« Episode 32 | Main | Taid »

Donkin's World: Where Are The Sledges?

...We'd come home with chapped legs and raw knees - yes we sledged in short pants - all rosy cheeked and ready for the stew and dumplings that our mothers knew we needed. "Sithee 'ere, these'll stick to your ribs," my Auntie Joyce would say, thrusting a hot bowl of stew under our noses and we'd wolf it down and get back out in the snow...

Richard Donkin would not swap his childhood for the "indoor'' lives of today's children.

To purchase a copies of Richard's celebrated books please click on
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Sweat-Tears-Evolution-Work/dp/1587990768/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1214554429&sr=1-2
and
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Future-Work-Richard-Donkin/dp/0230576389/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260983216&sr=1-1

Whenever it snowed when I was a kid, out would come the sledge and I'd be off to the nearest hill with my friends and we'd return long after we should have been home for our teas.

Sledges came in all shapes and sizes. Few of us had proper toboggans. Typically a sledge would be a few pieces of wood hammered together by our dads with rails screwed on to the underside of the wood. But they flew down the icy cobbles and we'd get bruised and cut if we hit a kerb stone or lamp post.

As the snow thawed we'd make the most of the last scrap until it was gone. We still threw snowballs even when the snow had turned to ice. You knew about it when one of those ice balls smacked you on the head.

We'd come home with chapped legs and raw knees - yes we sledged in short pants - all rosy cheeked and ready for the stew and dumplings that our mothers knew we needed. "Sithee 'ere, these'll stick to your ribs," my Auntie Joyce would say, thrusting a hot bowl of stew under our noses and we'd wolf it down and get back out in the snow.

I still love the snow and when it covered the estate on Saturday morning we put on our thermals and took the sledge off the wall to make the most of it. Christmas shopping could wait; there were snowmen to build. Maybe three hours later when we'd made our snow angels, two snowmen, a snow man on a seat, and run up and down the hill countless times, chatted with neighbours as they walked to the shops, and left a Christmas message on the hedge, we came in for some lunch.

But something was missing. Where were the kids? Where were the snowball fights? We saw an odd sledge outing as the day progressed but very little. I tell you where they were: they were inside their houses, sitting in front of screens, either watching telly, playing computer games, or engaging in "instant chat" with their friends. Somebody sneaked out long enough just to smash up my snowman but he didn't build his own.

Would I swap my childhood for that of today? I don't think so.

Categories

Creative Commons License
This website is licensed under a Creative Commons License.