Tag Archives: Betty Harcombe

Care free

I remember those ‘long, lazy, hazy days’ of long ago summers.
We’d cycle into the great unknown, satchels full of jam sandwiches,
fizzy pop, bats, balls, all the paraphernalia of childhood games.
Pools of water shimmered on the road ahead, mirages in the heat of the day.
Tyres squelched through melted tarmac, telegraph wires hummed and sang to us.
The soft still air was shattered occasionally by the curlews’ plaintive cries
soaring high above golden fields of wheat, and from village gardens the smell
of damp, sweet cut grass tickled our noses, causing sneezes and laughter.

The thwack of bat on ball or the soft plop of tennis ball back and forth
was soporific. Stopping by a village shop, noses pressed against the window
hoping to find something to spend our threepenny bits on, all we’d see was empty
cartons, along with waxed fruit and laxative chewing gum in the fly-blown display.
Outside walls boasted metal advertisements extolling the virtues of Vimto,
Ovaltine, Andrews Liver Salts, Pears Soap and Ice Creams. How we yearned
for an ice cream cone. ‘Don’t you know there’s a war on?’ was the only response
we ever had to our hopeful requests for ice cream. We’d cycle on, care free.

Betty Harcombe