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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Childhood................

As I have frequently mentioned (no eye rolls please) I was brought up in the same village my Dad was born in and all his fore fathers. His childhood activities were very similar to mine with a few minor details. For example, we both collected birds eggs. I think most little boys did. I was a Tom boy, I suppose in as much as I loved the outdoors, being involved in farm life and so on. One notable exception between us, I was "timid and retiring" so my teacher said, and he was a loud obnoxious terror. He came from a large family and I was an only child. If I had a brother like him my life would have been hell I have no doubt. He was though a very gentle and caring father. I think he was amazed at what he created in little me.
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When I was probably 8 or 10, somewhere in there I was best friends with the boy down the road, he was older by a couple of years. My Dad had befriended him when his parents split up. ( I now realize) and we became fast friends. Well we would collect birds eggs and compare our collections, just as my Dad had all those years before. We haunted the same places..........with one exception. The local sewage plant. Apparently it was a great place to find nests, and me and Mick did go there once and found it most unappealing.
My Dad's best friend was his older brother Cecil, apparently two of a kind and quite often they got stuck babysitting their young brother Alan. So one Sunday, right out of Sunday school, wearing their best clothes.......Somewhat like this below


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they decided on "birds nesting" as we called it. It was a dry year and the sewage treatment place looked inviting. The brick walls formed walkways between the beds of sewage that had dried out in the heat of the sun. All they had to do was watch out for the caretaker. They had Alan in tow not being able to avoid it and all was going well, until they were spotted......um I will let my Dads words speak for him here. (from his journal)
"The sewage had dried from the top down and had the appearance of firm ground, as the caretaker was gaining ground, and Alan was getting left behind Alan decided to take a more direct route across the lagoons. He no sooner stepped on the sewage when it gave way and he went in up to his chin and was almost submerged in raw sewage. Cecil and I heard him cry out and went to his assistance. We dragged him out and with one of his hands in each of ours we fled across the ploughed fields at the back of the sewage works. About half a mile away was the Wash Brook which flowed under a brick archway that formed a bridge to allow farm vehicles to cross. With Alans feet hardly touching the ground and I guess his fat little legs had never before been made to move so quickly....he was of course bawling his eyes out all the way. That was the least of our worries. The caretaker had by then given up the chase and we were able to consider our predicament. Alan was covered top to toe in sewage and smelt like a skunk. We dare not take him home in that condition as he had his Sunday suit on. We decided that being Sunday we could probably wash his things and get them dry and no one would be any the wiser. So we sat Alan on the bank with our jackets around him and we washed his clothing in the brook. Then hung them on the bushes to dry. Then it was Alans turn, we sat him in the brook and with hands full of moss we scrubbed him thoroughly to try to get rid of the smell. You may imagine what wool clothing looked like after being wrung out and dried in the air but we thought he looked pretty good.We set off home and Alan had been briefed not to tell tales to our Mother. She however did not share our views on the condition of his clothes when she saw her disheveled small son and reported the affair to our father. I heard him calling "come here Cecil" and followed by the sound of a cuff around the ear, that was enough for me and I bolted back outdoors and stayed out till my Father had gone to the pub. I was in bed by the time he came home and I stayed out of his way for several days........"
That was one of many adventures, and some day I may write about village life for him back in the 1920s............This is the Village Pond back then and also when I was a child.......all gone now.

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3 comments:

Cecilia Bramhall said...

I love that you were raised in the same village as your dad. Love the story too, I can just image it! Thanks for the smile this morning! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Julie Hargreaves said...

Interesting blog

Magic Love Crow said...

That sewage must have smelled so bad! Thanks for sharing your stories Janice ;o)