April 8, 2016 by Whispering Smith
Whispering Smith Column published in the Littlehampton Gazette 31st March 2016
Way, way back in the day when our lovely beach was girded with barbed wire, jumbled with tank traps and sewn with mines, Mewsbrook’s lake was the only local place to swim and my big sister and her friends swam there on sunny weekend afternoons while I sat on the bank and ate their soggy sandwiches and drank their warm Tizer. I remember quite vividly that she cut her foot rather badly on some underwater broken glass and for a while was forbidden the luxury of the bathing. Later on after the war I recall my father telling me there were big fish in there and I spent hours sitting on the grass with my rod and baited hook not realising it was his way of keeping me out of mischief for an afternoon as there were nothing but minnows and sticklebacks lurking in the weedy waters. When the creaking wooden rowing boats returned it was fun to row around in ever decreasing circles pretending that larger things did actually lurk beneath the keel. Later in life the art deco shelters provided sanctuary for older boys and girls to get up to the mischief that older boys and girls got up to. It is a lovely memory filled park well cared for by both council and a group of local dedicated volunteers. So pleased to see that David Chace, proprietor of the excellent all year round café has, over the Easter holiday, launched a new flotilla of lightweight rowing boats complete with life jackets. I will be there with my now grown up children regaling them, and no doubt boring them, with outrageous stories of dreadful, youthful daring deeds some of them actually true. Of course I will await the finer weather as even the smallest of a ripple on the water these days tends to turn me a little greener that the very lake on which I will row.