Chapter 7 … secondary school

 1953.     When I was a young lad about 12 years old  I went to Petticoat Lane. It was located in and around Liverpool street station London. Petticoat Lane  was a giant flea market. I had been there many time with dad as he loved to shop there. This time I was on my own. I this bloke was selling among other things puppies. I knowing that mum and dad would be pissed at me if  I bought one. I said to the bloke is it a boy or a girl . “Cause I want a boy. He said” there you go mate” holding the  black  puppy in his hands and flipped it over showing the pink  underside. . I was highly pleased having negotiating the  puppy for the handsome price of ten bob. I rushed home to show mum and dad. Thinking that they would be as pleased as me for getting a nice puppy for us.  Well it turned out that He was a She. Mum and dad  they were more than  a little upset.. So now the puppy was called  Judy instead of “ Rocky “ like I wanted. 

 Even at that age I was good with my hands with making things. So I built a  kennel  that  Judy  lived in for many years.  

     After the war we had very few things so we had to make our own entertainment. One thing that we as kids used to do was to build our own scooters . They consisted of a plank of wood about three feet long. This piece was to be the foot part of the scooter. Then there was a second plank about three Scooter   and a half feet long. This was the front of the scooter. .At the back of the foot part I cut a vee at the bottom of the front plank , another vee was cut . In these vee’s a ball bearing  wheel was mounted on a wooden spindle. Which was then attached to  to the bottom of the front of the scooter and to the back of the foot part. At the front of the foot plank a piece of wood maybe three by four by six. Was attached and  at the front of the block three eye bolts were attached and facing these eye bolts in the bottom of the front of the scooter three more eye bolts were screwed into the front plank. They were then lined up and a six inch bolt was dropped into the  six eye bolts. The six inch bolt held the foot plank and the front of the scooter together. We would then have our own transportation. The wheel bearings would make a hell of a racket as it went along the pavement. (sidewalk ). 

Put a sketch here.

We also would make a four wheeled trolley.  A long plank of wood about six feet long with a spindle at the back with to pram wheels attached . the same set up at the front but the spindle could be steered. A cross member was nailed on towards the back and this was our seat. We used to love to go down hills on this trolley   was only one problem .We had no brakes. So we preferred the scooter.. Otherwise you could land up with no


     I don’t remember if I liked this school or not. The games that we played in the small hilly playground, we pretty varied. Here they are as good as I can remember.  There were sword fights using our arms, Errol Flynn style. Then when it was election time. The boys would chant in the playground “ Labour or Conservative. And if the girls didn’t give the right answer we would do the right thing and beat them up! Because they were girls. It was all in aid of good clean fun!

Having said that. the girls would get there own back on the boys by playing ” Kiss chase”. which meant that the girls would select a boy and a selected girl had to hunt the boy down and kiss him. At that time no boys wanted to be seen to be kissed by a girl.

     One thing that I did like about school was that fact that I stayed to school teas. We paid a shilling or so a week. and we stayed behind after school in the cafeteria, in the basement of the school There we got a mug of tea and some sandwiches and some cake if we were lucky. After tea. we would play games in the summertime we would play in the playground. In the wintertime, we played board games like snakes and ladders and Ludo . dominoes and cards. We even put the tables together and put up a net and played table tennis. I became very good at that. The lady who ran the teas was middle-aged but liked to play table tennis. she was really good at it. so to beat her was something.[  Later in life I was to take up Tennis, Squash and Racquet Ball and playing table tennis at such a young age was to be useful in other racquet sports . as all the angles of the games are all the same.]    So we stayed at school teas till about 6 o’clock when our mothers would come and pick us up. I which in mums case, was on the way home from work.

  1947.    We also collected beer bottle caps, at the time. We would take the cardboard out from inside the beer cap and put the cap on the front of our jersey and replace the cardboard back inside the beer cap 1946. with our jersey in-between . and the cap would stay there… .and cigarette cards were a major thing to collect. These cards were from cigarette packets. There were cards printed in different series. Like flowers. butterfly,  moths. Ships etc.  with maybe 20 to 25 in a series. What we used to do with 1947. them was this. Two players would stand back about ten feet from a wall and the first player would put the card between two fingers and flick it towards the wall. Then the second player would do the same. The object of the game was to land a cigarette card on top, of another one. Once you did that then you picked up all the cigarette cards on the ground, and then you repeated the process. The one who cleaned the clock of the other was the winner cause he had no cards left. Any number of kids could play this game. We also played Marbles, you took turns in throwing the marble at your opponents and if you hit it the marble was yours. We called marbles Miggies. 

 Another game was “ Buckled five stones. This was played with five little square cubes, each square being about three-quarters of an inch square.  They were usually five different colours. You had to throw all five stones up at once and collect as many as possible on the back of your hand. From there, there were different little tricks that you had to do, and they were all in a sequence. 

     Another game we played was Cowboys and Indians. We used to shoot each other with pointed fingers shaped like guns. And we would run around like we were on a horse. Slapping our sides.

       Occasionally a fight would break out … With the girls. And we would have to beat them up why because they were on a  particular piece of real estate in the schoolyard and they were in our way. We never hurt the girls it was all in good clean fun. Well that’s what the boys thought anyway..  Along with cowboys and Indians, we would have a game with sword fights in it . with Blackbeard the Pirates on one side and Errol Flynn and his mates on the other. We used to talk of Errol Flynn having a 24 “dick,” not really know what we were talking about


     Back in the day the highlight of any week would be going to the pictures. Back in the 40’s and 50’s you would get to see two pictures. A “ B “ picture and the main feature an “ A “ picture. 

About 1947 give or take. Mum took me to see “The Wizard Of Oz. “I was scared shitless by this movie and hide behind my hands for most of it.

      I just looked up the movie online. The film was made in 1939. The story about the making of the movie is a book in itself. The picture here of the wicked witch of the west is enough to scare me at 77. Evidently some scenes were a bit too scary and were cut from the film The stories about the making of this movie makes really  good reading. 

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