As a young adventurous teenager living on the Norwood Estate just after WWII, like many I spent hours and days playing in Roe Wood (Victoria Park) with my school friends.
Like today, the deciduous trees grew healthily from Longley Avenue on the south-facing side of the brook creating a summer canopy right down to Herries Road adjacent to the houses on the Norwood Estate.
However, a stark contrast existed across the brook right up to the Atlas & Norfolk Sports Ground (now SUFC).
On this north-facing side, all the trees were dead, it was said due to the air pollution from the Neepsend Power Station.
Only holly seemed to survive and thrive, which today is surrounded by new tree growths vastly changing a once open landscape.
Having on previous occasions watched older teenagers fell a dead tree, one day four of us decided to try it for ourselves.
We commenced rocking a 50ft high dead tree at its roots by many repetitive pushes until succeeding with a final prolonged push.
After felling two more dead tree giants we were approached by the park keeper who was daily based at the nearby allotments, a very understanding adult.
After a calm night, one of my friends blamed last night’s winds, but noticing the position of the three horizontal trees the keeper replied: “Which one, the West, the North or the East?”
Our parents never got to know and no doubt the park keeper had a tale to tell.
Around that time when air-raid shelters were being dismantled, a group of us sledged from the top of Shirecliffe on a corrugated shelter component about a quarter of a mile right down to Herries Road and lived to tell the tale, complete with all of our fingers.
Just one parked car, no gritters, no fear, no appreciation of danger, but plenty of snow and innocent fun.
A happy and safe new year to all.
Mike Dodgson of Marchwood