Harry Browne

Page Six

My favourite toy at that time was a hoop and stick. The hoop was made from a bicycle wheel with the spokes removed and in my case it had a tyre and tube, which made it much more desirable than my friend’s hoops as it was silent and rolled with a much smoother motion.

There were many games played in the street - Kick the can, Chasing, Releivio: In Kick the Can a tin can would be placed in the middle of the road. A boy would be selected to guard it and the others would scatter and hide for the count of one hundred. The other boys would sneak or rush in to kick the can, but if the guard tagged them they became captives. If someone managed to kick the can all the captives were set free and the game started again. If the guard managed to tag all of the others, another boy was chosen to guard and the game began again.

Another version of this game was “Releivio” where the guard sought out people who were hiding. If an individual could sneak up on the guard and tag him, without being caught himself, all the prisoners were released and the game began again. Chasing was a favourite and involved much dashing about and shouting and disagreement. We usually finished up amicably however.

I did not have any specific hobbies as such, fashions in games played changed so that one week we were all into “Kick the Can” and the next week it might be hoops. Some of these activities were seasonal such as conkers (chestnuts) and “Boxing the Fox” stealing apples and other fruit from orchards and gardens roundabout. These apples were mostly uneatable and we often finished up kicking them up and down the road instead of eating them.

There never seemed to be a signal for the non-seasonal changes of games. Suddenly one morning everybody everywhere seemed to be into the latest craze without prior notice or planning and without noticeable time-lag.