Time to post something for Sunday Scribblings. I wrote without stopping, and almost went back to prettify it a bit, and then decided No. I'll let it sit as it is. I enjoyed wandering back through those days, and am looking forward to reading the memories of other Sunday Scribbling participants.
When we were little, we were part of a tribe. Children of the Eaton girls, we were welcome in any one of five other houses in our neighbourhood, and three that lay along the route from school to home. Bread and jam would be dispensed, and a visit to the toilet was fine. Just call in – pull the key on the thread through the letterbox, and let yourself into Phyllis’s house, or go down the side of Esther’s to see is she in her workroom. If not, let yourself in the back door, and make yourself at home. Well, we were at home. And through Esther’s back-garden, out into the back-field, a direct line across the field, through the fence of another garden, and we were in Nana’s. Up through the long-grass part of her garden, then past the apple, pear, and plum trees and the blackcurrant and gooseberry bushes, and up the steep concrete steps and in Nana’s back-door. Welcome here could include cocoa, and in winter, bread toasted on the long knife in front of the fire. I’d sit on the blue and grey leather pouffe on one side of the fireplace, Nana on the other, turning the bread this way and that, to get it just right. If it was a piano-lesson day, then I’d have to delay that treat until Auntie Imelda had put me through my paces with scales and arpeggios, piano and forte.
Summer was a long, long stretch of days based in the back-field. Building dens and hide-outs, exploring the culinary delights of sour sallies and pink clover, watching for trains in the high field, and always watchful against incursions by the Wardies, the gang of boys against whom the cousins had waged a long and multi-rumoured war. Jam jars full of red-arsed bees, daisy-chains, knees skinned and fingers cut with grass-blades, we’d return home at evening ready to launch into another day’s adventures tomorrow – because, in those days, we knew it would never rain, and summer would last forever.