This is my big sister’s favourite story about me. It’s one she loves to tell but I am not so sure.
Sunday afternoons saw us both packed off to Sunday school. I now realise my parents’ religious fervour had little to do with our spiritual well being, and more to do with, ‘a little lie down’, on Sunday afternoons.
However, after lunch, the woman who ran our local G.F.S group, (Girls Friendly Society - an organisation deserving a whole blog to itself) would pick us up in her little green van. Off we’d go to endure an afternoon of stultifying boredom. In the little ones’ group I’d cut out pictures and copy an uplifting text. ‘Suffer the Little Children …. was one of the most appropriate.
I was a free range child and being indoors when I could be out playing on a sunny afternoon was torture to me. My 8th year was a year of rebellion. One inviting Sunday afternoon, lunch finished, we were sent to wait in the lane for our lift. I rushed out in front of my sister and shot up the big old yew tree that grew close to our garden boundary. There I hid among the dense branches.
My pious sister called and called but I couldn’t be found and off she went on her own.
I waited until the coast was clear and started the descent.. Topping forty five feet, the yew tree was mammoth and I’d scrambled right to the top. Getting down wasn’t easy. Yew trees are dusty and bits got in my hair and eyes. Irregular twigs stuck up from the massive branches and I got caught up.
Scared, grubby and stuck fast on a branch about twelve feet from the ground, I waited for my sister’s return. Seeing her just about to enter the gate I called out. She appeared beneath me, more than usually pious and disapproving. I tried to explain I was stuck and caught up. She tutted and said,
“Oh just jump. You’ll be O.K. The grounds soft”.
I was doubtful but jumped. My knicker leg was hooked firmly over a sticking up twig and, after falling forward, I was left dangling. Far from helping me, my rotten sister collapsed with laughter as I was slowly lowered by my tearing underwear. It says something for the quality of the fabric and quantity of the material that it was some time before, with a sudden rip, the navy interlock gave way and I was dropped unhurt onto the ground.
Pious sister was hysterical, she’s still laughing about it fifty years later. I guess if she had a computer this is the first blog she’d write. She never let on to our parents though. As I’ve reminded her on more than one occasion since, some things are better not disclosed.