Remember that game about reminiscing? You know the one, it’s called Reminiscing, and has a box that looks like this?
Here’s another memory that it threw up.
When I was about eight probably, my brother saved up all of his pocket money for the longest time, and one day came home with a a go-kart and a separate small single stroke petrol engine. The idea was to motorise the kart, and drive it.
Upon its first arrival, we managed to get hold of some petrol, which I think we stored in a Castrol GTX oil can. One of those bigger, boxy shaped ones, with the handle on the top. I’m not sure it was the best container for petrol, but you know, we were young.
Anyway, I don’t think we ever got the engine running, and we sure never got it installed on the go-kart. It was a hot, sunny evening, and we were getting frustrated with our lack of progress, so we took a break for a bit of a wheeze.
One of us, I don’t remember who, poured a small amount of the petrol onto the concrete outside of the garage, and popped the can down. A quick strike of a match later, and the small pool of liquid woofed into life, flames dancing nicely in the air.
It was safe enough.
A little gust of wind knocked the can on its side, and the fumes from the open top lit up.
Again, this wasn’t really that bad, but we realised that the can might catch, and that things might get worse.
“Stamp on it,” my brother said, meaning the small fire from the puddle.
I took it to mean ‘stamp on the can’.
For I am a moron.
I smacked my foot down on the can, and a flame shot across us, about four foot long.
It was rather cool.
And, you know, dangerous.
So we did it again.
Because it looked so good.
This would have been 1988 or so, and no-one died.
This has reminded me that, like a great many commercials at the time, the Castrol GTX one unnerved me slightly.
We were playing a board game last week called Reminiscing. From the box it looked like one of those crappy games you might reluctantly play at Christmas, but it turned out to be a lot of fun, and encouraged plenty of story telling and well, reminiscing.
One of the dozens of childhood memories it threw up was about a time we went on a school trip to Tintern Abbey (it may not have actually been there), some time towards the end of primary school. On the coach journey down, a few of the kids got all excited about an idea they had.
Six of them, three couples (like 9 year olds have a concept of this), decided that they were going to get married.
I made that noise in my head, even back then. It was so stupid.
But, come lunchtime, when we were all let loose to play on the grounds, we all seemed to be dragged down to a giant oak tree, to bear witness to this pathetic charade.
Someone pretended to be the priest (this was a Catholic school), and the three couples all got hitched, and I seethed at having my play time stolen by idiots.
Following day at lunchtime, we were in school, and our whole year was summoned into the main hall, where an angry Headmistress began to deliver a pious lecture about how a few bad apples can spoil the barrel. She said we all knew what she was talking about, and that what happened the day before was a disgraceful sin that we should all be ashamed of.
And I was deprived of a second play time.
I wouldn’t have minded so much, but the next day, all three couples got divorced.
My brain’s capacity for self-delusion never ceases to amaze me.
When asked whereabouts I used to live in Plymouth, I began reeling off the locations. A house by the station, a flat by the old hospital, and another fla…
And here, I had to really think for a moment.
This second flat was lovely, I remembered. Part of it reminded me of my Gran’s old house, and it was off this part of the hallway that my room lay. That room was huge, Victorian, populated with massive and wonderful antique furniture, with big bay windows, and a door that opened out on to a patio that overlooked a babbling brook.
Just down from my room, literally, down two short steps, was an oval shaped communal area, which seemed to always get natural light, in spite of not having any windows. And off from that, up another two steps, something we only realised was there the first day we moved in.
Just around a short hallway, we discovered a door which we assumed was a cupboard. When we opened it however, we found a massive conservatory, furnished with giant plush sofas, and a bar-like area with a couple of stools. That wasn’t the most amazing thing about it though, and it was at this moment that I realised the whole house was just a recurring dream I’ve been having for years, everything was covered in snow.
Until then though, I could have sworn we had moved in there for a fourth year at university.
And like a dam bursting, I remembered another house I often dream about, this one more modern and Bauhaus. Then another, a huge farmhouse was dozens of empty rooms. And the flat with the serving hatch. And the maze like house that has a giant telescope room. And the wooden house with a bedroom that is built on stilts. Perhaps a dozen different houses, that I have dreamt about a hundred times each. I could draw their floorplans I know them so well.