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#1037253 - Sat Mar 08 2014 10:55 PM Simple childhood pleasures
mountaingoat Offline
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Registered: Fri Jun 22 2007
Posts: 390
Loc: Blue Mountains NSW Australia
I was looking at some photos of my childhood home and thought about some of the simple things that gave me great pleasure. We had a railway bridge over one of the busiest railway junctions in New South Wales. I used to love standing in line with a steam train coming on the track and waiting for a rush of hot wind and ashes to hit me. I also love yabbying. This involved going to small dams with some cotton and a piece of meat. You tie a knot about a foot from the meat and as you pull the yabby (crayfish) you see the knot and put your hand behind the yabby and scoop it ashore. They were yummy cooked and soaked in vinegar. I used to love the feeling of the fresh water and the mud squishing between by toes.

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#1037259 - Sun Mar 09 2014 12:19 AM Re: Simple childhood pleasures
Scottie2306 Offline
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Registered: Sat Nov 27 2004
Posts: 207
Loc: Canberra ACT Australia        
Your train story struck a chord with me. On the way to primary school we had to pass under a railway line. We used to wait for the train to come along and make such a roar as it passed overhead. Not steam trains, though. I used to love going fishing with my father. Such patience he showed as we kept him busy baiting hooks and retrieving lines that had got jagged on the rocks. Of course, if we actually caught a fish, it was he who had to remove it from the hook. I still like fishing, but my modern take on it is to go on eBay, bait the hook with photos and description, throw it in the online waters and wait for bites.

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#1037264 - Sun Mar 09 2014 08:15 AM Re: Simple childhood pleasures
sue943 Online   content
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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 37440
Loc: Jersey
Channel Islands    
When I was a child our family had no money nor did most of the families living around us, we lived in social housing built shortly after WWII and because of the nature of the housing, all with three bedrooms, almost all of the houses had children, most more than one. Our road was a dead end so there was very little traffic, there was a brook over the road with stone banks, the brook ran through uncultivate land which I am guessing now, belonged to the local council. The other side of the brook were allotments and beyond them was more uncultivated land with lots of trees and bushes. That was our playground, we had masses of land in which to have dens. We probably roamed for about a mile up the side of the brook and in two places there were pipes which crossed it, one broader than the other. We used to cross the brook, first by sliding across then as we got older and older we walked it. Many is the time that we fell in, our poor mothers must have got fed up with our wet shoes.

These days the allotment have gone and all the uncultivated land, it is now a waterside park with short grass, but it is still green space but I doubt that the children play there as we did. Now it appears to be where people walk their dogs, and indeed when she was alive my mother did just that.

One thing that my friends and I used to do was make miniature gardens. We would have an old biscuit tin lid or a tray and use a piece of mirror as a pond, then mosses and pieces of broken china would be used and some daisies or something similar, hours of fun.
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#1037319 - Sun Mar 09 2014 06:44 PM Re: Simple childhood pleasures
ren33 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 12438
Loc: Kowloon Tong  Hong Kong      
That reminded me of the perfume making activities involving rose petals and water, mostly. I always had big ideas for making money.
I am sure we had more fun, and were so much healthier, and safer, since neighbours kept an eye on us and yelled at us when we were naughty. A car tyre tied to a tree branch was an amazing swing especially over the brook. I fell in more times than I could count, and tore my knickers and ruined my shoes. Or a tea tray made a great slide on the hill sloping down to the brook at the bottom.Oh it was fun.
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#1037368 - Mon Mar 10 2014 03:45 AM Re: Simple childhood pleasures
sue943 Online   content
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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 37440
Loc: Jersey
Channel Islands    
The petals always turned brown as I recall. smile

Oh yes, neighbours telling us off! I mentioned that most of the houses had families with children, the exception were the three ladies who lived next door but one to us, there was an ancient lady with her two spinster daughters. They would come out and tell us off if we played in the bushes opposite their house or made too much noise. If they came out then we would be sheepish and obey, we would never have been rude or abusive to them. I say them, actually it was usually the old lady and she was in her 90s as far as we knew. I remember once she called to me to come to her, I was terrified as I didn't know what I had done wrong, she then gave me a large box of boiled sweets (candy) and told me to take them home and to share with my siblings. This actually happened more than once, those ladies were so kind and knew that we had no spare money for things like sweets. She was a gorgeous old lady with a red flannel petticoat showing below her hemline and had snowy white hair in a bun on top of her head.
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#1037479 - Tue Mar 11 2014 09:37 AM Re: Simple childhood pleasures
satguru Offline
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Registered: Thu Feb 17 2000
Posts: 7709
Loc: Kingsbury London UK           
Being an only child with working parents then when I wasn't with other people I'd either watch TV or explore the area. I have spent many happy hours on Youtube watching programmes from the 60s and 70s I'd never seen since then, and managed to get quite a reasonable DVD collection now as well. I can totally say TV is not a waste of time, I watched all the school programmes for pleasure whenever I could, then the Open University, and now know all sorts of things about chemistry and maths (my favourite programmes to watch) as well as everything else I saw at the time. As I was never good enough to study science as my maths wasn't right it gave me the chance to share the lectures for pleasure and not matter about tests, and although I could never do the equations they whizzed through like an easy crossword I could remember the terms and physical properties etc they were analysing.

Then there were the entertainment programmes, children's and others, Crossroads, quizzes like Top of the Form, Ask the Family, one which is still going now and I never miss, the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, the BBC2 trade test transmissions which were the first colour programmes I had to watch at my grandparents, Watch with Mother, the music, Ready Steady Go, Top of the Pops, Juke Box Jury, the White Heather Club, which set my tastes for the rest of my life with Peter Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger, Winifred Atwell (with the skeleton piano), Nadia Cattouse (who remembers her?), The Spinners (our family friends who always travelled together and performed at will), the Mammas and Papas, Andy Stewart, all so innocent and not a drug or criminal record between them. And all in black and white till 1971. Very little like it now, the OU went off air some years ago and schools TV not long ago. There will never be any more made now, so although I still watched it till the end as many of the programmes were better than the rest, all that is left now is the hour long BBC school radio which I didn't discover for many years besides the odd one we had at school. However old you may be when the TV shows stuff from the old days it brings you right back.


Edited by satguru (Tue Mar 11 2014 09:40 AM)
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#1037504 - Tue Mar 11 2014 09:11 PM Re: Simple childhood pleasures
MiraJane Offline
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Registered: Tue Apr 30 2013
Posts: 1486
Loc: New York USA
Sue, I loved your memory of the goregous old lady with the red flannel petticoat giving sweets to the neighborhood children. She and her daughters probably spent many enjoyable hours lvivng vicariously throughout the fun of the children playing outside.

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#1037545 - Wed Mar 12 2014 02:30 AM Re: Simple childhood pleasures
Dalgleish Offline
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Registered: Fri Jun 21 2002
Posts: 1061
Loc: Sydney, NSW, Australia
When I was a little tyke, we used to move around a bit, partly because my father would change jobs and partly because my parents split up. But I remember at two houses that we live in (in succession), there was a big area under the house which was dirt. It was a great place for my oldest brother and I to make roads in the dirt and play with his Matchbox cars. My oldest brother is 8 years older than me. I was in single figures and he was well and truly teenaged by this time, but we still had a great time together.

He still has his car passion (I lost it pretty quickly), and he's basically estranged from the rest of the family now, but I know that we had those times.
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#1037575 - Wed Mar 12 2014 11:13 AM Re: Simple childhood pleasures
Santana2002 Offline
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Registered: Mon Apr 14 2003
Posts: 8748
Loc: France
Gosh, I made gardens on a biscuit-tin lid too, Sue!

Being a city kid, most of my activities were street-related, and usually involved getting into mischief with the local kids. We loved to swing on a rope tied around a lamppost, or "scutch" (help ourselves to :biggrin:) appples from the neighbours' trees without getting caught, but in winter we were obliged to stay indoors.

My sisters and brother and I used to make cabins and houses and boats using the cushions from the sofa. With a healthy dose of imagination those cushions became anything we wanted them to!

However, I was a quiet kid and loved nothing better than curling up in the "good" living room in secret (we weren't supposed to go in there), and reading whatever books I could lay my hands on. I read the medical dictionary, our one and only cookery book, my grandfather's gold-trimmed and absolutely beautiful bible, my school books, the encyclopedia, my own and my siblings' library books, and everything and anything in between!

In December, my favourite thing was to slip into that darkened living room and just daydream in front of the fairy lights twinkling colorfully on the Christmas tree.
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#1037630 - Wed Mar 12 2014 06:31 PM Re: Simple childhood pleasures
ren33 Offline
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Registered: Thu Sep 30 1999
Posts: 12438
Loc: Kowloon Tong  Hong Kong      
How lovely that all sounds, Toni! I used to go scrumping too. The apples always tasted the better for having been nicked. Cherry knocking too. Now I think about it , it must have been SO infuriating to the people answering the door, but oh it was fun.
Another indoor activity was draping sheets over the clothes horse to make a house, and of course the tea tray rides down the stairs.My gran had a cupboard full of board games and jigsaws. Although an only child I was never bored. My mum said bored people are boring people and that I was intelligent enough to amuse myself.I don't know about that but I cannot remember ever being at a loss for something to do.
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#1037691 - Thu Mar 13 2014 03:42 AM Re: Simple childhood pleasures
sue943 Online   content
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Registered: Sun Dec 19 1999
Posts: 37440
Loc: Jersey
Channel Islands    
I didn't have such things said to me but I was never bored, there were books galore at the library which was within walking disance, then there was a small amount of wool and a pair of knitting needles, scraps of fabric and a sewing needle, my mother's button box which I still have upstairs.
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#1054742 - Wed Jul 23 2014 07:12 PM Re: Simple childhood pleasures
pinkbunny98 Offline
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Registered: Wed Jul 23 2014
Posts: 24
Well, I lived in a city so I don't have such nice stories as some of you wrote. So when I was younger, I always played at a playground downstairs with my friends. I used to be very good at climbing stuff and artistic gymastics, but as I grew up, I and my friends had less time for play and we slowly drifted apart.

Oh yeah, I also loved handicrafts and I was constantly making flowers, hearts, etc. for my friends and neighbours. Sigh... The care-free times of childhood.
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