Sunday, 18 January 2015

The things we say

Our son and granddaughter were with us for dinner yesterday.  Emily, aged 7, was tucking into the broccoli and carrots when she told me that she always leaves the best - in this case, the sausages and hasselback potatoes - till last.  "Some people," she told me, "always eat the best bits first in case they get too full."

As usual, one thing leads to another in my convoluted little mind and it occurred to me that we have never had to resort to any of those futile ways of encouraging her to eat.

"You eat those vegetables.  Starving children in Africa/India/China would be glad of those."

"Eat your crusts to make your hair curl."

And it brought to the surface something I had quite forgotten.  How it lodged anywhere in my jumble of a memory is beyond comprehension, but here is what happened.

Apart from my brother and me, there were - as far as I can recall - only two other children in our road of just over a hundred houses of comparable age to us.  Barry and Susan lived next door but one, but we very rarely played with them.  Brother and I were sufficient unto ourselves most of the time.

One side of our road was straight while the other side bowed outwards and, in the centre, was a grass area with a few trees.  This was large enough for a kick-about or even a game of cricket - although it is not easy playing cricket with just two people.  One day Graham and I were having a game, using a tree as a wicket.  Just behind the tree was a notice: "No Ball Games".  I suppose I was probably 12 and at the local grammar school.

While we were playing, a rather pompous resident in the street stopped and asked, "Don't they teach you to read at your school?"

I answered immediately - insolently but truthfully, "No, sir", at which he harrumphed and went on his way.

I can't imagine what got into me to make such a comment as I was usually the most timid child imaginable. 

Leading on from that memory, I remembered where I had buried a childhood photo album, and here is a picture of my brother, taken in 1957.  He was always the one who was good with his hands so I can't imagine I had any part in making this soap-box cart.  I must send him a print.


Mike @ A Bit About Britain said...

Lovely post, BP. I remember those soap-box carts very well. Boy, they could go! I won't embarrass myself, or you, by telling tales of the times I got into trouble with pompous adults. Come to think of it, I still do...

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

That's a great set of wheels for the cart.

joeh said...

Baby Buggy wheels I would guess.

Brighton Pensioner said...

They must have come off a pram but I can't remember how we acquired them. I do remember that we had trouble finding wheels.