How the Brave New World began in Walsall Wood, 1952

Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I present another fantastic piece by regular contributor David Evans. David is writing so much good stuff at the moment… I’m sure you’ll all join with me in thanking him for his sterling and generous efforts. I welcome submissions by all readers, so please, if you’d like to see your article here, please do contact me. That’s BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers!

Now… over to David.

The mysterious garden shed... phot by Elastic Lad on Flickr.

Apart from the death-defying and swashbuckling adventures that could be enjoyed in the playing fields or up the common, the innermost, unfathomable mysteries of the universe waited to be unravelled for the inquisitive and persistent child… Inside our Garden Shed. Unlike the precious pig sty, that forbidden place where the grunting, itching monster lurked, ready to take the fingers off any unwary lad or girl, the Garden Shed was a wonderland of things, very special, usually unpronounceable things, hanging up on shelves, poised perilously on benches or standing guard by the Sacred Door.

It was the place where suddenly, grown-up men, armed with a neatly folded Daily Mirror and a glass of the Golden Nectar, or just a cup of Broken Pekoe (stirred, not shaken) started to bravely go, in the late spring evenings. It was inside this closeted sanctum that ‘covert operation’ went on. We, the platoon members, had formally agreed this, after considerable discussion.

Far be it from any wayward child in all innocence (until proved otherwise) to poke his nose inside this place without prior written permission, because, friendly though they may have seemed, the adults of those times were known to ‘suddenly turn’. This was a known fact. This is the sworn testimony of ‘Ten Seconder’, chief platoon explosives engineer and mascot, presented as evidence.

This returning intrepid local child explorer once found this out to his cost. The brook’s bridges had been successfully navigated, short trousers were not too wet, and a whole Fox’s Glacier Mints tin full of fresh frogspawn had been collected and was then placed on top of the garden shed, for reasons of health and safety, you understand. But the heavy prod of an arriving adult male with a screwdriver in his hand had not been taken into consideration by the tired, hungry explorer, keen not to miss his five o clock eggs and chips. No, adults can suddenly turn, especially when they have got frogspawn dripping from their hair. A fearsome change, and not at all like that of a tadpole into a frog.

The grown-ups secrecy was total. There were odd noises, cutting, rustling noises. Heavy sounds, squeaking, regular and confusing noises that lasted well past our bath and wooden hill time. This must be some very, very important mission that our dads were on, we all agreed at our regular platoon parades, in the playing fields, by the giant’s strides after school. None of us could work out what the grown-ups were doing and none dared to ask.

Then the day came when shed door opened. Our Moms and Dads went into the garden shed, and emerged smiling and we, interested and yet trepidatious as we all were, were told to go in.

In we went.

There, behind the confusion of glue pot, cross-cut saws, mallets, chisels, hammers, pencils, oilstone, mitre-block, pincers, half-empty blooded Elastoplast tins, overfull ashtrays, empty tin mugs, sprung mousetraps, it stood, in all its glory, ‘Something on Four Wheels’. Wood boards, small, spoke wheels, primeval seat, and string. Four wheels? Can’t be A Reliant. What is it? An Elf’s portable Loo? No.

A Kart. A KART !! So, Mrs Whatsits old pram had become a Kart. The mystery of the Disappearance of her Baby was solved at a stroke..

Now for some real fun! No brakes, of course. No intention of ever stopping even when the Pusher reckoned we’d done a mile and it was now his turn. No, never going to stop. A Kart! The new low-altitude world of karting, bruised knees, sprained ankles and splinters in the “rump” had begun.

Form an orderly queue, please.

Bob notes: as a kid, I rode on one of these down Castlehill, and shot across the Chester Road. It wasn't big, it wasn't clever, and I'm not proud of it. But it was a tremendous buzz. Photo supplied by David Evans.

This entry was posted in Brownhills stuff, Cannock Chase, Clayhanger stuff, Environment, Features, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, Just plain daft, Local History, Local media, Reader enquiries, Shared media, Shared memories, Social Media, Walsall community, Walsall Wood stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How the Brave New World began in Walsall Wood, 1952

  1. hapdaniel says:

    What a magnificent tale. More please.

  2. davidoakley says:

    Hi Bob,
    Missed reading this, seven years ago. Highly descriptive and thoroughly entertaining. Really enjoyed it, David.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.