• Sun
  • Aug 24, 2014
  • Updated: 1:05am

Youth gives write stuff

PUBLISHED : Friday, 27 November, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 27 November, 1998, 12:00am

Some of the finest literature in the English language is based on childhood memories.


My favourite books include: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens. What are the childhood classics you enjoy? It is the duckling season in Christchurch and dozens of these new-born babies can be seen around the Avon River, which runs through our city.


We were having a barbecue on our friends' lawn when sud denly some ducklings scuttled under the fence.


Mother duck was too big to follow them through, so we had quite a job re-uniting the ducklings with their mum.


For some reason the duckling season always recalls the golden days of my childhood. Suburbs in Christchurch are a little bit like those in England, especially London, where the villages have all grown together to make a single city.


In fact some of the Christchurch suburbs, such as Sydenham, which was once a borough, have English namesakes.


St Albans, where I was born and brought up, was named after an English saint and town. Shopping centres on main roads and churches of several Christian denominations are often the focal points of these suburbs.


The corner dairy shop of my youth has become a home and the suburban cinema is now a supermarket.


At the end of my old street - Carrington Street, where I was born and bred - there was a special place called Malvern Park. On Saturdays it still fields four games of cricket - juniors in the morning, and women in the afternoon.


Malvern Park was where we flew our kites on windy days. On Guy Fawkes Day, November 5, the whole community come down to the park to light their fireworks.


It is strange that the British Gunpowder Plot of the early 1600s is still celebrated here. Early the next day, children can be seen scavenging for unexploded crackers.


In recent years, many youths have been injured or maimed when using fireworks unsupervised.


Malvern Park was where we learned to play rugby.


Sometimes our games involved a retarded 20-year-old called Rex, who had a ball, and wore the Canterbury provincial strip. Once he got too rough when he wouldn't allow a try- scorer to kick his own conversion. So our parents stopped poor old Rex playing with us.


Nearly every child in Christchurch owns a bicycle because our flat open city makes cycling easy. Push bikes, as we call them, give every child over 10 years of age a great sense of freedom.


My father cycled from Christchurch's Brighton Beach to his school and back every day - a distance of 15 kilometres each way.


During school holidays we would cycle to the market gardens on the outskirts of the city and earn pocket money picking peas, strawberries, and apples.


These jobs aren't available so much nowadays due to mechanisation, and when they are, university students usually snap them up ahead of school children.


Mr Williams is a New Zealand writer who works for The Press DEFYD WILLIAMS remembers his childhood when flying kites, cycling and a game of rugby or cricket were all part of the city life

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