Y.S. Ronnie nee Hemus

(From a letter written to Margaret Feeney in 1994.)

Thinking back I remember Brownie friends Betty and Mollie Course whose parents kept the greengrocers on the triangle in the middle of the village. Winnie Harris whose father was horseman I think for Hancox farmers, children were Elsie & Kenny Hancox. Mary Matthews and Peggy Gosling were our Brown & Tawny Owls.

There was a sweetshop, Tattersalls; Richards general store & Post Office; & Allcotts the Bakers.

Times were very hard and our main meal was often horse beans cooked in a stew pot in the oven all night with a marrowbone! We used to get told off for wasting the bean skins (they were hard!) and we would hide them in our sock tops – but we are survivors! We knew all the best apple & plum trees in the area and hopefully took our bags for windfalls, and when any of the locals killed a pig we used to go for ‘fry’ – rare treat.

They were happy days. Spring & summer lovely with abundance of wild flowers – primroses, cowslips, violets etc, and our secret wild orchids at Oldberrow.

My brother was only 14 months younger than me. We had the freedom of the parish and wandered miles. I think the children of today miss out a lot on the simple pleasures of life.