Continuing my story into the early teenage years has caused me to smile on thinking back on them!   One evening my sister and I watched our dad making STILTS for both of us. He used four treacle or syrup tins, bored a hole at each side of the tins, slid strong string through the holes then tied a knot at each end. Hey presto!  We had stilts. We had great fun walking around on them.  Another fun time was with our wheel and gird. The gird guided the wheel as we ran alongside of it.  We ran for miles, good exercise.

Elizabeth and Janet 1943

Mum (right) aged 11 with her sister Elizabeth

My best friend, Helen Mills, and I had wonderful times playing near an old railway line where her dad had a plot where he planted vegetables.  There were no gardens at that time so the government rented out plots of land to people interested in growing potatoes etc.   Beside that area there was an old broken down house which we called our Castle. Our imagination went wild. We would pretend we lived in the olden days when ladies wore crinolines and rode in horses and chariots! Great fun.

Like most children, I so wanted a bike but we had no money to buy one.  I knew a lady who was selling one but she was going to charge me £5.  Desperate as I was I decided to earn the money to buy it.  I dog walked, baby sat, went shopping for old ladies, anything to get me £5. When I got the money together I went for the bike.  It was all Black! Sad and happy at the same time, I took it home to let my mum and dad see it.  I am sure they felt sorry for me having worked so hard to buy it that my dad painted the bike a lovely shade of purple, bought white wheel guards and a lovely white basket for my handlebars.  I was thrilled to bits.

This lovely bike of mine had a few stories to tell since coming into my possession.   My Uncle Bill, who had been a polio victim and over the years he had to have a leg removed, was fortunate enough to have a three wheel motorised car to get him around. He had many friends who went on cycle runs at weekends to various places and I got invited along.   My uncle told me to be careful of traffic and not to keep using my new bell which was a novelty.   I promised I would not use it and we merrily went on our ride.  However, a man and woman walked out in front of me and having been told not to use my bell, I did as I was told and BUMP, I drove straight into the woman who was, to say the least a bit upset.  When my uncle eventually stopped apologising to the woman and started on at me, I, in all innocence, said “it wasn’t my fault, you told me not to use my bell!”

Another unfortunate incident happened on a lovely summer day when two of my friends and I were cycling along a road near the park where the Glasgow Empire Building was erected.  I always remember that because I touched a railing and got an electric shock!  Happily cycling along singing the latest songs, we decided to cycle with our arms stretched out on each other’s shoulders.  I, being the one in the middle,  had no hands on my handlebars – not good!  Out of the blue I was thrown off my bike landing on the road in terrible pain. Out of nowhere came a very helpful gentleman who got me to my feet, into his car and into the Victoria Infirmary, result being I had a cracked collar bone.  No cycling for at least two months.  I often wonder if having bought an all-black bike had anything to do with my misfortune?

Many more incidents, with varying results, happened during my young years but, that is for another part of my story.

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