Pirates 4, Cars nil

Yesterday afternoon saw our first play street of the school year. It started off like any other play sessions. We had some lovely sunshine …


She did this for three hours on the trot, bless her

… and a facepainter provided an extra subversive element, by churning out a steady supply of pirates.



There was the usual variety of wheeled vehicles.

You can't be too careful, going shopping. Always wear a helmet children

You can’t be too careful going shopping. Always wear a helmet, children

Some were improvised…

Use of a French skipping rope that I hadn't foreseen

Use of a French skipping rope that I hadn’t foreseen

…others were more conventional (except there was a puppy stuffed into the front of one bike and ring-tailed lemur on the back of the other, but, well – whatever).


I lost count how many times these two went up and down. At a very steady pace, perhaps to reassure the stuffed pets

An epic – and purely decorative, non-competitive – game of noughts and crosses started up in one parking space:


Unless it was some sort of scientific formula? Or knitting pattern?

while further up the road some older boys used another parking space as part of their game of ‘Kings’. I’ve never understood the rules, but it was seriously engrossing for the players (and the referee dad, who was sacrificing a world cup game to coach this lot)


Offside!! (or something)

As usual, play had to be suspended and the road cleared roughly every five to ten minutes for residents’ cars to be walked in and out. We’re all used to it and the kids just surge back into the space after the car has passed (although some children have developed a worrying habit of standing in front of an approaching car shouting, ‘I’m roadkill!’ before darting to the pavement. It does look kind of fun if I’m honest).

But this time, on three occasions a car tried to park in the spot to the right of this picture, which is where the ball tended to roll to in their game. So Referee Dad took to pleading with the drivers – ‘Do you think you could possibly park a little further on? We’re playing a game’ – and each time the driver would oblige, to applause from the players.

It was very surreal. Play was taking priority over parking.

Back at the noughts and crosses, a car tried to park RIGHT ON TOP OF IT. But this driver had reckoned without the pirates. You should have seen it – a whole tonne of car backing nervously away from a frantically waving four-year-old with an eye patch, and finding somewhere else to park.


Arrrr! Avast ye, scurvy car-lubbers!!

Because isn’t this a much better use of a parking space?


Kids, or cars. Kids, or cars… Hmm. I think I’ll take the kids. Every time.


2 thoughts on “Pirates 4, Cars nil

  1. That’s how it should be every day in residential streets. It should be taken for granted by drivers that there will be kids in the middle of the road as they come and go. It’s just unfortunate that now there is so much parking where kids live.

    When I was a kid way back in the 50s working class people simply didn’t own cars. They rode bikes, caught the bus or walked. Down my childhood road there were only ever two families that owned a car and had to park on the road and a friend of mine Father used to park an ambulance there during his luch break. Wierd now to think of an ambulance driver being allowed to take the ambulance home for his break. How things have changed.

    Our street was always full of us kids playing skipping, hop scotch, tin pan alley, on bikes, skates and scooters and so on. My Daughter I think must have been the last generation where it was still ok to play outside. My Granddaughters (both grown now) never had the choice, by then residential streets had become the rat runs they are now. I am hoping that by the time my Great Grandchildren come along things will have changed dramatically and all residential streets have once again been claimed back.

    • I realky hope so too. Thanks for that insight into a time thst is hard to imagine now! I just hope that cities get easier to travel around without a car and people don’t bother with private car ownership anymore. That would make a massive difference to everyone’s quality of life.

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