Blaxland

by Lesley
(UK)

I grew up on a farm in East Kent and we had an old barn where we stored the hay bales for the cows. It had a Kent clay tile roof and huge beams.

As children we used to play in the barn sometimes. We loved the smell of the hay. We weren't allowed to climb on the bales but there were always one or two conveniently located for us to use as seats. We spent many happy hours making up games, playing houses and shops and other games of the imagination that children don't seem to do any more.

Another game was skipping. Once the centre of the barn had been cleared a little there was room to use the barn as a sort of gym. We used to enjoy skipping. Two of us would hold the rope while the third one jumped over it. We had assorted rhymes that went with the jumps or we would simply just keep going to see how many times we could jump over it without stopping.

There was a convenient pole near the entrance. This was ideal for high jumping. When we got tired of skipping we would tie one end of the rope to the pole and then try doing back flips over it, raising the rope higher and higher as we went along. The lose hay lying around made a good landing mattress. We were home schooled but our friend went to school and was able to instruct us in the art of the Fosbury Flop.

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