Our old home was on a big block, it has now been demolished and there are 14 Townhouses on it with no room to set up a card table! When we were kids we could just about get lost in the backyard and plenty of times we tried to when we were being called in to do a job. Down at the back of the yard was an old wood stove with a chamber for fuel and beside it the oven with hotplates on top. One day my brothers and I decided we were going to make “sinkers” to put on fishing lines. We weren’t going fishing anywhere so really we were just having a nice play with the fire.
I don’t know where the lead came from but we melted it, made indentations in some sand with a spoon and then poured the lead into the shape. Another time we found some plastic stuff that had been dropped at the bottom of power poles. My memory of it is like the sticks you get for Glue Guns but only pieces not full sticks. We melted that in the fire and then stretched the stuff out into thin strands across the Fig Tree branches. What for? Just for fun.
“Olive Oil” was another thing we said we were making but all we did was boil olives in water then let it stagnate for days until the mix became stinky and we’d toss it away. Although it sounds stupid and dangerous we must have had enough common sense and good fortune combined to prevent us from being burned. Even now I think it’s a better way to have spent my time rather than playing video games.
At Henley Primary School our day was divided into four parts by morning recess, lunch and afternoon recess. After recess breaks we didn’t just walk into class, we had to line up outside the main door and when the teacher told us to enter we marched inside. After lunch each class lined up in their allocated spot on the big quadrangle. The band was all set up but I can’t remember if it was out the front or at the back. Whatever instructions there were for the day were given out then the headmaster signalled the drummer to let us know it was time for the band to start playing. Everyone else began marching very smartly, in their lines, back to class.
The band was made up of a Bass Drummer, two Kettle Drums and the lines of fife players, the drummers were always in the lead spread out across the front. The only two tunes I can remember that we played were, “Men of Harlech” and “Colonel Bogey” but I’m sure there were plenty more. Practices were held in the Lunch Shed.
Only boys played the drums but one day the drummers were all away somewhere and I remember feeling very excited at the prospect of being able to play a drum. When the time came I think younger boys took over the responsibility but it could have been very confident girls, I was very disappointed at missing out.