Wednesday, 25 November 2015

The Old Schoolmistress Tells Tales

Little Bunting school was closed a few years ago.    

image borrowed from internet.

Mrs Read, who was the village schoolmistress,  lives directly opposite the old school yard gate.     She is well into her 80's now and still has the power to make grown men quake with just one look!

When we first moved to the village, almost a decade ago,  I noticed that, apart from a couple of  her contemporaries, people tended to give her a wide berth at village pub parties.    Of course, at the time I knew nothing at all about who she was, she was simply an elderly woman, sitting at a table nursing a port and lemon.

image borrowed from internet

I can't bear to see people in isolation, while a party is happening all around them, so I went over and began chatting with her.     Over the years we have gradually moved onto first name terms and have discovered that we both enjoy painting (she is far more skilled than I shall ever be) and various crafts.

She is also a mine of information when it comes to local history, particularly that of Dovecote Dell, a tiny hamlet across the fields from Little Bunting.    Her childhood home was a large manor house, now demolished, although the moat, dovecote and 16th century hall still remain and are located in the middle of a farmyard.

My daily walks talk me through the farmyard and I love to ponder on the history of the place.

Mrs Read and I were chatting the other day when she happened to mention that back in 1953 her wedding reception was held in the hall which is protected and listed, but now used as a barn.   I know it looks rather a messy patchwork, but those walls speak of so much history and change, I really like them.

For her wedding reception the hall was decorated,  straw bales were installed for seating, and a jolly time was had by all.

borrowed from the natural wedding co.

I'm hoping that Mrs Read may be able to find up a photograph or two, in which case (if she will permit) I'll share them with you.

Her mother used to tell people that clearing up afterwards took minimal work because they simply let the hens in to eat the leftovers.

Old age is relative and I'm sure that I appear even older than Mrs Read did to me, but at village parties I am extremely fortunate, for the two best-looking and interesting young men (who live in Dovecote Dell) are kind enough to come and chat to me.   I'm not complaining!   ;-)


  1. lovely story and as a dweller of Dovecote Dell I always like to find out more, so I await an update with eager anticipation!

    1. Hi Dom, I'll be sure to update you - either by blog or at the next party!

  2. Loved reading your blog. So pleased you've started a new one. Thank you so much for commenting on my last post E. Missed you. It's been a bit of a year all in all. My O/H has been having a battle with cancer so my blogging has had to take a back seat. Anyway last chemo results were better than we could have hoped for so looking forward to a special Christmas this year.

    1. Oh, Molly, I'm so sorry to hear that. My love and best wishes to both of you - and I am so glad to hear that the chemo seems to be working. I know it's a bit early, but I wish you both the most wonderful Christmas. Something to make you smile: you get first prize for following the clues and working out who I am, some of the others seemed to think I was the scraper...or perhaps they had had enough of my blatherings! Anyway, I'm so happy for you and your O/H. xx

  3. What a lovely story. You should record her, before its all forgotten. I heard and read memories of a man who was with my Grandfather in WW2. Wow. just wow.

    1. HI Sol, Wow, indeed! That must have been quite something - did your grandfather ever talk of those times? Listening to memories like that make it become so much more real than any history book could ever convey.

      I'm hoping to spend an afternoon with Mrs Read next week, I can't wait for the next installment!


Lovely to hear from you!