The Errand

Opposite the level, flowery patch of tip was a small shop which sold sweets and groceries – probably other things that didn’t register with me. When I had reached the age of four I was allowed to go there on errands and one time I was side-tracked on to the flowery tip before going to the shop, and lost my money. My errand was usually for a family bag of sweets, and a quarter pound of blackcurrant bon-bons which were blackcurrant ‘fussels’, I know not why. I hunted all over for the money, then went home and brought my Dad, it being a Saturday afternoon, but we failed to find the coin. I don’t remember whether we bought sweets after that, or sadly went home without, as money was really short and maybe there wasn’t another shilling.

Flowers of the tip

Wild flowers always delighted me and I would wander off to a field across the road and pick daisies for ages, led on from one to another, always seeing one that was extra big, extra rosy tipped, or otherwise special: then I would pick individual leaves of the very thin shiny grass that grew there, which seemed to perfectly complete my outsize posy. Buttercups were nice to see but I didn’t pick them so often. When I was old enough to go down the lane on my own I liked to wander about on the levelled off tip, which was a nice place, quite unlike today’s tips. Lots of flowers grew there, my favourite being sweet scented white clover, knot grass with its minute ‘roses’ and the tiny yellow clover-like flowers.

I occasionally found old wire springs at the tip, from beds and sofas long since burnt, and there were very exciting to play with. You could thrust your feet into them and leap about, feeling a definite extra spring, which kept you trying to go higher and higher with every jump. I doubt whether the grown-ups would realise what amazing feats we were performing, but it felt very good and I don’t remember any sprained ankles, which was surely a possibility.