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Growing Up In The 1960's

A Memory of Alwington

We lived in Headon's Cottage, Fairy Cross - it had been an old German doctor's cottage in the 1700s, a Doctor Wacerill who is buried in St. Andrew's churchyard,  and his faded plaque was still above the front door - walls made of cob and thatched roof etc. We were just up the road from Portledge drive - my grandfather William George Harris was woodsman and forester on the Portledge Estate for the Pine-Coffin family for over 50 years and his grandfather before him had been the estate foreman. As a boy I very often walked our Rottweiler dog , Limbo, down Portledge drive turning into the woods halfway down and making our way over some wooden bridges and past a couple of huts my grandfather had made for shelter, past what seemed to be a big lake often with ducks on it and ending up at the sea  - also remember the wooden beachhut there (I suppose for changing into swimming costumes - not that it got much use!) and that it was always full of flies in summertime. Had to be careful going down Portledge drive as "us" villagers were not welcome in those parts by Miss Vickory, later Mrs Knorkie, who was running the old house as a hotel then and seemed to think all those areas were private. My grandfather and old Colonel Pine-Coffin didn't agree and me and the rest of my family always went down to Portledge woods and the sea - I always kept my distance from the big old house/mansion/hotel and it was always a bit of a mystery to me - would have loved to have gone inside for a look around! My sister and I were very lucky to have had a childhood like it - wonderful carefree happy days.
We have lived in Queensland, Australia since 1972 but recently through the internet got in touch with Susan Pine-Coffin and was sorry to hear that they had had to sell Portledge after a family connection of over 900 years.

A memory shared by Derek England , on Jun 11th, 2006.

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