Web Page No 2198
29th September 2015
Top Picture: A Sticky BudSecond Picture: Grass Darts
Third Picture: Bird Collecting Book
Forth Picture: Sycamore Helicopter
I have discussed before how the seasons of the year influenced the way we played as children. However the natural seasons of the year also played their part. I am not talking about the weather conditions because during those rainy periods places such as Portsdown Hill or Farlington Marshes and very possibly our own back gardens were no go areas to play in whilst it was soggy and damp. No I am looking at the natural world of nature and its seasons.
To start with we all know that the conker season was ruled by when the conkers fell from the trees (sometime helped by the odd well aimed branch or stone) but that was not all, there were natural seasons for everything.
There were seasons for throwing things like sticky buds in January or possibly, in June, throwing grass seed darts into woollen jumpers and later in the year tossing Sycamore helicopters high in the air. Then there was collecting teasels and checking if someone liked butter with a buttercup placed under their chin or sucking the sweet nectar out of the flowers of the clover and making daisy chains. Dandelion clocks and Old Man’s Beard all came into their own at specific times of year as did blackberries and other wild fruits which we collected and greedily ate. Mind you sometimes we were sent out by our parents with a bag to try to collect as many blackberries as we could so that our mothers could make blackberry jam, that is if she could get the sugar!
I seem to remember a hedge or bush being called the bread and cheese plant because the leaves, when chewed tasted just like bread and cheese, but I could never taste it myself. I don’t really remember but was that the Hawthorne bush which was called this strange name?
Then early in the morning, often on the way to school, many people bent a twig over and on their way collected cobwebs. You have to feel sorry for the poor old spider having spent hours and hours weaving a web only to have it taken away by a giant!
There were the days when we could pick wild flowers Bluebells, Harebells, Snowdrops, Primroses and Cowslips and take bunches of them home to our Mothers and Grandmothers. This was also the time when the enterprising youth could climb rocks and trees to a nest to collect bird’s eggs or if down on the Marshes take home jars full of frogspawn. Some folks would dash around with a net and catch butterflies and mount them on cards but this was never for me. There were even Observers books on Birds Eggs or Butterflies to help you complete your collection and to identify it correctly. Then there always was fishing or pond dipping for sticklebacks.
Sometimes we would climb around the cliffs of the chalk pits with a hammer looking for fossils and shells embedded in the chalk and flint layer, here I must admit that I was marginally successful and still have a small fossilised fern that I found in the late 1950’s, it now does duty as a door stop to my shed.
The major time of year for collection, surprisingly was not in the summer but during the winter at Christmas time. We would walk miles to find a Holly tree in fruit with its bright red berries, we would look for swags of attractive ivy and most important of all a bunch of Mistletoe with it creamy white berries attached. Not forgetting the sweet chestnuts for roasting in the open fire in the living room of an evening.
We were encouraged, especially in the Junior School to observe nature and every class has a nature Table with various things the children had collected over the term. At the end of each term all this was swept away and at the beginning of the next term the table would be started all over again.
Do you see now what I mean when I say that as kids, we were ruled by nature.
Keep in touch
If it is of any small interest to your and all your readers, the picture of the motor assisted bicycle brought back memories, to me, of Mr. Eric Greer when he was at Copnor Road Junior Mixed. As I have explained to you some while ago, he was class teacher to Class 3A when I was one of his pupils in 1954/55, and at that time he always arrived at school riding, what would appear to be from the recent photo, a "vehicle" exactly the same as in the picture. No protective headwear, of course, except, maybe, a flat cap as a concession to inclement weather. Ah well! Happy Days.
Regards, Ray Johnson. (ex Copnor JM and Northern Grammar)
Regards, Ray Johnson. (ex Copnor JM and Northern Grammar)
News and Views:
On this day 29th September 1960-1965
On 29/09/1960 the number one single was Apache - The Shadows and the number one album was Down Drury Lane to Memory Lane - A Hundred and One Strings.The top rated TV show was The Army Game (Granada) 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 29/09/1961 the number one single was Reach for the Stars / Climb Ev'ry Mountain - Shirley Bassey and the number one album was The Shadows - Shadows. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 29/09/1962 the number one single was She's Not You - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Best of Ball Barber & Bilk. 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. The big news story of the week was Flood kills 333 in Barcelona.
On 29/09/1963 the number one single was She Loves You - The Beatles and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show 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 29/09/1964 the number one single was I'm Into Something Good - Herman's Hermits and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) 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 29/09/1965 the number one single was Make It Easy On Yourself - Walker Brothers 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.