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Take a walk in Blue Bell Woods listen to the sounds around you, of bird song and bees. Smell the flowers and the scent of Spring in the air. Every year is a new beginning and every day a blessing

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:15a NIV)I would love to hear from you, if you don't have a blog you can still comment, join google it's free. I appreciate hearing from you.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Skiing...........

Well I won't be in the Olympics. Actually I won't be on skis again either. I gave it a shot, what more can I say. I didn't know I would be so fearful. I had very good intentions. I really want to get outside in the winter. I love it but naturally walking is hazardous, ice and all that. So I thought well how difficult can it be to learn to cross country ski? Does not look at all difficult or dangerous. So hey, lets have a go.
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Greg, our instructor was very enthused and we got a shuttle to the trail head. That was probably the last rational thought that I had. Laura was with me and was up for the challenge if reluctantly. She is not a winter outdoor enthusiast to say the least. I on the other hand am sick of wasting valuable time waiting for Spring. So off we went. We already had on our boots and Greg set me upon my skis. I shuffled over to where we were to begin in an already made track. Yes and that was when I decided I did not like it. It was ice. Now I have fallen twice this Winter on the ice on our deck. It hurts. So when the skis moved without my permission I was not at all happy. I have bad knees already and was afraid of twisting them. I got going for a short distance and then they took off .........whoa Nelly!!!!!!! how do you stop. I do not like this one bit I am saying. You are fine say them all. No I am not OK. With that I flipped on my back/bum with a decided fwumpfff.
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Action caught by Laura who was doing pretty well it seemed. At least she was still upright. Well I got up and carried on. Not for long though. I was hating it. Do I cry? Do I rebel? Do I just get on with it? Well, onwards we go on a flatter bit of the trail. He said we were on a slope before but truth be told I could not see a slope. The girl who came with us was trying to engage me in conversation to keep my mind off of it. Was NOT working, just annoying. Judy was behind me and was going to stick with me. That's loyalty for you. I would rather suffer alone. Well we didn't get too far before I hit another patch of ice and off we go............Nooooooooooo I do not like this out of control feeling. I suppose (my crazy mind was saying) this could be fun, but I could not balance. I was afraid of wrenching my back and knees and before you could sneeze I was on my back again.
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Getting up is a challenge haha...........it was so funny really it was. So that was it. I was not chancing a 3rd fall. A body slam is not nice. Flat out on the back with all that goes along with that. So I made them go on without me. Let me have an enjoyable walk back please. So that's what I did. They went off without me
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The day was foggy, misty and silent. It was beautiful
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I was proud of Laura she did very well. I can only say that my vision, equilibrium, fear of falling, something just did not sit well with me. I hated it. I enjoyed the walk back but the snow was deep so it was hard going. I will try snow shoeing next. That should go better and we don't need trails to do that. Judy lives on a lake and she said about crossing the lake to the island and snow shoeing there. What? Cross the ice? I have irrational fears. Where does that come from I wonder? I don't like water and crossing ice, I don't care how deep is not something I fancy. I WILL do it though because that fear IS irrational and I can overcome that one.
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The skiing on the other hand, that feeling of having no control. The skis just taking off and all you can do is try to balance, no, I do not like that. That fear is not irrational, I don't want broken bones. That I will not do again. Or.....maybe without so many people watching???? NO, it's not enjoyable and so many more things I can get up to. I wonder if sledding would be as bad?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

We were there when he needed us.....................................

"we were there when he needed us".............a line from Chicago Fire this evening. It made me think.
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I have felt bad every day since giving up Tristen. I felt we had no choice but to give him up when "they" took us to court to get custody. In order to fight, it would have hurt many other people. We had a really hard time with all of it. Laura H, Tristen's cousin, wanted him from day one. He lived with us because he was already living with us. His Mother lived with us. They were living here when she died. We were asked by Alex's dad, Dan, if we would keep him. We wanted to, we could not see any other way that would not hurt Tristen. He was 15months old. Another upheaval in his life seemed unnecessary and certainly not what I wanted. I was already more or less raising him anyway. Alex was going to school and working, she was engaged (but had broken it off at that point)and emotionally unsettled. So really Tristen was my responsibility already, I got up in the night with him and in most respects he was more comfortable with me. So when he was almost 7 Laura H asked when she would get him to live with her. I could not see that happening any time in the immediate future simply because there was no reason for it. I figured when we were older, maybe 5 more years when he was old enough to understand would be the time. She didn't agree. Apparently she had been taking notes. Every difficult situation that I went through and confided in to her, she brought back as a reason that I could not handle his ADHD. It was not true I was just frustrated. It was true that things had got difficult. We worked closely with his doctor, his counselor and his teachers. We worked with them to get him on the best medications for every aspect. He could be very difficult when the ADHD got out of control.
Well, when I got the notice from her lawyer we were stunned. I was shattered. She said that I was "letting him run wild in the neighbourhood" the truth was, I let him go across our ally to play with some friends. I felt it was time to let him have a little bit of freedom. As it turned out he was not yet trustworthy, he went further than allowed and got grounded. When the lady from Dept of human services came to see us, Tristen and I took her to see where he had been playing and what happened that day and what the consequences were. She said it was perfectly within reason for his age. So did the judge. All this still bothers me that she could be so underhanded. We had felt bad about having such a tight reign on him and had only just let loose a little, I had told Laura H about the incident and apparently she had taken notes. I had also told her about his sometimes violent outbursts and temper tantrums. She noted that as well. She said that I did not follow through with his punishments and let him get away with things. That I was using the meds to control him, Well the doctor and teacher both testified that I had very closely worked with them on the issues. So when we went to court everything she said had been proven wrong. So the judge said she wanted to dismiss it. Well Laura H said they had "other things" .............They had nothing but the judge had no choice but to set a date for a "trial" The date chosen was the date Alex died. I just could not do it. Emotionally I could not handle it. I could not even talk about it without wanting to cry. I was a mess. I could not think straight. I could not put my thoughts together. I knew that I just could not sit on the witness stand and say all the things I needed to say about people and feel right. As in Chicago Fires episode tonight. To say the things about basically decent people that would have to be said in court, well it is not in me to do it. Oh I had enough to destroy any hope of Laura H getting Tristen ever. The thing was, for what end? To get my own way? What would be best for Tristen.? The truth is we are getting older. I am now 70. Laura and Todd are in the 50 range. Todd is a lot stronger than Gerry, more able to handle a growing boy and he will only get bigger. One who could be violent and hard to handle. The main thing is what is best for Tristen. He was devastated, he didn't want to go. He was really sad and upset he hated everyone. We have had him visit several weekends and he still says when he is older he is coming back. Bless Him. He is settled down now somewhat and to tell the truth I have got a life again. He is involved in Boy Scouts and Awana and will get to do a lot that we can not do. They also have the money. We do not.
I was talking to Todd the other day when he dropped Tristen off. Apparently they have the very same problems that we had. Nothing has changed in that respect. In fact his current counselor said the same as his other one did. He needs structure and needs consistency. So its not really good for him going back and forth to other homes all the time. He goes to his Grandpa Dan's now as well as to see us. Well when I was having issues with his medications and kept him home, Laura H accused me of with holding him from them. Now at least Todd understands that was not the case. That it was not done out of malice but for Tristen's sake. He also said that he was disrespecting Laura, well he resents Laura. What can I say?. He does not want to be there.
We have not seen him since Christmas now. Laura H wants "control" just like Dan does. That's OK I won't play that game. When I asked when he would come over again the answer was "I have not decided yet" ...........well I am sorry but I am not begging for time. Tristen can come any time he wants and as he gets older he can insist if he wants to. She is finding out that he takes a lot of time, there have been snow days and teacher days and 1/2 days and holidays. I made it clear I would have him any time they needed me to. She said "oh we have plenty of holiday time we can use" we wont need help ...........well how long before work decides they don't like that? not my problem I guess. The offer is there. They have him stay at school until someone can pick him up. So he has a long day. I used to pick him up right after school and talk to his teacher to find out how his day was. Now he is not doing so good in school according to Todd. I feel bad for Tristen, but at 7 I am sure he will deal with things.
I will always love him, I will always be here for him but I had to let him go. I had no choice. Not without damaging relationships within the family by making people take sides. The judge thanked me for that. I couldn't even answer her.
I had the best times, the baby times, the little toddler times and all the cuteness. Actually, they have all the work now. The homework and all the school activities that will come up soon. They have to keep him on the straight and narrow and that won't be fun. If things work out as it did with my Granddaughters I will be asked to take him on when he is 16 haha..............at 79 years of age. I don't think I will be up for that. They will reap what they sowed. So.........a TV show, it showed me that yes, we had him when he needed us the most. When he was a baby and little boy.
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We had the loving cute little boy, who was always smiling and laughing and going on adventures with us. Me and his Grandmother. Not the substitutes that he has now. They all think they know best. We shall see.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday Adventure in January........

We just wanted to get out. You begin to get Cabin Fever around about now, miss the vitamin D and all that. Today ended up being a nice day after all. We had expected it to rain at least in late afternoon, but it held off. Nice. Must have got up into the 30s (F)The roads were clear, not as much snow as I expected but was not bad. We went to Leland first and had lunch at Trish's Dishes. I had a cup of soup that was really good. Tomato Basil Bisque, now I need a recipe because I am going to make that.
After lunch and coffee we went down to the beach.
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We love going to the beach in Winter, we seldom see anyone although we did see a few people walking dogs. Just the odd soul otherwise. No snow on the beach but frozen pebbles were pretty.
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We found Blue stones and Petoskey so that was nice. We wished we had some thick waterproof gear so we could get in the water. Brrrr, we did not, so stayed as dry as we could.
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Laura got a little bit wet getting this nice one.(above)
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We walked back to the car and ate the cookies I got at Trish's. Nice thick peanut butter cookies with the now cold coffee. Was good even so. Next we headed towards Port Oneida. Saw a deer but not too good of a shot.
We did venture down to the beach and had a chat with a man who was just leaving, he agreed it was so good to get out and stretch the legs. This beach was colder in a different direction. The steps down killers. Phew!!! This is what we need though, more exercize. My body remembered last summers beach combing and complained a lot. My neck and shoulders from hunching down looking for stones.
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As we headed out we stopped to look at a Beaver Dam
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We left Port Oneida and headed for Glen Arbor where we saw deer
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Passing the sand dunes we saw people sledding. Brrrrr. They looked like Meringue all swirls of frosted egg whites.The Dunes that is, not the people.
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we stopped at Empire Beach but we had been looking for the ice balls and they were all gone, did not see them on any beach today.It does not look as though Lake Michigan will freeze this year.
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We headed home and saw this guy on the way, at the very top of a tree. Not at all sure what he was up to, looks like maybe eating the twig he was on. He didn't move a muscle. Maybe he was frozen.
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That was it for today, our next adventure will be on Wednesday. We think we will be going skiing hahahahahaha............so if you don't hear from me, well.........you know.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

I was thinking.............

I was thinking today about taking pictures. I have always loved photography. My Uncle Ray really enjoyed it too. He was Mums youngest brother. It's funny how some things seem to run in a family. Is it hereditary?. In some ways maybe. The artistic gene? He liked to paint as well. He didn't do a lot but turned his hand to it now and then. He did a couple of pictures that Nan had displayed on her wall at one time, birds as I recall. My Dad was "crafty" he could turn his hand to most anything. He was curious I think. He once said that he wanted to be able to do anything he set his mind to. Well, that's me. I just want to know how...............
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Ray got more into Photography than I ever could have. He liked to develop his pictures and experiment. Colour was new then. Imagine that. Before that he would hand paint black and white pictures.
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Anyway.............another interest was planes. He loved airplanes. Also quite new when he was small. Goodness that makes me feel very old. His first car was a hand crank one so there, and his record player was a wind up. I have one just like it. For memory sake. I collect old things that bring back good memories for me, the Phonograph and Old Radios that remind me of my Granddad and life at my Nan's house.
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Anyway. Ray has a son Mark. Now Mark and his daughter Briony like photography too. Mark is very good and so is she. Thing is now, for us it's all digital. I love that. Instant gratification. I take pictures on my Iphone and send it straight to my computer or where ever I want to send it. Apparently I can do that from my camera too. Boy would Ray have loved that. Now we can also fiddle with the pictures via our computer, add things, take things out. We can change the lighting and colours, we can add words. So much fun.That's one of the things I am doing at the moment.
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I love computers and I like to play with the codes. I have pictures where I have made my horse wink. I have added snow or rain falling. Ray would have loved all that. I bet my Dad would have as well.
One of my chores is getting my old photographs onto my computer. I did that with my digital camera but now I will try again with my Iphone. I think I can get a better picture with that. It's easier to hold and position than the camera is. That will be my next project. I am excited at all the changes taking place in the technical world.
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How my Grandfather would gasp at the thought of cars that drive themselves. I hope to God they never do that with Airplanes. I bet Ray would get one of those drone things though and although I personally don't like the idea of them being in the hands of the public, imagine the pictures one could take. I have a clear vision of Granddad Seabrook, leaning on his gate at 785 watching for cars to go by. I distinctly remember because I would sit on the wall and watch him. Maybe 3 or 4 cars now and then. That road now is bumper to bumper and to think we used to "collect" licence numbers as a hobby.
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To think that in my lifetime, born 1946, things change more in one year than they used to in 100 years. My parents saw the first cars, the first planes and so much more. Not a lot changed until Bill Gates and his lot began the computer thing. I had always worked with and around computers since I began work at age 15. The computers took up a whole floor almost. When people said some day people will have their own computers, well, what on earth for I said. Even when the first computers came out I could not think of one reason to have one. Here I sit writing this and not being able to imagine my life now without one. The only thing about dying is missing out on the fun, the things that people dream of and what comes true. It is also scary. When I first studied the Bible it was impossible to imagine the part in Revelations where we were told not to take the mark of the beast. Not to have his number on our hand or forehead. That some day we would not be able to buy or sell without the mark. Now it has become a reality, it is even a great idea. A chip with our social security # under the skin, like a dog has. A minute chip with all our information on it. Well that's going to be tough because we can not take that and then what? well continue reading Revelations. So in some aspects I may have lived long enough.

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Anyway, this is what I was thinking today as I took pictures of birds in the back yard. I am sorting and copy righting my pictures and that's taking me a long time and I am amazed at the detail and quality of pictures. Anyone can be a good photographer these days. Not like the "olden days" What we take for granted now, some genius had to think up. Much like back in the days of Babel, when God had to step in and bring man down a peg or two............where will it all lead?


Sunday, January 1, 2017

2017......Ready or Not........

Well here we are, another new year. One has to wonder how many are left. I greet each new year with a list of goals. No not resolutions because that seems so? Like "I resolve to......" I prefer " I would like to......'. I keep a daily journal, planner really, and I write down all the important dates, appointments and so on.
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I think I have done this since my teens. It used to be a diary back then but, well, life is not that interesting so now it's a journal. Anyway, what was I saying. Oh yes, resolutions, no I don't do that but it is good when I do my new planner to look back and see if I can cross off anything from my list of goals.
Some are always the same, you know, loose 20 pounds. That seldom gets crossed off and if it does it's right back the next year. Still I keep trying. So what this year?
Well, lets see, my eyes are getting worse and so I must do as much as I can to get my fabric stash down. So DO MORE SEWING. I have been on a drawing painting kick, doing journals, that word again, but different. I have probably done around 12 now. I began that journey a couple of years ago because I wanted to learn to paint more loosely. I wanted to learn new techniques and I have really enjoyed myself so intend to continue. I wonder what the point is, no one but me looks at them. Although Reina has shown an interest. She wants to learn to draw. Gerry has not so much as glanced at one, nor for that matter have any of the kids/family shown any interest. So why am I doing it......For ME!!! If only I could actually do something with them. Or learn to do something that would earn some money. I have never come up with anything feasible.
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I stopped doing pictures/paintings because I had no outlet for them. I can only put so many on the walls. I should do some anyway and swap them out but then you have to frame them and matt them and blah!!!! expense. So I stopped doing that. I should do it anyway. The kids or grandkids have not expressed any interest in any of the ones I have done, nor asked me to paint anything so I have to believe that what I do holds no interest to them. That's OK.
So my 2nd goal is to paint and draw more while I still can.
Next, I want to get out and explore more. I bought a book last year of trails. Well there are not many now that we have not explored but I still want to do more walking, again, while I still can. I take pictures when I am out and I love doing that. I am using some of them to make "Memes" to put on Facebook. I have a nice little collection in a spot called "My Little Corner". My Bluebell Woods page is doing really well, I have received a couple of offers to buy my page. Last one offered me 3500.00. I am assuming because I have a large following they want it to advertise on. No idea how legit that is but it is a big fat NO.
The problem with the getting out part is that it is difficult to do that on my own. Driving for one, as well as the danger of being out alone in the woods. I have fell a few times and if I was on my own it would be tricky. So I must rely on people to go with me. Usually Laura. Gerry is not good at stopping when I want a picture and has gone by before I can get a shot. Laura is better at anticipating because she generally sees what I see.
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So that would be number 3, get out more and take pictures.
The other thing with getting out is when we go to the beach, we have collected a lot of pretty stones and want to make jewelry. I asked Judy Sheets, who is Angie Schaubs mum, she makes jewelry, to give us some lessons. I must follow through and make use of some of the stones I have found. Silver wire wrapping and drilling are the skills I want to learn this year.
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Then there is my garden. I need to get that under control and looking better. I want to redo the veggie garden. It was quite a success last year, but limited. I want to use what I learned to do better this year.
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We will with luck be retiring (Gerry) in a year or two at the most (we hope) so we have to get the house in order so we can sell it. That's not my list though, that's on his. What I need to do is to continue to downsize by getting rid of a whole bunch more "stuff". I see at least a couple of garage/yard sales this year. Got in trouble last year for running my sale too long but wanted to clear stuff out. Well, I will do the same this year. I found more stuff that I can sell. I did manage to clean out the crawl space. So that is another goal............clean out and sell. Pay my way with what I need for the garden.
A major goal is to pay down my pay pal credit card. That means cut back on spending. Ugh.......I don't like that one, but it must be done.
I can't think of many more at this point but that's what I do................I write a list of goals and cross them off or add to my new years journal. That is what I am about to do now.

Monday, December 19, 2016

An English Village.......................................

I was looking at a picture painted by Terry Harrison. He paints wonderful pictures of England and the countryside. His work reminds me so much of the village I grew up in. Houghton Regis may not have been quite as idyllic as the ones he portrays but those of us who grew up there remember it fondly.
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This village that Terry has painted looks more like some of the other villages one might see in the Cotswolds or some of the less industrial areas. Houghton Regis is only 30 miles from London. It did not change much over the years until right after World War 2. So much changed "after the war" all over the British Isles. Especially for us, when it came time to rebuild London. So many people displaced as always when there is a war. It took them into the 1950s to begin to sort things out. New housing had to be built and there had to be work as well. We villagers hated what happened to our village but in reality, what were the planners to do? People needed jobs and houses and if not us then who? So they built factories in places like Luton and Dunstable, the car industry was the boom we needed then. Before the war, cars were not something one would see often.
....A view along the High St.........
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....The Church, showing the fire station etc.......
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I was born in 1946 the beginning of the baby boom. Our fathers came home from the war and needed work. We already had factories in the area and my grandfather worked at Skefco who at that time made ball bearings (I think) the factory was bombed a couple of times and lucky for Granddad he was not there at the time. Two of his sons rode their bikes up to the factory to check on him, but he was safe at home.
Anyway, I remember going to London as a young girl and seeing derelict buildings and lots of craters and ruins. I didn't realize at the time that it had anything to do with the war,the war for me was ancient history at 10 years old. I didn'nt know that they were bomb sites. That was nothing I knew about. Our village was intact. I think a couple of bombs may have fell around about but was rather a cause for excitement than concern. Children from London were living on farms and with villagers away from danger. Soldiers as well as prisoners of war were billeted with families and everyone chipped in.

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......The road passed the Village Green with my Grandfathers house in the center view........
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Our village was still agricultural mainly, one would see tractors in the high street and our milk came from the farm. As I grew up it began to change. Probably the first change in a hundred years or more, although I suppose electricity was a major change, I remember the gas lights.
Then they tore down our wonderful Tithe barn, and Tithe Farm.They built a housing estate by the same name. It was to accommodate the London "overspill". In England they have "council" houses. You can get on the "list" and get a rented home from the local council. Mum and Dad got theirs on Bidwell Hill when I was about 4 years old.
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Well at that time too, one could have an "allotment" a piece of ground to have what they called "Victory gardens"..........this is still possible in some areas even now. My Uncle Eddie enjoyed one right up until he died. He had a little shed with his garden stuff in it and it was just a short walk from his house.
Well, when they build Tithe Farm Estate, they built over the allotments too. There was a little resentment needless to say.
.......Tithe Farm.........
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It is apparent that in every country village there are several Public Houses. Houghton Regis was no different. They came and they went. Some still remain but not like it was back then. There was a need really because the way the houses were heated was by coal fire. Winter was cold and damp and the local pubs became gathering places. The local villagers would meet in the pub of their choice and play games and enjoy a hot fire, friendship, and a beer or two or three and it was more like a family gathering. It was a way to socialize and stay warm as well. Later pubs served food when the economy required a change of pace. The villages surrounding us all had their pubs and the clients has teams of men who would play darts or dominoes or whatever and compete against other pubs. My dads local was down the Hill at the Red Lion. He seldom went to one in the village itself. My Uncle chose the one closest to him, The Crown. At Christmas when I was older we would walk down to the Crown and meet family there for a drink at noontime while waiting on Christmas dinner. You always knew people in there neighbours or other villagers.
.....The Old Red Lion....
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It was my dads routine, come 8pm to walk down to the Red Lion and stay till closing time or around 10.30ish. I do remember a big fight between my mum and dad when the Red Lion went up for sale, my Dad and Mums brother Ray talked about buying it. Mum told Dad he may as well take his bloody bed down there then........Dad said " pack my suitcase" Mum said "Pack your own bloody suitcase" ......I was worried because the suitcase in question was under my bed with all my Elvis Presley pictures in it. Well anyway, next day it was all over and done with and Dad had apparently slept somewhere in the car. Went to work and came home as usual. There was no more talk about buying a pub.
.......The High st.........
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Everything began to change. Not really for the better in retrospect. The local small shops whose owners we knew by name and by tradition became supermarkets. The early closing days were gone and Saturday mornings opening became all day affairs, and then Sundays too. You no longer took in your weekend shopping list for delivery Saturday morning (to get us through the weekend). We had no refrigerators and so shopping was an every day thing. The baker and the milk man delivered and at one time so did the butcher. We used a "safe" for meat to keep flys off and milk and butter were left on the table. Or in the larder in a shady dark spot to keep it cool.
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I look at the pictures of the old village and see what it's like today. One can not go back and most people now would not want to. We had two phone boxes in the village. No one had a phone that I knew. They built a shopping center and put in chain stores like Woolworths but in doing so they demolished the Alms houses and the old fire station and jail.
......The old lockup behind the fire station and at the end of the church cottages........
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.......The old fire station hut, later the bus shelter.......
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....The Pond, wagons would go through it to keep the wooden wheels from drying out.....
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When I grew up everyone knew everyone else and once the estate was built that all changed we got some refugees after the war who were looked at dubiously but accepted. We had Polio rear its head and learned all about not playing near stagnant water. We had Foot and Mouth disease and saw the poor farmers having to kill and burn livestock. Fowl pest came and went and we would have to walk through disinfectant to go on and off of the farms. Smelling the burning piles hovering in the country air. Childhood was a time of learning many things besides what we learned in school. It equipped us in ways we never knew to get through tough times in our lives. We learned that hard work and diligence paid off in the end and was it's own reward. We grew up learning country ways that probably in this modern world are not so useful but still good to know. A lot will be lost once my generation has gone.
....An old painting from way back......
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My village is gone now and there are still some of us "kids" left just now who remember and reminisce.