Sunday, 21 June 2015

13 years Wilde...........................................................................................................

Findlay Wilde who's wonderful Blog Wilde about Birds I follow asked me to write a guest blog about what I was doing when I was thirteen years old (Findlays age now).
He has invited a few people he has met over the last couple years to do the same so please visit his blog and scroll down the last few posts... they make an interesting read.
My post on his blog is here: 13 years Wilde

This is what I was up to when I was around 13 years of age. 
I started to watch the birds in our garden when I was 8 years old. I had been to a friends birthday party (way back in February 1964) and he'd been given a bird table that came free with a pack of birdseed called "Swoop". His feeder had loads of birds feeding on it and I wanted one. My birthday was just a couple of weeks later and I was given one as a present, a passion was born and I must have spent thousands feeding the birds since.
Mum, myself and Colin...  on a camping holiday in Scotland.

My brother and I were also used to handling birds in our childhood, rescuing ones trapped in the nets covering dads strawberry beds. We lived in Sandiway a village just a few miles from where Findlay lives now... and just across the road were some fantastic woodlands.

My dad loved old cars and owned a few old Morgans... this one was built in 1947

 Kennel and Petty Pool Woods were our playground with wildlife a plenty and in the days when children just ran wild without supervision... "be home by 7o'clock or you'll get what for!"

Taking my brother Colin for a drive.
Day's spent catching tadpoles and newts and bringing them home to show Mum. 
Minnows and Sticklebacks in jam jars were our Goldfish... wonderful days.

Scaden... looking a bit like the Mary Celeste.
We were probably swimming from the dingy... with Mum cooking lunch inside.

At the age of 13 my life was fantastic... a couple of years earlier my parents took us (my brother Colin and I) to the Earls Court Boat Show in London.
Dad bought a yacht... the next few years weekends and school holidays were spent in North Wales.
The yacht was a four berth, named Scaden (Gaelic for Herring) and about the size of a caravan.

 We also had our own little dingy to play in.
Dad relaxing... I was the Skipper.

In Porthmadog harbour there is an island made from the ballast dumped by ships which were then loaded with slate from the local mines.
Ballast Island was our very own Treasure Island and we had it all to ourselves as the local kids couldn't cross the water.
We camped out, fished for our tea and searched for broken clay pipes discarded by the old sailors.  One bird species I remember from those days were Oystercatcher's... there were loads them.

I also joined our local Sea Cadets... how smart am I?
I went to a regatta in London in this uniform and was surrounded by Japanese tourists with cameras.
If anyone in Japan has a picture of me I would love to see it.
While out sailing in Cardigan Bay we would often see dolphins but the most memorable experience was one summers day on my brothers birthday (21st July) it was really calm as we dropped anchor off the stony beach between Criccieth and Black Rock Sands.
 We had fished for mackerel as we sailed there and were gathering driftwood to build a camp fire to cook our supper when suddenly the seashore became a frothing mass... thousands of mackerel were thrashing about by the shore which I now know were spawning.

 I would love to experience the whole episode again with a video camera in hand.
It was amazing!
All we did was scoop fish after fish into buckets by hand and we caught loads... then taking them door to door around Criccieth the next day selling them to the locals.
(The local chip shop even bought some).

Me the sportsman of the family... I loved playing cricket.

These are the highlights... but sadly by the time I reached 13 my Dad was quite ill.
My brother and I spent the summer of 1969 in Scotland (our parents are from Glasgow) on the island of Cumbrae just across the water from Largs. We stayed with family in the same house dad had stayed in when he was evacuated from Glasgow during the war
                             He served in the Royal Navy in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) before the war ended.

We had a great time, played golf, cycled around the island (10 miles) and saw all sorts of wildlife.
 There is a famous crocodile near the harbour.
The Crocodile Rock was first painted in 1913 before the First World War. 
Another memory from this holiday was hearing the Rolling Stones singing "Honky Tonk Women" for the first time... it's funny what memories come flooding back while reminiscing.

Mum and Dad.

Unfortunately my dad passed away in 1971 aged just 44 (I was 15) but when I look back down the years I realise I had a wonderful and quite privileged childhood with some fantastic memories.
I have added a few more images from my childhood on this post than I did for Findlay.
The reason is that I am now £35 out of pocket after purchasing a digital scanner to convert Dads old images as they were slides. 
The scanner has enabled me to convert them into digital images much to the delight of the family. The slides had been gathering dust in a box in the loft for years,
Mum is now 84 years of age but has an Ipad and is loving seeing all the photos again.

Our World Tuesday


Findlay Wilde said...

All those other photos are just fantastic. The boat ones make me quite envious. Thank you so much for writing all about being 13.

Mersad said...

What a wonderful trip down memory lane. Thanks for taking us along.

Mersad Donko Photography

Bob Bushell said...

Brilliant images when you were 13 years old, great memories Andrew.

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Andrew I do follow Finlay so I her version but it was lovely ad read the short version but it was lovely reading even more about when you were young and seeing more photographs.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Wonderful memories, a very Swallows and Amazons kind of childhood. Boats are in the bloody of anyone from my Scottish hometown, but not me. I found my childhood sailing trips frightening. Wish I hadn't.

John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

That was a wonderful read. Seems you had a great childhood. Good on you. We'd enjoy seeing more of your scanned slides in the future. Wow, I'd love my own private Treasure Island as a kid. Funny about the tourists taking your picture thinking you were somebody important probably.

grammie g said...

Hi Andrew... I loved this post, always nice to hear how someone grew up!
Good that you are able to do this with the slides. I have many that I would like to get done to photo's. There is a place locally that I have had do some for me but it gets pricey.
Thanks for sharing your years of growing up. Cute little Lad you was:)
Thanks for coming by my blog. Yes I am okay, having a devil of a time sticking to blogging though.


Pantherka said...

Andrew, wonderful memories and photos.

Fun60 said...

What a wonderful childhood you had. Such freedom is rare these days. How those experiences have had such an impact on your adult life.

Adam Jones said...

What a fantastic look back in time Andrew. So much to be grateful for and happy about. You haven't changed a bit either ;-)

Powell River Books said...

Thanks for sharing. It was quite a magical youth. Lots of adventure. Mine was good, but a little more sedate in the big city suburbs of Los Angeles. - Margy