About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green.”
What time have we spent in these places long ago? Let me offer you my story.
After the Second World War, my family were relocated to Kidbrooke, south east London, to a flat in the sports pavilion of the firm my father worked for. Blackheath and Greenwich Park were just up the road but my brother and I had three sports grounds as our backyard. In addition to the firm’s pavilion, across the Kidbrooke, then an open stream with newts and tiddlers and reached by a wooden bridge, was Eltham Cricket Club where W.G. Grace played his last innings, and next to that was the palatial Bank of India Sports Ground.
So off we would set any morning of the summer holidays, with a bat, a ball, a stump and a friend. A roller was the wicket-keeper, there were no boundaries other than the poplar trees at the edges of the field. We would play all day, only stopping when our mother called us in or it got too dark to see. We returned home, legs aching, sun-browned and midge-bitten.
Different games, a different age and different mothers, but Fortune Green in time will be a “silver street” for the memories of today’s children.
What for we city-dwellers takes the place of mountains –
“Later victims of time and loss
we will return and gaze there
and marvel at such heights
conquered, such blazing air”
days was youth – Long ago”
Eiléan Ni Chuilleanáin
- Ted Booth (Guest Blogger)