Fell off the back of a lorry
Most, if not all, are familiar with the phrase, “fell off the back of a lorry”. Unlike the common use of this expression, this tale recounts two occasions that relate to the actual meaning of this phrase.
As was often the case, myself and a friend, were playing with our soapbox carts (we called them trolleys) on Church Hill, racing down and then dragging them back up again, ready for another run. Now you have to remember that this was a main thoroughfare back in the ’50s and was used by many vehicles including lorries. Lorries then were not like those of today, many were canvas covered and had a canvas sheet at the rear instead of a tailboard or rear doors.
On the first occasion a lorry was climbing the hill and needed to change down a gear to make the ascent. The driver did this and must have done it wth a jerk, for as he did, a large cardboard box slipped out of the back and onto the road. We “rescued” it, but the lorry was gone by now, so we had a peep inside the box. To our surprise and delight, we found that it was full of cartons of Rice Krispies which we decided we would eat. The whole box must have taken us a whole week to devour, a few handfuls or more each day. We hid the rest in the bushes overnight. Inside each carton was a free gift, a plastic spaceman, in a variety of colours, but the best bit was, they each had a clear plastic space helmet. We kept these and took them home but I don’t recall how we explained (lied) to our mothers where we got them from. I told quite good lies (I thought), not necessarily believable, but imaginative.
The second occasion must have occurred in a similar manner as the first, only this time our “loot” or “prize”, depending upon how you look at it, was a box containing 48 packs of Arctic Wafers. These were like other wafers but white with a mint flavoured centre, just the job for two growing young boys. Between us we consumed the lot, over a period of several days. This left us both feeling more than a little bit sick and with little or no appetite. This caused a problem when dinner time came and we were unable to eat dinner, yet another telling off. To this day I don’t like anything mint flavoured, except maybe After Eights (occasionally). I’m also not fond of Rice Krispies.
I think that the improvement in lorry design may have ruined things for later generations of soapbox racing enthusiasts, but that’s progress.