Naturally the snows gave us the chance to get out and give our sledges and toboggans a go and we relished many a snowball fight. We also loved to slide around on the ice in school playgrounds or on shallow ponds. As a lad I never saw a pair of ice skates and I believed they were something for the upper classes.
Once winter was behind us and in came the spring out came the bowlers (no, not hats), these were the iron hoops we loved to bowl along, but a good substitute was the old bicycle tyres we used as well. Of course Spring was a great skipping season and the lasses came into their own at this energetic business. And many of them could perform in dazzling fashion as they whirled the ropes at amazing speeds and went into their ‘peppering’ with enormous gusto. Watching all the many variations was really enthralling entertainment. The lads took to their whips and tops and of the two types of top we used most of us preferred what we called the ‘window breaker’. This little demon frequently lived up to its name much to the anger of many a householder. We also spent many hours flicking our ‘allies’ (marbles) around on a dry patch of soil and some lads were brilliant at this game. Snobs was another pastime.
The girls enjoyed numerous playground games such as Lucy Locket, Grandmother Gray, A Tisket-a-Tasket, Nuts in May and many others. Tiggy or tag was likely the most widespread of all our games and we were often galloping around at this at the first chance and it sometimes brought a caning for dashing around the classroom. Lads and lasses both liked rounders and also Usky Busky.
After school we liked our football, either with the leather casey amongst the cow dunged field or along the then mostly quiet roads with soft balls being used. Cricket too was played in the road with a dustbin lid propped up as a wicket. We loved our Hide and Seek and Rally Co - the latter often being played even in the dark.
There were truly wonderful sessions of cowboys and Indians and we relished celebrating the exploits of our many Western film favourites and as the sides were agreed on there would be cries of ‘I’ll be Roy Rodgers or Hoppalong Cassidy or Geronimo’.Sometimes these games got a bit too hot for comfort when real raiding parties from the neighbouring village suddenly appeared and fists flew and noses bled. Stones sailed through the air causing a rapid retreat from this rough house to seek friendly territory.
There was not much lad and lass pairing up at such young ages - that side of things was all thought a bit soppy but it may be that there was the odd encounter that blossomed. Surely today, are our kids with all their absorbing themselves into the world of gadgetry and computer technology missing something we had?
Next week in Part 45 - Throwing Money Away.