After reading an extract from a new Nikki Gemmell book about her Australian childhood memories and the contrast with her own children's lives, I decided to think back to my own life as a kid in the seventies in rural South Australia. Here's what memories come floating back to the surface.
Icy poles after swimming lessons at the Booleroo Centre pool, Sunday roast chicken with mashed potato and boiled vegetables and playing cricket in the farmyard with my sister and brother (we used a real Kookaburra cricket ball; no pads or hats). Firing a slug gun at a friend's tenth birthday party, being the only kid in Grade Five at the local rural school and summer tans that ended at the ankles due to the constant wearing of elastic sided Blundstone workboots on the farm. Minding sheep on the roadside for hours to give them a "free feed", sitting in the car after church waiting for my parents to stop talking to the other parishioners and wading for a kilometre at Port Germein beach to get to waist high water.
Golden North icecream with stewed apricots, stomping down bales of wool at shearing time in July and chopping out thistles in the home paddock. (It was always the neighbour's fault that there were so many thistles because he let them go to seed and blow across the fenceline every year.)
Meat pies from the local bakery where you could take the top "lid" off and let the gravied mince cool for a while, watching the Top Ten on Countdown every Sunday evening. Learning to crack a whip at the cows and getting a whack on my bare calves when I got it wrong. Sitting in the wheat truck with my father on the way to the Port Pirie siloes hoping that the queue would pit us outside the Sportsman's Tavern so my dad would get a lunchtime schooner of beer and I would would get an ice cold lemon squash made the old fashioned way - lemonade with a dash of Bickford's lemon cordial.
I could go on ... but I won't. What about you? What are your essential childhood memories?