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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Friday, September 27, 2013

Houghton Regis back in the day.............

On Facebook I have a group called "Houghton Regis back in the day"..........I was doing a post today that made me think. I want to do the post here as well, just for the record.
I grew up in a small village and Facebook has been awesome, I have found people I never would have without it and never heard from them again. We have fun talking about what the village used to be like and what we got up to. The people who live there now are amazed at what it once was because they never knew it that way. After the war there were many displaced people and some were moved out of London into the countryside. The powers that be chose our village.
Well that's not what this is about really, did it ruin the village? Yes. No one can say otherwise. Was it necessary? Yes. What we disliked intensely was that in doing this the planners ruined everything. Houses destroyed, history destroyed. The 14th century Tithe barn torn down and timber as old as time burned. There is no village now. It's a town with a Mayor and everything. If there had been good planning they could have kept the integrity and looks of the village and expanded it as well. We could have had it all.............ah well. I don't live there now so I can talk and dream with others who have moved away about the place we grew up in and the people we knew. It will live in our hearts as long as we do.
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We grew up knowing the owners of the shops in the village. If only by name. The names have been there generations just like mine has. My family has always lived there as far back as I have got so far on my geneology way into the 1700s and beyond.
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There were two Butcher shops Mr Pratt at one end and Mr Tompkins at the other. We seemed to go more to Mr Tompkins because it was closer. The meat would be displayed in the front window. Some times a partridge or two or maybe pheasants could be hanging up on hooks with a few chickens in the window. Tompkins the butcher had his animals delivered to the back of his store where they would be slaughtered and dressed. He had a huge fridge/freezer where they would be stored. The meat cut as he needed it. Mum would go in and "What can I do for you today luv" would be the greeting. The floor covered in sawdust covered the smells of fresh meat. A sort of damp smell. Mum would always buy our Poodle Poppett fresh meat every day. She was a fussy poodle and if mum got liver and she was not in the mood, well she would have to go back and get kidney or whatever else she thought of. One day Mr Tompkins suggested brains............well mum took that home and cooked it. Stunk to high heaven and the dog nearly mum had a word or two with Mr Tompkins about that and bought something else. Mr Pratt's shop was next to the knackers yard so his was just as fresh.
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The baker was Mr Ward. Fresh bread daily, no cut bread in our house Dad would never eat that. We had the real deal fresh and crunchy crusts, sometimes still warm and delivered. I loved the mini Hovis brown bread. A whole loaf to myself, not much bigger than a roll really.
Mr Green was our milkman. An older gentleman when I was a kid. When I did my family history I found we had some connections there. I also found that my friend in Australia, Stella, she was in the Womens Land Army during the war............she was assigned to Greens farm. My Granddad Burt's brother Buster
worked down there sometimes he had a way with ducks apparently. Won prizes for his Aylesbury ducks. Some times Mr Green would come around with his horse and cart loaded with vegetables and all the ladies would be saved a trip to the village shops.
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The thing with villages is that everyone is connected some way, some how..... if you go back far enough you will find the connection. They tended to marry within the village until more recent times when travel became easier. So it was that we grew up in a place that grew the food local. No preservatives. No pesticides. Just honest good fresh food bought from people you knew and trusted. Until the new estate was built most of the local men kept an allotment. They grew their own vegetables. Some people kept their own chickens. We could do that then. Good wholesome food and lots of good exercise. How could we not be healthy? Not like today. I don't remember kids having ADHD...........sugar was rationed into the 1950s so sweets were not readily available and never in the quantities they have now. Miss Dickens had a tobacco and sweet shop. Us kids would go in with a penny and she would tell us what we could get for a penny. Not a lot, but it felt good to buy and choose our own. She must have had the patience of a saint that woman. When we got older we could buy Woodbines one or two at a time (Cigarettes)
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Further down the village was Mr Odmans the news agent. We would get our comics there. It was a funny place. Very dark. All wood floors and a huge counter with a flap. Mr Odman always wore a striped shirt and an apron, a cap and a cigarette. It smelled of tobacco and newsprint.
Another character was Mr Perry the green grocer. His store was a conglomeration of every imaginable thing. From buttons to tacks, vegetables in tins and fresh. Ask for a pot of glue and somewhere he had one. Lots of little drawers and nooks and crannies full of all sorts of things. Well its all gone now, along with most of the people. The kids moved out and strangers moved in. I still have a cousin living there, so there is still a Hines in the village.

Linking up with Our World Tuesday


Maureen Wyatt said...

It's sad to see the small towns and villages go. I live in a village where time seems to stand still and that suits me just fine. In so many ways it was a better way of life.

Tracey Steele@Breathing English Air said...

Brilliant post, Janice. So different from the Houghton Regis of today. Our son used to have a friend who lived there, and once a week, when they had an after school club, I would drive the friend home. I dreaded it! The traffic was always a complete nightmare.
I am reading an interesting book at the moment about the Women's Land Army in Bedfordshire. It is fascinating reading about the local area back then.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I really enjoyed reading this amazing post! How lucky you are to remember and also be able to research all of this information. To be able to connect with old friends and acquaintances is wonderful, too!

Magic Love Crow said...

What a great post! I loved going down memory lane with you! How very special! I could smell the bread! I laughed about the brains for the dog! Poor puppy! Happy you are able to keep in touch with Facebook! Take Care ;o)

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retriever said...

Interesting post, childhood country life is a important thing for memorie and we hope always have news . have a nice day!