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Folklore: Alley climbing.

Steve Gardham 11 Aug 14 - 04:31 PM
GUEST, topsie 11 Aug 14 - 04:46 PM
GUEST, topsie 11 Aug 14 - 04:48 PM
Steve Gardham 11 Aug 14 - 05:28 PM
GUEST, topsie 12 Aug 14 - 03:20 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Aug 14 - 03:36 AM
Black belt caterpillar wrestler 12 Aug 14 - 03:46 AM
GUEST 12 Aug 14 - 04:13 AM
MartinRyan 12 Aug 14 - 04:19 AM
Jim Carroll 12 Aug 14 - 04:26 AM
MartinRyan 12 Aug 14 - 04:53 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Aug 14 - 01:16 PM
MartinRyan 12 Aug 14 - 02:51 PM
Rob Naylor 12 Aug 14 - 05:46 PM
Don Firth 12 Aug 14 - 06:43 PM
Jim Carroll 13 Aug 14 - 02:07 AM
Don Firth 13 Aug 14 - 02:31 PM
Steve Gardham 13 Aug 14 - 05:09 PM
GUEST, topsie 13 Aug 14 - 05:30 PM
Don Firth 13 Aug 14 - 05:57 PM
GUEST 14 Aug 14 - 07:35 AM
Steve Gardham 14 Aug 14 - 10:03 AM
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Subject: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 04:31 PM

Anyone remember climbing up narrow alleyways right up to the housetops using 2 distinct methods? The most usual was back pressed up to one wall and walk legs up the opposite wall, similar to walking a barge through a narrow tunnel. The other method was quicker, spread-eagling up with a hand and a leg to each wall. We used to use it when playing hide and seek games. You could lock your legs and stay up for quite a while.

Pretty dangerous but I don't ever remember anyone falling.

1950s Hessle Road, Hull, Yorkshire.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 04:46 PM

My children tell me they did it between the houses here, 1970s/1980s.
I never saw it (too busy cooking, washing etc. and typing for a living, while they were 'free-ranging' outside).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 04:48 PM

PS   They all survived.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 11 Aug 14 - 05:28 PM

Where's here, Topsie?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 03:20 AM

England - north-east Hampshire


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 03:36 AM

In Liverpool, one of these blood-sports was for two lads to climb onto opposite back-garden walls (about 8 to ten foot high) in an alley, (we called them back-entries or jiggers, in Manchester they called them ginnels) and race along the top of them to see who would finish first and get the furthest.
It was popular until the posher people started to build sheds and garages into the walls, buggering up the line of our race-tracks.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: Black belt caterpillar wrestler
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 03:46 AM

My father told me about finding pupils twenty feet up between the walls of a corridor with a stairway in it while he was teaching in the old Huish's Grammar School Taunton. He was worried that the surprise of discovery would make them fall.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 04:13 AM

Me, about the most I can manage is freestyle kerb hanging. Bloody steep those pavements...


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: MartinRyan
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 04:19 AM

Jim

Yeah - there was a lane at the back of our house in Dublin which served the same purpose!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 04:26 AM

Wonder if we're up to it now!!
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: MartinRyan
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 04:53 AM

If the arthritis didn't get us - the vertigo would!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 01:16 PM

Unfortunately we couldn't get far on the top of the wall run as most of the ones where I lived had broken glass set in concrete on them.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: MartinRyan
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 02:51 PM

Back in Dublin, back in the day, a wall set with broken glass along the top was known as a "Protestant wall"! 'nuff said!

;>)>

Regards


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: Rob Naylor
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 05:46 PM

Steve:

In rock-climbing we call the "back/ legs" technique "chimneying" or "back-and-footing".

The "hand and foot on each side" technique is called "bridging" ( or "stemming" in the USA).


Bridging

Chimneying


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: Don Firth
Date: 12 Aug 14 - 06:43 PM

I don't know of any alleys in my area (Seattle, Washington, USA) where the buildings are close enough together to allow someone to do any "bridging" or "chimneying." But every now and then….

I live only a few blocks from Volunteer Park, which features a large brick watertower near the South entrance. One day after work, I drove through the park, observed the antics of the people, squirrels, crows, then drove out the south end to head home. As I neared the watertower CLICKY, I spotted some guy more than halfway to the top, splayed out like Spiderman and groping with one hand for another handhold….

Oy!!

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 02:07 AM

In the days of wall-running, all the lads wore short trousers
You could always tell the 'veterans of the sport by the line of scars on the inside of their legs from where they had lost their footing, causing them to go down on one knee and having the other leg slide down the wall, scraping the bricks as it went - makes me clench my knees together to remember the 'brick-burns'.
The scars were the 'gold, silver and bronze' medals of my childhood.
The Irish Travellers we recorded told us of how, when a group of families camped together they would have their own 'Traveller sports': wrestling, running, pole-throwing. long-jumping, tug-o'-war, stone putting, climbing... and other competitions.
When they camped near densely wooded areas, one of these was 'tree-racing'.
Men would climb to the topmost parts of trees and scramble and leap from one to another, the winner being the man who could travel the furthest distance at the highest point without touching the ground.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 02:31 PM

Wow! "Tree racing" sounds a bit atavistic, sort of a throwback to our simian ancestors....

One word you don't want to utter while engaged in that sport is, "OOPS!!"

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 05:09 PM

Don't know about atavistic, but definitely Avataristic! Would have loved this one. The nearest I've got is leaping from rock to rock on rocks piled at a cliff base.

Our version of bridging didn't involve any groping for handholds as there weren't any. The climb was achieved by sheer pressure on the rough surface of the bricks. There may have been a little bit of leverage where the mortar had shrunk between the bricks but not much and this was not relied on. In order to achieve the bridging the ascent and descent had to be pretty rapid although once a required height was reached it was possible to hold the position for a while.

'Chimneying' was a much more leisurely affair and you could lock yourself in position at any stage and hold for as long as your stamina lasted.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: GUEST, topsie
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 05:30 PM

Another activity my wayward children have told me about now they are safely grown up is 'Birch diving' - it seems they would get onto the garage roof and transfer to the birch tree, which would bend over and gently deposit them on the ground (no wonder it's a funny shape).


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: Don Firth
Date: 13 Aug 14 - 05:57 PM

I was thinking of atavistic as "relating to or characterized by reversion to something ancient or ancestral," and the miscellaneous connections didn't occur to me at the time I wrote it.

"Avataristic!" Good shot! It works!

Thanks for the reminder, Steve. Great movie. I think I'll put that on my Netflix list and watch it again.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 07:35 AM

we did this and in the passage next to my parents house in Cleethorpes if you look up you can still see the things we wrote on the roof.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Alley climbing.
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 14 Aug 14 - 10:03 AM

Just a gentle reminder to all contributors, it can be helpful to folklorists and nerds like me when you post a piece of folklore like this if you give a rough place and date when these things occurred.


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