Square mile – Childhood

Moments appear in my memory as clear as day, too many to list, we swung on the swings and at tea-time the grumpy park keeper at the dell would send us home so he could lock up. Many returned to jump the fence but I never did quite reach. We built dens, fished for minnows and shimmied over river pipes as part of a dare.

We chose to take different paths each day to school to explore different alleyways, but never at night as these alleys were then home to the Bogeyman.

We made up stories about graveyards and ghosts that came alive.

We swam in the weir, ran under sprinklers and swung from the rope swing eager to make a splash.

Our summers were sunny and green, we lived in the great outdoors only to return home in time for tea, exploring areas that were out-of-bounds. Chalk in our pockets, flea darts in our hair and grazes on our knees…those were our summers, summers full of adventure.

My childhood

I grew up in Green Walk, Crayford, Kent and have lived in this area for most of my life. I went to school here, met my husband here and brought up my children here. I drive through the heart of town on an almost daily basis.

My mother is deaf and worked from home as a seamstress so many of my memories revolve around helping her in the home and cutting apart the piecework she had sewn on her big industrial sewing machine. My father always left for work at dawn and when he returned he would eat dinner and go to bed, except for the weekends which would be reserved for DIY. Saturdays were also liver and bacon days and watching wrestling on the TV, Sundays were for attending church and eating roast dinners.

My days were either spent at school or outside all day, leaving the house early to play in the streets or ride my bike until tea time. Summers were for building dens, exploring, looking for danger and playing by the river.

As I got older my area stayed the same except I would stay out later, out of view, experimenting with pink lady and thunderbird drinks, pushing the boundaries. We would ‘hang out’ doing nothing much, smoking, chatting and sauntering around. We never stayed indoors, we had no phones and computers were rare, everything was experienced in person not in this new virtual world.

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