As daylight drew to twilight and darkness at the turn of the 1960s into the 1970s, we gathered on our local streets around the top of Stanton Road.
Me and my mates wrested control of the outdoors from the hubbub of adult life. There were fewer cars then, just the odd one parked here and there on the side streets, painted in drab colours and with actual wing-mirrors, not door mirrors.
Let the games begin! Ticky, what the Americans call tag. One kid was “on” until he chased down another and ticked, touched him or her.
British Bulldog of course was popular – rugby without the ball. And hide and seek.
Once, one of us managed to hide in a dustbin in someone’s back yard and emerged victorious but stank to high heaven and probably had his backside smacked for coming home stinking like, well, a dustbin!
All of these games got a bit samey, so we resorted to tormenting the neighbours.
Knock-a-door-run was the unimaginatively named standard and doesn’t really need describing but perhaps I can tickle your memories with lesser known variations.
The first would be to tie two adjacent door knobs together on a terraced street and then knock on both doors. We would then watch as two neighbours would try to open their front doors. The first would have their door wrenched from their hands and slammed shut by the second to answer and so on. Then perhaps we might tie someone’s dustbin lid (in the days when dustbins were made of tin) to their back door knob, knock on the door and watch from a safe distance as they opened their door to be greeted by the sound of the lid clattering across their cobbled yards.
A length of cotton tied to a door knocker and run to the street wall of the posher houses would elicit many front door openings at the same house until they eventually noticed the now slack cotton.
And the ultimate jape would be the paper bag full of dog poo, set alight and the door knocked upon. The hapless resident, upon opening the door would stamp out the flames and... need I say more? We did this once and were chased for what seemed miles by a fit young homeowner. Never again!