Littledean Woodside - Joseph TINGLE of Flaxley (General)

by Jefff @, West London, Middlesex, Wednesday, February 28, 2024, 01:14 (54 days ago) @ Bradley Tingle

Jeff, my sons are probably closer to your age and would have loved to explore the way you were able to in the Forest of Dean. In earlier times you left on your bike to explore and came home for supper and no one worried about you. I think they had too much else to do to be worrying about their kinds in relative safety.

Hi again Donna,
I'm glad my ramblings were of interest. Yes we had great times, and yes we were allowed a degree of freedom that modern parents don't like to allow. Then again, we were also firmly schooled on when we HAD to be back home, on good behaviour and looking-out for each other if things got tricky. We also knew that any adults were allowed to deal with us very firmly and immediately if we ever overstepped the mark, and we'd get it all again from our fathers when we got home. And let's not be naive - yes there were some "odd" and even dangerous people around in those days, just as there are now, and our parents probably knew this, but unlike nowadays the newspapers and media wern't full of scaremongering tales, and we were allowed and encouraged to learn by the school of hard knocks. A real worry for our parents were the numerous ponds around the Forest, old mine workings with scrap metal and old steel cables etc dumped in them, but hidden under the calm cool inviting water. Almost every year the papers reported on another local kid drowning after getting tangled in the rubbish or weeds, so we were lectured to not swim in the ponds we fished in, altho' we did swim in the Wye at the Biblins. I remember thinking about all these worries when my son got his first proper bike c2005; sadly we felt unwilling to let him go out on it alone (his closest school mates lived a mile, not yards, away, modern road traffic levels are far worse, and even tho' we lived in a reasonably nice area of a town on the very edge of greater London, with countryside only two mile west, and a large green park next to our house, ??? - different times sadly).

Finally, I'm sure you already know that this wonderful website is packed full of so many more sources of information than "just" the forum and PRs - just browse thro' the many and various headings under the menu along the top of the home page, you may find good material for your book. For example under "Documents and Articles" you might eventually find this letter my Mum saw in the local paper back in 2012, she was still living in my childhood home in Cinderford up until her passing a few years ago. The article was written by one of my best mates in the 60s and 70s; we were both born in '62, our mother's met thro the Church, and together we went thro' primary school, Sunday School, Cub scouts, jumble sales and fetes, umpteen birthday parties, etc etc. Sadly we didn't attend the same secondary school, and then lost contact completely while following our own careers away from the Forest. So it was a real pleasure for me to read the letter back in 2012, and learn that after all those years Rich "Harry" Harris, a bit of a tough guy compared to me as kids, yet 30 years later he still cherished all the same lovely memories and respect for the Forest that I'd gained during our shared childhoods.
After submitting the letter into this site, I'm pleased to say that, with some help from Slowhands, Harry and I are reunited again now. To many casual observers modern-day Cinderford is a scruffy little town, rather tired now compared to all the busy shops and businesses of our childhood, but the Forest people are still as warm and friendly and that counts much more than bricks and mortar. I hope you like Harry's letter, despite the heading it relates to the 70s more than the 60s, and for what it's worth I can also remember his Sunday paper round as I covered for him during his summer holidays in Cornwall - those Sunday broadsheets were heavy, especially the posh Times and Telegraphs with colour supplements, and I didn't get to see the good tippers but I soon got to know the good and notsogood dogs (small Jack Russell terriers were far scarier than the big black Alsation). And after a long morning's toil in the sun, we'd then spend our few quid wages on comics and sweets at the same newsagents who'd employed us, haha.
On the subject of our over-worked bikes, I recall when Harry introduced us to a new game, leading us cycling along the bed of Blackpool brook in perhaps 6 inches of water. Sadly he had the best, newest, bike of us all, in retrospect probably the most fragile one too, and it was his lightweight Coventry Eagle that suffered headset bearing damage on hitting a rather large submerged rock; I recall us all walking back home with him and his broken steed, he knew full well what was in store from his normally mild and gentle and usually smiling father... yes great times, but not without some tears too.

Wishing you all the very best with your book.

Best regards, Jeff.

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