Dear Diary – Page 22 (Late 1950’s – Marholm Woods)

About 2 – 3 miles away from Walton Crossing were Marholm Woods.

For a short while each year the floor of the woods was carpeted in wonderful Bluebells. Many a happy weekend morning was spent biking to Marholm Woods and picking huge bunches of Bluebells for Mum.

1950s BluebellWoodPhoto origin unknown

At other times that area produced Buttercups, Daisies, Cowslips and Pimpernels many of which would delight Mum as she put them in vases, glasses…….or anything else that could hold flowers!

On the way to Marholm Woods was an old hollow trunk of a once large tree. It was possible to crawl through a hole in the bottom of the trunk and then climb up inside and peak out the top at people passing by.

Also along this road were numerous Blackberry bushes which became an adventure to look forward to in October. Getting out on my bike early gave me a head start on all the berries within easy reach. Other pickers were able to reach places I could not, and sometimes they even brought tools with which they could hook the far away branches and pull them close enough to pick the berries. While I may well have been limited by what I could reach, early in the morning there were ample juicy berries awaiting little fingers.

Taking full advantage of my new mobility (and saving bus fares) I have an interesting memory of getting on my bike and cycling to Peterborough North Station early one evening but, instead of going onto the station, I went past it to an old goods (freight) depot which could be accessed by slipping through a broken fence.

The bike was duly propped up against the fence and I slipped into what was basically waste land and worked my way over to (and onto) the old goods loading platform. It can be assumed that the attraction was partially adventure, and partially simply another perspective on the trains.

While I was on the platform, I saw a policeman coming towards the building so I quietly stepped back into the shadows. I have vague recollections of seeing that strategy used in a cowboy movie! The policeman walked right passed me  but, at one point, he did stop and appeared to look directly at me. He then continued walking so I guess my plan worked (big sigh of relief – imagine trying to explain this to Dad.). When all seemed clear, I worked my way back to the fence and slipped back through only to find that there was no bike!

How could I tell my Dad (remembering his temper) that I had lost my bike? Figuring that the policeman had probably seen my unattended bike and therefore taken it back to the Police Station, I had no alternative but to go to the Station and see if it was there. There are vivid memories of going up to the desk and reporting my missing bike. “Where abouts did you leave it sonny?” and “My! My! What were you doing there?” Unfortunately, while it is known that I did not admit to being (trespassing) on British Railways’ property, I have no recollection of the actual story told. Fortunately for me (they said) one of their Officers had been on patrol in that area and seen my bike, seemingly abandoned, and had therefore taken it back to the Police Station.

Did that Policeman actually see me? Did he see my bike and put 2 and 2 together? Did he decide on a great way to teach me a lesson? I rather suspect that the Policeman knew exactly what was going on.

I am not too sure, but I don’t think that I ever went there again!

22 thoughts on “Dear Diary – Page 22 (Late 1950’s – Marholm Woods)

  1. As kids, it would be a family ‘outing’ to go blackberry picking, then in later years (Dad making wine) elderflowers, elderberry, sloe, and anything else edible in hedgerows or trees.
    In adult life having an apple tree in our last garden, we would blackberry away and freeze down what I didn’t use immediately. Nothing beats a pie or crumble using fruit you have literally just picked.

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  2. Funny, a friend of mine told me a similar story, only he left his bike near a cranky neighbor who reported that it was on his property, just across the street from my friend’s house. Still he had to go claim his bike at the police station.

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  3. I could just see that scenario happening to my son, except he would have made a noise and exposed his location…probably a foghorn cough which could have been useful in a railway tunnel!
    Such adventures are the thing that makes childhood…as long as you’re the kid in the story. As the parent, these adventures can cause quite a few grey hairs! xx Rowena

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