The McElroys talk more about playing in the Bombed Hollow

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 29th July 2011 by Liam Physick

The McElroys talk about playing with ollies - glass marbles - in the Bombed Hollow. They would dig small holes in the ground in order to play the game. The Hollow, David mentions, was also used on Bonfire Night. The brothers argue that they were give more freedom to play in the muck than children today, and that this made them healtheir

Interviewee: David and Steve McElroy

Interviewee Gender: Male

Date of Interview: 25th March 2011

Interview Transcript

David: The Hollow was a such a multi-purpose playing area that ollies – remember it, have you heard of ollies?

Steve: Marbles.

David: So these are glass marbles . . .

Jenny: Marbles, yeah.

David: . . . called ollies and when we decided to play ollies, you get the sweeping brush from the house . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

David: . . . and sweep an area of the Hollow so it was nice compacted ground, dig some holes, and then you’d, we’d, so the idea was, you tried to get your . . .

Steve: Ollies.

David: . . . marble, your Ollie into the hole . . .

Jenny: Oh, yeah.

David: . . . if you succeeded, you could move on to the next one and there were, sort of, five or six holes, so, you know, and then, as I say, it was hard enough to do that on.

Steve: But what would you dig the holes out with?

David: Spoon.

Steve: Or . . . ?

David: Hands?

Steve: Pieces of slate, there was all pieces of slate . . .

David: Oh, yeah, course . . .

Jenny: Oh, right.

Steve: on the . . . yeah.

David: . . . yeah, that’s right, yeah, indeed, indeed, yeah, but yeah, nick a spoon from the, from the house and help, help to dig the hole (Jenny laughs). It, it, it, as I say, it, the, the, the uses to which it was put including the bonfires on Bonfire Night, it was, it really was a superb place, and to have it next door, you know, sort of, we were extremely fortunate.

Steve: Yeah, there, there’s also, again it’s like, you know, memories, and, it, sort of, like, resonates with stuff that you learn in your, your professional life, one of the, the things when we were kids is, like, some of the, the girls in the street, you know, you’d be playing up on the Hollow and you’d be digging up, and all that kind of thing, and they’d go (in a girlish voice), “Eeee, you’ll get diphtheria” and, and things like that . . .

David: Oh, yeah.

Steve: . . . yeah, cos if, if, if, if you’re playing in muck, you’re gonna catch something like . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

Steve: . . . you know, very unpleasant, we never did, apart from having, you know, like, the usual snotty noses of kids in those days (David and Jenny laugh) . . .

David: (in a croaky voice) Whatever!

Steve: . . . we never did, but now, they, they reckon there’s so many, so many, like, childhood fatalities and all this kind of thing, because kids don’t play in muck any more.

David: They do! All right . . .

Jenny: Oh, yeah.

Steve: I think, I, I, I think that we were remarkably healthy because we played in muck all the time. (Jenny laughs)

David: We did, and, I suppose, also, because it was immediately post-War, there was a significant emphasis on ensuring children got, you know, the, sort of, the milk, the orange juice . . .

Jenny: Oh, yeah.

David: . . . the cod liver oil . . .

Steve: Cod liver oil.

David: . . . as, as part of the, you know, making sure that that first post-War generation, the baby boomers were, you know, had a, a, as good a possible start in life . . .

Steve: The ones with the big pensions, you mean? (Jenny laughs)

David: Couldn’t possibly comment! (they all laugh)

Steve: It says here we’re four more working days to go!

David: Indeed, indeed, no it was, no, you’re, you’re right, I think we were allowed in terms of latitude where we went, what we did and so on, it was, you know, we, that’s not to say parents were, you know, sort of, ignorant, but they, we were allowed to do a lot more than children of the present day were.

Jenny: Yeah.

Tagged under: bombed hollows, playing, bonfires, marbles, pieces of slate

Categorised under: Social Life

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