At the bottom of the garden

When I was a young lad – I was 6 or 7 at the time but I can’t remember which – my ‘best mate’ lived a little way down the road in a place called ‘Furness Cottage’. His name was Frederick but his mum always called him ‘Freddie’. In modern terms Freddie was a real ‘nutter’, always getting into trouble, always taking risks – and never getting hurt and, as far as I can remember, never getting blamed for anything. The rest of our gang, and me in particular I seem to recall, were blamed for all the things that we did. He thought it was great fun – well he would, wouldn’t he – when we got told off about the things we did. We always called him ‘Fearless Fred’. I could tell you lots of stories about our little gang but you’ll just have to put up with this one.
It was Monday 13th January 1947, and our last day before we had to go back to school. It was also Fred’s birthday and all our gang were having one last day of fun before the holiday ended. There was Colin, Roger, Steve, Fred and me, and we were playing down at the far end of my Nan’s long back garden. It was a great place to play. Grand-dad had died in 1936 but Nan’s many friends made sure most of her garden was looked after. The far end was a place for garden rubbish, summer bonfires and fun and games for us. At that far end was a hedge and beyond that was an open field. At this time the field had just been ploughed.
On ‘our’ side of the hedge was an old tree. Old but not too big, it ‘sat’ there at the bottom of the garden, leaning at a 45° degree angle. It had been like that for all my years and was a great place for us to have fun on. On this day we were having fun.
‘Fearless Fred’ was the first to climb up the tree; Colin was close behind followed by Roger. I had no head for heights but was next to do the climb. I was just touching Roger when there was a creaking sound and then the tree fell flat onto the ground! Four of us were too much. I picked myself up while Colin and Roger untangled themselves. We were all OK.
We looked for Fred. He was nowhere to be seen. We panicked. Was he under the tree? We had started to pull off the ivy that grew on the trunk of our tree. Then we heard a cry – Fred’s cry. It came from the other side of the hedge!
The falling tree had thrown him over the hedge – or had he jumped?
We all rushed round to the field on the other side and there was Fred – very muddy and laughing his head off!
We gave each other a ‘hands brush down’; left the field and wandered off to have a bit more fun elsewhere. I said nothing to Nan – or Mum & Dad – about it and it was not until the next week that someone realised that the ‘tree and the bottom of the garden’ was lying on the floor. We were ‘so surprised’ by that. ‘How could it have happened?’

Having relived this piece of my past I thought I’d have a look what a January 13th Birthday Astrology had to tell me about my friend of so long ago. Well – this is what I read about individuals with a birthday on this day:
‘Fearless, reckless, eager to meet all life’s challenges sums up January 13th Capricorns, who often lead a tumultuous existence. They often give the impression of being emotionally unstable, but they have the power to learn from their mistakes. They can see the funny side of even the most difficult situation.
Blessed with a pleasing personality and happy disposition, January 13 natives are the envy of friends. They’re witty and have the ability to make others feel good about themselves. Despite a reputation for being frivolous and fickle, they are stable and faithful.
That describes the Freddie I knew to a tee but just to make sure I looked elsewhere and found this one:
‘Being a Capricorn born on January 13th, your loyalty, discipline and intelligence define your personality. Although you may be shy when meeting new people, you are extremely open and loyal in your close relationships. Your friends appreciate your loyalty, but they are inspired by your determination and quick mind. Whenever you are met with a worthwhile challenge, you have the fortitude overcome it
Earth is your sign’s paired element and in fact, of all the zodiac signs, you have the only fundamental relationship with the element. More so than other Earth zodiac signs, you are an active self-starter. Earth’s influence keeps you grounded and realistic in your expectations. Embracing your practical earthly qualities will play a key role in your future successes. Be wary of becoming overly cautious and prudent however, as you may miss valuable life experiences.
The Capricorn’s ruling planet is Saturn, but as you were born in the third Decan, or part, of the sign, you receive planetary influence from Mercury as well. While Saturn’s planetary power is responsible for your discipline, determination and organization, it is Mercury’s influence that relates links to your gifts of communication and mental agility. Your unique combination of planetary influences makes you more intellectually driven than the other Capricorn Decans. In love, you dedicate yourself fully and faithfully, but may have trouble letting go of the past. If a loved one has wronged you, try not to hold grudges, as this will only increase your unhappiness.
Your natural abilities are well-suited for a variety of careers, but narrowing your choices down to one may be difficult. Your intellectual pursuits may lead you down such paths as teaching, history, or philosophy. Similarly, if helping others is your passion, you may do well in politics or counselling.

This is all very nice and informative but it’s 60-plus years ago that this all happened.  We moved away the following year and soon after Nan came to live with us.  I lost touch with all the gang I’ve talked about here.  That’s life I suppose.


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