Blog News

1. Comments are still disabled though I am thinking of enabling them again.

2. There are now several extra pages - Poetry Index, Travel, Education, Childish Things - accessible at the top of the page. They index entires before October 2013.

3. I will, in the next few weeks, be adding new pages with other indexes.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

To Put Away Childish Things #28

Following on from my previous post, the autobiographical one, it occurred to me to mention this. I didn't finish my walk in the street where I used to live , I carried on round back to the school and then followed the route that I always took in the second half of my time at Daisy Bank Infants and Juniors, after we had moved to the address where I have lived for most of my life, at the time when our old house was being demolished and all those new houses built.

The walk took me past a small park where I sometimes played as a child. Recently, because I am about to embark on such a huge change, I have been viewing things as if my eyes are open for the first time in many years and I realised how different the park is now to how I remember it. For a start it's about half the size, a new inner fence having been built many years ago.  Part of what was the park is now just a grassy area although there is still a visible oblong of concrete where the slide used to be. There is still a slide - in the new smaller park - but it's small and spiralled so that kids playing on it can't get any speed up. That wasn't true in my day. Our slide was easily twice the height of the current one and steep and straight so that sliding down you had two choices - use your feet at the bottom to slow yourself down or go flying off the end and scrape elbows and knees on the gravel. That's another difference - no gravel now, just wood chippings and grass.
The current park has a couple of other things on it, modern play things that look to my eye like bizarre devices from Doctor Who. None of the things I played on are still there. There were the swings on which we would go as high as possible, to a higher than horizontal position which put us about twelve feet off the ground. I don't know if health and safety is responsible for their absence nowadays but I do know that our game of getting as high as we could, then - at the apex of the swing letting go and flying through the air to land yards away wasn't terribly safe.
I noticed also that there are no roundabouts there now. We had two, The first was a wooden-sided one with metal bars to hang onto dividing it into pizza-like sections, and a six inch wide running board that helped both to get up some speed and to jump on and off in reckless disregard of life and limb. The second was altogether more dangerous. It was a spiders-web-like circular frame about three feet off the ground. It was more dangerous for two reasons. First it could be made to spin a lot faster with a lot less effort and second, and more important, because you could not only fall off it you could fall through it to the ground below where it was spinning. Or you could dangle your legs through ot even hang upside down with your head inches from the ground.
The roundabouts, like the swings, have been gone for many years now. 
There is still a weird U-shaped contraption that may or may not be a modern version of a see-saw but the actual wooden see-saw that used to be there is also absent. It was never my favourite as it always seemed a bit more boring than the others - or possibly as it needed two to play and, as has been mentioned before, I was a very solitary child.
I'm sure the kids who play their now enjoy their safe good fun but it doesn't look the same to me. It doesn't look the same at all.

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