Anyway, school holidays and weekends we spent time together and I reminded her in her birthday card that I think of her often in Spring not just because it's her birthday but because we loved to go looking for the first Violets.
We would stroll the banks along Bedford road and pick through the grasses to find the Violet leaves and find those first buds. Her Dad had an allotment and sometimes we would find a few among the gardens. Allotments were pieces of land rented to grow vegetables. The original Victory gardens that stayed on after the war. Next to the allotments was a home we knew as "The Blind House" a residence where blind people lived. It was named Del Mont and it was built originally by Mr Green and bought at some point by the Durnfords.
Carrie Durnford (now King) lived there and on occassion we would play there. Well I guess one day we were playing there and dancing on the roof of the pig stye.......the roof caved in. We all ran (so Carrie says) and her brother David got blamed for it and he wasn't even there. I may add that Carrie King has written a very good childrens book "Joni Pip".
(The picture is Rabbit Lane, another lane that was a short cut we took during those days, simular to our "Little Lane")
There were a couple of other girls that I knew and played with sometimes, Pat and Ila lived next door to each other so I didn't see them so much but we would play school sometimes.
The first friend I met was Jennifer Bright. She lived at the end of the street overlooking Bedford Road and near one of our favourite places to play "The Steps". These were a flight of two sets of steps leading down to the road from the estate of Bidwell Hill. Many years ago there was a village of Bidwell. Long gone in our day but still the name stayed. Jenn and I met, and I can see it to this day, right after we moved into our house. Her mum came to meet my mum and Jenn hid behind her mum and I hid behind mine and we peeped out at each other from our mothers aprons. We were both around 4 or 5 years old. We are friends to this day. She moved into a house in the village and I can see her mum at the door when I went to ask if Jennifer could come out to play. Across the road lived her Auntie Flo in a tiny village cottage. Most of these places are gone now. The village is not what it was back then. They still had gas lights in the streets and in many of the houses back in the 1950s. I see Auntie Flo giving Jenn a wash down in from a bowl on the table. Jenn was wearing a liberty bodice as was I. I am sure todays kids would be shocked.
Well anyway, somehow she met Mrs Dryden and Margaret would have to come to the village on the Bedford bus. They arranged for her to wait at my house and walk to school with me. Same when we got out of school, she would wait until it was time to catch the Bedford bus home again.
Once we became friends we were practically inseperable, we went from our days down on the farm to our dancing days at the Cali (California Ballroom).
She was like a sister to me. She had a younger brother and sister and we would all hang out together on the farm, but Margaret would come away on holidays with me every year once we started to do that. That's another story though. Old friends...........nothing better.