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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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My grandparents homes.............

I was reading a blog the other day and it brought to mind how I feel about houses. My grandmothers house was the one that I loved the most as a child. I have dreamed of her home and in my dreams it is always a light shining in the distance. I remember one dream where I was walking towards the hills behind her house and there was a light shining over the hills and I knew it was her house. Not at all realistic but a dream is a dream. I did love the place. It was on what is now a busy road near the Luton and Dunstable hospital. Since those days the M1 motorway has gone in and things have changed. Below a modern picture of 785 (Minerva) on Dunstable road, the gates are gone but its the same wall.
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I remember my Granddad would stand leaning on the gate smoking his players, I would sit on the wall and watch him watching. Maybe every hour or so a car would go by but mainly people walking to the little shop on the corner, or post office on the other corner. I remember the end of rationing and going to the store with Nan. I can see the store vivid in my mind with its wooden floors and vegetable bins around it. Back then you were served in stores and it was a pleasant encounter of neighbours. I liked the other store across the road because it was bright, contained the post office and had magazines and candy.
Well, Granddad got me into collecting car numbers. Shows how rare it was to see a car in the 1950s.
I was allowed out by myself and would wander the hills up back. The Chiltern Hills, this part called Blows Downs. I can see myself laying on the short grass, with harebells and the sound of larks, just watching the clouds and hearing the bees buzy in the flowers. I would walk to the small copse at the top sometimes and look for Bluebells in the Spring. I could walk all the way across the top of the hills and end up in Dunstable where my Uncle Norman and Aunty Ivy lived. I had no fear being alone sometimes a friend would come with me. Dawn lived next door and was just a bit younger than me. One day we were at Nan's when Granddad came home. He took out his glass eye, polished it and set it on top of the radio. Dawn ran screaming from the room. I had not thought to warn her because to me it was perfectly normal. Dawn recovered and I am sure we went off over the hills to play.
My Uncle Ray was about 14 years older than me so I was 4 when he was just 18. He was in the air force around that time and I remember he and Aunt Ivy playing school with me. I must have been quite indulged as a child. when he got his first motorbike he was probably around 20 and he would take me for rides on it. I had to run all the way up to Skimpot road so I could get on and not be seen on the main road. He would take me up the hills as the road wound around to Caddington. Back then a small village no main roads, just a small road through woodlands. Why he tolerated me at my age I have no idea but I was his shadow.
I now think its amazing the as small children we had so much freedom. There was nothing to fear. Nothing. I suppose the biggest threat would be falling while climbing or maybe running on the railroad tracks. There was hardly any traffic and we knew nothing about child molesters or kidnappers.
Back home in Houghton Regis, it was all about my friends farm and the fields out back. The chalk pits. Now that was dangerous but was not off limits, we climbed the shear walls of the pits and did normal childhood things like birds nesting and looking for rabbits. Climbing trees and all the things kids no longer do.
My other Grandparents lived at St Omere in Houghton Regis.The picture below is recent. Next door is the Ferns where my aunt lived, my grandmothers sister.
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It was another fantasy house for me. It was large and old. My Grandmother died when I was small so I don't remember her but I remember Granddad Burt. We lived there for a time as we did at my other grandmothers house until Mum got us the house on Bidwell Hill. SO I dream. I remember, I long for the past. I loved those houses.St Omere had a huge garden and I can remember all about it. Granddad kept rabbits and had the whole back in vegetable gardens. My uncle next door had chickens. Wartime efforts to feed everyone. The things that house has seen, POW and our soldiers stacked like cord wood on Nans living room floor. Soup always on over the fire.
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St Omere I can share memories with my cousins who also spent time living there, probably for the same reasons we did. After the war, when the men came home, the newly married would put their names on the council list. WHen a house opened up then they had a home. I think I was around 4 or so when I moved there. I spend my childhood on Bidwell Hill but spent time at both other places well into my young teens.
Sadly ST Omere was sold and the person who bought it had been living with my Granddad. Granddad didn't have the money to buy the house and my Dad would not. So it was that an ex German POW who had been billeted with my grandparents
bought the house and Granddad had to leave. The grounds to the house were sold and built on so all the wonderful memories are built over now. I still have my dreams though.


NanaDiana said...

What a WONDERFUL WONDERFUL post about your memories of childhood and those people that you so loved, Janice. It is a fascinating peek at your life back then. Blessings- xo Diana

Noelle the dreamer said...

Janice, an outstanding post! Ex-RAF flyboy wanted me to let you know how much of your memories he shares. Those were the days!!

Magic Love Crow said...

I love all your memories Janice! Thanks for sharing ;o) I have to admit, the house I lived in for 22 years, before we moved, I had many dreams about. Big Hugs ;o)