Dangerous Pastimes

Photo copyright: Ted S

Photo copyright: Ted Strutz.

Acrid smoke touched my throat, whilst a pungent smell saluted my nose. Bone dry dust surrounded me, lifted by the heat coming from the buried detritus of humanity. It might have been a surreal landscape, except for the fact that it was populated by my friends from the Brookhill gang. We visited most days crossing the worn planks that functioned as a bridge for the strangely clad men in their beaten up vehicles that arrived most days to deposit more unwanted gems from the community. Gems which the gang recycled. Including old bikes which in time we would refashion into dreams.

Genre: Memoirs.

This Post Has 31 Comments

  1. neilmacdon

    Post apocalyptic and whimsical. That’s a hard mixture, but you did it

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Neil. I have very many memories of the Brookhill gang.

  2. Christine Goodnough

    Enjoyed this glimpse into another world and seeing the ingenuity of the human spirit, the will to survive no matter what.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Christine. The Brookhill gang certainly had some adventures.

  3. rochellewisoff

    Dear Michael,

    It sounds like you were a bit of a wild child. I’m sure you have many more adventures to share. Nicely done.



    1. Michael Humphris

      Living in a rural setting I was fortunate to be given quite a lot of freedom.

  4. anuragbakhshi

    What a neat story. Even the most unwanted of ‘gems’ can be converted into gems by the unappreciated gems of the society.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Gems which I could occasional sell for pocket money or visits to the cinema

  5. Lynn Love

    Recycling other people’s trash into gems – a worthwhile calling. Nicely done Michael

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Lynn, sadly then it was not a calling; for usually I had a need for cash, like raising funds to visit the cinema

      1. Lynn Love

        Well, we all do what we need to get by and there was some powerful drive an initiative shown there!

        1. Michael Humphris

          Sadly sometimes I fail in harnessing that drive.

          1. Lynn Love

            Ha! Don’t we all Michael. When the year turns to spring, things will be easier on that front 🙂

          2. Michael Humphris

            Let’s hope so. Now if I could sell stories like I once was able to sell recycled goods.

          3. Lynn Love

            Ah, wouldn’t we all like to sell stories easily!

          4. Michael Humphris

            That’s so true.

          5. Lynn Love


  6. granonine

    My husband would do well in that scenario. He’s the original “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” guy. Good story.

    1. Michael Humphris

      When needed over the years I have managed to raise quite a lot of pocket money from items which have been thrown away.

  7. Kelvin M. Knight's blog

    There is a familiar feel to this unfamiliar story… deja vu… maybe… I liked the tone… the style…

    1. Michael Humphris

      Kevin the Brookhill Gang inspires some of my writing, so I am grateful for this feedback.

  8. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    With the right source of wheels dreams have no limits… love your memories.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you Bjorn, it was great to be able to share this memory.

  9. michaelwynnauthor

    This has quite a surreal quality about it, Michael. I enjoyed it very much.

    1. Michael Humphris

      Thank you so much Michael,

  10. Sandra

    For some, the sight of a junk tip can unleash creative tendencies hitherto unrecognised. Good one.

    1. Michael Humphris

      I only wish that my art teacher had known that. Wishing you a creative new year. Mike

  11. pennygadd51

    A vivid and accurate account of ‘totting’ on a landfill. A dangerous pastime, Michael!

    1. Michael Humphris

      It’s a long time since I have seen that word ‘totting’, But you are right it was a dangerous thing to do. There was a lot of lead and worse lying around, and there where accidents. However when I look back, totting was one of the least dangerous activities I got up too!

  12. patriciaruthsusan

    A vivid word picture of life many years after some large conflict no doubt. I could see it in my mind. Good writing, Michael. 🙂 — Suzanne

    1. Michael Humphris

      Suzanne, It was good to know how the story came across as you read it. However this particular story was factual, indeed it was me in the 1950s ‘totting’ on a burning rubbish tip. I was a bit of a ragamuffin, although I had caring and loving parents.

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