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Growing Up In Brum - Roy Blakey Inspired.

Maria Magenta

master brummie
I don't remember music lessons at junior school, but can vaguely recall Music and Movement. At secondary school, we had free music tuition (about three people to one teacher) and the instrument was lent to us free. I've recently read that peripatetic music teachers have had their term of employment changed, and now are classed as self-employed, which of course is worse for them financially.
Sorry, that went a bit off -topic!


tim eborn

master brummie
Only had to suffer a few music lessons whilst at Stratford Rd Infants School. The teacher wrote all these notes on the blackboard then stood in front of it with a ruler pointing at them and we had to say something like "Ta, Tatty Ta Tatty, Ta, Ta Try. She then translated this as The Ash Grove , The Ash Grove, how sweetly it's Standing ,or something like that.
After half term we were marched down Stratford Rd. to the Annex in church hall in Palmerston Rd to play what we had learnt on those percussion instruments as per Roy's post 1116.
Do I think of this when I listen to Classic Radio FM, no way !
Cheers Tim.


Ex-pat Brummie

I remember the taffy ta ta as well, but I think the object of that was to teach you rhythm. Doh ra me taught you relative pitch/intervals, and unless you started to learn an instrument or could already play one, you didn't learn to read "real" music.
I remember the poor souls who decided to learn cello whilst at school with a Mr Lumby. It's a pretty unforgiving instrument and it's quite a while before you can get a reasonable tone out of it. After a year or so, you graduated to the school orchestra, but that seemed to be rather overloaded with cello players, most of whom couldn't play in tune.

We only had one double-bass player and that was Mr "Holy Ben" Smith, the R.E. master. We fared slightly better with violinists and I remember several of those of a lunchtime strumming them as I'm sure they wished they were learning guitar instead, an option not open to them in the late 1940s/early 1950s. Happy days!


Roy Blakey

master brummie
Period : 1930's >>>?
Often, we kids would be looking for an alternative to playing out on the street.
What better few hours spent than in one of the purpose built " childrens equipped play area's "
created by the Birmingham Council planners.
These dedicated area's were ideal for the children to enjoy and mix with one another.
All the play equipment Installed was ground anchored and made from Cast Iron, Steel and Wood.
One such area in our district was situated in Rough Road, Kingstanding ( which was just off the shopping circle ). We were lucky because another similar equipped play area was situated just a mile down the road in Finchley Road Park.
Each piece of play apparatus on offer would become more understandable and enjoyable as experiment and observation of other users came about.
Always popular were the " SWINGS " and " ROUND-ABOUTS".
The Swings ( fully pumped ) were great for giving the feeling of speed and height, whilst sitting aboard a fast circling Round-about would induce that " giddy" feeling which seemed to be a favourite for some of the kids. Jumping on and off at high speeds was generally considered skilful as well.
All the kids seemed to have ago on the " HIGH SLIDE ". Sliding down " backwards "was the daring bit on this apparatus.
For a change of " technique " the " BELL " was the play equipment to try. This combined rotation and up and down motion at the same time. Made for a moving " climbing frame " if you cared to give it a go.
A good one to give the girls a ride on was the " PUMP ", with it's long wood beam suspended on swing bars. The beam forming the seats and hand hold bars enabled the riders to " cling on ".
This was a good one for the girl passengers to have a few little " screams " as the boys pumped the beam ever higher.
For a little " breather " between activities a quiet " up and down " on the " SEE-SAW " did the trick.
For us kids, these equipment play area's were thoughtfully designed and we loved them.
Just had to keep our eye open for the " Park Keeper ", he might not agree with some of our experiments.
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I loved the swings and roundabouts in Lightwoods Park Roy! Thanks for bringing back happy memories.
(We also had a "moke".)


master brummie
One of my nearest recreation grounds was at the corner of Reddings Lane and Formans Road. Not sure whether that comes under Sparkhill or Tyseley. There was certainly a see-saw and also swings. The roundabout was a bit simpler than in your sketch. It was like a big flat wheel just off the ground with 6 or more handles joining up at the centre pivot. You had to hold onto a handle and then run as fast as you could before jumping on the roundabout. There were always some boys that could run faster and then it could be difficult to get on and off the roundabout. Dave.


master brummie
Lovely sketch Roy. Remember when the health and safety era came? The slide was put down a hole to make a ground level slide, so you couldn't fall from the tower and we lost what you call "The Pump", never heard that name before, because a child wandered in front of the on coming plank and finished up in hospital with concussion.

Maria Magenta

master brummie
In Garrison Lane Park there was a long horse with several seats, in front of each seat a metal handle, which went backwards and forwards. It wasn't a rocking horse, that is. The horse's head was made of iron, or some kind of metal. At either side was a wooden platform for your feet.

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Period : 1943 ish.
I can't recall our exact ages when we kids began to appreciate the late Autumn season, but there came a time when we started to find some new found interests and experiences as this end of year period set in.
Out and about we were noticing that the air was getting that wee bit cooler and crispy fresh.
Bit by bit our old woollen jumpers became every day attire for our playing out periods.
For starters, I remember, we began to notice the pleasant aroma of the rotting fallen tree leaves in the wooded area's that we came upon.
Also, with the " leaf coverage " now gone from many of the trees we were able to observe the Squirrels performing their antics up and down the trunks of the trees and out along the branches.
Fascinating !
I think it started when we began to pick up armfuls of fallen leaves from beneath the trees and began to make a bit of a " mountain" pile with them.
We then proceeded to do jumps into the pile and found the " cushion
effect " to our liking.
I remember it provided us with lovely " soft " landings no matter which way
we landed in it.
Who it was I can't recall, but one of the group suggested moving the
" Mountain " to a position beneath one of the easier " climbing" trees, the idea being to try out jumping from the heights of the tree branches and making soft landings in the leaf pile.
We set to work and gave it a go.
From my recollection, there was never a bone or muscle damaged throughout, ( maybe the odd scraped elbow or knee here and there but certainly nothing to bother about ).
We had absolute loads of fun.
This very much became one of our look forward to activities over the following years of the Autumn period.
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norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
View attachment 108241 GIVING THE STREET GAMES A MISS.
Period : 1930's >>>?
Just had to keep our eye open for the " Park Keeper ", he might not agree with some of our experiments.
There was always a sign "NO ONE OVER THE AGE OF 14 ALLOWED ON SWINGS". I played on them a few times after I was 14, and always kept an eye out for the dreaded park keeper, who, in my later years, I realised did a good job.


norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
Absolute truth.

Just spent a couple of hours in the garden, where we have large trees all around us, clearing up leaves, into piles, and then getting rid of them in our very rural lane, by disposing some of the piles in our council garden rubbish 'brown bin'. Most have been disposed of onto our garden compost tip, and the rest, in the field next to our home, where the trees are actually situated. (its OK, we have permission).

A lot of hard work, sweat, and a bit of moaning.
Came into the house, made a cup of coffee, sat down at the computer to get the latest news from the BHF website, and what is it?

Dear Roy, with his falling leaves saga!!

Schooled out to the countryside,I remember those Autumn times with great affection, and the stories that Roy has told are wonderful reminders of our childhood, but Autumn......these days?..........Just let me draw my breath!



master brummie
Being somewhat idle, when the leaves start to fall I get out the mower which "vacuums up" the leaves, saves raking and it cuts the leaves up so they compost so much quicker.

norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
So do we Jim, but when it comes to the major fall time, with many trees, all over 60ft tall, around you, and almost knee deep in leaves, even the motorised lawn mower is past helping.


OldBrit in Exile
We in Parker Colorado USA have PINE TREES, very hard to gather up, need gloves. We do have a lawn cutting service that comes once a week and they cut up the pine needles for us.


master brummie
Being somewhat idle, when the leaves start to fall I get out the mower which "vacuums up" the leaves, saves raking and it cuts the leaves up so they compost so much quicker.
Why not try that useless piece of equipment called a leaf-blower. Simply blow all your leaves onto someone else`s property!

Roy Blakey

master brummie
Been thinking about, as a child, how I remember the prevailing atmosphere as we entered into
World War Two.
I recall, even as a kid, observing the " grown ups " concern about what the future might hold for their families, their friends and the country as a whole.
Even we kids realised that the " grown ups " were becoming ever more confused and worried about what might be about to happen.
What basically happened from that point on was truly special in so many ways.
We kids saw all of the Moms, Dads, their friends and neighbours, the Uncles and Aunts and the people of Brum and the general populous of Great Britain accept this tragic situation with a common determination which formed and beame " The Home Front ".
To this day, I am still in admiration of all those determined people who refused to panic, who
came together in the common cause, stood up to the plate, took it on the chin and got on with it.
Old Churchill ( our Prime Minister and War Leader at the time ) had words for it which included the line " THIS WAS THEIR FINEST HOUR ".
Seemed to have put it all into just a few words.

norfolk brummie

gone but not forgotten
For the adults, it was an horrendous period, and they were well aware of the terrible disasters that were unfolding in the world, but for me, my young friends, and possibly most children living on this island, in a weird sort of way, almost every day, good and bad, and there were terrible days, we lived through more excitement, sadness, and changes that the children of today can only think about..

We all hope that those events will never again be repeated, but I believe that it was those historical times that made an almost now distinct generation into what we are today. It built our character, our loyalty to this country, and an appreciation of the better days that we have since enjoyed. For sure, I have never taken my life, or my good fortunes for granted.

Although the younger generations may read or watch events, about those times, and there are those that do keep those memories alive, and recognize the sacrifices made, I am not convinced that many of todays younger generations truly appreciate the world that we now live in.

It seems that many take it for granted, and do not understand that, to stay safe, we still have to pull together, to help each other, as opposed to helping themselves, and indeed sadly, still have to make sacrifices of one type or another.

Here endeth the lesson.