SUMMER is a coming-in. Hopefully. But it won’t be as good as those summers we enjoyed as children that stretched beyond the horizon and seemed to last for ever.
Those long golden days of play and pleasure and innocent enjoyment.
Boys and girls got to grips with each other - in the nicest possible way - by playing those silly games that could last until dusk had fallen and the only light was the glow of the gas lamp. Yes, I really am that old.
Oranges and Lemons, Please Mr Crocodile …
Oh come on. You must remember Oranges and Lemons.
Two children would form an arch and decide between themselves who would be orange and who lemon. The rest of the kids would march beneath their arms while singing the song. When it ended, the last child would be held in the arch and have to choose orange or lemons. At the end, the two sides would have a tug of war.
Please Mr Crocodile?
That’s another classic.
The designated croc would stand in the middle of the road while all the other children stood on the pavement and chanted:
Please Mr Crocodile
May we cross the water
To see your lovely daughter
Floating on the water
Like a cup and saucer?
And Mr Crocodile replied: "Yes, if you're dressed in blue." Or whatever stipulation came to mind.
The lucky ones would stroll to the far pavement and those left would have to dodge across without being caught.
Ah happy days of tag and It, marbles, What time is it Mr Wolf? Red Rover, Jacks, leapfrog, hide and seek and that early form of spin the bottle - the Farmer’s In His Den - in which, if you were lucky enough to be picked as the farmer, you got to choose the boy or girl that you really fancied (even though you didn’t know why).
Skipping and hopscotch were more girls’ games and I could never do Cat In The Cradle. I’d just end up with my string in a knot or flick my elastic band away by mistake.
Girls used to do handstands against a wall with their skirts tucked in their knickers or walk backwards like a crab, both activities which were beyond most boys.
Do children still play these traditional games or are have they become so sophisticated they prefer mobile phones, video shoot-outs, Barbie or Bratz or are too busy perfecting their penalty dive or the professional foul they saw on Match of the Day?