I was listening to R4 in the car earlier today. A comedian, Zoe Lyons, was reminiscing about her childhood in Ireland. The programme was great... actually about her applying for an Irish passport in order to stay in the EU...
There was one part of these reminisces that struck a chord. I grew up in the outskirts of a mid Ulster town (Banbridge). Our back garden led in to a field that was used by a local rugby team, cows, occasionally horses, an annual grass tracking motorbike race and an occasional pipe bands competition. In fact, there were quite a lot of fields, with animals, near to us.
A few days ago, I told one of the Primary classes I teach about an aspect of my childhood I dont think I've ever described before. And this comedian, much to my hilarity and disbelief, used the same descriptions of games she used to play and of the thing she used to play with. Remember, we had limited telly, and no computer games in the seventies.
That "toy," or immersive experience, required a good pair of wellies, which all children owned when I was wee, and cow shit. Aye.
We used to poke shit with sticks and occasionally jump in it to splash. The best shit was the crusty stuff, rather than totally fresh (described by me, and this comedian, as "meringue like"). Crusty shit meant you could jump on it, and it would splash out, quite far, and you would not get your wellies covered. In fact, what impressed us, was who could get a good pile of shit to project the furthest. Older shit that was just crust, could be flung like a frisbee. Frisbees must have been invented, if not in Irish fields, in a field of cows somewhere in the world.
How funny, that just a few days after having an inner city Glaswegian primary class laughing their heads off at this, someone else recalled this activity in the same way. Two of us were paid this week after describing shit activity neither of us were aware seems to have been a "thing" for Irish children. Are these activities (shit poking, shit stomping, and flinging shit) all one activity, or are they definately three distinct activities? Perhaps people exist who carried out just one of these activities, rather than all three. All sorts of questions, are racing through my head.
Childhood was amazing, insanitary and none of us died of shit activities.