Sunday, 31 January 2016


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Even younger kids in the 70’s actually went out by themselves, mostly on foot or pushbike to play with their friends and sometimes roaming far from home – (Somewhat unbelievably by today's norms, any arrangements to meet up were still achieved without the use of mobile phones or the Internet J)…For me during the endless summer holidays and at weekends this normally meant leaving the house straight after breakfast, with whatever pocket money I could scrape together to buy chips & pop for dinner and then not returning home until WELL past the time given to me by my mother for being back in.  ‘Playing out’ meant anything from football and the usual street games of the time (Tig, What Time is it Mr Wolf ?, British Bulldog etc)  to fearlessly climbing trees, playing soldiers in the woods (with very realistic looking toy guns) or trying to find ways of frightening the living daylights out of each other on dark foggy evenings when we were STILL allowed to play out without any adult supervision.

Having a bike (a 10-speed Racer or even a Raleigh Chopper if you were lucky) was essential for getting around and owning a Go-Cart, a Pogo Stick or a Spacehopper practically guaranteed that you would be popular.


Health and safety in relation to kids playing out seemed largely unheard of (or just ignored) back in those days and some of the things we got up to would undoubtedly send shivers down the spines of many present day legislators.  I remember many of the playgrounds I visited having hard concrete or at best grass surfaces which used to get worn away and then compacted as hard as the concrete in summer months.  Even so, this still didn't stop us from trying to complete somersaults on the 'big' swings, or playing parachutes by launching ourselves into free fall after getting the swing to go as high as you dared.  Playground See-Saws and The Rocking Horse had their creaky, rusting fulcrum points or spring mechanisms open and accessible to little hands and feet (no doubt a cause of many crush injuries back in the day) !

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