Ghost scene of my youth


Mendip Park, Duston
Mendip Park, Duston

It may not look much, but the relatively uninspiring patch of grass in the photo to the left is the preferred walk of choice for our border terrier, Eddie. Fully enclosed and relatively dog poo free, it’s the perfect place to let an occasionally mischievous pooch loose.

While trudging through the sticky mud left by the December snow this morning, I glanced at the scene captured in the photo. This small patch of parkland, surrounded by housing estates and a tennis club also provided the background to much of my childhood, for it was here, at Mendip park, that we played football near enough every day after school.

Five-a-side, one in goal, two vs two, world cup singles, headers and volleys – it all happened here. We honed skills few of us would ever make use of in adult life, kept ourselves relatively fit and, most importantly, away from the TV and ZX Spectrum.

Fifteen years on, we walk the dog regularly here and it only occurred to me today that we very rarely catch site of the new generation. Those that should be taking our place, laying down jumpers for goalposts and replaying that twenty-five yard free kick smashed home from the champagne zone on last night’s Match Of The Day.

Where are they?

…and don’t tell me it’s Call of Duty. Elite 2: Frontier was just as addictive when I was a lad.

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