Have a look at this picture:
(a) The ash in our fireplace in the morning, or
(b) an aerial view of Greystones, or
(c) a close-up of porridge.
The answer, of course, is (d).
We don’t light fires and therefore have no ash in our fireplace, I couldn’t have taken a picture like that of Greystones unless I was parachuting towards it (which, trust me, is never going to happen) and I would never, ever get that close to porridge.
This is a slightly better picture of (d):
In this country it’s called pebble-dash, a mixture of concrete and small stones used to cover the outside of houses and garden walls, especially in council estates such as the one I grew up in.
It lent an added frisson of excitement to games of street football when we were children. Not only was there the chance to step half-on-the-footpath-half-on-the-road while running with the ball (been there, done that), not only was there the chance to be attacked by Mrs Carpenter’s dog when retrieving the ball from her garden (been there, done that), but there was also the chance to trip and smack the top of your head off a wall such as this (been there, done that and worn the t-shirt, which is what I used to wipe up the blood).
Sometimes when I’m watching modern-day professional players rolling around in mock-agony after the most innocent of tackles I remember those pebble-dashed walls.
We couldn’t even roll around after we’d collided with one, because we were playing on concrete.
I’m going to stop now. I’m starting to sound like my granddad.