COLUMN: Tough luck if you lived near mountain of manure

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I was lucky, I suppose, living on the Orlit estate at the top of Westfield Lane, as we had decent-sized gardens mostly.

The plan of action usually was flowers and plants in the front garden and vegetable and fruit trees in the back garden. That is for those who bothered, others had lawns or weeds.

Some of the gardeners were really good and dedicated. You would see roses and chrysanths and others in different gardens in competition for pride of the street. Some gardeners grew flowers for showing, if you’re football went over on to their garden it was either confiscated, or you got “I’m gonna see yer father int pub tonate, you’ll get your backside tanned when I tell ‘im.” I preferred the confiscation and told my dad the ball had burst!

You would see massive carrots, onions and leeks etc being dug up for showing and of course consumption. Bragging rights went on for years about who could grow the biggest.

There was some good humoured mickey taking too. If you were lucky and were mates with an avid gardener, because there were no freezers then, you could sometimes get free or very cheap veg.

Autumn was great because you also got apples and pears and other fruits, I’m sure most will remember scrumping, this could of course be painful if you got caught. My backside still remembers!

Bit stupid really, you tried to run but keep the fruit. Not a good recipe for a turn of speed. The worst thing was the delivery to gardeners’ homes of a trailer load of manure fresh from the farm, what a delight!

This would be dumped in the street in a mountainous heap usually still steaming. They would have to transfer it to the garden by barrow, and every time they stirred it up more stink was released. Even on the garden the stink would linger for ages. Tough luck if you lived close by.

In those days lawnmowers were as rare as rocking horse manure. You would see people cutting their lawns with shears. What a soul destroying job that was?

You had a few greenhouse owners too. Football near their gardens could mean eating your dinner standing up for a month if you were not careful. But being friends with someone with a greenhouse, could have the advantage of an abundance of tomatoes at certain times of the year.