Funny Stuff

When I Were A Lad Two

Playgrounds

In this day of Health and Safety madness, playgrounds are pleasant, safe, nice places to play. They have colourful, soft equipment for children of all ages to learn, grow and exercise.

Not so in my youth.

Kids were expendable in the eighties. We didn’t have spongy rubber mastic to cushion our soft little bodies. Bark chips were unheard of and everything – everything – was razor sharp.

Playgrounds of the eighties were surfaced in acres of concrete or tarmac, often patched, and able to skin a kid’s knees in less than a tenth of a second. Everything was constructed from either cast iron or thick steel painted in vile pale yellow, blue and raspberry paint at least five millimetres thick. Enterprising vandals would add their own artwork, usually some kind of swear word, and there would be a thin skim of shattered glass coating the already lethal ground.

Evidence of the older kids that took over residence late at night could be found in the large amounts of cigarette butts and discarded Rizla packets that blew into sad drifts against the base of the lethal equipment that was securely concreted in.

Slides

slide

Slides today are relatively short in comparison to those in my youth. Every one was the same – stainless steel with a step-ladder type staircase to ascend to the heavens. They were all the same height, at least ten feet, and had just a pair of thin handles at the top as a ‘safety’ feature.

This didn’t stop mothers sending their snot-nosed little bundles of joy up to the top to wait in line for the scared one at the front to get pushed, screaming in fear, down by the one behind.

I did hear a story that a man fell from the top of one of these slides and suffered such horrific head injuries that he eventually died. Can’t vouch for the validity of the story but I can certainly believe in the probability.

Roundabouts

Roundabouts have been updated recently to be wheelchair accessible, they are set at ground level to aid ease of access and have speed limiting devices in them to make sure you can’t spin your children too fast.

roundabout

Even this little example is safer than those in my youth. The decking is wooden though to give an example of how things used to be. Holes would often rot through this wood, the perfect little ragged trap for a toddler’s foot. Also note the complete lack of safety railings here, the handrails have been perfectly aligned to ease you from the ride with centrifugal force. At full speed, of course.

Then there was the gap underneath. Just large enough to trap an enticing morsel of something any kid might want. A Lego man, 10p or some other incentive for a youngster to insert their arm. Once in this position, the  sheer weight of the spinning wheel of death could drag them round in a circle, snap their arms like matchsticks, dislocate shoulders and generally cause some horrible injuries.

I recall once being spun so fast by a couple of older boys I couldn’t hold on – or see straight – any longer and was duly thrown across the iron hard ground, rolling to a stop several feet away from my starting position.

The Witch’s Hat

This demonic contraption was a spin-off from the roundabout. A cone shaped arrangement of metal poles attached to a wooden circle at the base and then suspended from a central pole.

witches hat

Again this is a more safety-conscious version. Once aboard the ‘Hat’ children could be dislodged with relative ease in a number of fun ways. Spun off by centrifuge, tipped off by unbalancing, the options were numerous.

The Rocking Horse

Best in show here, this deathtrap device was a six or eight foot long ‘horse’ with a cast iron head.Click here for a perfect example of this savage piece of ‘play’ equipment.

As a male of our noble species, I clearly recall the first violent exposure of my testicles to the ice cold iron when my crotch was slammed abruptly forwards by the ‘rocking’ motion of this half ton device.

More arm snapping possibilities could be found in the general vicinity of this playground toy as once a group of about five kids got it going, it was more like a hydraulic bucking bronco in sheer velocity. Anyone stupid enough to try and reach under one of these things invited the possibility of a range of injuries from grazes and broken bones to severed fingers and possible death.

As stated, kids were much more expendable in the eighties.

playground thingy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funny Stuff

When I Were a Lad…

Beginning a bit of a series here recalling the good (or bad) old times and wondering where the hell some of them went.

The Abandoned Car

wreck

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

First in the list of things you don’t see any more is the abandoned car. Now I’m not talking about the occasional clamped vehicle parked in the wrong place here, these abandoned wrecks could be found in the most unlikely of places making you wonder, ‘How the hell did they get that there?’

For those of you familiar with the Grimshill Estate (or mini-Beirut as we called it) no explanation will be necessary. For anyone younger or not familiar with it, however, this place of my childhood was similar in atmosphere to a Taliban training camp. Although nowhere near as safe.

In the summer months especially, gangs of roving children would gather at the playground – featuring one of those tall, metal, kid-killer slides – to skin their knees and elbows on the cracked concrete which had been finished in a cheese-grater like top. (More on death playgrounds later)

vw camper

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

At some point someone had managed to park a Morris Marina next to said playground. It was one of those colours that seem to be reappearing now – Babyshit beige or brown – and had already seen some violence when I discovered it.

For a kid of the eighties, the Abandoned Car was a playground of its own, with a million possibilities for an imaginative boy to entertain himself. From the mundane pretending to drive it to the malevolent using it as a prison to torture the younger kids and poke them with sticks, that desperate old car provided at least one day of entertainment.

Of course when night fell and the older kids took over, the Morris Marina became a place of heady delights, a den of debauchery and excess where all manner of things we had no idea about took place. Like some kind of infant CSI team we found the evidence of their presence the following day.

 

Minis and Beetles were among the most popular abandoned cars. Thanks to Pixabay for the photos.

From cigarette butts – stubbed out on the brown plastic dashboard – to crushed beer tins, always Tennet’s Extra in the tall, black cans. In some¬†exceptionally lucky ¬†circumstances one of these abandoned vehicles might have been used as a love nest and some enterprising youth would collect the soiled prophylactic on a stick to chase others around with.

Many good times could be had with an abandoned car but, inevitably, some twat would set fire to it and then it would get towed away. Our only memory of those great times, a Marina-shaped scorch mark on the ground and occasionally some melted tyre.

Let me know what you remember about your youth and stuff you just don’t see any more.

beat-up-engine

Image courtesy of Skitterphoto. Sometimes an engine or oil sump was all that remained.

Funny Stuff

Horribly Misinformed!

Come with me now, if you will dear readers, we shall part the mists of time and travel back to the year 2012.

I spoke to my GP, a gentleman that shall remain nameless, about assistance with losing my vast gut.

“I’ll prescribe you this,” he told me. “Try it for three months and we’ll have a look at the results.”

I duly procured the prescription and opened the paper bag to reveal an innocuous white box with the name of the product emblazoned on the side; Xenical.

For those of you familiar with this product, I’m sure you have a reasonably good idea where this is heading. If you’ve never encountered this little miracle drug, read on.

The common side effects list itself makes for a pleasant read and should be taken as a warning.

Oily evacuation, steatorrhea, frequent bowel movements, bowel urgency, oily rectal leakage, and flatulence with discharge.

Take a second to read that again.

Horrid face

Photo courtesy of Gratisography.

For anyone not familiar with the term steatorrhea, like me, it means “the excretion of abnormal quantities of fat with the faeces” Mmm…nice.

As mind violatingly horrific as the list is, especially with the vivid images it conjures, the reality of using Xenecal is somehow…worse.

Following the dosage instructions, I downed a pair of the little blue torpedoes with my meal and sat back, relaxing in the happy knowledge I could trust modern medicine to cure me of all my ills.

Foolish, foolish man.

At the time I was in the process of renovating an are of the house, readying it for my eldest daughter to have somewhere to stay while she attended university for the first year.

So, headphones on and listening to my favourtite tunes at the time, I journeyed upstairs to continue with my labours.

Singing along to whatever I was listening to and smiling as the project was going much better than I expected, I felt a small twinge in my lower abdomen. A mild cramping, nothing more, so I continued.

As the day wore on, the cramping got slightly more severe, but I manfully soldiered on. After all, abdominal pain was yet another of the delightful side effects mentioned in the helpful little pamphlet the company had provided with my medication.

I fully recall the smile falling from my face, the muscles drooping to form a sad emoticon of despair.

After an hour, the bowel urgency had well and truly kicked in and I wisely decided to pay a visit to the lavatory.

Luckily I made it (That time)

A picture paints a thousand words, as they say, but there was no way I was about to take a picture of the substance that exploded from me that day.

Fueled by pressurised gas, the bright rust-coloured greasy mess lanced from my body like a laser bolt from a Star-Wars blaster. Accompanied by some low-frequency grumbling sounds, along with the occasional mouse-like squeal, the overall effect was harrowing to say the least.

I was left, panting and mentally scarred. Beads of sweat formed on my forehead.

Okay, fair enough, that’s over with. I can get back to work now.

Or so I thought.

No sooner had my buttocks levitated from the seat than the whole ordeal was repeated.

When I finally managed to leave the bathroom, dusk had fallen. Stars had begun to twinkle their cheery light down from billions of miles away and I felt weak.

You may think that’s the worst of it but it isn’t. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a toilet cry but that particular day featured a number of firsts.

The orange residue left on my porcelain was impossible to remove! Bleach, acid, hacksaw. I tried it all to get rid of the stuff and where it had been forcibly ejected from me under pressure, there was a generous coating.

Still not the worst.

Think back to the list of side-effects from earlier and consider the phrases: flatulence with discharge and oily rectal discharge.

Flatulence with discharge! This is basically scientific terminology for a shart. And shart I did. Frequently and powerfully to the detriment of my clothing.

I lost count of the many, many pairs of boxer shorts I ended up discarding due to the contents.

Trousers too!

Oily rectal discharge. I won’t even go into that.

Suffice it to say, Xenical is not the drug for me. In fact I would suggest, if you’re human, NEVER use this product.

You won’t, “get used to the side-effects,” as I was misinformed. There will be no, “calming down of the effects,” either.

The makers of Xenical say their product inhibits the absorption of fats in the intestine and that might be true.

But it’s the abject terror of using your underwear as a toilet that makes you lose weight. You cease eating all together, become a recluse and consider the benefits of adult nappies.

No, patient readers, Xenical is the work of evil men.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Books and Writing

World Book Day

Just a couple of quick photos of my little girl dressed as Simba for WBD.

Marley - Simba
Rawr!

For all you parents out there, reading is a great way to engage and bond with kids. Even the busiest parent must be able to spend five minutes in a week to cuddle up on the sofa and scan through a book.

Marley - Simba 2

Looking for something to read? Visit Amazon to buy my book! Or have a look at a review here.