By Eric Streeton.
Why is it that we are always wiser with hindsight? When I was growing up in the Post War Years I never knew what a lucky youngster I was, but on reflection, my friends and I enjoyed an unparalleled freedom that no generation has enjoyed since. How would I define Freedom? Well all Mother wanted to know before we went out was, can you give me a rough idea where you might be just in case I should want you. I had just one restriction placed on me by my Mother; keep away from the sluice gates where the Canal runs under the road and into the Channel. That was fine by me for we still had miles and miles of country side which were ours to roam, and without fear of molestation from some of the sick minds that inhabit our planet today. At that time we were still a tight knit community, everybody knew everybody else, so any really serious misdemeanours soon got back to Mother, it was not that we feared our Mothers, we respected them. But that is not to say we did not get up to mischief. We did many things that would be frowned on today and yes illegal now. One for instance would be the collecting of birds eggs. Every boy had a collection of bird’s eggs. We never took more than one egg from a nest. We knew how many eggs a particular bird laid, so only one egg would be taken from that clutch. Even other boys who came behind us at a latter date knew the unwritten rules and would not touch a nest that had already received a visit. I think the only exception to the rule would have been Dabbie Eggs, but even then we would not rob a complete nest even though these were a source of food for us. We did not need the ‘Politically Correct’ numb sculls, and the over paid E. U. Bureaucrats with their mindless Directives to tell us what was right or wrong, or how we should behave, or speak, we had our own code of conduct based on plain common sense, a commodity these Bureaucrats don’t seem to possess. It was our unwritten code to which we all adhered. We have probably forgotten more now, than they will ever know. We were learning from the University of Life.
With minor misdemeanours that got back to our local Policeman he would have said its only the local boys messing about, they are not up to any real harm. I will have a little word in their ears when I see them next. Once again common sense prevailed. Camber Castle was ours or so we thought, there were no opening times for access, it was open all hours. How many kids have had a real Castle to play in? There were tunnels to explore, walls to climb, imaginary enemies to repel. Then if we got fed up with that we would go straight from the Castle out to the Old Life Boat Hut to go swimming. Roads, what roads? We went over land in the straightest line we could take. Once again the local land owners would say that’s only the local lads, they are up to no harm, and we were left to it. We did not need a right to roam law, for we had all that freedom any way. We took care not to harm any flora and fauna, not to panic the farmer’s live stock, and to close gates behind us. Once again we had our own code of conduct.
Now some of you might say why have you written all this down Eric? Well I will enlighten you. As I said earlier, as a child I had an unparalleled freedom. Now-a-days there are so many restraints on people with nearly everything you say and do, you could finish up breaking some petty law thought up by some mindless bureaucrat, a law you and I probably even didn’t know existed, and still be castigated for it. More often than not these laws have been designed to raise revenue and no other useful purpose, apart from winding us up. When you have experienced freedom like I feel that I have had, then you start to notice all the freedoms that have been eroded gradually over the years. So I suppose what I am saying is, put your ‘Political Correctness’, and E. U. Directives where the sun doesn’t shine, I want my freedom back please. Freedom to think for myself, speak for myself, and to be myself, with out fear of persecution.
“Rye’s Own” March 2006.