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Circumstances demanded that they use their imagination and initiative, if one boy had a toy gun then the poorer one made his own bow and arrow, and if a little girl could not have a nice doll she would then make her own, and when playing “cowboys and Indians” they had ample space to play, with hedges and grassed embankments to offer realism, the game often ending In an argument as to who had shot first and who was dead. Little girls on the other hand played at “Wee Shops” and used small pieces of crockery for money, the coloured pieces being more valuable. Some of the games for the girls had rhymes and songs, now I imagine long forgotten.
The boys games could at times become quite strenuous, such as “Hunch Cuddy Hunch”, this involved some boys forming a horse with the first boy grasping the railings and then each boy would place his head on the backside of the boy in front and hold him by the waist, the length having previously been agreed upon, or In other words, the number of boys to complete the horse or cuddy, the others then lined up, the best “leap frogger” jumping first, it was essential that he should try to land as near to the head as possible in order that all of his team found a back to land on. Sometimes the “Horse or Cuddy” would collapse then everyone would have to change sides. Another game was to tie the opposite doors together on a tenement landing with string from one handle to the other, then knock both doors or ring the bells then run away.
The first world war in 1914 brought forth a new game for girls, that of playing nurses, and for the boys, soldiers. There was of course a darker side to this picture. In those days ones father was either a skilled craftsman or nothing, so it was thought, in a society where the class distinctions were sharply defined in the working class. And so the labourer, especially if he had a large family(And large families were common in these days) had an extremely difficult time. It was a proud man indeed who could provide his son with an apprenticeship. Many were ill clad, and a neat patch on the backside of ones trousers was not uncommon. Overcrowding and inadequate diet resulted in diseases among children and assistance had to be sought from the Parish Council. A holiday at the seaside was out of the question and so the Sunday School annual “Trip” was a great event. It was not until a few years later, when as a teenager the message finally sunk home.