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The Concrete Pipe
Recently when passing a new housing estate with its buildings, some of which were complete, some half built and some a quarter done. I saw along the roadside some large concrete storm water pipes waiting to be put under ground.
The scene took me back through the years to my childhood. It was a time when many families and mine moved into a new housing estate at Speke on the outskirts of . How exciting it was so many things to explore; heaps of sand piled high, gravel scattered everywhere so you wouldn’t sink into the mud that was thick upon the ground and bricks and more bricks to play with until the workmen chased you away.
At the end of our row of houses in was a vacant block of ground. The news was out that it was to be a playground for us kids. There were to be swings, a slide and a merry-go-round what fun this was going to be.
We waited for a long time. All the houses were finally built but no
playground appeared. One day a truck came along carrying a large concrete storm water pipe and parked along side the vacant block. A crane arrived a few minutes later. We children gathered round and watched as the pipe was taken from the truck and placed upon the ground. The truck driver called out to us ‘This is for you kids to play on.’ We were amazed and puzzled what could kids do with a concrete pipe? Is this what we were getting instead of swings, merry-go-rounds and a slide? The answer was yes. The playground was years off there was no money left in the councils bank account.
It didn’t take us long to play on and inside the pipe and a world emerged no one could have perceived. It was the world of kids make believe.
The pipe became a stagecoach driven by John Wayne, Alan Ladd, Gary Cooper or some other cowboy movie star. Geronimo, Sitting Bull and hordes of wild Indians pursued it. Then it was a sailing ship with Errol Flynn at the helm as Captain Blood with us buccaneers sinking Spanish Galleons for their chests of gold.
I recall it was once the Nautilus and Captain Kirk Douglas took us 20,000 Leagues under the sea. Then it became a rocket ship taking us into space with Dan Dare. We went from earth to Moon and on to Mars and Venus fighting gruesome space beings all the way.
As years past we grew up, all to fast it seems. That concrete pipe became a hiding place were we would sneak a cigarette and discover the thrill of kissing and petting as the difference between girls and boys was realized.
The pipe was forgotten when we all grew up and became young men and women and went to work. Not only that, many of us scattered all over the world; , , and are just a few of the countries we now live in. The concrete storm water pipe was left behind with its own stories to tell. And it had some to tell I can tell you.
Twenty-eight years later I stood on that vacant block of ground. The Pipe was long gone and the playground with its slide, merry-go-round and swings never did get built. The council had saved its money well.
I smiled to my self, laughed as I recalled those childhood days of innocence and how far I had come since then. As an adult I could understand by giving us kids that storm water concrete pipe to play on the powers that be had given us a far greater playground than Merry-go-rounds, slides and swings could ever had done. We had been given the gift to use our imagination, to simply accept things for what they are and have lots of fun.
Thanks to the Liverpool City Council for the Concrete Storm water Pipe. We loved it then - we miss it now - it was a childhood delight.