St Annes Hill.
My first memory of ‘The Hill’, was in 1937, age five.
King George’s Coronation party in the Dingle. I was terrified by the Dragon strolling about in the St George and the Dragon play that was being performed.
All my other memories of ‘The Hill’ were of a wonderland, perfect for everyone, no matter their age.
Sledging and ‘wooding,’ in the winter. Bluebell-dell, in the spring, a denser carpet of Bluebells I have yet to see. Purple Rhododendrons it full colour where ever you looked in the summer. Blackberries, followed by Hazel nuts then the giant Chestnut trees in Chestnut Wood in the autumn.
The Dingle, a dream of a place for us kids. An old gravel pit dug into the side of the hill. With a stone built look-out at the top. Gradually landscaped by the previous owners. At the base, a level lawn with three Giant Redwoods. A large deep pond, and a long and overgrown one full of Dragon flies. A brick built domed ice-house now with seats instead of ice. And our favourite, a small pond with a Japanese style wooden bridge next to a summer house—all in good condition when I was a child.
As is usual, when I write about something, another story is knocking at the door.
Such as. A hot summer afternoon in 1943.
Sykey Balchin, Teddy Wade, Johnny Sewell, Teddy Bolton and his slightly older brother Billy; The Cowley Avenue Apaches.
Our enemies, Nancy and Pansy, two pesky girls who thought they could be in charge of everything we did. They had a sixth sense of where we were at any time.
We needed to go to the Dingle, but this meant passing Pansy’s house.
We decided to go one by one, so as not to be noticed.
It worked like a charm, no sign of the enemy.
Our headquarters; The summer house next to the little pond with the bridge.
Sykey decided he wanted a wee, and went over to the bridge—now you ladies probably don’t realise that boys of our age are very competitive, and being able pee the highest is a badge of honour that we all sought—especially being able to pee over the wall into the girl’s lavatory at Stepgates—plus the chance to see who had the biggest willie.
We were soon next to Sykey, with our trousers down waiting for Billy, who was having trouble with his buttons, there was lots of shouting and pointing at each other.
Then, it was if a switch had been thrown, it all went quiet when Billy joined us with his trousers round his ankles,——Sykey said .
“I’ve had enough of this game. I’m going up the lookout.
In silence, we all got dressed and trooped across the lawn.
Up on the lookout were those two pesky girls, Nancy and Pansy, shouting and waving their arms.
“Billy is the winner, we love Billy.”
With a big smile on his face, Billy was left doing up his buttons.
It was the first time ever that Billy had come first in his life.