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Red Tom

Juvenile Jaunts in Edge Hill

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Just as wildlife uses hedgerows as corridors of travel, we kids in Edge Hill/Liverpool had the ubiquitous 'entry' ('enog'/jigger/jowler etc). Intimate knowledge of these byways was sometimes critical to survival, as there was the ever present chance of encountering other denizens of the district intent on discovering ones sporting allegiances. "Oo do yer stick up for?" was a somewhat loaded question, as the inquisitors were always in a position of numerical strength; the reward for an unnaceptable response (and the answer was invariably to ones disadvantage) being a jocular jolt to the head. The strategically minded could, in favourable circumstances, duck down a convenient alley or entry and thus defer the question and answer session until a more convenient date.

Sometimes, as the whim took us (either in a solitary state or a more fraternal assembly) our perambulations proceeded along the wall tops, our elevated position enabling us to enjoy all the more the enthusiastic cheers and salutations which oftimes greeted our appearance, especially when encountering the occasional occupants of the external lavatorial facilities.

The back yards of Tunnel Road where I lived varied enormously from Dickensian decay to proprietorial pride. Some were surprisingly floral, the scent of a Lilac being especially welcome. We were as adept at climbing as any present day urban free-runner/basejumper and we only had pumps (or wellies in one case). One boy who lived in Pakington Street, we knew as Nigel, that may have been his real name or a false memory, as he was a little on the fruity side, a fact which didn't affect our relationship with him; we may have been oiks but we weren't viscious oiks. Nigel was fond of dressing up as Lawrence of Arabia (you see....theatrical!) complete with tea-towel headress and a sheet borrowed from his mum's clothes line. He was prone to leap and canter along the walls and despite the handicap of his mother's washing flapping around his legs, he never took a dive. One memory remains; the ball crunching, utterly disabling sensation of jumping from an 8' wall and landing on the flat of the feet.

It may have occured to anyone getting through all this tosh that I don't get out much and am probably desparate for attention, but heed my warning well people................there will be more to follow!!

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