When I was a child, a favourite day out from Moulsecoomb was a visit to the pond in Falmer village. A long trudge up the main road brought us to our destination. A very large pond with an island in the middle, Swallows and Amazons weren’t the only ones with islands unfortunately we had no boat.
Boys then wore short trousers and girls could and did tuck their skirts into their knickers. Into the pond we went, jam jar in hand trying to catch the slippery newts. Endless time was spent paddling, stirring up the mud and disturbing the small creatures that lived in its fascinating shallows.
Sixpence a sack
Potato picking, to some a remunerative outing, started very early in the morning. Once there, the aim was to fill hessian sacks with potatoes. Adults earned sixpence a sack and children threepence. I only recall gaining this princely sum once. I probably spent too much time lying on my back in the grass on the edge of the field, building castles in the white fluffy clouds. I can still remember being tired and hungry when I returned home late evening.
In the fields, proper haystacks were built then, and we had great fun playing on them. You mustn’t believe those stories of sleeping in a hay stack. Other than a gorse bush, a more prickly bed would be hard to find. Recently I returned to my ‘roots’ to show my granddaughter this joyous place. All gone, all built on. The tree hollow where the swing had been was fenced in. All in the interests safety I suppose. A notice at Falmer pond forbade bathing. They can’t obliterate my memories though.