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Netta, is a slave.

May 26, 2020

As children we were not encouraged to swim in or play near the water.  Long story short it was a working river not a playground.  However, during the summer holidays we found ways to go under the radar.  Big boys would mud lark. When the tide was very low and the mud exposed in the creeks, they would chuck themselves from one side of the creek to the other trying not to fall in the mud to score a point. However, if you fell in then you would side down to the bottom and scramble to the top, to try again.    When the game was over so a free for all ensued.

As my sisters and I were largely unattended such larks were out off the question.  During the summer holidays my mum might take us with a picnic, down river to a stretch of shingle where we couldn’t build castles but find crabs and little fish and gather cockle shells. Using a rubber ring, we learnt to swim.

I wonder if children and young people over the centuries found time to play in the river. Slide on their bottoms in the creeks or tuck their skirts in their knicker elastic and puddle at the water’s edge while their mum nursed a baby on the bank.  Then have a picnic with jam sandwiches and orange squash as the sun goes down.

This is Netta …

a slave (it is recorded that a slave is buried in Botley) so safe to consider others did come with the Romans and other migrants.  I would like to think she did have opportunity to play with her mum or charges.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 26, 2020 11:43 am

    Not quite understanding the part of the post about Netta, but love the start.

    • May 26, 2020 1:28 pm

      I am an MA student … and I am studying the life on a river … that was isolated for centuries until a bridge was errected in 1800s . Any people who lived there was a migrant there was a dock and ships would come from Europe and north Africa and west African Coast … I am hoping to make some animations and consider children like me who came and went over the cenrtures .. Netta is my slave child .. there are other characters … Thank you for raising the question … it is important I am clear .

      • May 27, 2020 8:01 am

        Netta is a character, got it, thanks for clearing that up. I recall being a MSc student and holding down a part time job and juggling travelling for lectures and family commitments… I hope you are coping, for doing that during this pandemic must be adding a terrifying strain. Bless you.

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