Crowtree, 'kerby' and downright daftness: 11 things we did in the summer holidays

Eeeee! Young ‘uns today ... used to make our own fun … fresh air … etc.

Monday, 19th August 2019, 5:31 pm
Things we use to do in the summer holidays in Sunderland

Parents still utter these cliches during school holidays and people my age bemoan youngsters spending their time playing computer games. Fair point. It isn’t healthy.

The big game currently is Fortnite. I know nothing about it and have no intention of learning; although I notice it’s spelt wrong.

However, that’s exactly what out-of-touch people said about the Beatles in 1963, so let’s not be too precious. Furthermore, some kid won $3million recently playing Fortnite. No amount of skill with a hoop-and-stick will ever be similarly rewarded.

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I occasionally attended a bizarre weekly disco at the swimming pool called 'The Splash-in' But our two main pursuits at Crowtree were first: strutting around looking tough. Second: avoiding eye contact with those who really were tough.

Also, we were regularly admonished for watching too much television. I don’t think we did. Contrary to popular belief, telly was mainly rubbish then too.

Kids still do many of the same things we did. It’s worth remembering too that health and safety bans on activities like conkers and climbing trees - are a complete myth.

So what, if anything, did now-decrepit people like myself do during school holidays that youngsters today don’t?

Here are nine “When-I-were-a-lad” favourites (the legal ones).

Joyously, kids still love playing footy. In my jumpers-for-goalposts day, squabbles abounded. Still, it was still remarkably disciplined considering there were no officials, pitch markings, or nets. I presume and hope it’s the same now. I was a serial flouter of the “nee blammers” law.
Simple pleasures. This game involved throwing a football from one side of a street to the other. A point was awarded if the ball struck the opposite kerb and bounced back into your arms. Kerby is now largely defunct due to the proliferation of both moving and stationary vehicles.
There used to be one.
We travelled to Whitley Bay to see legendary DJ Adrian Juste (???). He shouted: “Is anyone here from Sunderland?” at which point my friend Tonka naively stood up and squealed affirmation. We never attended another one.
This was a Monkwearmouth discotheque for teenagers. It took me ages to go because I didn’t think I was cool enough. When I realised I was cool enough, I didn’t want to go back.
Everyone loved these, regardless of musical taste. It was always a spectacle as the adjacent hill made a natural amphitheatre. Bring em’ back.
The footbridge in Burn Park is ideal for pooh sticks.
These include throwing your sister’s 7-inch singles around a field (if you never tried it you’ll be amazed how far they go), war games with politically incorrect names based very, very loosely on historical events; and throwing soil at each other (terrific).