Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Armchair Time Travel with an Elderly Neighbour

Image borrowed from bucksfreedompress.blogspot


Our very elderly neighbour, Oscar was on the village hall committee
and, locked away in his writing bureau, is a dull and tatty-looking blue notebook.

Did I say dull?    Absolutely not!  It is a priceless gem, packed full of village history.

Oscar read aloud from the notebook,  the minutes of the Little Bunting Village Hall Committee meetings  from long ago.

Back then it was a lively and well supported village hall which hosted bingo nights, scrabble games, jumble sales, dances, plays and pantomimes, trips were taken on coaches,  harvest suppers, quizzes, film nights, cricket was played on the village green* and there was the annual Gala, at which a Gala Queen would be chosen.

Oscar read out that the fireworks for the annual display cost the princely sum of £5.00 and we both had a laugh about that, I don't buy fireworks, but I doubt you would get much more than a packet or two of sparklers for that amount, these days.  

His notes give the name of the woman who made toffee, another who provided hot dogs and the woman who made soup for everyone.   I can't remember all the details of the costings, but I know the soup-maker charged 99p for the 70 servings.

Image borrowed from telegraph.co.uk


I particularly loved the accounts of cricket on the village green, with a beautiful tea of cucumber, ham or salmon sandwiches with scones and cakes provided for tea.    .   

Wonderful stuff!    Is there anything more evocative of rural England than cricket on the village green?   Chaps in cricket whites and women in pretty frocks serving tea, the heat of a summer afternoon, the smell of grass, friends and rivals come together...

These days our large village green is occasionally mowed and rarely used.   There has been debate and argument on how the ground could be used by the community.   Some wanted it to be a playground for the village children but this was fiercely opposed by some people who thought it would be too noisy for them.  Others wanted the ground to be turned into allotments...

To the best of my knowledge, nothing has been done about it so far.

*If you click on this link it will take you to a map which I drew of Little Bunting.     It shows the location of the village green, hidden away, difficult to find.


So, Oscar and I whiled away an hour or two going down memory lane for him.   I think he enjoyed it almost as much as I did.     Armchair time-travel in wonderful company.


There was a reason that I spent so this time with Oscar, this morning he became a little upset over some work which has to be done to make some outbuildings, which back onto the public road, safe.  He was overwhelmed by the builder/demolition man's chat and didn't understand what was to happen.

So he rang Max.  

Unfortunately, Max had a meeting which he couldn't avoid, so I said I would go along and talk to the builder and try to sort things out.     There wasn't really a problem, it was more a case of the builder not fully understanding just how difficult it can be for older people to deal with things like this.

It was quickly sorted and I managed to get Oscar to sit down, have a cup of tea and relax, which is how he got reminiscing, much to my joy.


I know that some of you have been concerned about Oscar, so let me reassure you that Max and I have had a good chat with his family, who are fully committed to doing their best for him.    They totally understand our concerns and we have jointly formulated a plan to help Oscar.







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