Mum and Dad used to have little cocktail parties, not sure why, didn’t care at that age, but these would be a wonderful source of playing up and showing off. One particular night we had been peering through the banisters like Jane and Michael Banks in Mary Poppins and waving to various visitors when we were told sternly to “go to bed” by mum. My instinctive stubborn self wasn’t going to put up with any of that draconian nonsense so I convinced my brother that a wonderful game of sliding down the banisters was best for our morale at a time that it dipped due to lack of attention! Dad heard the giggles and laughter as we slithered down two flights of banisters and was heard to say “right, if you are not in bed by the time I get up there you are going to be smacked.” Of course, my sprightly young brother was able to jump off the banister and jettison himself into his bed before you could blink, but not I, oh no, I was wearing a bright red, winceyette nighty from Woolworths that decided to get caught on the knob at the end of the first flight, dads footsteps stomping on the stairs were getting louder and louder and the more I struggled the more the bloody nighty got tangled…..Whack! I was un-hinged from the banister and literally dragged to by bed, followed by another whack! I think my dad was not amused, he stormed out of the room, muttering something like I should go to sleep like my brother, failing to see this heaving mound on the other side of the room, jiggling about with laughter and muffled sounds of joyous chuckling at his big sisters punishment….I was, however, to pay him back for that many times over, my brother I mean….and actually, my dad too!
Another memory which we often recall is the day my best friend and I decided that my brother and her sister should join our “army”, we had it all planned. She was Colonel Abu, I was Major Nerak, bro was corporal hicr, and my best friends little sis was corporal nilliag…. Okay its not clear, but Alison was known as Abu, I was Karen, bro is Rich and her sister was Gillian, so we weren’t that good at spelling backwards, but that doesn’t matter when you are forming the next generation of fighting forces. Anyway, armed with wooden pretend guns made of sticks and a box of matches, stolen bacon, egg and sausage plus the dirtiest smelliest old pan we could steal we marched off the “the woods”. This army was hungry so decided to make a little fire of dried old bits of leaf and cooked our “booty” it was lovely….we were just about putting the fire out, stomping frantically in every direction so it didn’t spread and trying to wipe the sooty tell tale marks from our faces when a German woodsman appeared shouting what we thought was “I am going to shoot you, you nasty mean vicious army personnel” – in true Abu style she proceeded in doing the now illegal Hitler salute shouting “handi hoc mein fuhrer” …I wasn’t staying around to be shot so I legged it with corporal nilliag and dived behind a pile of mango wurzels. The woodsman now got his gun and started to point in in Colonel Abu’s and corporal hicr’s direction. I was hunched down trying as hard as I could to think of a way of explaining the demise of my brother to my mum, without of course admitting that we had been lighting fires in this protected wood. All of a sudden in true military style, Colonel Abu and corporal hicr leapt over our heads and shouted “leg it, he’s going to shoot us”. We don’t recall what happened next, we probably passed out, but I know that we didn’t go back to cooking in the woods for a long time.
Our next adventure as the fantastic four was when we decided to increase our collection of toys by means of obtaining goods without paying. It wasn’t stealing, it was a game, and for days on end we would marvel at the simplicity of leaning over the NAAFI counter in the baggiest top you could and using especially adapted front pockets, lifting little toys, books, sharpeners, rubbers and legging it out of the store before anyone saw you. I don’t know how long this went on, but I remember thinking that my mum is not going to carry on believing that I had such generous friends that would