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A Rolling Tyre Gathers Much Mischief!

Reminiscences of a Common Kid

A load of us kids had had a good day at rolling the tyre. Darkness had descended and we were going back home to eat a hearty well-earned tea. We decided to quit playing with the large old lorry tyre and launched it on a steep and fast journey down the hollow. It was soon rolling and bouncing madly on its mad way, towards its unsuspecting target at an increasingly breakneck speed. Its final bounce was up over and into a back garden, crashing very loudly into a large dustbin, scattering its contents everywhere. (I seem to recollect that it smashed a window as well). We stood, somewhat wide-eyed and open mouthed, at this horribly spectacular scene, rooted to the spot. However, when the back door of the offended house opened and two large and very angry fellows came running out climbing a ladder into the hollow and came running towards us screaming for our blood, we were off like greased lightning. With two potential murderers in hot pursuit, shouting that they were going to kill us, plus a few other unpleasant things that are best not put in print, I was in super overdrive. And, besides the fear of being caught and killed by these two, I would then have to deal with being killed again by my parents, when they found out why I had been killed in the first place! Man, we certainly put ourselves through a terrible amount of extra fear when we were young Commoners, didn't we ever.

With these terrible thoughts fuelling my pumping little legs I dove into the Beecham's front garden, our near neighbours, frantically thinking, now what? I went to lay under their front privet hedge, between it and the front wall, but instead I spotted their large corporation dustbin with heavy-duty lid. Snatching the lid off, I climbed in and manoeuvred the lid on top. I well remember the long...... very long?.. wait. My lungs were bursting for air, but I feared that the sound of my heavy breathing and gasping would betray my hiding place.
It felt like I had been cooped up in that dark and smelly dustbin for hours, but I was probably in there for around five to ten minutes max. Eventually I plucked up courage and emerged from my hiding place, back into the cold, still night air. Cautiously I craned my ear for any footsteps, for any voices, as I slowly crept out to the road to see if the coast was clear.  I then burst into another life-preserving dash, this time to my house, daring not to look back to see if anyone was after me. It was an incredible feeling, of actually still being alive!  However, it was a long time before any of us ventured down that part of the Hollow again.

I also remember the mad antics of us rolling down the slopes, over by the wooden door that was set in the corner of the St. Nick's hospital grounds wall. We would climb into the large lorry tyre and hang on to it for dear life as we turned head over heels, round and round, at an ever-increasing, blurring, dizzy speed, crashing through gorse bushes, (this added considerably to the danger, thus extracting the maximum amount of fun) over these humps and bumps. (Added bonus was who crashed into the hospital wall the hardest!)

Then there was the wicked 45-gallon steel drum run (complete with jagged metal edges).  Man, that was sheer madness too! Rolling at breakneck speed to the bottom of the hill, to emerge elated and quite battered, bruised and often bleeding. Then having to wait again, impatiently, for your turn again; for another mad ride, and then another and another......

We certainly lived and played hard on those there Common slopes.

Colin Weightman

(Just to add. It was none of us kids that rolled that other tyre down Lakedale Road in the unfortunate incident that befell poor little Joan Doling and her dolls pram! In her story; 'Joan doling Reminiscenses')

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