It’s 1982 and I’m 9 years old and it’s a Saturday, NO school for 2 days….Yay!! It was time to go out and play, yes that’s right children of today…… ‘GO OUT AND PLAY’ ….you know….. the ‘out-doorsy’ big space behind the outside of your parents front door.
Yes, for most adults the weekend means the detour to pick up a bottle of wine from the local shop….I know what you’re up to…..!
The weather was hot and sunny, but then again it always was back then, always in a t-shirt, jeans and trainers, which were the footwear for all occasions back then, but not now….oh no…… now I have more shoes than Mrs Frantony! I have to look at the weather and work out where I’m going before I decide what I’m wearing each day.
Anyway, I was free from my school uniform and had the freedom to go and play in the woods that surrounded the council estate we lived on. But
today was a new day; today I grew up a bit more and it gave me the courage to venture further into the woods. It was time to explore unknown places without Mam and Dad, and with my friend Smurfy (because he always wore a white bobble hat) always had a skin head and had one tooth missing from his bottom teeth. I mention the skinhead because it was the early 80’s, so most us looked like we were wearing a garden bush that had just been freshly ripped out of the ground…I think some of us were still stuck in the 70’s.
We played all day making dens out of ferns and climbing trees, only to get to the top and then sit on a branch and talk, sometimes inscribing our names in the tree bark with our pen knife.
Now Smurfy and I lived at the bottom of the estate, so there was never any reason to ever go up to the top houses…..well until this day. So we were feeling confident and we decided to see what was at the other side of the woods. After what seemed like miles and miles we eventually came to a field that had one cow in it (how bored was that cow?)
This was a problem for us…..well for Smurfy, as he was wearing a red top, and we thought it might be tricky just in case the cow chased us. We weren’t sure if it was angry or just chewing on grass….it might have been a retired bull from Spain here to graze, but still had its natural instinct in him to chase the colour red. Yes we were sure it was a cow and not a bull, but we were too scared to find out…….I was nine after all.
We took no chances so Smurfy ran behind me with his top tucked down his trousers, both of us not sure whether to laugh or cry. All I know, is that we hit a terrific speed that day, everything in my small, newly formed body vibrated like never before.
We made it to the other side of the wooden fence into a small car park behind a shop, Smurfy now pulling his red top out of his trousers…but from the bottom (they had gone down his trouser leg).
We walked through the car park to the front of the shop, the houses opposite in the street were the same as my Mam’s house, so we knew we were on the same council estate, but up the top. Thirsty and hungry and not knowing how long the journey home was going to take, we checked our pockets for money. Smurfy had nothing but in my pocket was 10p. My Mother always gave me 10p just in case I was lost, so I could find a telephone box and ring home.
We looked in the shop wondering what to buy, then we saw…..Now before I tell you, please remember I was 9 years old and trying to think logically….oh and don’t laugh!! ……then we saw a pack of Refreshers, and this was our thinking “We’re hungry and thirsty, so a
pack of Refreshers would refresh us!”…..Stop it now…I said don’t laugh!
I paid for the sweets and walked outside starting to open the pack of Refreshers, when we bumped in to a boy from school who was a year older than us.
“Alright boys…what you doing up here?”
With the unopened pack of Refreshers in my hand, I said “We’re lost, we’ve come through the woods and came out behind the shops, can you show us the way home?”
He looked at my unopened pack of Refreshers “You give me those sweets and I’ll show you how to get home safe!”
I stared at my sweets that I had not yet tasted, but we needed to get home and he had the information, so I gave him the Refreshers. He smiled, opened them and took one out for himself (not offering me or Smurfy one) and put them back in his pocket. “Follow me boys!”
We walked for no more than 20 seconds and we stopped at a steep alleyway that cut through the edge of the woods, the same woods that we had been playing in all day.
“Alright Dave and Smurfy….listen to me! Walk straight down this alleyway and it’ll take you to the bottom of the estate. Turn left and Dave……you’ll see your house. See you boys.”
He turned and walked away laughing with his hand clutching my pack of Refreshers shouting “Thanks for the Refreshers boys.”
I shook my head in disbelief. I had been done, I thought he was going to take us home. I could have thrown one of the Refreshers (if I still had them) at my mother’s house, from where we were standing. But I ended up home nice and safe and with the knowledge of where the woods finished and what was at the end of the alleyway that I didn’t know existed. Also that there was a cow or a bull on his own in a field, was he crazy or not? Was he really from Spain in retirement? I guess we’ll never know.
As ever on the Easy Blend, I’ll let you know what I’m listening to. Today it’s James Hunter – Carina
You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)
Until the next Easy Blend blog………..
Stay warm and fuzzy……..