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Innocent, or maybe not so innocent, childhood pastimes.


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Just watching a programme on tv about the bomb disposal squad and it got me thinking about some of the things I used to get up to as a kid in the 50’s & 60’s from 10 years old until about 14. They were talking about IED’s made by a member of the public and I wondered just what they’d have made of the things me and my best pal did.
I remember us making pipe bombs from weed killer and sugar mixed then packed into a copper pipe with the ends crimped. A small hole drilled in the side and a Jetex fuse would provide the ignition needed and oh boy did they go!😱🙈

I remember at the time seeing a news report about Molotov cocktails, so obviously that was something that needed investigating and perfecting too! 🙈
Add to that, cramming an entire pack of toy gun caps into a large hexagon nut with a bolt screwed in either side plus packing a load of penny bangers into a tin can and I imagine today I’d be considered a terrorist in the making. 
Oh and there was also the broken air pistol my mother was happy for me to play with, until I managed to repair it, whereupon she went ballistic and confiscated it. 😂
Seemingly innocent, albeit potentially lethal, pleasures from my childhood that would be viewed somewhat differently today. 
What did the rest of you get up to that would be severely frowned upon today?
 

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My son was also quite ‘experimental’ during his youth and had his fair share of scrapes.  One incident I always recall was after he passed his driving test. On his last day of school after A levels

I'd had over 70 stitches by the time I was 16!

I grew out of this phase (I hope) by my mid-50s but for a while my family was convinced that it was my life's ambition to be 10% scar tissue, by weight

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23 minutes ago, Spinney said:

Jetex fuse

Yes, I remember that too.  came in a little tin.   Got the recipie for gunpowder from one of the original Star Trek episodes!    From then on we experimented trying to make rocket fuel, with varying degrees of success.  Of course made 'Genies' and banger guns from fireworks and I once had the 'exitement' of setting off a real parachute flare in dad's vice - that was a scary 20 seconds!   Also made smoke bombs from ping pong ball celluloid wrapped up in silver paper?!   We also enjoyed the low budget approach of setting fires and piling wet leaves on top!.    Can also remember larking about and setting fire to, and dropping a petrol can in the street.   That was pretty spectacular fireball!!!   Other hobby was climbing buildings and I still have cold sweats about sliding down a very high pitched roof and being saved only by the guttering.   Then there were marbles & ball bearings in our catapults....   Urban exploration of slum clearance in and around Middlesbrough.  I thought growing up in the 1970's was brilliant     

 

 

 

 

    

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7 minutes ago, 910Esprit said:

Yes, I remember that too.  came in a little tin.   Got the recipie for gunpowder from one of the original Star Trek episodes!    From then on we experimented trying to make rocket fuel, with varying degrees of success.  Of course made 'Genies' and banger guns from fireworks and I once had the 'exitement' of setting off a real parachute flare in dad's vice - that was a scary 20 seconds!   Also made smoke bombs from ping pong ball celluloid wrapped up in silver paper?!   We also enjoyed the low budget approach of setting fires and piling wet leaves on top!.    Can also remember larking about and setting fire to, and dropping a petrol can in the street.   That was pretty spectacular fireball!!!   Other hobby was climbing buildings and I still have cold sweats about sliding down a very high pitched roof and being saved only by the guttering.   Then there were marbles & ball bearings in our catapults....   Urban exploration of slum clearance in and around Middlesbrough.  I thought growing up in the 1970's was brilliant     

 

 

 

 

    

Ah I’d forgotten about ball bearings in a catapult. 😂 We would light a banger or a Jumping Jack and use a catapult to launch those too. 
Old Airfix WW2 model planes would be packed with weed killer and sugar, Jetex fuse lit, then taped to the back of a rocket to be launched into the fields beyond  our house. 

Such fun to be had!😂

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I'd had over 70 stitches by the time I was 16! :lol:

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8 hours ago, Bibs said:

I'd had over 70 stitches by the time I was 16! :lol:

I grew out of this phase (I hope) by my mid-50s but for a while my family was convinced that it was my life's ambition to be 10% scar tissue, by weight

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I made a throwing star out of scaple blades which I took to high school cause this boy wanted to get me!

Made those ace bangers where you took a reel of caps folded along the whole length wrapped around a 2p and wrapped them in tape so the whole lot would go off when they hit the ground. They were pretty loud.

Aerosol cans on the fire where fun they would often explode and put the fire out.

I used to like putting talcum powder down the barrel of my mates air riffle so when you fired it looked like a 18th century flint lock musket!

I used to pour gun oil in my air riffle barrel and leave it in the sunshine to create dieseling effect when you shot it. Ive since found from youtube a much more reliable technique is to fill the skirt of the slug with vaseline.

I once made an illumination flare with powder from some fireworks and a couple of reels of magnesium I had. 

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Ah yes air rifles.... did you also make slugs from crushed aluminium foil, these could be used to 'safely' shoot your mates!   

Forgot to mention the self combusting incendiary devices powered by potassium permanganate and glycerin.   Then got into motorbikes from around 13, when you could pick up old mopeds and british bikes for peanuts.  That was the next chapter of youth, from which I didn't emerge unscathed.  

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Used to put asbestos sheeting on a bonfire and watch it explode.

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1 hour ago, Buddsy said:

wrapped around a 2p

I always knew you were from posh stock :lol:

We used to thrown chuck of sodium and magnesium from the school chemistry lab into the school pool! Got in lots of trouble for that, several times!

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I must admit I wondered about the title to this topic!!!!! 

Used to set fire to black plastic bags on a stick and they would drip making little "Wzzzzz" noises if you swung it around it got louder. I have the scars on my arm to prove it after it fell off and stuck to my arm.

Used to put bangers in the boys toilets in school.

When next door complained we were being too noisy on Fireworks night we aimed rockets at his house and put bangers in his letter box. Our parents had to foot the bill as we destroyed his front porch and blew holes in his Guttering.

When I was 6 I lived next door to Ketteringham Hall in the old Vicarage. In the woods there, while digging for treasure, me and my brother found a box of 50 cal bullets and also belts of them, obviously set up for WW2 American bombers. Not knowing they were live and being idiot children we hammered them into a rotten old tree stump with stones. Of Course they were live and seeing the horrified look on my fathers face when he came to see where we were and then the Police and disposal units turning up because "Some idiot child has actually hammered these into a rotten tree stump and NOT blown his arm off". 

Ahhh Inocent times!

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One night at school, I remember we put all the class room desks and chairs on the flat roofs, wrapping mountains of bog roll around all the trees and pissing all over the staff room carpet. 

Happy memories. 

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I think I must have had a thing about explosives as I remember me and a pal having fun with Nitrogen triiodide in the chemistry lab at school. It’s a brilliant contact explosive that you could paint in small patches on the floor, let it dry and then watch the fun when anybody walks on it! It is hugely volatile and gives off a bright maroon cloud of smoke when detonated. 
Much fun to be had with that!

It’s a wonder I kept in 1 piece to get old! 😂

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These stories have brought back many memories of a misspent youth :D

One "experiment" during my formative years resulted in a mates dad's garage having no windows, we were not popular that day!  We got shouted at quite a bit for that one, but we didn't hear much of what was said, or anything else for a good few days afterwards.  My mate has since gone on to be an award winning Chemist and beyond all odds, he is still alive.

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Fortunately my Dad was as big of a kid as I was so pretty much did everything of the above (minus the asbestos on the fire). I also used to make my own gunpowder and fireworks (my father gave the list of excuses to give the Pharmacist when buying Salt Peter) but this was eventually banned by my Mum when I tried to dry the mixture in the oven as I could never get the rocket motors to work well enough. My Dad also built a Pulse jet for us that we used to start with my Nan's Vacuum cleaner until the engine back fired and blew up the vacuum cleaner. We also had a train set that went through the house walls into different rooms.

Oh and 'Five Pints' on the bonfire was quite impressive.

I think my Mum was very long suffering whilst my dad was all for things that were 'Educational and fun'. Oh and hot air balloons were also banned as we regularly destroyed my Mums mops as they were used as launch platforms.

The final thing my father was building was a 5" gauge version of one of my trains on my trainset but this all came to a crashing end when my mum was diagnosed with Cancer and later died.

Unfortunately we do not have kids but if we did they would done all this and more!

A fitting tribute to my Dad at his best - his loco still runs at Mote Park in Maidstone for people to ride:

image.png.710ccb408abec8f1e3b5b43ceea5cfd5.png

A bloody good childhood in my opinion.

Oh and not to forget setting off piles of Cordite in the garden from machine gun bullets recovered from a crashed Flying Fortress and Hurricane. 🙂 - aaanndd the unexploded Naval shell I found when mooching around the Kent marshes - unfortunately the bomb disposal guy wouldn't let me keep it (most unfair) - and the list goes one - Happy Days!

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I learnt that hydrogen explodes rather than has a Bunsen burner like jet, when I innocently lit the rubber tube, with by ciggie lighter,  during a chemistry lesson when we were generating hydrogen. The end of the glass tube shot along 6 inches above the the desk - a good 25 feet, and the boy who happened to be walking past the end of the desk at that moment, actually caught it. I have no idea how I got away with that as I don't remember any punishment - I think we innocently said "it just went pop sir".

The boy who caught it was crap at all sports, and I think this was the only projectile he managed to catch the whole time at the school.

The year above me, on the last day of school before their A levels, stole a teachers car overnight and somehow managed to get it into the assembly hall. My year was threatened with instant expulsion if "anything" occurred on our last day :(

 

 

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