When I was about 11ish, there was a group of us, myself, my brother and my mates, all living within a 2 minute walk of each other. All shapes and sizes, with about a 6 year difference between us all. (My brother had just left school, I was the youngest) Thinking back, we were a pretty close knit bunch of wannabe footballers and adventure seekers. After school, we would gather on the corner of the street, about 8 of 9 of us, pick teams and play football until the sun went down over the rooftops of the terraced houses. Everyone’s parents would call us in for tea about 5pm. We’d scarper, eat as quickly as possible without choking and reconvene on the corner of our makeshift football pitch to carry on the game.
We didn’t have goalposts so we improvised. A large gable end of a house at the end of the terrace became our goal. We would get some chalk and draw white posts and a crossbar on the brick, as close to ‘Proper’ size as possible! The neighbor who lived there at the time must have really appreciated us!!! Not only were we blasting the ball against his living-room wall every evening, and making a god awful noise, we were systematically defacing his property every day!!! I remember going into the living-room once because my mum asked me to knock on their door and ask for a little bit of sugar! He answered the door like Medusa and told me to stand in the room whilst the football hit his wall. It made a hell of a sound, like a balloon popping but the sound was muffled and echoed!! (It didn’t stop us playing football!)
The UFO fascination came about one evening whilst we were playing football. It was pretty late in the evening, the stars were just starting to become visible and we were coming to the end of a penalty shootout! Myself and Tony, my bestest, best childhood buddy were sat on the pavement, waiting for the victor to emerge. Whilst I was concentrating on the football, he nudged me and told me to look up at the sky. I looked up and watched a distant white light acting weirdly. Me and Tony watched it changing directions, seemingly turn on and off, change colour then completely disappear. (No joke)
We tried our best to get the attention of the others but they were deep into scoring the winning penalty at Wembley.
Myself and Tony were hooked. From that moment on we agreed to keep a lookout for UFOs every night after football.
We chose my back garden as the darkest, quietest place to scan the skies. We had flat, grassy parts we could lay down on and it allowed for a panoramic view of the night sky. My mum didn’t seem to mind us laying on the garden looking up at the sky, probably because she actually knew where I was!
Over the course of the summer, we saw some lights that our overactive imagination wouldn’t allow us to make sense of. Actually, one night, when we were laid there, facing the night sky, we saw 4 red and green lights, travelling very slowly, all in line, spaced pretty evenly apart. What made it more interesting was our neighbour who lived in the house on the opposite corner of the ‘football house’! He was on his back garden putting something away in his shed when he called to his wife to come into the garden. I few seconds later we heard him say “Look at that” pointing up to the sky. Tony and I raised ourselves up onto an elbow, looked across the garden and realised they were looking at the same lights in the sky that we were watching. We laid back down and watched as the lights disappeared, then we heard the neighbours back door click, indicating they had gone indoors.
That was a fascinating and memorable night, and kept the conversation of UFOs the topic of conversation between me and Tony for weeks after.
Thinking back, what we saw were probably just military planes on some sort of training exercise, but at the time, we were convinced, probably because two adults had seen the same thing, that we had definitely seen alien craft from a distant galaxy!
Its just a nice memory but knows what else exists in the millions of galaxies that we know nothing about! Makes the mind boggle!