"10.35 and I hope I’ve made the right decision.
Heart is beating;
But I don’t call this living."
"Don’t go in the bamboo!" These were the chilling words of warning I’d hear endless times as a kid. From my parents. From my teachers. Everyone seemed spooked by bamboo. These days it’s all pubescent vampires and post-apocalyptic zombies. Back in the Seventies it was giant grass.
There were tales. Told by flickering candlelight on cruel October nights. Well, some of them. Others were told under the flickering school hall strip lights in morning assembly. Of children being shredded alive by running through the bamboo patch on the school playing field. "Hold it there! What?!" Yes, exactly. I’m not sure who the school thought they were fooling with this. How come these grisly deaths by menacing perennial evergreens never appeared in the local paper? And why didn’t they just chop the bamboo patch down? I’m pretty sure our Head Master was cribbing his assembly notes from a Stephen King book.
And then there was the Bamboo Man. Who lived in the woods near our house. Apparently. "Stay away from the Bamboo Man!" "Is he made of bamboo then?" "Er, no. He lives in the bamboo." "Well, the name needs some work." Of course, the tales of a Bamboo Man just made you want to play in the woods even more. Would we see him? What did he eat? Did he steal those Micronauts I hid in the silver birch last week?
It would seem Bamboo Man was only visible to adults though, as none of us kids ever spotted him. Despite continually throwing rocks and assorted masonry in to the bamboo to flush him out. Kids, eh?
Three decades later though, I hear he’s still dwelling there. Well, that’s what my eleven-year-old nephew has been told. Surely this must be Son Of Bamboo Man by now though? And why is all this bamboo still around? Is someone panda farming in the area? Don’t people own scythes anymore?
P.S. It's always a delight when I open an album sleeve and some forgotten treasure spills out. Today it was this 12-page catalogue...