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Bedfont Gravel Pits
  1. Born here, 1955, don’t remember much before that.

  2. My infant and junior school. January 1960, started Fairholme School on my 5th birthday. Mum walked me to school the one and only time. It was snowing, the playground was one huge snowball fight. It was a great way to start my school career. Better still the school was surrounded on three sides by gravel pits, one an active land fill landfill and another soon to follow.

  3. We’d leave school and head for the smouldering land fill pit to see what we could find. Tempting things for kids, a lorry load of erasers, Scooby do or medical waste. I remember having a syringe fight. We’d pushed the needle in to the dirt then, aim, squeeze and pop! Shoot each other, great fun. (This could be the reason I have such an unusual immune system. Lots of antibodies, including TB somehow, I've donated 277 donations of blood plasma.) Another great day, a lorry load of florescent tubing and bulbs, we were ahead of our time, fighting with light sabres, javelins and hand grenades. Not much H&S going on in those days.

National Blood Transfusion Service

An award for 250 donations of blood

4.  The Little Pit, is still there. Happy memories of night fishing, catapults, bonfires, exploding aerosols / oil cans and putting maggots in your mate's thermos flask.

5.  The Big Pit, great fishing, got easier as the pit got smaller. Great land fill finds, lorry loads of wood, buttons, seeds, office furniture and asbestos.

6.  The Pit paths, learnt how to come off motorbikes and scooters along the Dusty Road. Observed and learnt not to take the radiator cap off whilst the car engine's  red hot. The Dusty Road had a few burnt out cars  along its length but the Big pit had a hot spot, three cars deep. The burnt out wrecks made great cover during  the firework wars. 

7.  The Piscatorial Pit. Huge fish 30lb plus, Carp and Pike. Watched Hydrofoil racing here.

8.  Bennet’s Farm. Memories of  hay stacks, throwing stones at bee hives and  collecting conkers.

9.  Drug bust!  aged 10. Found cardboard barrels full of capsules, a perfect fit for pea-shooters. Even better if you discarded one end, you got a nice trail of white powder and splat mark. Unfortunately a week later the police paid me a visit and confiscated my hoard. They were slimming tablets, amphetamines. (So maybe I wasn’t hyper active after all? Maybe a little ADS, I do remember the headmaster asking if I was paying attention to what he was saying, just before the canings.)

10.  Lots of council maintained playing fields. Perfect for baby boomers to play Football, Cricket, Rounders, Kingy, British Bulldog, Statues, Dutch arrows and flying Kites and Gliders. The streets were better for games like Block, War , Cowboys and Indians, Wallsey, Hop Scotch, Fag cards, Marbles, Trolley races and Sword fighting.

I survived a happy childhood. 

Born in Bedfont 1955, the village adjacent to Heathrow Airport, on the road between Staines and Hounslow.

Heathrow had only been open a few years. The older propeller planes use to fly over our house, (slightly to the left) we use to wave at the passengers. Each time they flew over they'd make the two channel, B&W, TV go funny. Thankfully they had to build a longer runway for the newer jet engine planes, and no longer flew over us.

Map of Bedfont
Low fly aircraft over Bedfont

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The 11 o'clock rib rattler. 

The 11 o'clock rib rattler. 

Ballons over Stroud
Stroud skies

Today's view of air traffic in Stroud

Bedfont gravel pits
  1. Severe laceration, age 6. Fell off the Stoney Wall in to stinging nettles and broken glass. Eight stiches to sow thumb back on. Caught pneumonia whilst in hospital.

  2. Broken arm, age 7. Trying to jump on a bike from the front garden wall. Cried when the Doctor cut my new jumper off, he was the first black man and broken arm I’d ever seen.

  3. Three stiches in chin, age 8. Playing pirates, the plank broke.

  4. Numerous burns from field fires and fireworks. Mum always knew where we were by the smoke.

  5. Me and three friends aged 9 were used as target practice by two older boys, with air guns. We’d accidently stumbled on to their underground camp. I’d been shot three times and hadn’t cried, (unlike my friends.) I thought I’d got away from them, I was some way away, standing on a mound giving them my first Vs up. The 4th shot penetrated my plimsoll and lifted my big toenail. Ouch! that one brought tears.

  6. Cut vein in ankle age 12. Only two stitches but a lot of blood lose. My mum returning from work on her push bike, noticed a bloody foot print up and down our road, in and out of gateways, then around her kitchen. I finally found a neighbour, Mrs Lloyd, with a phone, to ring 999, she let me stand in a washing up bowl in the hallway.

  7. Cut Elbow off, age 14. Eight stitches x 2. Jumping off an unstoppable scooter whist the next driver jumped on. The scooter fell on top of me, there were no side panels and the fly wheel hit my shoulder and ran down my arm to my elbow. Lucky for me but not so much for my brother, I’d borrowed his new leather Monkey jacket, without permission. The shoulder stitching had ripped open and cuts every inch down my arm. I took the jacket off to find more cuts in my jumper, took my jumper off to find just two cuts in my shirt.  Rolled my sleeve up and could see a small graze on my upper arm, no blood, but my friends wretched and said I needed the hospital. I went home and stuck a plaster on the graze. It’s impossible to look at your elbow unless it’s in a mirror. After looking in the mirror and seeing bone and muscle poking out of a two inch hole, I decided to go to hospital. The week didn’t get any better, four days later I was back in hospital with a broken nose. I’d left a youth club early, because there was trouble brewing, only to be run over and beaten up from the local Hells Angels, ten minutes down the road. My elbow stitches came out, I had another 8 stitches after an operation to remove scar 2 about a year later.

      A & B. Medical finds mentioned previously (3 & 9)

Secondary School Education, happy days !
a lot less stressful than todays or was it? 

"Health and safety is spoiling todays kids fun.

When I was at school all you had to worry about was loosing an eye, dead legs, being punched in the balls and weggys." 

No chance of loosing an eye today, they're all to busy looking down at their mobile phones.

Longford School

Day one, Longford Boys School. Entered playground for the first time with bezzy mate, Puss. There was a strange tinging pinging twanging sound in the air. It was the giant, acne covered, older kids with elastic bands, firing staples at the new arrivals.

Dinner time went to the local shops with Puss, hardware store for staples and pigeon peas then the newsagent’s for elastic bands. A great start to my secondary education. It’s a pity they didn’t have exams for elastic bands and staples firing. After five years I was a pretty good shot.

Day two. Corporal punishment was a bit of a shock. Our first official introduction to Gym teacher Mr Wilson, a gum chewing, Glaswegian sadist. He gave 7 of the best to Mick Hayes, he physically jumped in the air like a tennis players serve. It was supposed to be 6 of the best but he said one didn’t count for some reason, no one argued. Previously on day one, just as we were leaving school, got as far as the bike racks and Mick got two of the slipper by the then unknown then Mr Wilson, for just being boisterous. I later helped Mick to break his arm in the same spot that same year. We were being boisterous.

Day 3.First metal work lesson. Punished with two whacks across the knuckles with a metal ruler. Hoisted by my own petard, premature explosion whilst booby trapping Mick’s vice. Classmates jumped out of the way, leaving me in a compromising position, laying across the bench, hands on smoking vice.

The first two years we were beaten with a variety of objects, the usual slipper and canes (including Dowling) rulers’ metal and wood. The rubber tube from the Bunsen burner and the bare hand on face and arse. Mr O, our 1st Tutorial and 1st French teacher, was the only one who made you go to the Heads office and get the punishment book. His preferred method of punishment was, take you in to the cloakroom, a bare hand arse slap, he’d then give you a polo mint and then you’d take the book back.

I remember Mr O wouldn’t let us back in to the classroom until somebody had swept the floor of rice and barley. Rice and barley were the preferred ammo for the new Biro pens. Chewed up blotting paper was very popular, the walls, doors and blackboard were covered in pink pellets. Traditional pea shooters and pigeon peas still a firm favourite. A third of a waste basket of grain was swept up before lessons resumed. The black asphalt playground gradually turned grey with the amount of rice on it. It’s a pity they didn’t have exams in Pea shooting, I was very good at it. By the fourth year it had evolved in to blow pipes, needles laced to cocktail sticks fired through glass tubing. Think of it as a science project, the accuracy, distance and penetration all improved from the earlier pins in matches version of year three.   

 

Year three, the end of corporal punishment, hoorah! We cease to be an all-boys school, hoorah! And become a mixed comprehensive, hoorah! I apologise now to all those poor girls, they must have wondered what had hit them, they’d only ever used rice and barley in cooking classes. Unfortunately Mr O won’t be with us this term, due to being caught flashing himself at the Sunbury girls school netball team.

Happy days back then, no self-harmers or anorexics, no one on anti-depressants or therapy , only one fat kid per class and we all knew what sex we were. I didn’t know there were such things as lesbians until I was 14 or 15.

Girls, snogging and love-bites, new territory for all, an added bonus to school life. Apologies once again to any girls if there where any incidents involving me and eggs, frogs, pigs eyeballs, stink or smoke bombs, itching or sneezing powder, ink, glue, laxatives, staples etc. ( include blood and burns for boys) HAPPY DAYS!

Sadly left school 1971 and started my GPO apprenticeship in Telecommunications.

To be continued.

Artwork pages

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Take a look at my Willie or should I say Peanus? Adult cartoons

Dick & Willie Cartoons

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