The joys of childhood

This has nothing to do with Mental Ill health.

When I was about fourteen years old, probably during the Summer holiday it is not so easy to remember now as it was rather a long time ago and time seemed to move much more slowly then.  It all most likely took place over a few weeks,  instead of months but I do recall the weather as being nice, so it must have been Summer.


My best mate at the time was the Dr’s son from over the road, I am not going to mention his name here, and shall refer to him as D. We did many things together D and I, some of it not very nice, a lot of it very good fun and perhaps quite reckless.

The people who lived opposite to him used to be involved as well there two brothers I do not recall their names  so shall refer to them as X and Y.  D actually lived opposite to me  but that did not stop him being my neighbour, even though my sister said they could not be neighbours cause of the position of their house… I could hardly call them the opposites, it sounded kind of rude, so neighbours they stayed.


I don’t recall how it started but we came across the shotgun cartridges both our families used to shoot wild animals either for pleasure or for pest control, I think they must have been in the top of the cupboard or something, nothing was ever locked up then. Unlike today. How we got the idea into our heads is beyond me, though it was probably mine. b We thought it a good idea to pull these things apart take out the constituent parts and make bombs which actually turned out to be easier than expected.  We used a flat bladed screwdriver to wriggle open the folds at the top of the cartridge’s emptied out the shot, which ended up in a jar. Opened up the thing further took out the wadding and collected the powder into another jar for safe keeping.


I have no idea, how many times we did this however I do recall making more than enough explosive devices or just lighting the stuff in the air raid shelter and sniffing the smoke like ancient alchemists. All of our dissections took place in the shelter, the bomb testing took place out in the woods which abutted onto the large garden we had.

A piece of Copper tube became a cannon, by bunging up one end with Blue Tack and banging a hole in tube itself with a hammer and nail so we could light the thing.  Pour the Gunpowder in, with use of a plastic funnel, tap it down with a stick and pour some lead shot in on top, toss a coin to see who would light it and retire to a safe distance.


I do not recall anybody getting injured or hurt in any way, however we did get found out, our bomb testing facility in the woods was not exactly that well hidden and the loud bangs attracted other people’s attention with some Buzzard noticing the cartridges were disappearing. People made a terrible fuss, that we could have blown ourselves up, killed ourselves etc. except we hadn’t.  D and I got banned from seeing each other and we had to make amends for our errant behaviour.  X and Y did not really have much to do with  our activities, except keep watch at the mouth of the shelter for adults and watch things burn or go bang.

Childhood and the church

The time has come for a change from speaking about mental health, anxiety and that sort of thing. I feel the time has come to write a little about the past. The past affects us in different ways but one thing is for certain, it is the reason why we are in the positions we are in now.

Or at least that is the theory and what they love to tell you at school and in other places as well.

So when I was a youngster, I was being raised as a good Catholic boy, by a good catholic mother who amongst other things had some fantasy (shall we call it?) that one day I would be a missionary somewhere in Africa.  Its another story and can wait for another day.

So my mum thought it would be a good idea to have me turned into an altar boy, that is to serve the priest at mass. Unhappily I was never the most attentive of Father’s acolytes, I fiddled with the medal I had to wear around my neck. (you were “given” it on your saint’s day) I never quite managed to ring the bell the correct number of times, twice instead of thrice, that is when I was not trying to dismantle the thing.

Where I was useless at serving God, I was good in other ways. Mum thought it a good idea that I could help Father by putting out the vestments  for the week day mass, it was quite simple nip over the road, put the glad rags out and back again. However there was the question of the altar wine, which it has to be said was pretty good stuff, it was sweet made my feet tingle and it was nice. And I could say that the Devil tempted me.


Letter to:

This was originally written as a letter in a long-ish lunch break whilst working in a bakery around 2004  at this time of year. It has been edited to correct various errors and some of the content has been changed.

When writing a book, you have to consider three things: the beginning, the middle, and the end. What the rules are as to writing a letter, I do not know, I have written plenty of letters in the past, learning the various rules in school. which  I still remember.

I want to  write about school, as it seems to be on my mind right now. Maybe it’s because I am currently studying at University which is a bit like school, just more interesting and you are allowed to smoke. (If you do)  I would like this letter to be the first of many, though I know it will not. It is just a passing fancy and a chance wind that brought us ‘together’ for the briefest of moments, and wherever you are now I couldn’t care less though a couple of times I have caught myself wondering so.


I freely admit I made mistakes, which you have pointed out. Actually, I prefer to see them as “lessons learnt.” I still don’t know very much – just a bit more than I did yesterday, which is still not very much, but is a step in the right direction. Without those ‘mistakes‘, I would not be the person I am today, nor would I probably be sitting here writing this letter.

Looking back with a mature eye and nothing in the way to obscure my vision, it is easier now to appreciate those things that happened that were not all my doing, rather they were the result of the meddlings and influence of other people and the environment in which I was raised. ( Though not as harsh as some may have experienced, it was not a walk in the park by any means.)

I have always been a stubborn so-and-so and  stick my heels in deeper when  pressured into doing something I do not want to do. (probably the autistic/ADHD side) Then I can become quite impossible. It is a blessing and a curse and I used to be an argumentative sometimes punchy person, who was often in trouble as much for fighting as for not doing school work.

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How is best to raise a child? With shouting and cajoling, or with something more emphatic? Do you encourage and nurture their life’s ambition, or stifle it and then do everything within your power to prevent it happening?  The Careers Officer certainly put on a good show of it. Never mind, I am not complaining, just writing. Whether it helps or not is irrelevant – it’s because I want  to.

School, for me, was a good place to be.  It’s just a simple matter of deciding which one to write on. Or, should it just be some of what went on? Certainly, the first place was more of an adventure. The second place was something awful which I did not fit into maybe it was the Paedophiles masquerading as monks or it was just the wrong environment altogether.

Back to the first place which when visiting it now, is actually a really nice place. It only has happy memories, though the truth is the place was strict, if not rather unpleasant. You see it was a place for special needs pupils ‘cept back in the day they beat the knowledge  and the wickedness out,  and other treatments that would all be labelled as abuse now included being put in isolation, this was a punishment meted out by staff for minor transgressions like fooling around, it was usually the furthest away classroom on the school grounds and not very nice.

Occasionally somebody would be banned from having all contact with other pupils and they would be warned of with repercussions and threats if that rule was broken. The Headmaster was a total shit of a man who wore 1950’s kipper ties and had a mouth like a squid, he was a fat bastard and everybody called him Billy as in Bunter.

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It was not all that bad in the junior school — we got to fool around in the woods and play ‘war’ or something. We even got to go Bird World, which was a big place near the school, which was, needless to say, full of birds. We only ever really got to see the fishes. You see, there was Fish World, too, which was in the same complex. We never once got to see the birds. Well, we might have seen a couple of penguins, but never the vulture or the parrot.

My house master was drunk all the time (or so it seemed). He liked to swim in the nude, in the early morning, and was once caught by the school secretary. He had a thing for earwax and seemed to  enjoy eating it. In short, he was minging. He also like to rap his pipe on the windowsill and, as a result, we all called him Pecker. Get it?

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If you behaved or there was nothing else going down, you sometimes got to watch videos in his flat. Usually something educational. We soon found the whisky and helped him finish it. What used to go on the classroom overhead projector, I won’t say, but it was green. He used to lick his hankie and wipe it clean. And not just the once. We all decided he evidently liked bogies, so we ensured there were always plenty there for him.

Pecker died a few years ago now, he was a good teacher and only meant the best for us.