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#1 Jul 23, 2019 4:41 pm

New Historian
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Urchins!

Growing up in London in the sixties we were baby-boomers, bomb-site brats. We would play among the bomb-damaged buildings and rubble that were still scattered around London. We went rummaging through the debris, finding old newspapers, yellowed letters and broken dolls; we'd make up stories as to what had become of their owners, always ending with: boom. We roamed far and wide around Hampstead, Finchley Road, Swiss Cottage and Kilburn, a self-contained gang.

As usual when any group of boys get together, thoughts will sooner or later turn to food, and how to get more of it. We were eating machines; we could never eat enough. What we ate at home was just for starters. A group of boys would get together and someone would bring a pot and someone else some sugar pilfered from his mother’s kitchen. We’d light a fire, pick wild rhubarbs that grew along the railway embankments and bingo; a steaming pot of rhubarb stew! Then there were wild raspberries, blackberries and gooseberries. We'd stand within feet of the tracks as the trains whizzed by, screaming out loud and not hearing a word, or you’d put a big English penny on the track and it'd come out like a pancake.

One of the high points of life was the Boy Scouts, where we were encouraged to play with knives, light fires and cook outdoors: boy heaven! At one point, three of the four patrol leaders in the Tenth Kenton scout troop were me and my two brothers. Our father was happy to send us on every available camping trip and we were equally glad to go. We spent many a happy Whitsun, Easter and summer camp at Gilwell Park, Stanmore and other campsites around the outskirts of London, under the direction of toothless Skip Cullinane.

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#2 Jul 23, 2019 6:08 pm

houston
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Re: Urchins!

Oh yes, those wonderful experiences as a youth surely define who we are today.

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#3 Jul 23, 2019 9:28 pm

Canuck
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Re: Urchins!

Can you imagine kids with that amount of freedom today?

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#4 Jul 23, 2019 11:03 pm

Expat
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Re: Urchins!

You certainly wouldn't be allowed that cap gun nowadays..... especially not in Grenada.... war toys verboten.

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#5 Jul 24, 2019 8:02 am

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Re: Urchins!

Toy guns were an essential part of boyhood! Cowboys and Indians and England against the Krauts: bang-bang you're dead! No I'm not, you missed! You are! Not!!! smile

We played British Bulldog on concrete playing grounds, a game that's now banned in schools, the poor dears might scrape their knees. Football and cricket in the alleyways, and girls NEVER allowed lol! On holidays our parents wouldn't know where we were from sunup to sundown, we only came home for more food!

'Appy daze...

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#6 Jul 24, 2019 8:04 am

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Re: Urchins!

Football.jpg

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#7 Jul 25, 2019 11:05 am

Dancer
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Re: Urchins!

This is a new one New Historian. Just no gutter perks. lol.

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