Thursday, 16 August 2018

Miss Read got on her Bicycle and Found True Love

Little did I realise that my offer to take notes on Miss Read's memories would lead to me having to spend almost 90 hours working on producing a booklet which is suitable to be printed and sold!   

It has been a labour of love, but don't forget to put some emphasis is on the labour!     I have had to learn all manner of (new to me) computery skills.   It has been brain-stretching fun.    The booklet will still look quite amateurish, because I am, but I hope Miss Read will be pretty chuffed when she sees it...fingers crossed.


Needless to say, the process has left me little time for playing in Blog World, a quick dip in here and there and I have been back to figuring out how beautify various pages.

This coming week is going to be one of total chaos and disruption.    As I type, there are two men digging up the old vegetable garden, laying the outside pipework for the new gas tank.   On Monday the men are coming in to remove the Rayburn, then there is the huge concrete plinth which it stood on, that will need to be broken up (messy!)  in and amongst all of this the plumbers will be fitting the new combi boiler and pipework...my kitchen and pantry will be no-go areas.     

Toby will be going into a meltdown because there will be men in the house - and he feels it is his duty to protect us from them, the cats will run into Owl Wood to ride it out, returning only when the men leave, I wish I could, too.     I know it will be worth it in the end.    Truly it will...😓

Back to Miss Read.

A couple of days ago I needed some information, so I called in for a visit.   She knows how much I love hearing her stories of times gone by and got talking about how she met her husband.


Having just completed a two year teacher training course, Miss Read had been fortunate enough to secure her first teaching post at a village school just a few miles along the road from the lovely old manor house, where she still lived with her parents.

She cycled to school and back each day and it must have been a very pleasant journey, for this was back in 1951, when the lanes would have been even quieter than they are now.

One evening as she was cycling home she came across a young man whose motorbike had broken down.   She stopped to ask whether she could be of assistance, or take a message for help.  He thanked her, but said he could manage.    They got chatting and before she left he said that he had heard that there was to be a dance at the village hall on Friday night and could he see her there...



The village hall used to look like this, much taller than it is these days, still the same fairly small floor space.    Those Friday evening dances were very popular, no doubt many a romance developed in and around that old place.   Difficult to believe nowadays when people practically have to be dragged in kicking and screaming to support local events.





Romance bloomed, and they were married two years later.      The wedding took place at the lovely church just up the lane from the old manor house, then the reception was held in the Great Hall which adjoined the house - if you look at the photograph of the old manor house, the roof apex of the Great Hall is visible on the far right.







(The house was demolished in the 1970's, only the Great Hall remains.  These days there are large tanks and farm implements obscuring the view, luckily I took this before they were put on the site.)

Food was still rationed, but this was a country wedding, Miss Read, her mother, and family friends had put together a suitable feast for the wedding breakfast.    Little remained, but all the crumbs were simply brushed down to the floor and the hens were allowed in to enjoy them.

 Miss Read made her own wedding dress, which she still has hanging in her wardrobe.    It was later used by two other brides, so she must have made a great job of it.













26 comments:

  1. How lovely and evocative of an age gone by (sadly). Even down to Miss Read making her own wedding dress. Gosh if I'd had to have done that, it would just have been cobbled together and no-one else would have WANTED to wear it!! What a shame the manor house was flattened too, but I hope that the Great Hall is listed and has a preservation order on it as it must be late Medieval?

    I hope that all your kitchen revamping goes well and isn't TOO messy, and looking forward to being able to buy a copy of Miss Read's memories.

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    1. Same here, BB! The Great Hall is just a big empty barn now, used by the farmer, but it is protected and listed, so are the foundations of the old place, for all the good that will do. The booklet is really only for 'local' consumption, but I will send you a copy - if it ever reaches that stage - I am still waiting for the proof copy, talk about keeping me on tenterhooks!

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  2. What a lovely story.
    I feel for you on the kitchen work, good luck, hope it is quick and not too messy.

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    1. Thanks, Sue. It is organised chaos at the moment!

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  3. A fascinating story. How I would love to see Miss Read's wedding dress.

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    1. One of these days, with a bit of luck, perhaps even a photograph of it, if she permits.

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  4. Too bad the house was torn down. Do you know why? I love these snippets of bygone times. Someday our great grandchildren will be saying the same about our lives.

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    1. The house wouldn't have been pulled down these days, Marcia. It had lots of damp and assorted problems of the sort they would fix these days.

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  5. Oh mercy, that process will be awful. But!!!! In the end, it will be lovely!

    Must, must, must concentrate on the results!!!

    Understand about workers, and your dear dog. Next door's 'Lilly' is very protective of everything around here. When she sees someone she doesn't recognize, she sets off a hound dog bark. :-) Not only in her own yard, but also, when she comes over to our pool area, when the kids swim. She then, *has* to protect our house!!! ,-)

    Perhaps you can pack a lunch, and a bowl of water for Toby, and you two, could escape to Owl Wood, along with the cats...?

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    1. Escape would be good, the weather doesn't permit though. Toby is fine with some people, others are deemed to be unacceptable, for whatever reason! We will really appreciate all the changes this winter, it will be great not having all that labour intensive cleaning of flues, chimney and stove. It was fine when we were younger, now we have to be realistic!!

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  6. Delightful (new) news, about Miss Read's romance and wedding. So, although her "pen name" is Miss, she really is a Mrs. No children though...?

    Yes, your offer to compile memories, was "biting off a bit more than you expected to chew"!!!!! Which I think happens frequently, with your taking on, of village duties. -sigh- Perhaps after this is completed, you will take a wee holiday, from such? :-))))

    Perhaps?

    After all, you will have a house, to put back in order, after all this messy work is done. Which will be a large job, in itself. The new things will be lovely, but will leave an awful lot of dust, etc. behind. Which will fall to you, to deal with.

    Perfect excuse!!!!! :-)))))))

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    1. Definitely a Mrs, although she was widowed over 25 years ago. They had two boys, one died almost a decade ago, the other one farms locally and lives in the village. As for the work on the booklet, again, if it had been a decade ago I would probably have got it done in half the time - and originally it was really just a project for leaving in the village hall, that has now been expanded a little, to the market town a few miles away. I am pleased for Miss Read, she has worked tirelessly for the community and is still a parish councillor. Quite a woman!

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  7. What a lovely story - I really enjoy all the bits about Miss Read.
    I do sympathize with you and all the renovations. I started moving furniture & reorganizing things on Tuesday and I don't anticipate finishing until sometime next week - and I'm only in a small apt.! But one thing leads to another and then there is all the extra cleaning once you move something - living in the city the dust is just endless! I hope it isn't too awful and that you will enjoy everything once it is completed. Good Luck.

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    1. Hello Margie, I'm glad you are enjoying them.
      I sometimes think that chaos in a small space can be more difficult, you have my sympathy. It will be worth it, and I hope you are pleased with what you have achieved. Order will be restored!

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  8. Such a lovely story, and how wonderful the wedding dress was used at least twice after its first outing (by different people, I mean!)
    Margaret P

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    1. Hello Margaret, It is nice to think that it had a few outings - much nicer than the modern trend of 'trashing' a wedding dress in some silly and dramatic way!

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  9. Oh, my. Kitchen disruptions are the worst! Followed closely by bathroom upheavals. I hope it goes as quickly - and smoothly - as possible. Will your booklet be available to the public at large, or is it a community endeavor only?

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    1. On the plus side, Susan, I reckon I can get away with a few days of simple sandwich meals. My favourite form of cooking. ;-) The booklet was only intended for the village, but it has now been decided to expand to the local market town. It is only a small thing of local interest, but it was great fun listening to all those memories!

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  10. This is a lovely story.Take a deep breath and the Rayburn will will be history.

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    1. It was fun, but onwards and upwards. Winter will be the real test, we will miss all the heating and hot water which was just a by product of using the Rayburn as a cooker.

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  11. That is a labor of love. Make shur you check the plumber work. The last lot I had installing out new system were rubbish leaving solder runs all over the place.I wish I had done it myself as I spent years solering tubes and pipes up where I worked. Good luck with the book and I hope the work goes well for you.
    PS you could have changed to a gas rayburn or had it converted

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    1. We could, but we live out in the wilds, no mains gas supply. We have to have a gas tank fitted for the combi boiler and a gas hob. The ovens will be electric, diversification gives us options during bad weather when supplies of either can be compromised. We also have a double-sided log burner for our own logs, so hopefully that will be all bases covered.

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  12. valuable memories. Well done you.

    Commiserations on the chaos...it will pass!!

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    1. Thanks, gz. I wish we had access to a few more of the older residents and could benefit from their tales of the old days when the village had some life and energy about it.

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    2. you're doing one..that may lead to others....

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  13. Such an uplifting story, I can only imagine the joy of making your own wedding dress and then having the pleasure of seeing two more brides walk down the aisle in it.

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Lovely to hear from you!