My granparents, Sid and Nancy Harris, nee Podgers, lived and went to school in Broadwoodkelly. They lived in the rectory, Silver Trees, when I and my sister Liz were growing up. We loved visiting and sleeping in this huge and wondrous house, it seemed so magical, especially the grounds. My gran, Nancy, would lay the enormous kitchen table for tea, with homemade sponge cake and cream and butter that we'd watched her make. She'd show us the baby chicks and pigs, and laugh heartily at just about everything. We used to play on the 'Silver Trees Island' at the entrance to the house with some of the local children that went to Winkleigh school with us. I can still smell those trees on that island when I think about it. We used to walk the two Jersey cows down through the village (to a field that was next to the cottage I was born in, next to the old post office) with Granpop, as we called him, Sidney. We were always terrified of the geese at the front of the house, they would hiss and chase us.
Granpop used to take us in his lovely old car to Winkleigh to deliver cream, butter and eggs to people, he would drive very slowly, telling us interesting stories all the way there and back. He would also tell us scary stories when we walked through the churchyard with him. He told us stories about his church bell-ringing, I particularly remember him telling me that one night he dreamt that the bell rope took him up, and that the next day it actually happened just as it did in the dream! He was such an interesting man and knew how to tell a tale. I once asked him if he believed in an afterlife of any kind, I can still see his puzzled face as he answered ... " Well, I believe we all go on to somewhere, but I can't imagine a place that would be big enough for so many people!"
My cousin still lives in the village and I think she's lucky to live in an unspoilt village such as Broadwoodkelly, it's never really changed, thank God, and every time I go there the memories flood back, and I'm out of the rat race and home again with Gran and Granpop. Sadly they passed away but I'll never forget these wonderful people and all that they taught and showed us in life. Without them and Broadwoodkelly itself, life would have been very different. Thankyou Sid and Nancy, for lovely memories. Now my son Reuben, 5, visits the village, church and old school with me,(and my father Michael Harris) and I tell him my memories. Reuben knew Sid but I think he's forgotten now.
A memory shared byon Mar 29th, 2009.
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