Winter Pastimes

We had two places for sledging; Kirkwall Farm fields down through the Lonnen was one but the best of all was Commission Quay Bank.

We used to love the winters. The winter of 1947 lasted for months from mid January to late March. Our main activities were snowball fights, sledging and slides. One year we threw buckets of water down St John’s Street from the Wesleyan Chapel down past Hill’s Fish Shop to make a slide, it lasted for weeks. As shoes were hard to come by we wore clogs with wooden soles with a steel rim. They were fantastic for sliding. My pal Joe Pattison asked his mam to get him some. She duly did, but he was bitterly disappointed when he got them, they had rubber soles made with strips of bicycle tyres. He was heartbroken.

We had two places for sledging; Kirkwall Farm fields down through the Lonnen was one but the best of all was Commission Quay Bank. The snow in 1947 was very heavy, but when the Lorries bringing goods up and down from the Quay compressed it, the surface was like glass. The kids came from all around to sledge. However, if you were unlucky and halfway down when you met a lorry coming up, you had no alternative but to turn your sledge into the snow piled high on the side of the road, exciting and dangerous, but great fun.

I had a heavy steel runner sledge, no good for soft snow, but on that surface it would fly down. I could actually with a little extra push get right down into the Quay. Great, but a long walk back. We stayed there until the street lamp came on and then until I don’t know when. I know myself and my pals went home glowing. I can still see the scene so clearly in my mind’s eye to this day.

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