This has nothing to do with Mental Ill health.
When I was about fourteen years old, probably during the Summer holiday it is not so easy to remember now as it was rather a long time ago and time seemed to move much more slowly then. It all most likely took place over a few weeks, instead of months but I do recall the weather as being nice, so it must have been Summer.
My best mate at the time was the Dr’s son from over the road, I am not going to mention his name here, and shall refer to him as D. We did many things together D and I, some of it not very nice, a lot of it very good fun and perhaps quite reckless.
The people who lived opposite to him used to be involved as well there two brothers I do not recall their names so shall refer to them as X and Y. D actually lived opposite to me but that did not stop him being my neighbour, even though my sister said they could not be neighbours cause of the position of their house… I could hardly call them the opposites, it sounded kind of rude, so neighbours they stayed.
I don’t recall how it started but we came across the shotgun cartridges both our families used to shoot wild animals either for pleasure or for pest control, I think they must have been in the top of the cupboard or something, nothing was ever locked up then. Unlike today. How we got the idea into our heads is beyond me, though it was probably mine. b We thought it a good idea to pull these things apart take out the constituent parts and make bombs which actually turned out to be easier than expected. We used a flat bladed screwdriver to wriggle open the folds at the top of the cartridge’s emptied out the shot, which ended up in a jar. Opened up the thing further took out the wadding and collected the powder into another jar for safe keeping.
I have no idea, how many times we did this however I do recall making more than enough explosive devices or just lighting the stuff in the air raid shelter and sniffing the smoke like ancient alchemists. All of our dissections took place in the shelter, the bomb testing took place out in the woods which abutted onto the large garden we had.
A piece of Copper tube became a cannon, by bunging up one end with Blue Tack and banging a hole in tube itself with a hammer and nail so we could light the thing. Pour the Gunpowder in, with use of a plastic funnel, tap it down with a stick and pour some lead shot in on top, toss a coin to see who would light it and retire to a safe distance.
ALL IN THE DAYS BEFORE HEALTH AND SAFETY
I do not recall anybody getting injured or hurt in any way, however we did get found out, our bomb testing facility in the woods was not exactly that well hidden and the loud bangs attracted other people’s attention with some Buzzard noticing the cartridges were disappearing. People made a terrible fuss, that we could have blown ourselves up, killed ourselves etc. except we hadn’t. D and I got banned from seeing each other and we had to make amends for our errant behaviour. X and Y did not really have much to do with our activities, except keep watch at the mouth of the shelter for adults and watch things burn or go bang.