Pickup sticks and pushbikes

For my latest blog I thought I would delve into my past. I roll back the clock to a simpler time. I may have only been around 12-13 years old. Perhaps, most would say I still act this way now.

I wasn’t a bad kid, truth be told. I did however like to get up to mischief. When you live in a small town you know just about everyone. Well, there is not much to do in a small town, not when the closest cinema was 28 miles away.

So, we rode pushbikes and played monster games of fox and hounds, basically the older kids would hunt the younger kids. Like a scene from Lord of the Flies.


When we grow up in these small towns, we listen to what our parents tell us. Listen to what they used to do. A sort of inheritance so to speak. My father was the catalyst of my mischievous ways.

There was a binman in the town, for years and years he was there when my father was a boy and when I was a boy. In fact, he’s still there now. The only difference is he can be found drinking a worthy in the local.

I can safely say now that we used to terrorise this poor man, but again we inherited this from our parents. There was never any malice in this, let me get this across straight away.  We would steal his dustbin cart when he would go to the cafe, well hide it around the corner. Shout names at him. I’m pretty sure one of the boys hid in the bin to jump out and scare him, but he just slammed the lid on his head.

“Jennings, you little wanker. I’ll ave you”

Just desserts

There was a group of us one day just cycling on the road up a one way. The people from my home town will know where I mean. We had been quite bored and had nothing to do, there it was, something to do. The binman.

We quickly changed direction and set forward to the target. Minding his own business. When 4 young boys on pushbikes cycled passed. I remember this as plainly as though it happened yesterday.

We all shouted at him. “Chase us”, there were a few more choice word we won’t delve into. Out of nowhere, the binman shouted “Jennings, you little wanker. I’ll ave you”.

How this man knew my family name I will never know. Then looking back on it we know everyone in this town. Being brave I thought I would circle around one more time to hurl abuse. As I approached my target, I did not notice one thing….The pickup stick in his hand.

I cycled passed as I opened my mouth. The pain searing through me, the heat rapidly spreading up my back, holding back the tears. I realised he had only gone and hit me with said stick. I did everything in my power not to cry, but he hit me hard. The boys ahead of me laughing at my pain.

Fast forward

Fast forward 17/18 years, to the Christmas just passed. I walk into the local pub and lo and behold the binman is there. He remembers me after all these years. he turned to me, “Jennings, you’re still a little wanker”.

We proceeded to what could only be described as “banter” back and forth.

I learnt something from that experience in my life though. People like elephants, don’t forget. What we deemed as harmless fun back then, would be classed as something entirely different now. I fully deserved what I got and wouldn’t have anything said otherwise.

The last thing I learnt was… be aware of pick up sticks they frigging hurt