Teen's attempt to brighten things up

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Tom Good
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Teen's attempt to brighten things up

Post: # 144464Post inishindie
Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:48 pm

Here's my attempts to brighten up the world (it was a long time ago now.....)


I am clearing the shed out. It’s one of those jobs that should really be done every week if you have the time but it’s not been touched since we moved into the house last summer. We just used it as a dumping ground for anything that we didn’t have a place for.

In one corner, there is a collection of different sized paint tins. Some of these tins have followed me around for twenty years. Why I keep them I don’t know. They can’t be used for touching up because I wouldn’t know where I applied the paint in the first place. Maybe it’s to remind me of some of the disastrous colour combinations I have painted rooms in the past. I doubt any of them have any useable paint in them and I could probably use the skins as Frisbees. I hang onto them, mainly because I can’t find anywhere in Inishowen to take them to be recycled.


The tins do remind me of a saga when I was an early teenager. My friends and I were hanging out as usual on our local park. We had swings, a slide and something that was called a Bobbie’s helmet. This helmet was about eighteen feet tall and looked a bit like the galvanised steel Christmas tree that is permanently set up on the way to Quigley’s point. The whole thing, unlike the Christmas tree, moved around from a central point very erratically and quickly which usually resulted in squashing children between the pole and seating area - life before health and safety was never boring.

All of the playthings were very dull and sombre, being painted in a very boring dark green colour, which was probably left over from a job lot after the Second World War. The old paint was peeling off in places and the rust was showing through. “Why don’t we brighten them up?” a friend of mine suggested. We all thought this was a great idea. Our gang (about 10 youths) went off home having made arrangements to sneak out of our houses and come back at three in the morning armed with whatever old paint and brushes we could find. The fact that we had picked such an early hour for our ‘community service’ shows we knew we weren’t just being selfless.


Sneaking out of the house was easy for me as I lived in a bungalow and only had to open the window and climb out. We all met up at the Bobbie’s helmet, wearing dark clothing and clutching our spoils and silently set about brightening up our world.

We worked hard, and, I must say, very thoroughly until the dawn broke.

“Wow!” we all said as we stepped back to admire our handywork. It looked fantastic. We are all used to bright children’s play areas now, as plastic is the order of the day, but in the 1970’s we were ahead of the game here with our psychedelic activity centre.

We were so happy. In a couple of days the gloss paint we had used will be dry and all of the children in the area will hail us as bringers of joy to a dull adult world. Cleaning ourselves up thoroughly with white spirit to get rid of the evidence, we went home happy and still managed to get up for school as though nothing had happened, although we did smell a bit of thinners.

All was well until the following evening when I got home from school “Parents really ought to keep a closer eye on what their children get up to in the evenings.” My mother was looking at the front page of the local paper. I looked over her shoulder to see a photo of a young boy of about five looking very sad, covered in bright coloured paint standing next to our groovy Bobbies helmet. The caption was “Vandals ruin the community park play area.” I shrugged my shoulders, did a bit of tut tutting and agreed wholeheartedly with my mother. In reality though I was devastated, we were doing a public service after all were we not?

A meeting of the gang was in order “What will we do now?” I asked. “ Why don’t we go back and re- paint everything in one colour, that way everyone will be happy,” a friend suggested and not having much sense, we all agreed it would be the best course of action. “Great idea, who’s got loads of paint all of the same colour?” someone asked. “I do.” I said, putting my hand up (still thinking I was at school). “My dad hoards things like that and I can get gallons of dark blue gloss that has been in the garage for years.” We would be heroes this time.

We met again by moonlight the following weekend. I had raided our garage and managed to sneak out a couple of gallons of the blue paint, complete with 10 fresh paintbrushes (my dad hoarded those too). In silence we prised the lids off of the paint, gave them a stir and starting with the Bobbie’s helmet, we worked for hours painstakingly covering over our happiness, turning the once colourful world a shade nearly as dull as the original one. The injustice of it all. One day the world will realise we were right the first time, bright is best………

There was never a mention on the local paper of our efforts to put things right by meticulously repainting everything, (very well, we thought), a dark blue colour and also never a mention about the fact that our house, next to the park, was exactly the same shade of dark blue …..

Now where was I?…..
paint job pic.jpg
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Re: Teen's attempt to brighten things up

Post: # 144489Post Shirley
Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:36 pm

You just forgot to put the 'wet paint' signs out :mrgreen:

The bobbie's helmet sounds like what we called the Witches Hat (I was somewhat surprised at the google results for the bobbie's helmet btw :shock: ) and it was great fun - they don't make playgrounds like they used to!
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Tom Good
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Re: Teen's attempt to brighten things up

Post: # 144501Post inishindie
Sat Feb 28, 2009 4:24 pm

Hi Shirley.

A wet paint sign would have ruined the fun......Someone else mentioned the same name for the ride as you... maybe we just made up that name ourselves, googling it is quite interesting though .......The woman said that they used to sit on top of the Witches hat and see how long they could stay on for before being thrown off.... there were a lot of casualties...

I got this recently.. it's a bit of a round robin and you might have seen it before, but some of the comments were fun.....It is aimed at people born in the 20's to the 70's... I am sure it can be picked to bits......Cheers


First, we survived being born to mothers who smoked and/or drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer.

Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright colored lead-based paints.We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle.
Take away food was limited to fish and chips, no pizza shops, McDonalds, KFC, Subway or Nandos.Even though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn't open on the weekends, somehow we didn't starve to death!We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.
We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy Toffees, Gobstoppers, Bubble Gum and some bangers to blow up frogs with.We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because.......WE WERE ALWAYS OUTSIDE PLAYING!!

We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O..K.��We would spend hours building our go-carts out of old prams and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. We built tree houses and dens and played in river beds with matchbox cars.We did not have Playstations, Nintendo Wii, X-boxes, no video games at all, no 999 channels on SKY, no video/dvd films, no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!

We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were noLawsuits from these accidents.Only girls had pierced ears!

We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns at Easter time...We were given air guns and catapults for our 10th birthdays,We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!Mum didn't have to go to work to help dad make ends meet! RUGBY and CRICKET had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! Getting into the team was based on MERIT
Our teachers used to hit us with canes and gym shoes and bully's always ruled the playground at school.The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.They actually sided with the law!

We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO

And YOU are one of them!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.

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Re: Teen's attempt to brighten things up

Post: # 144756Post Ellendra
Mon Mar 02, 2009 6:18 pm

There's actually a song that says almost the same thing:

A Different World, by Bucky Covington

We were born to mothers who smoked and drank
Our cribs were covered in lead based paint
No child proof lids no seat belts in cars
Rode bikes with no helmets and still
here we are, still here we are
We got daddy's belt when we misbehaved
Had three TV channels you got up to change
No video games and no satellite
All we had were friends and they were
outside, playin' outside

It was a different life
When we were boys and girls
Not just a different time
It was a different world

School always started the same every day
The pledge of allegiance then someone would pray
Not every kid made the team when they tried
We got disappointed and that was all
right, we turned out all right


No bottled water, we drank from a garden hose
And every Sunday, all the stores were closed



It was a different world

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