The motorhome and I were in The Fens of Lincolnshire – a much maligned bit of our geography – and I went through the village I grew up in – Donington. It brought back numerous childhood memories for me and I tracked down the house I used to live in which in turn reminded me of my dear old Dad trying to keep the weeds on the drive (photo) under control in the absence of any chemicals in those days. He was always worried about the weeds. In reality he probably wasn’t – but through my child’s eyes it seemed a big deal.
He was a Church of England vicar and my earliest memories are of Donington in which we settled on our return from Australia – I was born in Sydney General Hospital. My older sister was unimpressed with my arrival five years after her’s and regarded me a serious threat to her only-child supremacy. She once very wittily and very acerbically remarked that I never had a childhood because as far as she was concerned I was at least forty on arrival.
It was also in Donington that every Monday my mother and I visited the telephone box in the market square so she could speak with her sisters in London. It was here I learned the mysteries of Button A and Button B and the need for brevity (sadly long since forgotten) as there was always a queue of people wanting to use the phone and glowering at us if mother went on a bit – which she was prone to doing. Never speak beyond the pips she would announce – and promptly did so sparking a furious chase for more coins to feed the GPO (General Post Office) machinery.
Every school day I caught the bus to Boston and mortally offended my mother when I was about six by asking whether she could wave the bus off less vigorously and more discreetly. I think all parents go through a phase of being an embarrassment to their children and nowadays it would be called not being cool.
So; happy days. Lots of freedom and the sun shone and a full English was what you sent your kids to school on. Nowadays if you did that they would be taken into care. By my standards my parents were of the slightly remote Victorian variety – wonderful though they were. Many years later my wife and I were much more involved as parents until I now look at my children who are SO full on with their children I am left gasping for breath. It’s called progress.