Did you ever go scrumping and, more to the point, did you ever get caught?
According to the Spring Chicken Community, scrumping was an integral part of growing up for many youngsters back in the day (and maybe more than a few adults!) but getting caught was not without its consequences:
“We were chastised by the local bobby if we were caught scrumping, and then taken home to face a clip round the ear from Mum or Dad. But, in those days, we respected our elders and we knew we deserved the punishment.”
“I got caught by our local bobby and he made me eat every last one of the apples. Some were green and unripe, but it was worth it. I did the same scrump the next day if I remember rightly!”
“We often went scrumping, but only got caught once. The local bobby caught us red-handed and we were given the choice of accepting his punishment or being taken home. We chose to accept his punishment and he slapped us around the lug-hole with his glove which had farthings in the fingertips. It stung, but it was better than the spanking we’d have been given by Mum or Dad!”
Scrumping Knickers and Stretched Jumpers
The topic of scrumping brings back happy memories of childhood naughtiness for many Facebook followers – and memories of sneaky ingenuity. True scrumping, it seems, requires
the ‘scrumper’ to negotiate an orchard wall or some other boundary before liberating the apples from the owner’s trees. For a group of children, this generally meant balancing on one-another’s shoulders, a tactic also employed to help reach the apples in the highest branches.
Once nicked, the apples then had to be transported away from the scene of the crime. Rolled up jumpers or rolled up skirts were often favoured, but there were other methods:
“I was the only girl in our scrumping gang, so the boys climbed the trees and dropped the apples down to me. I used to stuff them into my bloomers and I can remember running like hell hanging on to my knickers!”
Coat hoods also made ideal apple carriers, but one Facebook follower remembers taking the art of stealing from right under the owner’s nose to a whole new level:
“We were out scrumping, and I had my arm in a sling at the time. After climbing back out of the orchard, a man approached me as I was walking away down the road. He wanted to know if I’d seen the children who were stealing from him. Needless to say, I said no, and then wandered off… my sling full of his apples!”
Times have changed and scrumping by any other name is still stealing in today’s world, a crime with serious consequences, but I’ll leave the last word on days gone by to this comment:
“I remember being told as a youngster that if you were booked by a cop and he used a pencil to write in his book, you’d nowt to worry about. It was only when he got his pen out to write that your scrumping days were over!”