The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Life With Less Distraction …
February 18, 2016, 6:15 am
Filed under: Childhood, Dad, History

A old friend of mine recently sent me this …

I love it. Not just because I relate to it but because it reminds me of a story about my Dad.

When I was growing up, I used to have a lot of friends come to my house and – like it shows in the photo – they would dump their bikes outside the house or on our lawn.

Sometimes the bikes would be out there for a few minutes and sometimes for the whole day.

We didn’t have to worry about them getting stolen – not just because crime was very low – but because the community I lived in meant everyone knew each other so if someone saw someone on a bike they knew wasn’t there’s, they’d get a smack round the earhole and be told to return it.

Social interaction was different back then.

We would turn up at each others houses unannounced just to see if you wanted to come out and play.

We could have used our home telephones to see if our mates were in – and we occasionally did – but the whole attitude to life was much more spontaneous.

Nowadays, if a mate turned up at my house unannounced, my initial reaction would either be mild irritation or concern for their mental state.

Anyway, I digress.

While my parents loved the house being full of noise, my Dad hated it when we left our bikes on the drive because it meant he couldn’t easily get the car in or out of the garage.

One day – during the big school holidays of the 1980’s – Paul was at my house and we’d left our bikes on my drive.

We’d been playing happily for a few hours when my Dad came home and wanted to see how we were.

After chatting with him for a while, Paul and I decided to go out so we left the house only to discover OUR BIKES WEREN’T ON THE DRIVE.

We looked on the grass.


We looked down the side of the house.


We looked on the pavement.


We started to panic and ran back into the house to ask my Dad if he’d moved them.

“No”, he said.

We started getting upset, not just because Paul had an expensive posers BMX Mongoose, but because our bikes were our independence … so my Dad told us the only thing to do is walk to the local police station and either report the crime or see if someone had handed them in.

Upset, we set off to report the loss of our beloved bikes.

We had only gone a few minutes when we heard my Dad shouting at us to come back.

We ran home and he led us to the garage.

He pulled open the door but instead of seeing his car in there, we saw our bikes.

As we were trying to work out what the hell was going on, my Dad turned to us and said,

“Don’t leave your bikes in the driveway again”.

We never did.

I miss his lessons.

And I hope Otis gets to enjoy the same sort of childhood I had.

34 Comments so far
Leave a comment

your dad. fucking legend.

Comment by andy@cynic

Reading this explains everything about Rob.

Comment by DH

But he still resisted the temptation to input 58008 into his calculator/computer photo yesterday.

Comment by john

OK, nearly everything.

Comment by DH

A sign of my growing maturity John.

Comment by Rob

did you know your mate has a horses cock back then?

Comment by andy@cynic

you want otis to have the same childhood as you? in nottingham? you sick bastard.

Comment by andy@cynic

Your mate had a mongoose? In Nottingham? In the 80s?
Who was his dad, Rockefeller?

Comment by DH

What did you have? I’m guessing a chauffeur driven raleigh.
And how many times was your mates bike stolen. A mongoose. That would have been like owning a golden chariot.

Comment by DH

I had a Raleigh Grifter and I still could pull a longer wheelie on it than Paul could do on his ‘light-as-a-feather’ Mongoose. Eventually I got a Raleigh Tuff Burner with skyway wheels … but Paul still had the bike that was the equivalent of turning up at school in a Ferrari with Angelina Jolie on his arm.

And – as Andy puts it – he was hung like a horse. Some people really can have it all.

As for Nottingham, it was a different place back then. We even had a football team that wasn’t hopeless. Incredible eh.

Comment by Rob

You are his penance..

Comment by DH

So he got your mother to move them?

Comment by Hackers4thelulz

Who would turn up at your house unannounced these days except the cops.

Comment by Billy Whizz

True. Though the other alternatives are:

1. Friends of Jill’s.
2. Friends of Otis.
3. Gadget delivery man.

Comment by Rob

When Otis is older, you will realise the “bike lawn” is not consigned to your history. Your father has also inspired me how to deal with my daughters constant disregard for where they leave their bikes. Thank you Mr Campbell snr.

Comment by George

suburban dad. none of that shit in manhattan. kids all turn up in fucking escalades. wankers.

Comment by andy@cynic

You seem to have forgotten you spend most of your time in family friendly Vancouver.

Comment by George

“Creature comfort goals.”

Comment by john

That sort of makes me happy. Or it will if we live in a place where we can afford a lawn. And security guards so they’re not stolen every 2 minutes.

Comment by Rob

Your father was a cheeky soul. You are a chip off the old block and I am willing to guess that Otis will follow down a similar path. This is good news.

Comment by Lee Hill

He was. And so is Otis. Not sure about me.

Comment by Rob

No one is Rob.

Comment by DH

Great post Rob. It brought back a lot of memories from my childhood, except my father wasn’t as cunning as yours to stop the bike littering.

Comment by Pete

I miss my Grifter. Bloody loved that bike.

Comment by Marcus

I had a Raleigh strika then grifter loved them to death
The good thing about living in the land of whippets and making tea properly, in a village where time stopped is they my kids still leave their bikes everywhere and there little friends ransack my house without warning.
The bad thing is everyone knows everyone and you can’t get away with a single thing. “Saw Andrew out on his bike thus morning Juliette does he have the day off?” “Er no”

Comment by Northern

Of course, back then you didn’t need to wear pink ‘cycle shoes’ to nip down to your mates on the corner.

Comment by Rob

Oh very droll

Comment by northern

I believe that is called ‘fact’.

Comment by Rob

I’m afraid you are mistaking correlation for causation.
Because one has purchased pink shoes to ride 50 miles or so, it doesn’t follow they will wear said shoes to ride to their mates.
It’s like saying all Queen fans have over 100 t shirts made for people half their age, have an obsession with diet coke and an aversion to wearing proper shoes

Comment by northern

OK. Let’s put it this way. When we were young, we never felt the need to own pink cycle shoes, regardless of the distance we did cycle or imagined we could or would cycle. Is that better twinkletoes?

Comment by Rob

And to be honest, given there is only one Queen fan who has over 100 t-shirts made for people half their age and an obsession with diet coke and an aversion to wearing proper shoes … I could argue it is a fact, not a correlation. I couldn’t argue it well, but I could argue it.

Comment by Rob

I don’t want to know. I don’t want to know.

Comment by DH

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