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Drayton jottings.

Auntie Alice, in Kings Avenue, regularly seen,
Out on her front doorstep, she kept it clean,
The `raddled` red stone was buffed to a shine,
`Old fashioned traditions`, here continued, so fine.

One day, from school I returned,
`extra curricular activities` were learned,
`Hedge cutting hedge`-never seen before,
laughter unlimited and chuckles galore,
But our Mr Hedge(the local deliverer of mail)
was not the only anomaly in this little tale,
For the very next day,`twould come to pass`,
I’d see neighbour, Mr Green, cutting his grass!

The ancient dwellings, in the old `town well`,
now, long demolished, in the name of progress they fell,
`school ward bound`, each day I would pause for a while,
fascinated by their charm and `olde world` style,
`new homes for old`-the modernist head now reared,
gradually the old Drayton of this era disappeared,
I pondered their fate and, looking on, what trouble,
had heralded their demise, to just bricks and rubble,
it’s a sad fact of life that the old has to go,
to make way for the new, if it is indeed so,
traditions are lost in the unyielding march of time,
and much has changed since the days of this rhyme.

The little Vaggs `bus trundled around Dalelands estate,
and at `request stops`, potential customers would wait,
`on board`, with genuine cheerful smile(and ever smart)
the conductress and driver, daily journeys of stop/start,
the distinctive sound of the idling diesel motor,
as the passengers alighted and the `bus took it’s quota,
the Chieftain` emblem on the radiator sat so proud,
(`Big chief `sitting bull`-or was it `morning cloud?`)
The whirr and click as the ticket machine `munched`,
then magically `spat out`, our tickets-duly punched!

One year, for Christmas,`Santa` brought me a projector,
with a wind up handle, ix volt bulb and reflector,
great fun, had I, showing these films in the dark,
whilst narrating a script, furiously winding-`oh, what a lark,
The Red Indians lost and the cowboys always won,
with this `magic lantern` ,entertainment, `home spun.`

Tunstall Hall, and it’s rather unwanted, dubious fame,
fine architectural buildings and Jenny Trevor`s lane.
(`tis said)by the squire, she was pursued and `soiled`,
this servant girl for whom his blood ever boiled,
life for her was wretched and she ended it all,
by hanging herself, in the little lane by the Hall,
local folklore has it, at eventide she does roam,
her immortal soul seeking a Heavenly home,
a silent figure gliding o`er pastures green,
many years of anguish those sad eyes have seen.

1953 was a special year-the monarch was new,
And everywhere in the land, celebrations did ensue,
Little Drayton Church was no exception, our vicar, Mr Rooke
brought us all together on the green, where he undertook
to welcome our Queen with suitable `glitter and pomp`,
(for we children `twas an excuse for a feast and a romp!!)

The old fashioned gas boiler and hand operated `dolly`,
no automated gadgets, just longwinded chores-housewife’s follies!

Sledging in winter, on Salisbury Hill, in the crisp snow,
high speed gravity propulsion, quickly downwards we did go!

My brother in the carnival , as Roy Rogers, one memorable year,
sporting two `six guns`, in holsters-he was completely without fear,
he didn`t win a prize, unfortunately he was only `commended`,
So he shot the judge and her cronies thus his honour defended!

Dalelands bank (as my brakes proved) was too steep, one fateful day,
at the bottom I stopped rather abruptly, `aeronautics` came into play!
As over the handlebars I went, looping the loop , landing face down,
a rather irate man exited his house soon, and said, with a frown,
“just what do you think you are doing-is Biggles` your name?”
(no concern shown for my health or the mangled bike frame!)
“Do be more careful”,(his expression now `cross patterned`)
“that’s the third time this week my daisies have been flattened!”

In Frogmore Road, Miss Hewines, weekly, try would she,
to teach pianoforte and theory to my sister and me,
treble/bass clef notation-:`Every Good Boy Deserves Favour`,
`Good Boys Don’t Feel Angry`, values of crotchet and quaver,
`sight reading` pieces she’d set and then, for a `cuppa` retire
to her parlour (probably for a nap??) then, later, Dad would enquire,
when we arrived home, “well, what today is musically new-
oh no, not those scales again-is that all you can do?”
Firm early foundations, for my musical ambitions she laid,
(`half a crown`(25p)was her fee, but only a florin(20p)was paid,
“here’s a sixpence (5p) back, practice hard, but buy some sweets,
(`twas not only crotchet, semibreves, rests and metronome beats!?)

Along the top of the quarry, sited in Dalelands West,
(`post war` Drayton needed new homes), so, in this quest,
`temporary dwellings` were erected and `Christened` `prefabs``,
with asbestos walls, roofs and floors of huge concrete slabs,
they outlived their intended lifespan and were, for many,
(like my uncle John and auntie Mary, cousins Hadrian and Hennie),
a permanent residence, whilst other funds were accrued,
to move to a finer `nest`, this pair, with their `brood.`

Many years later I returned, the prefabs had now gone,
The bases still there, reminders of occupants `moved on`,
happy times, harmless, but for some quite austere –
we all had less then, but simple things were more dear.


In Longslow Road, little `domicile Lycett`, was, at this time, situated,
children’s parties, on birthdays-soft drinks, food and fun, unabated,
auntie Peg was `in charge`, always ably assisted by mum,
laughter and games-such innocent times, food in your `tum`,
`blind man`s bluff`, where the boys got to kiss the girls,.
`musical chairs`, ever decreasing `botty room`, tighter twirls,
happy days when communities shared joy and sadness together,
secrets, childhood romances, unrealistic pledges-`be mine forever.`
Mark Lycett, who gained considerable amount of reputable fame,
digging up and eating worms was his unusual `claim to fame`,
lovely days, now long gone, but with us they live forever,
careless times-just `wide eyed children` playing together.

Jennifer Kersey
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Submitted by paintedlady on May 03, 2021

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