Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Home thoughts from abroad nu 3 ................. lost in the woods in the summer of 1964

An occasional series on what I miss about the place where I grew up.*

Now I say lost but that would not be strictly true but thinking back to that summer of 1964 I might as well have been.

This was the first summer after we had moved to Well Hall from Peckham and it was magic.

After all how could it be other wise?

True there were parks in Peckham and neighbouring New Cross but the woods above Well Hall were something different.

For a start they were big, stretching all the way to that unknown place called Welling, offered great views down across Eltham and Woolwich but above all were just somewhere to wander.

And as the next few years rolled by and I was faced with yet another broken romance, walking alone in the woods got me out and pushed away that feeling of teenage melancholy.  
I was too old to see the woods as an adventure playground but they were still a place of fascination.

We went back recently took the old familiar routes up to the Castle looked down towards Eltham Park and then headed across to Shooters Hill Road and the Red Lion.

Of course back in 1964 the pub would not have featured over much on my journeys, but a little over three years later the Welcome Inn would be a fine finishing point to a long wander through the woods.

None of us were 18 but we looked it and that was enough.

And it was here sometime around then that I got to watch one of those first colour transmissions of a tennis game on TV.

It’s hard now to think all we watched was in black and white and I have to say that afternoon in the Welcome was a revelation.

Today of course we take it for granted, the welcome has gone and I seldom walk the woods.

Location; Oxleas Woods, Eltham

Pictures; the Woods, 1976 courtesy of Jean Gammons, and looking down, 2015 from the collection of Ryan Ginn

*Home thoughts from abroad,

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