Sunday, November 16, 2014

When I was a lad...

All this were fields. That's how it goes isn't it? It's also one of the first things that came out of my mouth unintentionally when I was in a car with my closest friends heading back into the Fenland village I grew up in; Holbeach.
Where to start? In 1986 our family arrived in Holbeach, a small village in the south of Lincolnshire known as South Holland. The heart of the Fens.
See, says so there.
That's not near Holbeach though, that's between Bourne and Spalding but it sets the scene well. Anyway I was 6 years old and actually back not 20 miles from where I had been born.

A true Lincolnshire Yeller Belly. We moved in 1998 8 miles up the road and I finally left the county and the big skies of the Fens in 2002. There may have been some odd looks from the residents of Holbeach as we drove around that wet Saturday afternoon with me jumping out of the car to snap away at apparently random bits of scenery and landscape.
Best start with the road I lived on then. Damgate, also known as Damgate Road and Nobs Road colloquially. Nobs Road due to the posh nobs who lived there, apparently. Notice the absence of the 'k'. Nob was equivalent to Toff, not cock. At the top of the road there's now a small cul-de-sac with a couple of houses in. When I grew up this wall:
wasn't complete at the left end and we could climb up to the top using the broken bricks as steps. There was a tall mesh fence around the rest of it you see. Many afternoons were spent playing den and climbing the tree, still there. On the last day of sixth form I hate to admit but as I got off the school bus, pissed, at half four I absolutely had to take a slash against the wall, around the corner and out of sight of passersby. All that cider had caught up with me.
But away from poor bladder control.
Whilst being the proud owner of my first mountain bike a great mate and I decided to see how late we could brake and how strongly we could do so on our fine machines. Neither of us can remember why we decided to do this heading towards the wall of the Community Centre
On my final attempt (it's always the final one where shit happens) my front brake cable snapped and I went into and up the wall using my face as a brake. Forks bent, face damaged, pride dented. Back home to have my Dad fit a new set of forks. It was not a proud moment.
A little further down the road is the old railway track
now apparently a Private Road...
It used to be the cut through to ride at the local motocross practice track for me. A long straight road to wind my RM80 big wheel up as I got to feel the greatness of motorcycles with my first bike (£80, bought with paper round tips at 14). Neeeeeeeooooooowww.
After a brief culinary intermission at the Chameli Tandoori
where I had my first ever take away curry as part of a Non-veg Thali and also saw in my 18th birthday with something hotter, allow me to share a brief litany of accidents.
First and second occasions of being hit by a car within 50 yards of each other along Boston road.
First time wasn't my fault as a car pulled out from the car garage into my cycling path. The second time definitely was my fault as I ran across the junction on a green light and got collected by a passing light metallic green Ford Fiesta at 30mph. I only know this was the car as I found out afterwards. I don't have any memory of the accident. Only waking up briefly in the ambulance on the way to hospital and then being in hospital for four days.
Hall hill park where I fell out of a tree after a branch broke underneath me and deposited me on the ground from a decent height and also had my head banged against the top bar of the swings after being pushed with a lot of force, but not enough to loop.
Cutting back through from the park was a case of trying to hold breath as you passed the flour mill
and then making sure you didn't swallow any mosquitos down the cut

I found a C90 down there once.
There's many more stories to tell but a trip which I thought was going to be full of negative emotions was actually full of laughter, piss taking and merriment, rounded off with a pint and some great Lincolnshire sausage and chips. Thanks boys.

Thanks also to Lucy for coming along to visit places that were home to me when you were born. It was good having you there all these years late.

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