Friday, April 13, 2012

What about 50 things we did before we were 12 that we'd hate to find our kids doing?

All the papers today have got the list of 50 things that today's kids really should do before they're 11 and three quarters. This got me thinking about all the things I did in the course of my perfectly average suburban upbringing that I would have been horrified to catch my own kids doing when they were young. Here's just a few of the obvious ones.
1. Taken one of my dad's stubbed out cigarettes, crawling under my bed and lighting it.
2. Going "chumping" in the run-up to November 5th. This basically meant removing anything that would burn and wasn't nailed down.
3. Jumping off the rear platform of a moving bus at the age of seven having missed a stop.
4. Using garden canes as arrows and firing them at close friends.
5. Standing up on swings in the park.
6. Going to the pictures on my own.
7. Playing cricket in the garden - with a proper cricket ball.
8. Sitting in the drivers seat and playing with the wheel while my dad went into a shop. Was the engine running? Of course it was!
9. Eating a stick of celery into which a full salt cellar had been emptied.
10. Using a lowered clothes line to remove a playmate from his bike during a war game.
There are millions more and I wasn't unduly reckless.


  1. Covering a slice of spam in HP sauce, rolling it up and eating it in a oner?

  2. Road-works arson
    The red warning beacons that were placed dotted around dug-up areas to delimit them at night weren't battery- or solar-powered, but cube-shaped paraffin lamps. By simply upending them in succession they would burst into flame, resulting in a highly satisfying re-creation of the funeral scene from The Vikings.

    Practical artillery for boys

    1. Procure a spare bicycle. (You may need a long pole and a friend for this to help you yank one out of the canal.)
    2. Procure a hacksaw blade from someone's dad's toolbox.
    3. Remove the crossbar from the bicycle.
    4. Bend and hammer flat one end of the crossbar.
    5. Find a ball-bearing of the right size to fit snugly - but not too snugly - inside the former crossbar, which is now just a yard of pipe with one end bashed in.
    6. Liberate someone's dad's power drill, and drill a hole in the pipe about 4 inches from the bashed-in end.
    7. Insert into the interior of the former crossbar, in this order: a rag, the powdered contents of six Standard Fireworks bangers, another bit of rag, and the ballbearing.
    8. Liberate a piece of cane from someone's dad's garden and use it to tamp the wadding down. If performed according to the specs, the banger contents should be lying immediately below the hole you drilled earlier. (Safety note: leaving the drilling of the hole until this stage is not recommended.)
    9. Insert the blue touch-paper from one of the gutted bangers into the hole in the pipe.
    10. Immobilise the pipe on the ground on a support made of planks and bricks such that it points upwards at an angle of approximately 45ยบ.
    11. Light the blue touch paper and retire immediately.
    12. Watch, in amazement as entire boughs of trees 100 yards away burst into a shower of leafy shrapnel.
    13. Run like buggery.

  3. Buying a large packet of penny bangers in October and blowing up toy soldier encampments. Also turning them into rockets, depth charges and other potentially lethal affairs.

  4. Blimey Id forgotten the roadwork lamps with paraffin.