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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.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Old Friends.............

I love Facebook. I just check in every day and say hello to friends all over the globe. Some are new and some are old. Some I have not seen in 40+ years and some I have never met. Its a wonderful thing this technology. I enjoy small glimpses into their daily lives and giving them a part of my own. I know we can't tell a lot about each other in such brief encounters but its a connection, and one that is so easy now. Before it was a matter of setting aside time to write a letter and mailing it, then waiting for the reply. Now it's instant if you want it to be. It's also a great way to share photos and just so much more. There was a group started on Facebook about the town near where I came from.....Dunstable. I had fun reading that and a friend thought we should start one on Houghton Regis and so I did. What great fun that has become. The group has grown by leaps and bounds and so many stories and pictures being shared. It has got people outside into our old haunts taking pictures to show everyone and rummaging through their own collections of old pictures. Oh the memories. We are remembering how our village used to be when we were growing up. Nothing like the place it has become. Some of the younger members do not remember the village any different to what it is now and they are learning how some of the place names came about and what it was once upon a time when us old folks were young. For most of us old Houghtonians the village had not changed since our fathers days and grandfathers all the way back to the beginning. It was a small village with gas lights and thatched roofs. A farm community with a village pond and a green that was used for the original purpose. The pond for wagons to go through so that the wood in the wheels would not become brittle. The Village green became the place for soccer and cricket and a play area for kids. They took out one of the big farms to build the London overspill estate and tore down the old Tithe Barn and all the farm buildings in order to make it. All the thatched roof cottages are gone, the public houses have dwindled or become eateries now.


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Some lovely buildings remain, just a glimpse of what we once knew. The church that has stood for hundreds of years. The Kings Arms. The Chequers. The manor house on the green is still there with its tunnels that are supposed to go all the way to the church, blocked in now no doubt. The Crown public house is still there but little else of the old village. The ponds are gone and built upon. There are faint signs here and there, where the hairdressers are you can still see exposed beams from way way back. The village we knew was quiet and slow moving, everyone knew everyone and their families knew each other from hundreds of years back. Those same families are most likely gone now because the children (like me) moved away. There is only one Hines left in the village and he had girls.


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Talking to others from the village about the places we played and the things we did, its a far cry from what children do now. We were content outside, finding our own games and troubles to be in. The pranks that kids got up to were so innocent compared to what people do now. No less troublesome to the parents of the time no doubt. Back then our village police man rode a bike and he would take a child home for punishment if the need arose. In my dads day the local Bobby would deliver a good "thick ear" and take the offender home for another one from the father of the child. Today we are not allowed to do much about wayward children and the world is a worse place for that.

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Us girls loved to pick wild flowers. We climbed trees and played in the chalk pits and fields. Innocent but fun games with our friends. We didnt need or want toys we made our own fun. Just as well as no one had the money for them. Inside things were books and crayons and paints. Outside we made our own chassis out of old pram wheels we found that had been dumped in the hedgerows by the visiting gypsy band. We got wooden boxes from the grocers if we could and spent ages putting it all together to race them down Bidwell Hill. We were scavengers. I never had a bike and neither did any of my friends. We would go down to the Green to play on the swings though or traipse along the footpaths in search of birds nests or rabbits lairs. Mud pies and dugout dens or tree houses were the big thing to do. I remember Mick Bird and myself digging out an underground home that we put corrugated iron on for a roof, covered it in branches and got a candle to light the place up.We would just sit for ages in there thinking it was the best thing in the world especially if it rained.

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Most of my childhood was spent with my friend Margaret who lived at Grove farm. We loved the outdoors and I learned a lot being there. I learned about what made the hedgerows and about the critters that lived there. The woods and fields and all that grew or lived in them. I saw how a sheep was shorn and dipped, and how to get eggs from under a cranky chicken. I saw a lamb being born and the wonder of it all..........baby cows and what a disaster foot and mouth disease used to be to the farmers and the animals. I remember fowl pest and farms being wiped out by it the smells of burning carcasses that permeated the air. Of having to walk through disinfectant to get on or off any of the farms to prevent the spread of disease.
I will be forever grateful for my life, for my childhood and now for being able to remember it again with old friends .

1 comment:

Dion Dior said...

Janice, I suppose you get this all the time, but your blog is beautiful, especially the pics at the top. I stopped and looked at those for ages, wishing to be in those woods. You now have a new regular follower inme. xx Dion