childhood anecdotes

Land, Air and Sea.

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Once upon a time, when I was young, I read a book of "Women who achieve". After reading the book, I pondered on it's content: women who achieved time breaking records by differing modes of travel. This all sounded very interesting and exciting. However, having read the book from cover to cover; there was no account of any woman from the country Wales, I come from, having achieved anything. I found this extremly disapointing and thought about how to put right the problem.

To remedy it all, a plan began to formulate: what if I was to enlist the help of some play friends of mine; and build fairly basic models of vehicles that operated by land, air and sea.

By having a go at building and operating such vehicles; I would become the first female in Wales to accomplish this.

My first attempt was by land; I and my friends would build a gambo/gocart and race it down the big hill. For this I would need good steering and brakes on the vehicle. After a few days we had completed the gambo/gocart and pulled the gocart to the very top of a steep hill. From this height I could see over the roof tops and view the mountains in the distance.

It was a bright if somewhat breezy day; but conditions were excellent for gaining a good time at racing the gocart downhill.

One of my friends stood at the bottom of the hill at the finish line, with his father's stop watch. I was the only female entering, so no matter what time I achieved, I would be the first female gocart racer: and I fully intended to achieve as best a time as possible and to defeat the boys also, if I could.

It was an interesting afternoon's gocart racing: each of us, there were five of us altogether; took our turn and we each had three tries at the fastest speed we could go.

The most tiring part of the race and time consuming, was the return of the gocart to the top of the hill, as we all impatiently awaited our turn to race the gocart downhill. My friend with the stop watch was busily recording each contestants' time.

As the afternoon progressed we had all accomplished our three chances, to race the fastes to the bottom of the hill.

One of the other contestants won the race overall, with the best speed times. This did not surprise me; as this contestant had even driven his father's car once: when his father was not looking and had absent mindedly left the key in the ignition.

To my delight I came second; and of course first, as I was the only female to compete and win.

It was such a good afternoon gocart racing, none of the other contestants were too disgruntled at loosing.

I thought to myself that I had achieved my attempt at land speed. Next I plotted to accomplish to be first female in Wales to fly solo. All this would take some planning indeed.

We were accustomed to making our own kites. I would build a kite with extra height and breadth and wait for a real windy day to see if I could be lifted airbourne. The larger model kite was complete and now to await an appropriate windy day.

At the weekend the weather changed and a gale force wind blew, although the sun still shone and all was dry.

My brother and I were playing together, when I noticed the wind had become more fierce.

Collecting my especialy contructed kite from the shed where I had stored it, for ust such a windy occassion.

Excitedly I took the kite to a nearby rugby play field, it being the nearest open space. Shouting to my younger brother to stay near home because the wind had picked up. However, curiosity got the better of him and stealthily he followed behind me, to the rugby field.

The wind blew in fierce gusts; I held the kite aloft and immediately the kite was engulfed by wind and my feet left the ground and I started sailing through the air. As the wind blew I gained altitude and manovered the kite to catch the wind. Above the ground I soared and glided: well above and over the rugby posts, also over the club's roof. What a great time I was having, flying like a bird; everything and everybody below me appeared so small. After a while there was a lull in the wind and I landed again and returned safely to the ground.

My younger brother had been watching all along and now screamed his excitement to go next. I was so pleased with my accomplishment; that I let him try the kite, confident that he would not know how to use it. Before, I knew what to say in the way of advice on how to fly the kite: my brother clinging to the kite, had been snatched away by the gale force wind and was being borne aloft. He too, glided and soared, but did not know how to land the kite: if he did not turn left when going over the rugby posts, he would fly off over the roofs of the nearby houses.

Shouting up to him, I advised him to manover the kite towards the left, back into the field area and then to land. However, I had forgotton that being a few years younger than myself he didn't know left from right. I danced on the spot waving my left arm around and shouting "left".

When at last he started to turn left, narrowily missed the posts and started to decend. Thankfully he landed safely, and commented on how great flying is.

At last, today, I became the first female in Wales to fly solo; to my child like mind, this was a great achievment indeed.

So on to my next quest, that is to say, my plan to ride the waves.

Nearby to where I lived was a fast flowing and deep river; as children we called the river, Island river; as there was a rise of shale and pebles in the deep part of the river forming a small island.

Soon I encouraged some friends to help me build a raft. Scattered remnants of wood lay strewn about the area and were indeed planks of wood also some empty metal drums. Left at the railway sidings which bordered the river.

After many hours, and a tool kit, one of my friends got for a Christmas present: the raft was complete and we floated the vessel onto Island river. We had to stand upright to take the oar to propel and steer the raft along thr river. I took the oar and steered the raft single handedly; the Island river flowed very fast and was intensly cold. All the rivers and springs in the mountains above drained into it. The river water was also very clear and we could see fish in the river.

As I and my friends on the raft, approached the deep end of the Island river; I instictively dug the oar deeper into the river water and sailed smoothly over the deep waters. With a sudden lurch the raft came to a halt, we had arrived at the island. We all disembarked and stood on the island. It was quite small but it enabled us to see some of the rivers wildlife, hidden usualy, from other vantage points; by tree branches, reeds and grasses.

I must finish this test, I thought: "I'm rowing down river now until we get to the bridge"; this I thought would well qualify me, for the completion of the sea quest.

Rowing confidently now, I made the raft sail down to the bend in the river, just by the bridge. Pleased with my achievment that I must be the only female in Wales to be first at land, air and sea travel.

 

 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

 

Memories of childhood, constructive play.

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