Saturday, October 27, 2012

Neighbours Part 1: Trees

My sister and I were friends with the kids next door so a group of us had the run of a number of neighbouring gardens. Access to the Price’s garden was through a hole in the hedge at the bottom of the Beattie’s garden. The Price’s garden led to the Speers’, the Speers’ led to Pat’s. Pat had a pond, which sometimes had frogs. I have included a map.



(Subsequently the Brickies moved into the Beatties', the Laverty's moved into the Price's, and the Price's moved into Pat's, so for the sake of currency I have included a revised map.)



The Price’s garden was easily the best because it had two big trees: a large Horse Chestnut called ‘Old Mr Knobby’ and a huge Oak called ‘Paula’. Mr Knobby was a good tree for climbing because it had lots of branches. Paula, too difficult to climb, usually represented an enemy ship or a neighbouring office block, depending on the requirements of the game. Mr Knobby’s trunk split into two half way up, forming a very snug pod for holding meetings in. There was a long bendy branch, which we used as a steering stick for when we played ships. I once tried to change course a bit too enthusiastically and the stick snapped and I fell a good 10ft and landed on my face and my arm, which broke. The breakage went unnoticed and as a result my wrist grew an extra bone, which is entirely noticeable if I point it out. My cross to bear.

On another occasion I was trying to make a jump. Caught up in the moment I forgot about the sharp broken branch hidden on the underside of the larger branch I was perched on. As I slid passed it the small broken branch ripped through my shorts and pants and hoiked me back mid-jump. I was suddenly dangling in the air, completely immobilised, hanging from a tree by my underwear where I revolved slowly for a number of minutes. Eventually the fabric tore and I was ungraciously dropped from my awkward captivity and liberated from the whole bum of my shorts. I don’t think I even went home to change: we were hardy back then and there were games to be played.

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