Thursday, February 7, 2013

Remembering the days

I remember when health and safety wasn't such a big deal. Building sites weren't fenced off, danger was fun and video games were for rainy days.
This is a story about me and a friend I grew up with, living opposite each other in the 90's as young lads.
We used to knock each others door daily to ask each other if we were playing out. Back when technology and phones didn't define our friendships. Although, I did have a pager so my parents could tell me to be home for dinner. Ben, a great lad, but teased too often, I myself was guilty of some of the teasing but we were always best friends.
We used to go to 'the fields', a large collection of public fields with bushes and tree sections to build hideouts in. Brooks to jump over. Farmers fields to get chased out of by cows. It was great. They have built on a lot of it now which is a major shame.
One day we decided to climb in to the water drains via a manhole cover in the fields. We got our torches and boots and I sneaked out my dad's mini crow bar to open the drain cover. We estimated a path to the brook within the system, I mean, it couldn't be that complicated... right? Well after climbing in at a junction, there were some pipes we just wouldn't fit down and a couple that we could. So we chose one and made our way to the brook. We came to a second junction with a manhole above us.. but we carried on straight. To get our bearings we stopped for a moment, switched our lights off and listened for the sound of the brook. A feint light could be seen coming from the end of the tunnel. A sound came from behind us, and we froze. The lights were switched on immediately. The panic set in and we scurried towards the light, completely frightened out of our minds! To this day Ben would say he didn't cry, but when we reached the brook there were bars covering our escape. I was a year older, and I really wanted to cry too but I put on my brave face for Ben and went back into the pipes towards the strange sound and the darkness. Ben followed closely behind me, laughing awkwardly to hide his fear. We both knew, we were both scared, and yet we both pretended to be unafraid. We reached the first junction and had to guess which pipe led back to the manhole cover we left open. The noises were coming from the pipe that I thought was the correct way, and Ben insisted on going down the other. As a leader I made my decision and took the scariest route, towards the strange sounds. Then we saw it, the light at the end of the tunnel. We made it safely back to the opening. The noise was just the wind catching on the manhole cover after all. Feeling pretty dumb, we hoisted ourselves out and kicked the cover shut. We burst out into laughter and both said "That, was awesome!".
But we never went down there again...

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