Three brothers growing up with only a couple of years between them ensured a competitive, but loving rivalry. Edwin was the oldest, John next, then me.
I remember playing John at marbles, a game we played regularly. We would draw a circle in the clay and put our own marbles in the circle. The object of the game was to shoot out as many marbles as possible; you kept your turn if you managed to knock a marble out of the circle. This particular day, John had managed to win the right to go first. We had 16 marbles each in the circle, (that was a lot for me), and off he went. I never got a shot; he knocked them all out and walked away with the lot.
Beaten by the better man, I could just about take it and maybe I could have if I had not detected a smile breaking out on John’s face. Although I understood his joy and happiness, a smile was not on. I had just put all my marbles into the circle and had lost every last one! John was edging his way from the circle with ‘my marbles’, I was upset, rattled and angry. I looked for something, anything to throw at him. There it was a half a brick. As I picked it up, John was on his way, the half brick in my hand followed him like an Exocet missile, it bounced off his head at pace, a truly wonderful strike.
I still to this day marvel at the throw, even more so than John’s clearance. Rightly so, I did receive a ticking off from our mum for cutting John’s head, however I have to say John, you were wrong to smile, shame on you!