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The Great Adventure lands Around Our Commons

During the late 1940's; early 1950's

A young childhood's adventure-filled years, enacted out on Plumstead and Winn's Commons, as only a young boy's imagination could.

Have you ever jumped out of a moving train and Roly-Polyed with your mates, rolling down a steep grass bank, over and over, faster and faster, till you get to the bottom of the slope, dizzy and laughing and racing back up to the top to do it again; have you?

Have you ever lain on your back in the long grass with a friend, looking up at the giant fluffy clouds and seen faces and horses and puppy dogs and castles and many, many other creatures and figures and wonderful things in those ever-changing worlds of those fairy tale billowing cotton wool clouds in the big blue skies of your childhood; have you?

Have you ever hunted for tigers in the undergrowth and bushes of the jungle, where, at any moment, a wild animal could pounce on you and tear you to pieces; where you have to stayso very quiet and so very alert, as you move, crouched down, gripping your rifle and ready to shoot; moving ever so slowly, eyes wide open, through the dangerous jungle; have you?

Have you ever galloped at full pelt on a very fast horse, where speed is so urgent because you're being pursued by Red Indians and, if they catch you, they will surely kill you and cut off your scalp, as you gallop and slap the horse to go faster, holding on tight to the reins, as you turn and aim your six shooter and blaze away at them Red Skins, Blam! Blam! Blam!, and onward you ride; you must get away! Have you?

Have you ever sailed into a stormy sea, where huge waves crash and wash over you as you head into the angry turmoil, when your boat keels over dangerously and you are almost swamped, but you manage to survive and you sail on at last into calmer waters and the wind pushes you ever faster, speeding you on your way; have you?

Have you ever explored dark caverns where evil creatures live and lurk in the dark, ready to get you if you don't keep a very good look out, where you really rely on your mates to keep ever vigilant, and to warn you if there is something nearby, to trust on them to get 'it' before 'it' gets you; to rely on team work for the collective courage to go onwards and ever deeper into the dark unknown; have you?

Have you ever had to hide from the enemy, not daring to stir, when they were so close you were afraid to breathe in case they heard you and find out where you were, where you laid so flat, squashed to the earth in amongst the shrubs and the so tall grass, and the sound of the hunters' feet grew closer and closer and your heart beat faster and faster; have you?

Have you ever flown a kite so high in the sky that you imagine you're up there instead, just like a bird looking down on the world, and then the wind wants to tug you aloft and you wrestle and heave with all your strength on that, so long, taut line, as it weaves and it soars and it spirals around, now you are a fighter pilot in hot pursuit, looping the loop to get out of the way of the enemy's guns; have you?

Well I have, and often as well, and yet I managed to survive all those dangerous adventures and more, though bruised and battered and bleeding sometimes, but that was to be expected when life was lived to the full, on those great big green expanses of my young childhood Common days.

Colin Weightman

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