14th January 1979
Going to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind
14th Oct 2021 – This would have been at the Tivoli in town (Wimborne Minster) and a very special event for an 11-year-old living out in the sticks. The movie really provoked my imagination – not so much about the alien visitors but how crazy the humans became. This and the War of the Worlds soundtrack really got me going, thinking about space and the universe though it wasn’t long until what was happening on earth overrode everything.
15th January 1979
Cleaning out the stream
14th Oct 2021 – The woods opposite my house were a few children’s playground though for me it became a big part of my imagination and life. I familiarised myself with every corner, nook and cranny of the woods, sometimes even expanding over into overgrown backyards that backed onto it. It was divided up into several sections depending on clearings, paths, tracks and type of trees. There were three main entrances and a stream ran through the middle in a miniature valley (a ditch!).
When walking my grandparents’ dog – a job I mostly enjoyed – I would navigate through the grassy entrance to the woods, through the small paths amongst the bracken, to the main clearing where another path formed into a big circle you could walk, run or ride a bike around and beyond this down into the ditch where the stream was attempting to flow from right to left as I approached it. With the melting snow feeding it there was lots of water and so much debris would be picked up and block progress so that it flooded over the sides onto the banks and paths. I made it my mission to clear it, a little bit every day. I thought myself the owner of this stream and woe betide anyone who tried to reverse my hard work and block it again.
It took me many weeks to clear through halfway and later in the year, as seasons changed, there would be fresh challenges ahead. In my wellington boots, I kicked at the bottom of the stream to clear rocks away, pulled at entangled bushes on the bank, removed fallen branches until one day, about three-quarters of the way through I came to a small bend and beyond was the next objective to clear. The banks were steeper here and the tree cover dense so it was impossible to see the bottom. I bravely took a step forward feeling confident I would find the safety of the stream bed.
Alas, I was too careless and, as my foot plunged deeper, the icy water flowed over the top of my left boot and filled it full of water. Fuck! Stupid stream! I got out, emptied my boot and trudged home, cold and damp footed.
I went back of course but opted to start at the other end of the stream and work my way back to the cavernous depth that brought me despair. Having done this however, I found that the stream could only be accessed so far until it was blocked by a big hedge – and what was over that hedge made me extremely curious for further investigations.
16th January 1979
Same as yesterday
14th Oct 2021 – I called my friend, Jason White, who lived on a farm down the end of the lane that ran alongside our house. You had to walk through his farm to get to the bottom of the field where Horton Tower was and where we used to climb up the crumbling brickwork inside to get to the windows from where you could also jump out. This was a teenage tradition for everyone locally and some kids even made it up to the second level but I was never brave enough to try.
Anyway, I called him…..actually, I probably didn’t even call him, I would’ve gone to his house and seen if he wanted to ‘come out to play’? I was proud of my stream cleaning success and wanted to show him. When we got there though he didn’t seem impressed at all which was disappointing. He was, however, curious about what was on the other side of that hedge.
Egging each other on, we climbed up a tree and along a branch that hung over into this forbidden territory. We dropped down onto a path that seemed to curve round in either direction. Whilst the path looked well enough used, the overgrowth on either side was so high it was difficult to predict what was around each corner. As I was thinking about this, Jason began to tell stories of the owner laying animal traps and walking around with a shotgun ready to shoot people who trespassed there. So it was in trepidation we snooped around as far as we could until we scared ourselves too much and jumped over/through another hedge and into an adjoining field.
Curiosity was well piqued by now and I ventured back a few more times, both alone or with a friend, until one day the owner walked right to us and asked what I was doing. I mumbled about just wondering and wandering what this area was and he told me to get out the way I came and not to come back. I don’t think I ever did.
There seemed to be nothing of interest in this enclosed wooded area, which, of course, made it even more tempting to investigate further but the threatening look of the owner was enough to keep me away.
I returned to the woods many years later and whilst some parts are the same, others have either changed or they no longer fit with memories. I’ll always be tempted to go back and look again (even though it’s on the other side of the world) but I’ve learned that memories are sometimes better left to themselves.
17th January 1979
Found out that ID and the Blockheads isn’t No. 1
14th Oct 2021 – Although I have no diary for 1978 I can see that music was taking on a more important role in my life throughout 1979. From football and cars at the beginning of the year to the charts and punk rock by the end. Critical times and enough to drive my mother mad.
18th January 1979
Painted WODs today
Painted them white
Interesting this article isn’t it!
14th Oct 2021 – Wall of Death? Wheels of Death? What’s the ‘s’ on the end? It seems I was also conscious of writing this diary for a reason, talking to a future self.
19th January 1979
Given new set book The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
14th Oct 2021 – I struggled with reading books during these years, especially if they were school-assigned books. Who wants to read what they’re told!? I do believe I did complete reading this book though. Something about a lion, a witch and a wardrobe, I bet!
20th January 1979
Finished some homework
Ipswich 3-1 Wolves
14th Oct 2021 – Weird that I would comment on finishing homework. I guess I was proud of this achievement.