We went up to see Mum and Dad at the weekend and ended up watching the old cine films. Apart from the joy of the nostalgia-fest, what stuck me about the old days (well, our old days, at least) was the complete lack of any regard for Health and Safety.
Amongst the weddings and the smiling children and happy picnics was footage of babies in prams on cliff edges, kids rolling around in front of open fires, me chucking a brick at my brother's head, oh the list goes on.
Try this for size. It's me in a dinghy in the sea at Auchmithie, a small fishing village on the NE coast of Scotland. It's in 1978 I think so I was 15 years old.
It doesn't look too bad, but notice the black things in the water. They are sharp semi-submerged rocks. It's a really rough bit of coastline with sheer cliffs on one side and a broken down harbour on the other. I rowed all the way round the harbour wall, then out to sea, then round the rocks at the base of the cliffs. (see this site for images of the surrounding area:
It was such fun that I went back for my bro, aged 13, and went out and did it again, with proud parents and grandmother watching on.
I do remember strugging against the tides and when we lost sight of the beach as we went further up the coast I also remember feeling a little uneasy....
No lifejackets. I don't think they were invented in those days. The boat was a cheap little kid's toy from the local shop, and the oars bent like sapplings in a Spring breeze.
Happy days though!
Here's the vid. It only shows us at the start and end of the voyage but you'll get the idea.