Web Page No 2182
3rd August 2015
Top Picture: Catapult
Middle Picture: Pea Shooter
Bottom Picture: Air Pistol
All my life I have never been a good shot and so when we were growing up and as young kids the home production of bows and arrows was the order of the day, I made them but could never accurately use the. At the top of our long garden we had a thick row of hazelnut trees and with a bit of searching a correctly selected branch could be found and cut and turned into a bow with a good strong pull. Having cut the bow, notched it and strung it with stout twine, smaller branches were then selected and cut, stripped, sharpened, grooved and feathered ready for use. These homemade arrows never travelled very far and mine hardly travelled at all.
Another weapon that these hazelnut trees were good for was to make catapults. With a bit of searching for a strong ‘Y’ shaped branch the frame for a reasonable weapon could be fashioned. If we wanted better, stronger and more accurate catapults this involved spending our hard won pocket money in the toy shop, Wynns, in Drayton. Here Mr Wynn sold splendid ones with light metal frames and thick square elastic as the propulsion unit, every boys dream!. Mind you if we could not afford these smart ones it was a trip to Mr Shaw’s tuck shop on the junction of Solent Road and Highlands Road because in here he sold inferior and cheaper models and this is where most of us went. Mr Shaw, on his children’s counter, always sold a strange variety of things apart from the normal tuck shop goodies. I remember that once in the mid 1950’s he bought in a couple of boxes full of flying goggles and many a young boy could be seen pretending to fly around the streets with these ex MOD goggles on. Going back to catapults I understand that on Ebay a vintage catapult in good condition these days can fetch over £30 each.
Another item that could be bought in many of these tuck shops was tin pea shooters. These were very popular and so with a 3d pea shooter and a handful of dried peas lots of boys were off patrolling around the area shooting everything in sight. Again this was something that I could not really get the hang of and I tended to dribble more than shoot. Not a pretty sight.
I was never allowed to own an air rifle or an air pistol along with the pellets or darts, so I cannot really comment on these items although I do remember that the two most popular brands were Diana and Webley and firing other boy’s guns in their back gardens. The nearest I ever got to owning a gun which shot projectiles was a spud gun! But that really does not count.
The upside of this period of time when I was a boy growing up is that we had one of the longest gardens in the area and it was just right for digging underground bens, roofed over with corrugated iron from the deconstructed Anderson shelter. We took great pains to dig these dens, cover them and camouflage them with branches and earth, fix in candles for lighting and old carpet for flooring. All this was great until it rained when the whole thing flooded and we would have to bail it out and start again. Our garden was large but I am sure that I could still walk around there and take you to at least four den sites that we used.
At the top of the garden was a large tree in which we built a tree platform and where we would sit on warm afternoons. It was a strange thing to do as if we looked one way all we saw was the row of hazelnut trees and if we looked the other way we looked straight into Solent Road School playground which was the last thing that any school child wanted to see during the long summer holidays!
Keep in touch
Mary Writes after reading last week's blog on remedies:-
Mary Writes after reading last week's blog on remedies:-
Have just read this week’s blog and had a laugh. Some of these remedies were dreadful but strangely enough many worked. I remember the belladonna plasters sold at Boots and they gave relief. They were sold at the chemists in Devon in the eighties. Camphorated Oil was a good old standby. Some ideas though were quite beyond it! My aunt was taken to the doctors for bedwetting and an old lady in the surgery told my grandmother that mouse pie would cure it! In Devon I was told that fresh, warm, horse manure between sheets of brown paper and slapped on the chest would cure a bad cough. Thank God for Alexander Fleming and penicillin!
News and Views:
On this day 3rd August 1960-1965
On 3/08/1960 the number one single was Apache - The Shadows and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 3/08/1961 the number one single was You Don't Know - Helen Shapiro and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Blackpool Tower Circus (ATV) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 3/08/1962 the number one single was I Remember You - Frank Ifield and the number one album was Pot Luck - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 3/08/1963 the number one single was Bad to Me - Billy J Kramer and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV sh ow was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 3/08/1964 the number one single was Have I the Right? - Honeycombs and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 3/08/1965 the number one single was I Got You Babe - Sonny and Cher and the number one album was Help - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions