a Parish - Page 27
Reminiscences of Terry Love - 1940's/1950's
In 1947 my father left his civil engineering job to take up
farming, whereupon we moved to Woodlands. It was a good living
in a village in the post-war years. It was a community then,
before the days of widespread television and the erection of
vast, ugly buildings. People made their own fun and went to the
village school. Kids walked in from all over the areas to attend
class presided over by Mrs. Johnson and her Jack Russell, Kimmy.
She was strict some of the time, but most of the time wasn't, so
things would sometimes get out of hand and classes were quite
large with a fair percentage of evacuee kids from South Africa.
Goodness knows how they came to be there. At one end of the room
was a big pot belly stove and the older kids took turns to light
it before class and keep the big coke bucket filled during the
day. Even now I can smell the warm gassy odour of that stove.
Mrs. Coomes ran the village shop in Julian Cottages. A dark
flagstone passage led to the big wooden counter with the rounded
top. Jars of boiled sweets lined the back shelves and three old
pennies bought you a small block of Walls Cornish - proper
ice-cream with wafers thrown in the deal.
Freemans flock mill was in full swing and the mill house must
have been a time warp. I remember two bronze cannons guarded the
conservatory whilst the coach-house contained a wonderful open
landau and a couple of penny-farthing bikes, and in the outhouse
was a horse-drawn doctor's gig complete with harness.
The railway ran through the middle of the house! Well it
would if it was still running today. It used to run through the
bottom of the village and the station and goods yards were
intact until the fifties. A couple of crossing gates spanned the
road to the mill and, if memory still serves, a midday coal
train was still running up until the time of the Beeching
vandalism. The station was a good place to hang out, for you
could catch newts from a slate tank behind the waiting-room and,
depending on the driver, you could sometimes get a ride on the
G.W.R. tank engine - called Clank - as far as the bridge
crossing the brook on the lower Stoke road. The driver would
make an unscheduled stop and kids would clamber off and gallop
back along the line to the station.
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