Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Memories Of Kenny from John Satchell

hi jean,

what a sad day yesterday to read about the passing of kenny laughton.

the laughtons lived very close to us in summervale, and as kids we were often together, me and tony, kenny and pat, specially on sunday afternoons, playing all sorts of street games on the ring (right by our houses), and down the lane.

i can clearly remember when they were laying a huge (to us little 'uns) concrete pipe under the lane, and at the weekends when the workmen weren't around we used to crawl up and down this thing - heedless of any danger, and have all sorts of games "underground".

this memory brings to mind those games of "tracking", when half the gang would run off with a lump of chalk (brought back from lyme regis!), and scrawl arrows and clues around town, to be tracked by the other half of the gang! i remember being totally impressed with gloria dixon who could write her clues in french (she went to the convent!!), whereas the junior school in ditton street didn't stretch to foreign languages!

other stuff i remember with pat and kenny were scrumping, midnight feasts and fishing in "our" beautiful river isle.

anyway, one winter sunday afternoon, when we were about 10 years old, kenny and i were on our bikes, well i was on my dad's bike which was fitted with sturmey archer gears), just cycling up and down summervale making those endless circuits of the green, probably waiting for the walls ice cream van to turn up.

somehow we got it into our two heads that we should go a bit further and maybe ride to lyme regis!!

now lyme is about 17 miles from summervale and certainly way further than we had ever cycled before, and it was a totally crazy idea in retrospect, but hey we were just kids and full of that wonderful optimism and can-do that we had then and seem not to have now!

so without saying a word to anyone, we set off!

first chard, then axminster and finally whoopee, lyme regis!!

of course it was now almost dark, and after messing about on the beach we thought we should "head back!"

pitch dark, no lights on our bikes, about 7 o'clock, we were exhausted and still only a couple of miles out of lyme, and we were getting the feeling that we had been totally stupid!

what to do?

no-one knew where we were and they were probably getting demented back home. we had school the next day, sunday was bath night, and always an early-to-bed night, hell were we in trouble!

on a long hill we were pushing our bikes when out of the dark loomed a red telephone box!

the only people i knew in the whole of somerset with a phone line were the beard family, who lived across the road from us satchells in summervale, but i didn't know their number. luckily i had used a phone before (!!), so i dialled O and blurted out our sad tale of woe to the kind lady who spoke to me.

she called the police and somehow mr and mrs beard were contacted too!

how this saga ended i have no recollection!! it's all a blur, of frantic parents, policemen, vans, cars and no school the next day!

i can't remember any fallout over this. ken and i were certainly not punished, or feted as heroes at school and now he's gone i don't suppose anyone else in the world remembers it!!

maybe i should ask my mum what really happened!!

once again, a very sad bit of news.

i just had a long chat with tony, he was as shocked and sad as me to hear about kenny, and we would both like to send pat our deepest sympathy.

thanks for updating us jean.

take care


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