The spot these children are standing on no longer exists - at least not in the form you see in the photographs. Approximately 21 years after the pictures were taken, the foundations for an old folks' home were laid directly into the area of field where these kids once played. I'm actually in the photos and remember with startling clarity the Sunday afternoon or early summer evening they were taken back around 1967 or so.
As you can see, we were playing cricket. Only a short while before, I had narrowly managed to dodge a heavy cricket ball and thus avoid a nasty knock on the noggin which could well have rendered me senseless. (Go on - I'll allow you the predictable retort.)
From left to right in the 'cropped' photo above are myself, Robert Fortune, Tony Tierney, Allan Robson and Kenny Tierney. The photos were taken by Mr. Tom Tierney, who later became a regular contributor to the letter columns of the local newspaper, under the nom de plume of'Goofy'. If he were alive today, he'd no doubt have a blog in which to record his whimsical (and sometimes serious) observations on sundry subjects, but sadly he's been deceased for quite a few years now.
When we first moved to the area in 1965, it was Tony Tierney who introduced me and my brother to the rest of the kids in the neighbourhood. I haven't seen Tony in quite a few years, but I still run into Kenny today from time to time, and it was his good self who supplied me with the photos you see on this page. As I said, the field no longer exists - except in photos, memories and dreams - dreams which increasingly seem far more enticing than the rather drab reality of the here and now.
Photographs are marvelous things, aren't they? Looking at a photo is like gazing through a window into yesteryear, at a moment frozen in time which grows all the more precious to us the further we become removed from it.
UPDATE: (January 2015.) The field remained undisturbed until 1988, a period of 23 years from when we first moved there in '65 (we flitted in '72). I therefore find it rather startling to think that the old folks' home has now occupied the spot for 26-odd years - three years longer than the time which preceded it. And yet it seems to me as if the three-storey building was erected only a few years ago. The mysteries of Time, eh? I don't think I'll ever be able to fully comprehend them.
Long has paled that sunny sky;
Echoes fade and memories die;
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Ever drifting down the stream--
Lingering in the golden gleam--
Life, what is it but a dream?
From "Life is but a Dream" - by Lewis Carroll.
After posting this, I was going through some old papers and found this letter from my local rag, dated Wednesday 24th April - Thursday 30th April, 1996.
Goofy will be missed
I was saddened to read and hear of the death of Mr Tom Tierney, a great story teller in your column and other publications in his life.
He brought many a smile, with his wit and local stories bringing back many a cheery laugh.
My thoughts to his family.
This post is therefore dedicated to the memory of Mr. Tom Tierney, aka 'Goofy'. Thanks to him, the above snapshots of a moment from my childhood are preserved forever.