Did you ever play in the alley way? You might have called it the lane, the 10ft, the back street. That adventure filled conduit, safe out of sight of prying parental eyes, where wooden ramps were set up and the Health & Safety Stasi were sure never to visit. I did. Lots. But that was in the late 70s and early 80s, when kids were busy making death trap go-karts and playing with toys slathered in lead paint.
These days, the lane seems to be an urban desert, populated solely by errant species of grass, bursting through Tarmac splits, meandering domestic cats and hoodied n’er do wells. In short; an unattractive playground for anyone.
This afternoon, I stood in our attic room completing domestic chores and gazing at rivelets of water running down the velux window. As the rain reduced, I opened the window to allow fresh air blow through.
“TOM! TOM! Try riding to the bottom and turning around without dabbing your foot!”.
Did I hear kids? I rested on my forearm and looked for signs of activity. Sure enough, a steady stream of small bike helmets appeared above the walls of neighbouring properties. There was a hoot of enjoyment. A peal of laughter. Somewhere the sound of clattering wood. More shouting, even more shouting, followed by Brian Blessed style shouting (kids can only communicate at 100 decibels). All confirmation that the lane has been retaken by the kids. I grinned from ear to ear and tuned in like only a cycling coach can. Hooray! Hope for the future! Like almost ever generalising adult* I thought all kids were glued to electronic devices these days.
Nah. Take that lane kids. It’s all yours.
*This is a fib. I don’t think this at all. In my experience, give a child the opportunity and they’d much prefer to be running or cycling around like loons.