Sunday, 12 June 2011

Fun on the Slope

I set off this morning to visit my parents in Cottingham in East Yorkshire, about seven miles away to take a few pictures of the village bathed in sunlight accompanied by my son. We set off in glorious hot sunshine with clear skies quite early on, but with the threat of rain forecast later in the day around 1 pm.

As I sit here and write this as tea is cooking in the kitchen next door, it is literally chucking it down. God is throwing water down in bucket loads! The cats, sensibly, are curled up indoors.

Now what does the above picture mean to you? It is slightly confusing because it on an incline downwards away from me although this isn't clear on the picture. In some places it's called a 'service road' behind some houses; some call it a ten-foot (because it's ten foot wide) or an eight-foot (same theory) or a snicket.

It's a slope. It's the 'slope.' That's what we called it when I was a kid. It's a path from Exeter Street in Cottingham towards a footpath that leads you either to the railway station nearby or towards Hull. The Hull University grounds are on the other side of the wall at the bottom which carries a lovely lake, woods and botanical grounds.

Where it leads to is not so important as what that 'slope' meant to me and my childhood friends. My grandparents lived in a house to the left of the picture at the top and I spent a huge amount of time there during my childhood and formative years. The 'slope' was a race track, for running competitions, for barrow racing (a plank of wood with old pram wheels), for rolling pennies and marbles down. You could watch the trains pass just thirty or forty yards away across the gardens on the right hand side of the 'slope,' (and yes I can remember steam trains!)

You could hide in the hedges either side of the 'slope' while playing hide and seek, and we built dens in the overgrown gardens (where there is now wooden fencing.) We drew hopscotch grids with chalk and used stones from the gardens for our throws, we drew faces and wrote funny things. You could reach through a gap underneath the concrete panelled fence at the bottom of the 'slope' and catch tiddlers in the stream that fed the lake in the University grounds.

Ah, joyous and innocent years.

31 years ago in a couple of weeks time, I moved into my first marital house in Exeter Street, just thirty yards from my beloved 'slope.'

Below is just a quick picture of St Mary's church in Cottingham where I got married, and it looked lovely in the sun this morning with the flag of St George flying aloft, probably still acknowledging the official birthday of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth ll.

Hope you have enjoyed the weekend, Monday beckons! My last week at work before a fortnight off.

Chat soon



  1. Lovely childhood memories - do children still play on the slope or have some daft health and safety rules stopped it?

  2. I like the word snicket as a description of your 'slope'. It sounds more British, or to be particular, more Yorkshire- ish, or should it be more Yorkshirely. I'm sure there is a better word, or more correct, but I'm too tired tonight to think very hard. Our June gloom makes me feel sleepy.

  3. Hi Weaver
    To be honest - I haven't been down there for years, but I don't get the impression of it being used for games any more, but then the kids are more likely to be playing on computers etc.

    Hi ChrisJ
    'Snicket' is a great word isn't it? I used to think at one time that it was fairly local to Yorkshire and it usually meant a footpath bordered by hedges rather than a tenfoot type road. But I think it is used elsewhere.