Our families have been there as long as records have been kept, either in that village or close by. People did not move far until the 1950s and 1960s and life remained pretty much the same. It was our generation that changed everything but it began after the war when we were chosen to take on a lot of the London people. New homes had to be built and new jobs found as London was rebuilt, along with Coventry and many other cities. So they brought in car factories to replace the straw hat trade that sustained the area for a hundred years or so and the new Londoners moved into council houses to take on the work. Over the next years the village was pretty much demolished. So it is that in this Facebook group we remember our childhood. How free we were. Most of us would go outside after breakfast go find a mate and off we would go, sometimes alone. I know I would go for miles across the fields with a friend or on my own and just look around. No particular goal in mind but learning the names of the wildflowers (Dad got me a book) and birds and their nests. A friend and I collected eggs and got to know where to find and identify them. I remember being thrilled when I found a Wrens nest, so pretty and well made. We climbed trees, fell out of them or caught our clothes on barbed wire and ripped them. I remember the first electric fence I saw and how we would "test" it. I have been chased by a herd of cows and attacked my a mother hen. Stung by wasps and just about everything you may imagine but was never really hurt. My parents could never have known where I was, they were working and I was free to do as I chose, and I did. We would play in the chalk pits and visit the farms. Climb the cliffs and fish for Tadpoles and Sticklebacks. There was never such a thing as being bored, we made and invented our own fun. No TV because even when we did get one in 1952 there was nothing on during the day. Not that much at night for that matter. Maybe on a rainy day we would listen to the stories on the radio. We collected food boxes and played at stores or we played school or we made mud pies. There was never a lack of things to do. From what I have heard on the group, the boys were way more adventuresome and their territory was more within the village and with each other, mine was a more solitary existence. I preferred that. The village Chemist would pay us to go gather things like Elderberries and other things that they needed and we got paid a pittance for doing something we loved to do anyway.
I already spoke about the time I spent on the farm. My friend Margaret lived on Grove Farm and that was my main hang out in the summer time and any weekend I could get there. Never a lack of things to do there for kids.
Sometimes I would walk to my Grandmothers several miles away along a more busy road but I may have stopped in at my Aunt Nellie's house or maybe caught a bus, it depended upon the weather. Nan never knew to expect me, we didn't have a phone and neither did she. When I had enough of that I would take off and walk across the hills to Dunstable and visit my Auntie Ivy and Uncle Norman. They worked nights so I knew that by afternoon they would be there. I loved to lay on the side of the hills and just watch the clouds, the sound of bees in the Harebells and Daisies. Larks singing in the sky and the sun warm on my face. I suppose I may have dozed off on occasion, after all it was a lot of walking. There was a small Spinney up on the hills and Bluebells grew there. It was not far as the crow fly's to my aunts house and after a brief visit and cup of tea I could catch the bus home. No one had a car so it was up to me to get myself home by tea time. We could play outside until the street lights came on and then all the kids would go inside unless a few stragglers would hold out under the street light until called inside. We have some wonderful memories and a childhood that is now a thing of the past. One that I am just so grateful for
pictures from the web with no credits. If I have inadvertently taken your picture please do let me know and I will delete it or give you credit.
I am linking up with Brambleberry Cottage Time travel Thursday.