We live very near a junior school and at playtime and lunchtime all they seem to do is run around screaming… I’m sure in actual fact there are plenty of games being played and plenty of running around is either chasing a ball or chasing each other.
I guess that there are some children’s activities which are no longer allowed on the grounds it may be dangerous, making ice slides for example. There used to be several places ion our playground at Milton Road School in Cambridge where puddles formed which when frozen were suitable for slides. There were a few small ones which the younger or more timid children used which would be maybe a couple of foot long. Then over in the corner was a massive slide – well it seemed massive to me. When I was little I used to watch all the big boys running and recklessly sliding along it, arms aloft for balance. I’m not sure whether girls were excluded or whether they just didn’t want to do it, but when I was in the top class I’m sure I remember I did it, even though I was not the best at balancing in those days!
In the summer there was skipping, with ropes, either a long rope held by two people, or personal skipping ropes with wooden handle and actually made from rope not nylon. Then there came the craze for American skipping. You needed a long piece of knicker elastic and knotted it to form a loop. The loop was held apart by the ankles of two girls and a third danced across it, sometimes lifting one strand over the other and doing other complicated moves, which I can’t now remember. I liked skipping on the big rope, but I liked American skipping more! I’m sure we had rhymes and songs we sang, but I don’t remember them. We had an American girl Carla Ritta who joined us in the third year; whether she brought American skipping to us or not I don’t know… I wonder where Carla is now and if she remembers her time in an English school?
Carla appears on my feature photo, second from the left at the back.