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

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Saturday, November 15, 2014

St Omere............

My Grandparents on my Dad's side (Hines) lived in Houghton Regis all their lives, as did their parents before them. They rented a house named St Omere. I have no idea who named the house and I don't know off hand when they moved in. I do know that my Grandmother's parents were not at all happy that she married Granddad Burt, they concidered him beneath them. Her parents were successful people, her Dad being a shoemaker in the same village. Granddad Burt was a rogue of sorts. He liked his booze and he was a manual laborer. He served his country in the first Great War.
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My grandmother loved him, that was all that mattered. They had 10 children together and she managed to keep him honest. Well, apart from the time he went poaching and the police came to the house. I guess they had some ducks hanging out in the bathroom (somewhere) but they were not found. That was the end of his poaching days. Poaching was something most people did just to get by. Granddad raised Rabbits for meat (poor things) and Uncle Bill next door had chickens. I loved helping with the chickens and still love the smell of the chicken food. I loved to gather eggs.
St Omere had a very very large garden.
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The front had apple trees and then a lawn led to the back. Granddad had his rabbit hutches there along a path. The back was divided into 3 sections, gardens with vegetables. Then on the right hand side some rhubarb and the wall or fence between next door. My grandmothers sister lived next door with her adopted sister and her husband. I would visit there as often as I was at St Omere.
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That (above) is me collecting crab apples among the flowers. I do not know why my Mother permed my hair.
Then below I am playing, for some reason in the rhubarb
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My grandmother by all accounts was a saint. Well, she was either that or superwoman, I don't know. During the 2nd war 4 of her 5 sons was away at war. My Dad was POW and they didn't know he was even alive for almost 2 years. He was taken at Singapore. The others were out in the desert fighting Rommel.
During those days they had soldiers billeted with them. They had to lay on the floor and people would be stepping over them back and forth. The house was large. A good thing too. Down stairs it was long. The bathroom such as it was (brrr) was a lean to, brick/concrete floor and a wooden door with gaps above and below. An immersion heater gave a little hot water. The toilet was outside. Anyway the bathroom led into a gally style kitchen, not very big at that. It too was long, and narrow. The next room though was large and airy with bay windows and a fireplace with a stove that she kept a big pot of soup going so there was always a hot meal for anyone coming in. Steps let up to what was probably the family/dining room. She had a front room as ladies did, and that was for company. I don't remember much about upstairs as I was probably too small, and going back in later years I never had a need to go up there. Only once I remember visiting Granddad who was sick in bed. The ceiling had come down onto his bed. Haha......he was fine if out of sorts.
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Above is me playing on the lawn. The next one is my cousins Robin and Janet sitting on a bench outside the door to the bathroom/toilet entrance. The window would be to the kitchen
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You can see everything is brick. The floor inside was brick too as well as the bathroom walls. For a time during the war they had a German POW billeted there. Many POWs worked on local farms or did whatever work was given them. Many stayed after the war and made England their home. Max did just that. In later years he bought ST Omere and Granddad had to leave. They build at least 3 bungalo's on that beautiful back garden. He must have made a fortune.
We lived there after the war when Dad got home. We didn't stay long my Mother did not like my Granddad. We had a dog called Gerry, I remember him as a small puppy. I remember him eating a balloon and being sick under the chair by the fire. I was laying on the rug in front of the fire. Some memories are vivid. I can almost say it was a red balloon haha. Well one day mum looked at the dog and thought his head looked funny. She took him to the vets and was told it was just the shape of his head. Gerry was a beautiful Border Collie type dog. When we moved to Bidwell Hill mum sent him back to Granddad's.
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Gerry must have lived a good long life and was probably happier there anyway. He had the big garden to play in. When I was older and would go visit my Aunt who lived close by, we had to tiptoe past St Omere on the other side of the road but I swear that dog knew. He would catch us every time and run after us, I would then have to take him back to Granddad. One day he followed my Dad, Dad jumped on a bus but Gerry followed him all the way to Dunstable. He ran after the bus my dad was on, so when Dad got off the bus there was Gerry sitting there. He had to take him all the way back to Granddads across the fields (A path called Dog Kennel walk).
St Omere, another special place that I dream of..........sometimes. I do know it was special to my Father because before he died, (he was going in for an operation) he was seen walking past and looking at ST Omere. My Dad did not survive the surgery. I don't think he wanted to..........and was saying goodbye.
I am sharing this post with "Inspire Me Monday"

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