Cowley Avenue Posse. 1940/1

Girls were a big problem to me and my mates, particularly the two very forward ones that plagued our lives, Nancy Clark and her friend Pansy.

They were in our class at the school—the Juniors up to age nine—and always hanging around. At first we put up with them. The trouble was, they wanted to be in charge of everything.

We all lived close by, just a few houses away. This made it hard to do anything without the girls seeing us, and then of course taking over.

It was decided that we needed a way of avoiding them. Tony Rees said.

“If we all start walking to the woods one by one, they won’t notice us.

Then we can then all meet under the big tree at the Golden Grove.”

Before we could do this though, the Local Defence Volunteers marched past us on their way to the ‘Dingle’ for rifle drill, or what ever they do.

Then Teddy’s brother, Billy—a bit older than us and a bit slow in his ways, had a brilliant idea.

“I know, why don’t we march along side the men, on the other side of Nancy’s house, then they won’t see us.”

Billy’s plan worked like a charm—although the Sergeant wasn’t too happy.

We arrived at the ‘Dingle’ with the men, and with no sign of any girls.

The ‘Dingle’, was at one time a huge gravel pit, it was dug into one side of St Anne’s Hill.

This formed a horse-shoe, with a stone look-out on the high end overlooking the Dingle lawns below.

We sat in a summer house, built into the hillside, and watched the LDV—the Home Guard—being put through their paces—not, I think, really the right word.

In front of the summer house was a nice pond with a wooden bridge over it. This was our favourite place.

The drill sergeant was shouting and waving at the Volunteers, they were all shapes and sizes. It must have so hard for them. Most of them had been in the first world war, and very keen, but their bodies just weren’t up to it.

We knew we shouldn’t laugh but it was hard not to.

Then Sykey Balchin, walked over the bridge and said.

“I need a wee.”

He dropped his trousers, to lots of shouts and teasing. Then he shouted back.

“OK, let’s see who’ can pee the highest”.—Little boys do this all the the time.

We all pulled our trousers down, with lots of pointing and laughter.

Meanwhile, Billy, was having a lot of trouble with his buttons, but when he finally got his trousers down.  It was almost as if some-one had thrown a switch. The laughter and teasing suddenly stopped, as we all stared open mouthed, at Billy.

Sykey Balchin, pulled up his trousers and said.

“I’m fed up with this game, I’m going up the lookout.”

We all got dressed in silence, leaving Billy still fumbling with his buttons


As we crossed the Dingle lawn, we looked up and saw Nancy and Pansy, standing on the look-out, they were waving and shouting.

“Billy’s the winner, we love Billy.”


It was the first time ever in his life, had Billy come first.






















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