Hanging On A Rope

A Memory of York.

Many a day I would walk into into York and would find time enough to walk along the Ouse River. I was approaching the railway bridge and saw four lads playing silly on a swing rope which was hanging but a few feet from the Banking side. Many times I had seen these lads or lads like them swing on the rope and get much pendulum where, when the rope with them on it was far enough high and out towards the center of the river, they'd let go and drop into the river. There, on this day, was a young lad who was roughly five feet five inches tall and was of a slender figure jumping onto the rope. He was trying to get the pendulum going, but because the wind was against him he could hardly get momentum. It was just then the rope slipped down a few feet with him hanging onto the rope in sheer fright. The rope had been tied secure to the Bridge, but the rope had been looped up by means of slipknot, it had worked loose and then dropped down a few feet where now the river banking was no longer in reach and the river was at least a ten foot drop; the lad screamed for his mates to give him a hand to pull him up. Instead of them trying to help him they told him to let go of the rope. He said that he could not swim and by this time panic and fears combined made him cling on the more. Then the worst came, the lads began to pick stones up and throw them at him. At that moment of time I was a good twenty feet away from where the young lad was and made quick my stride and got to the Banking edge. They were still throwing stones at him when I got there. The looks on my face was enough for the lads to step back and walk away, where I reached over and grabbed the rope. Poor lad, he was screaming hysterical and had his eyes screwed tight. He had no idea that I was above him and as I lifted up the Rope with him hanging on to it and slowly brought him above the banking I did not make a grab for him I just simply lowered him onto the ground. Even as his feet was to touch terra firma, he still having his eyes shut was screaming for help. gradually he opened his eyes and saw himself on the ground. He had no idea on how he had got there and simply looked at me and walked off shouting obscene words at the lads for stoning him, and then suddenly he looked back towards me with the rope in my hand and suddenly it clicked and he simply said thank you and walked off . Glad to have been there.

With thanks to Roland Mitchell for this memory of York

Added 23 March 2012


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