Ah, those were the days... When us kids knew how to make our own fun. None of this Xbox nonsense.
1. Laundry-basket stair surfing
Who needs fancy days out at Thorpe Park? Not kids in the 70s. Just chuck out Mum’s ironing pile and hop in. You’ll need a big brother to give you a good old shove from the top, and it’s scary as Hell the first time… But we guarantee you’ll want more. A big pile of sofa cushions at the bottom is recommended. (And best done when Mum and Dad are out – you needn’t explain why you’re holding your elbow painfully later.)
2. Knock-down ginger
You know the score – one mate keeps watch, while you rat-a-tat-tat on someone’s front door (preferably that grumpy old bloke down the road who kicked garden gnomes), and then…SCRAM! Off you run, and peep from round the corner to see his bewildered reaction. Us? No, coooourse not…never!
(You’re never too old to play Knock Down Ginger…Click here to check out an 82-year-old having fun!)
3. Cardboard-tube sword fights
A good one post-Christmas, when us kids could get our hands on the big, long inner tubes from Mum’s wrapping paper. You could whack the heck out of each other and no-one got hurt. Originally we were pirates, knights or musketeers, but all that changed post 1977. Star Wars!! Bring on the light sabres! (Whhsssshzing noise compulsory.)
4. Playing footy in the street
Jumpers for goalposts. Nuff said. And, no, girls CAN’T join in. The streets may not have been safer in 1972, but they felt that way. You’d be out there till it got nearly-dark and Mum called you in for your tinned spaghetti hoops on toast. Or you fell over and got gravel in your knee. Time for the Germolene.
5. Building a den out of furniture
Amazingly, your mum didn’t mind you shifting the dining-room table and chairs around and ransacking the contents of her airing cupboard to build a den. It’d keep you quiet for hours and if you were lucky you could even eat your Dairylea-triangle sandwiches in there. Actually, me and my brothers made ours into a ‘hotel’, with different rates for the various den rooms. The best room was one made with purple fitted sheets from Brentford Nylons.
6. Building a camp in the local woods
Well, I say ‘woods’ – really it was just a few trees at the back of our housing estate. But we’d gather together a few bits of old wood and transform it into a home-from-home. There’d be secret club rules, and your mate might’ve snaffled some Iced Gems from her mum’s kitchen cupboard. You’d sit reading books and making plans for hours. Also handy for when you ‘ran away from home’. (Course, your mum and dad knew exactly where you were.)
7. Rubber-band fights and Chinese burns
OWWWWW! How come big brothers always pin down little sisters and win… Sniff!
8. ‘Seasons’ in the school playground
No-one decided when the seasons would begin – you just all sort of ‘knew’. Suddenly, the playground would be full of skipping ropes. Then, after a few weeks….all change – marble season! Then French skipping. Or finger knitting. And, of course in the autumn…conkers!
9. Clapping rhymes
When Suzie was a baby, a baby Suzie was,
She went-a ‘Goo ga, a goo-goo-ga!’
When Suzie was a schoolgirl, a schoolgirl Suzie was,
She went-a ‘Please miss, I can’t do this…’
When Suzie was a teenager, a teenager Suzie was,
She went a ‘Ooh ah, I lost my bra, I left my knickers in my boyfriend’s car!’