Our house had a long back yard, surfaced with tiles. These had been laid on a bed of foundry ash. Many of them were loose and fairly easily lifted. My father had just completed, with my help (getting in the way, he said) changing the old wash-house into a large kitchen. One of the things that we put in was a long picture window. That and the loose tiles gave me an idea. I now knew exactly where I was going to put my garden. I measured the new kitchen wall. There was enough room to make a bed 12 feet long and 3 feet wide. Only 36 square feet, but it was the best I was going to get. Somehow I had to prove that nobody would miss that part of the yard and that Mum could still hang out her washing. First of all I filled the area with my go-cart (wooden box, plank and pram wheels), bits of bicycle and lots of other things. None of it was quite rubbish, that would have been given to the binmen. The soil was another problem all together. One Saturday morning at the beginning of March, Stew, my best friend, came into the yard. "The Sycamore Avenue gang have challenged us to a game of Rugby on the Rec. field, are you fit?" He asked. I was always ready to play Rugby, except at school. "When?" "This afternoon," said Stew. "Simon's gone to call for everyone else." "We need more than seven, there's at least twenty of them." I said. "I know," replied Stew. "You and me have got to go and ask the Foster St. mob if they want to play." "OK! Mum, I'm off out." After my sledding troubles I had to keep her informed of my whereabouts. She came to the back door, "Where to?" "Down Foster Street to make up a Rugby team. Can I play this afternoon on the Rec field?" I was hopeful. I had been good....ish. She nodded, "Be careful." “OK, Mum. See you later." It did not take long to round up six bodies from Foster Street and after lunch we met the Sycamore Rd. Gang on the Recreation ground. This was an area of Rugby and Football pitches owned by the Council. They did not stop us using the pitches on Weekdays as long as we kept well away from the Cricket square and any mid week proper games, which we did. It was not far from home. Simon said. "I'll be captain." "No, you won't" said Noddy. "It's my ball so I'm captain." Simon muttered but had to agree. Noddy tossed up and won which was no surprise as he used his special coin. The game began. It lasted all of five minutes. While all the players stood in a circle arguing about the rules a man came out of one of the gardens of the houses that backed onto the field. He was pushing a wheelbarrow full of garden rubbish. This he tipped onto a mound of soil at the edge of the field. Obviously seeing and hearing the argument he left the barrow and came over to us. "Now then!" He said. "What's going on here?" The position was explained to him. "Right," he said. "Give me five minutes and I' ll referee for you." As promised, five minutes later he was back. He was wearing boots and had a whistle. The game began again. It was a grand afternoon. Not only did he control the game, but he also seemed to know everything about Rugby. He turned the game into an immensely enjoyable coaching session. We lost the game by a couple of points, but it did not seem to matter. We had enjoyed ourselves far too much to complain. I had not played that well though my mind was elsewhere, on a mound of soil to be exact. The man said, "Thank-you for an enjoyable afternoon." We were so surprised at him thanking us we almost forgot to thank him. Before he reached his garden I caught up with him. "Er. Mister." "Yes, son?" Thanks for refereeing, it was great." "My pleasure!" He smiled. "Er," I was a bit uncertain how to ask and the words came out in a rush. "Does this mound of soil belong to anyone?" "Not really, that I know of, its mainly garden rubbish that won't go on the compost heap. It's been thrown here for years. Probably good soil by now. Why? I answered with another question. "If someone came and took some of it away would anyone be, er,angry?" "I doubt it, why?" He looked like the kind of bloke you could trust. I told him. He did not laugh or tell me not to be silly instead he asked me a few questions about my plans and gave me some advice. He suggested standing the tiles upright around the garden to increase the depth of soil and to save a bit of digging. Finally he said. "I'll not let anyone stop you from having some of that soil." He stopped and looked at me for a moment. "If you go ahead with this come and see me at Easter and I'll let you have some Sweet Pea plants." I could not thank him enough, but he just said, "You'd better hurry or your mates will go without you."