Monday, 8 November 2021

Which way's the right way?

 

 Speaking with friends the other day we found we all had the same problem with remembering where places lie in relation to one another.    To what extent this is because of age,or  in my case no longer driving, or memory, we have no way of knowing.   But one thing is for sure - and I would be interested to know whether this applies to you too - sitting in my armchair I can recall almost any village in my home county of Lincolnshire.   But ask me how to get from here to Northallerton 'in my head' and I would struggle.   Put me behind the wheel of a car and I could obviously drive there but just doing the journey mentally is a different kettle of fish for me.   How  about you?   Try it for me please.

In my teens (late forties, early fifties) really the only places for 'dates' was walks, swimming in the river (the Witham) in Summer, the pictures (cinema) or Saturday night dances - the Co-op Hall (posh and preferred by our parents) or the Drill Hall.   The village Rector also ran Tuesday hops in the village hall but frankly most of us girls found the village boys a bit tame and wanted to go out into the big wide  world(although in the end many of the village girls married village boys).

The method of travel into Lincoln was of course by bus - no boys had cars.   And for  bus read 'Lincolnshire Road Car'.   They had green matching buses with gold lettering on the side and the buses lived in a garage on the High Street by the level crossing (wonder if it is still there?)  As time for your bus drew near the bus would glide into place and you were expected to queue behind the rail.   The Inspector in full, important uniform complete with peaked cap would step forward and announce the destination.   I can hear him now as though it was yesterday:"Standing now is the 10.15 bus to Sleaford calling at Washingborough*, Heighington, Branston, Potterhanworth, Nocton, Dunston, Metheringham, Blankney, Skopwick, Digby, Dorrington, Ruskington, Sleaford   I can still take you there and I haven't lived there for sixty years.   But ask me to name the villages from here to Northallerton - sorry, can't do it. *my village

The last bus to Washingborough was that 10.15pm one.  Miss that and it was walk the three miles home (judged by my parents as holding far too much temptation with a boy friend in the dark at that time) or go in and get the money for the taxi from my father when the taxi arrived at your door.  That would often be docked from pocket money.   The alternative - practised by us all - was to see the last quarter of an hour of every film before the rest - did rather spoil the story.

Memories are to a large extent flawed aren't they?  Give any one event and every one who has been at it will give you a slightly different version of what went on - even the day after it happened, let alone fifty years after.   I would love to know some of your earliest memories.

29 comments:

Bovey Belle said...

I can remember every stop and turning of the No. 5 bus back home too! I am still driving regularly and sometimes do reruns of the A40 from our old home to Malvern if I can't sleep at night! I am fortunate in moving here as wee are pretty familiar with the main roads through and linking us to other towns and villages. A couple were new to us, including the two alternative routes to Brecon (we went there today by one route and returned via the other). I drove an awful lot of miles last week, so am pleased to be keeping my driving skills going. Don't think I could face the M25 anymore though.

I thought your memory of the bus route from your teens was brilliant! and what some strange names.

Rachel Phillips said...

It is memory and ageing. Simple.

Frugally challenged said...

I reckon you'd be very lucky to find a 10.15 country bus these days!!

EM Griffith said...

Having lived in so many places in a lot of states (in the U.S.), and with the inevitable changes that happen over the years, I doubt I could find my way around in most of them now. New highways and housing goes in... new stores, restaurants, schools and parks. I sometimes envy those who've stayed in one place for decades. --Elise

Hard up Hester said...

I was in hospital when I was 4, having my tonsils out. I'm pretty sure my parents didn't visit me. My mother said there were no buses, mind you she was terrified of hospitals.

the veg artist said...

I have two cherished travelling memories from early childhood. One is of catching the bus from our village to the town, about six miles away. A green bus, with that scratchy fabric on the seats and the chrome bars that topped every bench seat. And the condensation on the windows and the fug of smoke. I thought it was such an adventure. The second memory is of travelling in the back of my father's A30 van. He was a builder, so the back always had tools rattling around, and he kept small loose cushions for us children. My brother sometimes got to sit in the front, but never me or my sister.

JayCee said...

One of my earliest travel related memories was waiting with my mother and sister at the trolley bus stop in Hounslow, West London. I must gave been about 5 years old possibly and remember being fascinated by the overhead wires and the metal poles on top of the buses.

DUTA said...

Memory sometimes works in strange ways, but it's age and health that usually affect it in the later years. No memory difference in old age between illiterate people and those using 'mind games'.

Jules said...

It amazes what I can remember from years ago, yet ask me what I ate for dinner yesterday...

The bike shed said...

All our memories are both flawed and flexible, but I think they are none the lesser for it - ultimately, our memories are who we have become.
There are varying depths of memories too - the places of our youth are fixed through events and recollections which shaped us more than the trip to work or town. Perhaps that is why we recall them so vividly.
But oh, to be rich as Croesus in memory - the sign of a good life I think.

Bev said...

Yes, I remember the Lincolnshire Road “Cart” buses taking us to school every day from Mablethorpe to Alford. Green and gold they were, with prickly seats and picking up children from all the villages en-route.

JanF said...

One of my earliest memories is being in a local corner shop with my mother and seeing most of the other ladies in there crying. I was told the King had died. Must have been 1952 and I was 7. I could not understand why they were in tears when they did not know him and was told that he had been the King during the war and people loved him very much.

susie @ persimmon moon cottage said...

I've lived within the same 2 mile radius for my entire life. Like most of my friends and acquaintances who have lived in this area, all give directions that include many landmark buildings that used to be there that are no longer there. For me it would be a lot harder to give directions to someone not from our area of the county, because they would not remember the corner that had a lot with goats on it, or the farm that used to be on a certain road. I have no trouble recalling the goats' lot, or the farm, but when I have to give directions using the new buildings and stores, or restaurants, it is a lot harder for me.

Heather said...

I doubt I would recognise the road up from the town to my village now, but can still see every yard of it in my mind. The bus route was no.394 and just like yours, if you watched the final minutes of a film the last bus went and it was a long walk home and up hill most of the way.

Debby said...

My earliest memory is when my father was pouring the concrete for a new front porch. I was standing at the door watching it, and the following day I was amazed to be walking on it. I remember stepping on it, and my father saying, "Look at her. She didn't understand it would harden."

I remember the day clearly, my shock at that day old concrete. I stood there pondering this and my father said, "Do you want back inside?" and back inside I went.

Here's the thing. I saw a picture of myself on that freshly poured porch and was shocked to see that I was wearing the volumous 'rubber pants' that babies wore over their cloth diapers back in the day. I couldn't have been two years old. Yet I remember it clearly.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Debby - lovely to have such a clear memory. Speaking of concrete - my phone needed a repair a few years ago and they had to put a new line in under the front path. Before the concrete was dry Tess my dear little terrier walked over it and left her footprings. A couple f weeks later I had to have her put to sleep - now I have that lovely memory of her.

BB I certainly couldn't face Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham, which used to be a regular route years ago.

Rambler said...

My earliest memory is so clear - our tabby cat was lying on the sofa, on his back, fast asleep. I was only just learning to walk and needed to hold on to the furniture as I moved around. I saw the cat - and leaned forward to stroke him. Obviously this startled Tommy who reacted swiftly by bringing his hind legs up, claws unsheathed and scratched down the inside of my arms. I can still feel the pain and the shock - and the blood. Many years later I was telling my Mum about this and she was amazed that I remembered it happening because it was just a few days before my 1st birthday.
Even now, 75 years later, I still won't stroke a strange cat, no matter how much it might weave around my legs!

Red said...

My wife talks about all the buses they had around Royston and how she took advantage of buses to go places with her friends.

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Cro Magnon said...

My village in France has no centre as such (other than the church). The farms are all dotted about over a large area, and each small settlement of 3 or 4 farms has its own name. From our house, trying to point in the direction of one of these settlements is almost impossible. No problem by car because I know all the tiny roads well, but otherwise; no chance!

Anonymous said...

My mother is 93 now and a widow at 90 ,refused to give up her licence even though she was struggling. My husband in the end told her it was not negotiable . I've always thought that was the beginning of the great decline in their relationship.
When I take her somewhere she says 'How on earth do you know where you're going?' "when we've both lived in this city all our lives
Soon after Dad died those few years ago she took up with the equivilant of one of the original 'village boys'. .In their years together they put terror into the hearts of friends with his driving, and they were secretly planning the great road trip after his wife died. Oh my.
Her close friend told me "Your mother keeps telling everyone at 16 they were going steady for years...rubbish , she strung him along for two weeks then gave him the flick.'
You have to laugh don't you...or live in terror!.I sometimes feel I offer from PTGSD - Post traumatic geriatric stress disorder. -Pam.

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

That's a very interesting post for me to read as when I was at University one of the trendy things to study in geography was "Mental Mapping", basically the maps we have in our head which we use to find our way around. What I can tell you is that nobody's mental maps are very accurate - including students of Geography, or even their lecturers.

thelma said...

Well that easy, my earliest memory was on a bus. 3 or 4 years old sitting there with whoever was caring for me, with a large lump of fat squirrelled away in my cheek. I hate meat fat, and don't even talk about the gristle bits. But we had to eat EVERYTHING on our plates in those olden days. The horror of not knowing what to do with that fat haunts me still ;)

Crafty Green Poet said...

I know what you mean, I often struggle to describe a bus route or to name the places along the route. And even the routes I regularly walk, I've just internalised the route and couldn't always describe it.

A Smaller Life said...

I am blessed (or sometimes cursed) with a very good long term memory. I can place myself at the front door of every home I have ever lived in and be able to talk you around each room and where we had each piece of furniture, and I have lived in around 20 different homes. I can also talk you through the car journey to get to any of them even though they have literally been all over England and Wales. I do use my Sat Nav but she is like a voice in the background keeping me grounded in the car, Alan rarely talks when we are on the road so it's nice to have a half-human voice for company!!

My first memory is of my Nana placing me into my cot for an afternoon nap, she babysat while my Mum was working, she had left my little red T-bar shoes on and I remember pulling myself up by the bars of the cot to try and get her to notice my shoes, as I knew they should have been taken off but I was young enough not to have the words to be able to say anything.

Rachel said...

The Lincolnshire Road Car depot is no more Pat, it became Debenhams which has now also closed.

All buses now dwell in a new bus station opposite the train station, largely where the Grand Hotel used to be if you remember.

I love your nostalgic trips around Lincoln, my home city although sadly I doubt that you would recognise it now; however the drill hall is still in existence, having recently been saved from closure due to funding cuts.

Melinda from Ontario said...

When I was 17 years old, I was hired to work in my small town tourist bureau for the summer. My family found this highly amusing because I was known for my horrible sense of direction. The job wasn't too bad in the end because I always had a partner who could deal with map reading while I focused on accommodations, etc. One day, while walking to work, a tourist pulled over and asked for my help with his destination. I pointed, flailed my arms and nervously sputtered out something, until exacerbated, he gave up and drove off. When I got to the tourist bureau, there he was, waiting for someone to open the doors. I can only say he looked stunned when he saw it was me that was going to to be his guide.

Tasker Dunham said...

A test: I have Lincolshire ancestry. They're from Saleby and Amber Hill (Amber Hill is also known as Sutterton Fen).

The Weaver of Grass said...

Tasker - Know Saleby - Saleby is close to Huttoft and relations had a caravan there. Don't know Sutterton but just looked it up on the map - that really is in the Fen - not far from The Wash. Pretty wet down there in Winter. It is pretty low lying land.
Melinda - loved your story.
Rachel - Thank you for that information. Do you still live in Lincoln? Please do contacct me again. I do indeed remember where The Geand Hotel was.
John - that is comforting information!!!
Anon - Love PTGS - hope my son doesn't suffer from it!
Rambler - maybe the pain 'helped' to preserve that memory
Thank you everyone - I am so pleased to have stirred up so many memories.