Dear Diary – Page 43 (Early 1960’s – Scrumping)

Also around this time (1960’s), I would go “scrumping”!

“Scrumping” was a term used for going into an orchard and helping yourself to anything edible there ……….. usually apples!

Next to the park at the bottom of our street was an apple orchard. On one occasion, Richard* and I biked down to the park with the intent of “scrumping”. Our bikes were our “getaway” vehicles just in case we ran into problems!

We laid them down on the park grass, near a hedge which separated the park from the orchard, and then crawled through a hole in the hedge and into the orchard. We then proceeded to “take” a tree each, climbed up and started picking apples and putting them in our pockets!

All of a sudden we heard “Hey you! What do you think you’re doing?” I can remember peering through the branches of “my” tree and seeing a man coming towards us and with a rifle under his arm. Richard obviously also saw him because we both instantly went into panic mode. We scrambled down our respective trees and bolted for the hole in the hedge with the man not too far behind us!

We got on our bikes and made some incredibly fast decisions which, upon reflection, were quite amusing. We decided to cycle off in the opposite direction to where we came from so that he would have no idea where we lived. We also decided to take all sorts of twists and turns on our route so that if he tried to follow us, we could lose him!

I believe it took as around two hours to get home. How we thought that he was going to follow us walking, and with a rifle under his arm, clearly never crossed our minds! That may well have been my last “scrumping” adventure!


It was around this time that I got my first job! I was hired by a local grocer to deliver weekly grocery orders on a bike made especially for the job.

1960 grocery bikeAbove photo courtesy

My bike was similar to the one in the photo except that it had a steel basket holder behind the seat as well as the front one.

When both baskets were full, the bike became rather awkward to handle however, I only recall one incident in which I fell off, and the only “damage” was a dozen broken eggs. That job paid for a number of trainspotting books!

*See “Dear Diary – Page 25”  – July 21, 2015

29 thoughts on “Dear Diary – Page 43 (Early 1960’s – Scrumping)

  1. Scumping eh? Never heard of such but, then where I grew up everybody had their own small orchard of peach, plum, and pear trees and maybe a few pecans, persimmons and figs. I grew up in the country where apples were not grown. Now days there are maybe two varieties that will grown in black soil and very hot Texas weather in the summer. Love your stories- rifle and all

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  2. Scrumping, ah yes, I remember it well, though for us and the kids next door it was other people’s gardens, not an orchard. Being the youngest at the time, and not a tom boy like my sister and the other girls, I was the lookout doubling up as catcher. They would throw the apples down to me and ‘;d put them in bags

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