Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Home thoughts from abroad.

To Norfolk on holiday we pass through my beloved Lincolnshire.   It doesn't seem all that much changed although it is more than fifty years since I left it behind.

Being a passenger in the car allows me to look around and everywhere there are memory triggers.   Signposts - Bishop Norton - I remember a girl at school from there.   Twenty minutes later her name pops into my head - Phyllis Sellars - wonder where she is now.

Potterhanworth.   The self-important Bus Inspector at the Lincolnshire Road Car company bus station.   In those days everyone used the bus and we knew the services off by heart.   But that didn't stop him standing by the steps before we were allowed on and reciting = The Sleaford Bus, calling at Washingborough, Heighington, Branston, Potterhanworth, Nocton, Dunston, Metheringham, Digby, Blankney, Scopwick, Ruskington, Dorrington and Sleaford.   I count the names off as we pass by.  No Lincolnshire Road Car these days - we all travel by car.

We make a detour to my home village.   It is unrecognisable.   What was a village of 300 souls is now a Dormitory Town of over twenty thousand.    In knew everyone.   I was always a gregarious child, some would call it nosey, and I would call in on people unannounced.   Usually I was pushing my doll's pram and I would be welcomed and would sit in the garden with a glass of something or other, or a cake, or a sweetie.

At night, in the Winter months, we would play Pencil and Paper games - wildflowers beginning with each letter of the alphabet, birds, countries, and (my favourite) naming all the houses in the village from 'The Bridge' to the end of 'Fen Road'.   I could name them all, and in the right order.   I expect that was why it was my favourite game.

My favourite house name was 'Emoclew'.   Mr and Mrs Ellam lived there.   Few people noticed that it was 'Welcome' spelt backwards!

Everywhere is built up now apart from the flood meadows beside the River Witham.    They often flood in Winter so are no good for building land.   We pass them and I look at the trees and hedges.   They look just the same.   We would build endless dens in Summer.   We would fill jam jars with cow parsley to make them look homely.   We would cadge bits of old crockery from home so that we could sit at a table (an old bit of wood) and eat our sandwiches (playing at houses.)

I don't suppose children play there any more.   They will be inside with their Play Stations.   They will be missing all the thousands of tadpoles in the Sincil Drain - and later on, little frogs.    They will be missing the sense of freedom, the muddy feet after rain, the joy of jumping on icy puddles after a hard frost.

You can't put the clock back and no doubt I look at the past through rose-tinted specs.   But as I pass those road signs again on my way home at the end of the holiday, I feel an intense nostalgia for those early days.


MorningAJ said...

Oh there's some names in there that bring back memories. My first job as a journalist was with the Lincolnshire Standard Group and I was responsible for an area south of Lincoln that included Metheringham, Washingborough, North Hykeham. Cranwell was the limit of my domain. Beyond that was Sleaford Office's patch.

The editor there was a guy called Bob Lenton.

It's a lovely part of the world.

Heather said...

I don't know the area you grew up in, but my cousins and I spent our time in very similar ways to those you recall. I grew up about 30 miles north of London and can look back on an idyllic childhood sheltered from and almost unaware of the horrors of World War 2.

Dartford Warbler said...

You have brought back some happy memories for me in this post. Staying with my cousins in Washingborough, which was a pretty village then. I wonder if it too is now a sprawling commuter village for Lincoln?

Good to know that you and the Farmer had a lovely holiday. Well deserved for both of you!

Reader Wil said...

How wonderful for us that you shared these precious memories with us! It's like a fairytale.
Thanks for your visit. You asked of the Tasmanian Devils can be picked up. I don't know Pat. But any wild animal doesn't like to be touched by humans. Try to pick up a wild cat or dog. They struggle to get away. May be the Devils are tamer in a zoo.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Wonderful memories - and it is nice that some remain the same. I like the term "Dormitory Town" - we say Bedroom Communities here - same meaning. We went back to a house we owned in Orangevale, Calaifornia when we had little children - it was out in the country and delightful - and now it is surrounded by a sea of roofs - unspeakably, horribly ugly to look at or contemplate - especially the traffic. The little house and its few neighbors are an island of peace in a sea of confusion. Time passes.

Elizabeth said...

So splendid.
There was a beach hut at Thorpe Bay called Noramac -owned by a family called.......
What a super essay (for your book, you know!)

Titus said...

Lovely memories, Weaver. Isn't it strange the way you can still remember the names of pupils from primary school?

I think every generation is the same - even the latest one will look back fifty years hence and get nostalgic for the good old days.

ChrisJ said...

I love the way British homes have names. They don't do that over here, although I have seen one or two here in our senior citizen park. We're thinking of naming our Craig y Don after my grandmother's house in Bushey and also where my in-laws lived in North Wales.

Dartford Warbler said...

Thanks for your message Pat. How amazing that my cousins lived in your home village! You probably would not know their family as they only moved there, from Lincoln, during the late sixties/ early seventies. They lived in a modern house built in a beautiful old walled garden. I used to stay there when we were in our teens and early twenties. I`m sure my girl cousins went to the same school that you did ( from one of your earlier posts). Happy days....!

Em Parkinson said...

I don't think your spectacles are as tinted as you think. If today's children were forced to spend time as we did, I think they would very soon realise how much fun there is to be had. My son thinks he would like to play computer games all day but, in the absence of that being allowed, does manage to grudgingly enjoy walks and playing in streams. He loves word games too but they're generally car manufacturer based!