Tuesday, May 26, 2009

From the river to Germany and back again - my nostalgia trip

From the river to Germany and back again - my nostalgia trip...

It must have been in 1956 - I was about twelve years old then. I was out with my foster family picnicking at one of the Canterbury rivers in New Zealand's South Island. It was mid-summer and it was so hot you could see the heat shimmering and dancing off the river bed stones off into the river itself. The water in the rivers in 1950's New Zealand was pristine, quick flowing, cold and wonderful to drink. You just had to make sure that there had not been any wandering sheep drinking at the waters edge.

After roaming around on my own for some time, creating adventures in which I starred, perhaps as the great white hunter tracking some lion through the river bed, I started throwing stones over the river and into the distance. These became bombs - dropping on German cities (only a decade or so before) from a high flying Lancaster bomber. I was the bomb- aimer one minute, and the pilot the next. The bombing of Germany went on for a long time - but I eventually heard shouting from the other side of the river. The bombing stopped suddenly!

On the other bank of the river a rather powerfully built and tall man in his late thirties was screaming at me; and his hand was dripping with blood. "You stupid little bast...d. You could have killed me!" he screamed again.

I suddenly arrived back in 1956, away from my bombing of Germany fantasy, and realised what I had really done. I had been throwing some pretty big stones into the air and they had actually been landing near and at the feet of some fisherman on a hidden ledge. But one had hit this particular fisherman on the hand, and he was after blood - not that of some trout or salmon - but a twelve year old SOB named Peter. Yeah and the fisherman was on the other side of the river too!


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