After my deja vu post I thought the subject was closed. But yesterday I had two such amazing memory flashes that I have to share them with you.
David and I are fanatical jig-saw doers (we are not fans of TV apart from Strictly!!) and a friend lent us a pile. They are our favourites - 500 pieces - which we can do in an evening (and still leave time for the odd game of Rummikub). Last night we got one from the pile and it was one of The Flying Scotsman. As I put pieces on the table I had this amazing flashback -
I am seven and have gone to visit my Aunt Kate who lives in The Dukeries, that part of Nottinghamshire around the towns of Retford and Tuxford. We have gone to gather in the hay. Going to the field I rode on the wide, sweaty back of the cart horse pulling the empty hay cart.
I watched the men load on hay with their pitchforks, and when the cart was full they hoisted me up on to the top of the hay for the journey home. The L.N.E.R. (now East coast mainline) line ran in a cutting through the middle of the field and as we trundled across the cry went up "The Flying Scotsman's coming through!" And I sat on the hay and looked down as the flashy blue engine sped past tooting its horn.
When I returned to school I must have told our teacher (one of those wonderful wartime callback teachers that Dave King talks about so well in his MacTavish poem) because she taught us all a poem, As I did the jig-saw last night that poem came into my head - maybe for the first time in seventy years!
Chariots of gold, said Timothy!
Silvery wings said Elaine!
But - a bumpety ride on a wagon of hay
for me! said Jane.
The other story concerns our neighbouring farmer, who popped in for a chat yesterday morning and told us about one of the farm cats. His dad was driving a tractor and trailer and he was behind it driving another tractor. A farm cat was sitting by the side of the lane. As he watched, the cat ran across under the trailer and out the other side, unscathed.
And that reminded me of a story my father used to tell us of when he was six (1903). He lived in Lincoln and there had been a heavy snowfall and a hard frost. He and his pals took a sledge up to the top of Milman Road, a very steep road with a main road at the bottom. My dad always said that they came down at such a crack they couldn't stop. As they reached the main road a horse drawn cart was passing and they shot under the horse, between its front and back legs!
We always laughed at his story and thought he had made it up. I thought of it yesterday after the cat episode - and now I am not so sure. Maybe it really did happen!