Magical Childhood

#gamesiplayedwheniwaslittle popped up on my timeline on Twitter, and gave me a light bulb moment.

I remember making concoctions, and potions from grass, mud, berries, water and leaves and trying to poison our grandparents cat in the garden.We’d wait for ants to crawl on the leaves before capturing them, and trickle them into our Lego forts, and add a few to our concoctions, and watch them swim. We’d enter the garden from the side door through the kitchen or through my uncles door in his bedroom. When we got older, the door got sealed. Kind of affected the play opportunities afterwards only having one mode of access to the garden.

My uncle would be listening to Mtume or Kate Bush from the front room,

the bassline was so sweet you could smell it like the Bisto advert

Those Mtume and Kate Bush stickers remained on his wardrobe for a good 25 plus years until he emigrated to Kenya.

I remember the drowning slow sounds of aeroplanes above the garden, and wondering  whether we were under the flight path of one of London’s airports. They seemed to take an eternity to travel over our heads, drowning out our thoughts. Tom, my grandparents cat, would stop and stare, and the sounds would trigger off Samson from next to start barking. 
I’m trying to recall whether he ever got loose, he was a beast of a dog.

I remember putting chairs together in the front room, and putting blankets or duvets over the top and making tents. Watching telly through the little hole, or eating in there. I loved that. I loved my Magical Childhood. Or we would bunch up the sheets and make it look like roads or rough terrain and make our cars go through.

I remember the days of snuggling up four deep in a bed at our cousins, and hoping someone didn’t wet the bed. 

I remember the Lego fights in our attic, and our friends that’s would come down. It was war, amongst friends hiding behind the balcony and entrance to this restricted unadulterated world of play. 

The attic was the hub of social enagement. Weekends, holiday time, our friends would come down dressed to the nine, Pierre Cardin, Gabicci, afro’d up laced with dax, faces glowing from coco butter. When those Lego battles started you couldnt cry. I lost count the amount of times a 4 piece block made my eyes water, especially if it was the edge of a model. Instant bright light, or those cartoon stars. I’m convinced I saw those on numerous occasions. You couldn’t wheel away and cry if the block caught you flush on the head, instead your option was to sob for a minute and return to battle.
Maybe I was destined to be involved in Playwork, because we clearly demonstrated the 16 play types in our engagement then, and throughout my childhood.
We’d walk up the stairs and at the top the arch of the roof would form the ceiling area, and you could physically walk around. Three windows for light, and air, and a cupboard door that I was convinced for years trolls lived in. I always remember play stopping when it got dark, even though there was a light in the attic. I remember jumping up on the balcony, supported by my brother to change the bulb, many a times forgetting to turn off the switch, remember that little tingle you would get when you got shocked by the current from the light. Tingle in your elbow for a second. Risk management at its worst because if you fell from the balcony you were looking at at least a 20ft drop, only precaution was to take off the socks, but my feet were always clammy so that would never have helped.

I remember we’d perfect our football skills in the passage, or front room. Barefooted of course to improve the touch. Again, I lost count the amount of times we smashed our little toes against the leg of the chair. 

Olympics, and strongest person, and endurance games

Let me tell you they use to distress our thighs. We’d see how many steps we could jump down, and watch the amount of times our friends cracked their head on the ledge on our steps, hysterical. Or the length of time you could hold your breath under water. Or play games and if you lost, you’d have to drink a pint of water, and you couldn’t kop out. 

When we did have pocket money bargin basement would become our best friend. Now this was a place that sold batteries, stationary, bedding, and most importantly light bulbs, as we used to smashed the granny out of light bulbs playing football in the house. So light bulbs and the dust pan and brush became our best friends from an early age. Also smashing peoples windows on our road when playing football, my mum must have been pissed, now this was before double glazing so yeah, my mum must have been loaded, kids smashed windows playing football regularly.

I remember playing World Cup in our back garden, how all of my friends fitted in there, I’d never know. I use to hate having to jump over the fence to get the ball, especjally if it went into Lucky the dog’s garden. Even though he was chained up, the garden was always littered with dog shit, and dog food. On football….. I’m sure then my brother hadn’t been brained washed to support Manchester United, poor soul he’s never been the same mentally since he changed teams.

I remember run outs round the gas works, and recall all the people that slipped through the roofing and broke their legs. Talk about risk management. We’d play on top of the garages, and hoped that it would never be your turn to get the ball if you kicked it over the black wall onto the train track by Wembley Central. More irate neighbours who would curse us for playing football against the green doors at the market, and the disadvantages of being small, and having to crawl under the gate to get the ball. Those were Magical Childhood memories. I learn’t about someone on our road being gay, his actions, his behaviour, that was completely different to other boy’s then. And viewing porn catalogues, shed loads…. not magazines catalogues, and seeing some messed up female bodies. 

Lego came in full circle as my minimentor enjoys playing with them, but hasn’t yet managed to invite a group of friends around yet brave enough for battle.




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