Family Holidays In Bucks Mills In The Mid 1950s To Early 60s

A Memory of Buck's Mills

I have read with fond memories the recollections of others on their holidays at Bucks Mills and thought I would share mine. My family and I came down from Nottinghamshire for many years in the mid 50's to early 60's. The family name was Gordon, my father was Leslie, a GP, my mother Jean a vetinary surgeon together with myself, Alasdair, and my older sister Janet and we would come down with our dog (or dogs) of the time, the most memorable being an english pointer called Ben. I suppose we were about 5 to 7 years old then and stayed for several years each summer until perhaps early teens - it seems such a long time ago.

For most of the times we stayed at Kings Cottage, opposite Mamie's. I read with great interest the recollections of Kathleen Holloway and my memories are very similar. Mamie was a wonderful character and we spent many happy hours in her "front room". I remember she has some old bayonets on the wall by her fire and we being mischevious children used to have mock sword fights with them and probably nearly gave her a heart attack. I also remember selling mackerel caught that day each for an old penny from her front doorstep. I too remember the toilet at Kings Cottage suspended over the waterfall - and the "effluent" going straight down to the sea, I don't suppose that would happen now!

We made friends with the local kids - I remember Gerald and "Nipper" Braund who lived at the end of the road into the village. There was also the family of Grenville and Edith Braund and their son Michael Braund who looked after his father's cows, running them through the village every day, while they left their "messages" down the middle of the road. There were two daughters called Mary and Joan. Edith was called, somewhat cruelly on recollection "Eed the Weed" as she was a very thin woman but we loved her dearly and she ran a small grocery shop in the village and we would buy ice creams and bottles of pop from her. A few years ago I went there again and there was Edith still in the same home, no longer a store, and we had a good natter.

We also befriended a brother and sister called Sean and Jane (can't remember the last ame) who came down every summer too (I think from somewhere near Bristol)and we had lots of fun on the beath searching for shrimp in the pools. Jane was my constant companion and I suppose she was my first crush, me being all of 5 or 6 then!

In the evenings we would sometimes go to Hartland Point to the hotel there and play in the back room at table tennis and billiards. It was quite a precarious trip down the hillside in the dark I remember. I also recall trips to Clovelly (and their famous lifeboat, which was still there when I visited a few years ago, and I remember one time when it went out in foul weather one night and even at an early age I was so impressed by the bravery of those young men in the boat). We went to Westward Ho (and that enormous beach and the pebble ridge) often, taking a packed lunch and Froggarts Edge (?), and of course the fabulous Hockings ice cream in Bideford. A few years ago my mother and I took a trip down there and tried it again and it was as creamy as ever, they still have the old ice cream vans on the waterfront.

My father liked photography and took hundreds of photos and I still have the slides in a box and sometimes have a sentimental look at them and wonder what happened to everyone. I have just turned 60 and live a long way away and I expect many of the adults then have passed on. Edith mentioned that many are buried at a plot in one of the cemeteries, at Wolfardisworthy (?) I think.

I have nothing but happy, innocent memories of a time, and a period, long gone now and a sound, smell or sight will sometimes trigger a past happy memory. I was reluctant to return a few years ago, thinking perhaps rightly that the place would be a huge disappointment to my more world weary eyes, but no. Of course it had changed - the car park at the end of the road being one - but there was enough of it still there for the memories to flood back. And I will have them forever.

A memory shared by Alasdair Gordon , on Aug 10th, 2010.

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