zondag 7 september 2008

Enjoy this story, by my great uncle Albert!

This photo is of Murton school football team in 1915. Albert is back row second from right. he and his four brothers were all great sportsmen, I hope to be able to tell you more about them in the next few posts, but this story I found written by him many years ago stands on its own - I have not edited his words

"Caseys Court” By J A Thompson

Eddie was the oldest and what he said generally went so when one day he said “lets make a tennis court” we all said “right, lets”
That was how great decisions were made in those days, no question of “how” or “where” or “what”. We just said “lets go” and up we went to the pasture fields to pick a site.
Now there were two fields which father rented for grazing and hay making which were a godsend to us lads. We had football, cricket, racing foot and horse. We used to mount the cart horses and once a genuine race horse was grazing there, “Prince Rupert” or something he was called, and he got so fat the cart horses could beat him.
Also we had many a pitched battle with gangs from the neighbouring villages using sun-dried horse droppings for missiles, and some not so dry.
Providing a site for a tennis court was no great burden on these fields and it certainly would improve the tone of the place.
We picked a site on a right angle corner where the hedges would give shelter on two sides and measured up and found a considerable slope which would have to be levelled up – Snag no. 1.
Eddie calculated (he had been to evening classes at Rutherford College) that it would take about 25 tons of earth to level the site. He was about 100 tons wrong, but that neither here nor there.
Remember we had no money so this was a major problem and we immediately went into a “huddle”. A solution eventually emerged. We would ask the council men to dump their loads of ashes on the site! (This was in the days of the ash pits). One of us suggested charging the council 6d a load for the privilege of depositing it, but this suggestion was squashed.
The council men agreed and it took approximately 180 loads to level up. (we had cut and stacked the turf at the side)
After much hard work and plenty scoff from the local Adam the gardener” who said grass would never grow on those ashes we got it levelled and returfed. Did he have to eat his words.
We made a roller by filling a gas engine cooling tank with concrete. Dad bought us a second hand mower, nets and fencing with our pocket money which we had been saving up while the court was in the process of construction. The whole lot amounting to shillings only.
Then came the day for the first play.
What a riot of colours – two of us in butchers blue coats, one in grocers white and one in engineers overalls all splashed with khaki due to two cows having broken through the fence the night before leaving things rather untidy.
We had one glorious day of exhausting tennis and then the weather took a hand.
You see we would roll, cut, and mark the court for playing one night, then it would rain for a couple of days and we had all this to do again before we could play, and did that grass grow!
Altogether I remember we had to work about 2 hours for every hour of tennis we got for we had one of the wettest summers there had been for years.
Now that tennis court is still there and if anyone has a fancy they could rent ot very cheaply. All it needs is fencing, rolling, cutting; marking, cutting; marking, cutting; and marking!

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