09 January 2010

On sledging

Growing up in the middle of the Fens didn't do a lot for our sledging. Despite having The Best Sledge Ever (TM), which my Grandad made for my Mum back in the 1950s, it only came out on rare occasions.

Roman Bank (approx 2 metres high, and a few hundred meters away from our house) had a couple of small inclines, but that was really your lot. We used to head into Norfolk, all the way to Sandringham Woods, before you could get some proper downhill action (as long as you remembered to avoid the trees/stumps).

I think that was our downfall, the time we all managed to fit on the sledge. Grandad's sledge has a red slatted seat, cast iron runners, and goes like the clappers. You can easily fit three small children and a grownup on the back - and in this case, we'd sandwiched me, my brother *and* my mum and dad onto the hard wooden seat. We hurtled down from all of ooh, probably about 5m above sea level, at breakneck speed, until we hit a stump. The sledge slewed sideways, tipped over, and we all fell off in a heap in the snow. My mum's still not forgiven us all for it.

The sledge is still doing pretty well, 50 years on, and has been dragged out of the garage, revarnished, and posted north. This time we've got hills - so it's been out more times over the last couple of weeks than in my entire childhood. M is besotted - we've delivered Christmas presents on it, towed it up and down the street for hours, and flown from the top of the park down to the bottom (perilously close to the lake). Tuesday was perfect - one sledge, one grownup on the back for braking and three excited small children sandwiched on the front, shouting "wheeeeeeeee" in unison.


Julian Dobson said...

Lovely story. We have lots of hills round here, too, so much so that the local shop runs out of plastic sledges every time it snows. In desperation my daughter and her boyfriend bought a doormat in the hope that it would provide a similar experience. They sat on it, not moving, while all the younger kids whizzed past them.

rach said...

Julian: That's so sad! Hope they managed to find something that moved in the end...