Playing Out (‘Life’s a Journey’ nostalgia series, week 86)

This post is (a bit late this week and)  part of a series of weekly posts which reflect on life’s journey, old memories and family stories (see below for more info).


I watched my two boys in the garden this weekend. The teenager was stoking a fire with a large stick and I’ve rarely seen him more contented; he has a real flair for arson. The wee one was digging. Not for any specific purpose, just digging random holes in the mud with a full size garden fork, irritating his angry teenage brother with spectacular success, who was momentarily distracted from his attempts to set fire to the hen coop as his flames licked the hinges. Both were acquiring ever-increasing clods of platform-sole earth on the bottom of their inappropriate footwear. Like I say, contented.

It made me think about that wonderfully ‘free’ feeling of ‘playing out’, when the wind burns your face but you just don’t care, or the hot summer sun forces you to take shelter under a makeshift tent of sheets. Sure, we all care about the dirt being walked in to the house, and the potential for an unwanted afternoon in A&E, but there are some days when we just have to let it be.

memories 2

As a child, my tom-boyism knew no boundaries. My memories of the times of childhood are littered with scenes in the great outdoors. Here are the things I remember most….

Roller skating  (there’s a story in there somewhere)

Brook jumping, or jumping into water of any kind whatsoever

Climbing trees, scraping knees

Jelly sandals and ‘bumper’ shoes (like Converse but MUCH less cool)

Cat’s cradling

French skipping with knicker elastic

family stories

Playing cowboys and Indians, and losing heavily to a bigger brother

Conker fights, and losing heavily to a bigger brother

Balls against the side of the house – bouncy or otherwise, bat or no bat. There was shouting.

Space hoppers (usually someone else’s as we weren’t allowed)

Deckchairs, of the brightest 70’s patterns (and fringing), foldable and eminently tearable….

What are your memories of those heady days of Playing Out?

Do your kids stay in too much, or are they free spirited? Do they enjoy the same kind of games and adventures that you did as a child? Do you let them?

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More about the Life’s a Journey weekly memories series.

2 responses to “Playing Out (‘Life’s a Journey’ nostalgia series, week 86)

  1. I had to laugh at ‘flair for arson’!
    I used to love playing curby (not sure if that’s how you spell it though!) where you’d try and hit the curb with the ball and if you did, it bounced back to you and you got another turn. If not, the person opposite got a turn. We also used to spend hours at the brook and ponds catching tadpoles and newts. I don’t know if I’d feel safe letting my kids go to a secluded area where there are lots of deep ponds, without adult supervision. At the time though, we would have thought it very weird if our parents tagged along!

    • Curby! There’s a blast from the past! I know what you mean about safety too…to think the hours we would spend by the duck lake….it’s a wonder my mother didn’t throttle us!

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