IT saddens me, an 86-year-old, that today’s kids will never know the sheer boredom that my generation suffered banging horse chestnuts together. They made me the man I am:
Kids today don’t know what they’re missing. First you find the conker, drill a hole in it, soak it in vinegar, bake it in the oven, put a string through it, develop the skill required to hit a conker with another conker, then your conker breaks his or his conker breaks yours. Then you do it all again.
We couldn’t afford sticks during the war, so we’d pinch the sticks our dads beat us with. What a rush it was throwing them off one side of a bridge and racing to see whose stick would win. Sometimes I see kids playing it and tell them they don’t have to. They can buy toys from shops.
When I was a kid all the marbles were collected for the war effort so when I played my first game in 1949 boy, did I make up for lost time. The thrill and skill of flicking glass balls to make them collide is up there with crown green bowling: shite. Even on this skunk cannabis they’re on now it’d be shite.
Hide and seek
We’d be kicked out into the woods, or onto a bomb site, and we’d hide from each other. I’d spend hours huddled under a plank of wood in the shell of a ruined factory and called that fun. You can’t imagine what it was like when telly came along. We never looked back.
I started with noughts-and-crosses at county level, but had a talent for it so progressed to the regional and national finals in 1952 and 1953. Lost the first time but got my revenge in ’53, winning the trophy and a year’s supply of suet from sponsor Atora. And not for one moment was it half as good as Sonic Spinball on the Game Gear.
All these kids doing TikTok dancing should try hopscotch. The idea is to hop from one end of a grid of squares to the other in a specific sequence. It’s a completely pointless waste of time that doesn’t even reward you with a sense of achievement. Actually so’s TikTok dancing. Bloody kids have come full circle.