Wakefield Clarence Park - a Memory of Wakefield.
I 'lived' in Clarence Park for years when I was a kid. It became my magic Kingdom! I knew every bush and tree and secret trail through the bushes. I would lurk in the bushes and spy on people walking past. I had a favourite tree - a huge beech - next to the bowling green. I would climb high in it and sit quietly watching them bowl, hidden by dense leaves. I'd whistle and call to them and put them off bowling and sometimes if I felt really devilish, I would throw stuff onto the green. They were never able to see me. Why they didn't come out and walk around to the tree and demand I come down I don't know, because I believe this went on for many months - maybe it was only one Summer - maybe more. Anyway, being in a position of power and influence (and in secrecy) was terrific. I always go back and visit that tree when I'm in Wakefield. They've cut off the lower branches years ago and so it wouldn't be possible to climb it now. Maybe this was a long-standing request from the 1950's from the members! Cannonball Hill was another haunt(the small but steep hill above the Bandstand hill). Gathering conkers in the Autumn was a fascination when I was a young lad. We used to walk through Clarence Park on the way to Lawfield Lane school and at the Denby Dale Rd end there were huge conker trees. We used to pick up stones and hurl them at sky-high conkers - sometimes half bricks. Dangerous? Nah! Then there was a mad scramble to pick up the conkers we'd knocked down. At the right time of year - late Autumn, you only had to throw a heavy stick up and rattle them and their shells opened and down they came - dark brown , shiny and beautiful. Then it was a matter of skewering a hole through the middle and knotting a piece of string through and then holding the conker between the index and second fingers with the string tight, and hitting it hard against someone else's conker. The hardest conker won, as the other one eventually split. We learned tricks like soaking them for a few days in vinegar to harden them even more. We migrated to Australia in 1970 but I still re-visit 'my' park when we come to the UK
A memory shared byon Feb 1st, 2013.
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