods and walking along the stream banks playing with friends. We only went home for lunch (you never appeared home for lunch with a friend in those days) - but each went home and then met up again later. They were good days though and not something children would be safe doing now. Sad times that they cannot wander very far - I learned to take care of myself from a very early age. x

Anonymous said...

Paraphernalia

Heather said...

I had a lovely childhood even though it was during WW2. I grew up in the country living with my mother in her parents' house when Dad joined the Army. There was quite a large garden with plenty of hidey-holes, a small paddock for Granny's goats and then a wood across a farmer's field which we (my cousins and I) were allowed to explore. Idyllic. I am very content where I am at present, but do miss the countryside though to walk in it now would not be easy. I need a good flat pavement for safety.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Like yesterday with all the confectionery now today with all your playing experiences - two really enjoyable reads for me, so thank you one and all. These are the memories that keep us going.

gmv said...

Lovely memories. I had a similar childhood. The best.

Eleanor said...

I'm 70 and my childhood was much like yours. A lot of time was spent at my granny's (she lived in a small village in S.W. Scotland), along with my younger brother and at least 4 cousins. We used to be out all day making dens, collecting wild rasps and brambles and playing along the river bank. we used to make dams but knew that we had to "break" them before we left for home for our dinner. My granny could make a meal out of next to nothing. She'd had plenty of practice as she raised 11 children, her youngest being only 6 months old when my grandfather died, and no widows pensions then. Happy days!

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