A load of tyres had been found in a garage adjoining the play site.  The door had been broken open a long time before, and these tyres appeared inside.  The children had brought them up, rolling them out of the garage and stacking against the wall between, climbing up and throwing them over.  Smaller children puffed, pushing black rubber hoops as big as they were in the gaps between school and tea, and on the weekends.


There were fifty or more of these tyres sent rolling across the tarmac and falling one on top of the other.  When we arrived they were scattered, some stacked into tall tubes, some in little conversational heaps.

“We made the best clubhouse out of these,” one girl told me, pointing at where it had been.  “We piled up loads and made walls, there were jails to put people in and you could climb really high to look out.  It was a wheel house.  We went to the little shop to buy some food but we didn’t have enough money, but this nice lady bought us a big chocolate bar, and we all came back to eat it.

Later the children piled them up to clamber over, in a giant wobbling heap that caught at ankles and stained the palms with rubber.  They sat at the top, chatting and giggling, before dismantling the whole thing and rolling them out of the centre, towards the wall or back down the hill.

By the next week they were gone, and the new enthusiasm was sliding down a paved slope on cardboard sleds.