Saturday, 23 June 2018

Adventures out of Peckham no. 2 ....... Abbey Wood and beyond

I have tried to remember what we did when we got hungry on an adventure, back in that golden time of the late 1950s.

We would have been on anyone of a set of “daring dos” which would have taken us from Lausanne Road up to Nunhead Cemetery, or across to Greenwich Park and in the fullness of time and with the help of a Red Rover out to the far reaches of the city.

Most would have started after breakfast and by the time you have washed up by the Cutty Sark or in deepest Holborn or faraway Abbey Wood, getting back for lunch was not going to happen.

I do have vague memories of the bread loaf and bag of chips, which involved buying a loaf and eating the inside which then became the place to put the chips and a second meal.

But that all supposed we had the money and that there was a chip shop to visit, which was certainly not going to be the case in snooty Holborn or leafy Epsom.

So, in answer to my question I have to say I can’t remember.

That said many of the trips out from Peckham and New Cross are still with me, and none more so than the ruins at Abbey Wood.

We will have done the journey on the bus or buses, and it will have been inspired by Jimmy who always seemed to know of these places, although how we got there could be problematic, but we always got there.

Of the three of us I was most attuned to the history of the site but the challenge of walking the walls, hiding behind the taller ones, and acting out a medieval battle, pretty quickly pushed the serious stuff away.

It always seemed to be that the grass had only just been cut which left us covered in the stuff which stuck like glue.

Eventually a combination of hunger, thirst and boredom would set us off on the way home.

Of course back then most parks and public places still had working water fountains, although one I remember stubbornly refused to yield any water.

It was one of those tall pointed ones made out of brown polished stone, had a plaque proudly announcing its date of erection with the names of those civic dignitaries who attended the opening ceremony but was as dry as the desert.

Its stone trough was full of leaves covered in dust with the odd sweet wrapper and the hint that it had once been home to some furry thing and if it had had drinking cups they were lost a long time ago.

Such setbacks we took in our stride and never mentioned when were asked what we had done that day.

Nor if memory serves me did we vouchsafe what we had eaten

Location; south east London

Pictures; Other Kid's Adventures, Manchester in the 1970s, from the collection of Andrew Simpson

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