River Wissey Lovell Fuller

"Runnin' on."

August 2004

Janet remembers childhood fun with sticky willy!!!

This morning our cat Toby came indoors plastered in what we used to call sweethearts when we were children, straight away he started to get the dratted things out of his very thick coat. In no time he was coughing and wheezing as the spikey things got stuck in his throat. We calmed the cat down and he coughed up a couple of the seeds. It was plain sailing after that and we picked all the remaining sweethearts out of the relieved Toby, none the worse for his upset, he restored his composure with a good wash and went for a sleep on the sofa.

All this set me thinking about what the seeds were called.I know when we lived in Scotland it was plentiful and our children soon joined in the game of throwing the tenacious things at each other, they called it "Sticky Willy", an appropriate name because it took me ages to make sure I'd picked every one out of the children's hair and clothes. From then on they were in charge of their own tidy up before they came indoors.

I could remember having just as much fun when I was a child, in a little gang we used to play in the fields all summer. At the edge of our estate there were the remains of a deserted brickyard, a wonderful playground for youngsters, even a river to play in. We would make dens with the discarded corrugated metal and anything useful that grew on the overgrown site. Some of us had sandwiches and these were shared out when our tummies started to rumble. We went home when we had worn ourselves out with games of cowboys and Indians and paddling in the river, the braver lads went skinny dipping, and scared the rest of us with threats if we told tales when we got home.

I looked through our Reader's Digest Wild Flowers of Great Britain this morning and found out that Goosegrass is a favourite food of geese. The seeds used to be called "Cleavers" as it clung to clothing and hair. It is nice to know that children are still enjoying the more simple things of life. I believe there is a bit too much organised entertainment for youngsters now; it doesn't hurt them to use their imagination sometimes.

I try to think back and can't remember many days when wet weather kept us at home; I reckon our parents encouraged us to go out as much as we could, no T.V. to keep the children quiet in those days.

Looking out of the window now, I know that I'll get a very wet cat at the back door when get this article printed and ready to go round to our editor, time to get the cat's towel ready so that I can dry him before he makes damp patches around the room.

Janet Tilburn.

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