Arlesey Bedfordshire

A Memory of Arlesey

When my dad was demobbed after the war in 1946, we had to move back to London because of his job. We had all our funiture put on a lorry, and the local publican, a Ted Bland, delivered us to a requestioned place over a shop in Hornsey Road, Holloway, Islington, London. This became the second phase in my wonderful childhood, but it took some time to get used to the locals, at the finish they turned out to be the best people you could ever meet, but while we tried to settle in we were pining for Arlesey, and could not wait to go for a visit to my gran, grandad and cousin Terry, we idolised him. My eldest brother Ted was always his biggest fan. We would go to Kings Cross and pick up the Birch Brothers coach, and sit back and enjoy the wonderful scenic route through the countryside, eventually arriving at the Henlow crossroads two hours later. We stayed with them at 40 Stofold Road. Next door to them lived a family I believe called Aylott, who had a small market garden, they had part of my grandad's garden. I had got used to the lights of London because when they turned the lights off I was frightened it was so black, never-the-less the days were great. It was all fields around us, we used go into the field opposite and play rounders for hours, and all the grownups would join all the aunts and uncles who came down. Some days we used to go over what was called the Bunny Hills which was near the big lake, which was a clay pit originally. Apparently our great-grand father Aaron Gibbs lived in the house near to the lake, he was quite well known, and our gran would tell us about the times when he used to ferry them around in a pony and trap. We used to love the uncles and aunts arriving, because the would give us money for icecream, and we would run up to Chadwicks, who sold the best you ever tasted, and if you felt like it you would go for a walk up to the Arlesey house, stopping off at Maud Suttles and old Mrs Ketch (I think that's the right name) to maybe buy an apple, the shop had a beautiful smell of apples I can still remember it now sixty years later. Alas our holiday would be ending soon. That was the only time I hated the sound of those lovely bells ringing at St Peter's Church where my gran and grandad now rest in peace.

A memory shared by Michael Smith , on Aug 13th, 2009.

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