On special weekends, Father would allow us to go scrumping for apples from Mr Hitler’s concrete trees. My brother, Dorigen, would fire as many arrows at the stems of the apples as his battered hands could manage. He was an ace shot and the apples always landed on the razor-sharp grass with a satisfying groan.
It was then my job to knock on Mr Hitler’s front door to ask for the arrows back. “Excuse me, Mr Hitler, but Dorigen was practising for next week’s Junior Olympics and I think that one of his arrows might have accidentally landed in your garden. Please could I go and get it?”
Mr Hitler (“Call me Martin!”) was very obliging and would always let me try and negotiate my way through his booby-trapped garden, while he watched from a safe distance behind his favourite shaking bush. I’d usually come away needing a few stitches, and on more than one occasion I lost an eye, but it was always worth it for one of Mr Hitler’s concrete apples.
As Dorigen and I bit hard into them, teeth would go flying everywhere, and Mother would run into the kitchen wearing her paramedic outfit, sometimes leaving Father in the dungeon for several hours before remembering to untie him.
Nowadays, parents are far too over-protective and won’t let their children anywhere near television presenters.