We lived in Chigwell during the 1960s before moving to Hertfordshire in 1969, which seemed like a foreign country then, strange accents etc. How times change! My father, John, was organist at St John's Church, Buckhurst Hill and my younger sister, Sarah, and I used to sing in the choir. We would have been around 8 and 10 at this point. I think it was the Rector Caswell running the show and the curate was Chris Slye. Choir practice on a Tuesday night was a great treat out too! We used to love to go to Buckhurst Hill shopping, a proper trip out in the car, despite its close proximity to Chigwell although it didn't seem so then. A sojourn down Queens Road from top to bottom was a must. First stop was the library; Orlando The Marmalade Cat books were my favourite in those days. Next port of call was Silks for newspapers and the occasional toys for us. I think Mum bought me a Beatles jig-saw puzzle in there once. Further down on the same side of the road was a small restaurant/cafe and on high days and holidays, Mum and Dad used to take us there for a fish and chips lunch. Wonderful! I'm told the place was called Lorelie. It had venetian blinds in the window and a fish tank inside, I think, although the tropical fish in there were for ornamental purposes only! Opposite was a small flower shop where I added to my cactus collection sometimes. Then, a little further down, still on the same side, was a shop set back off the road inside some sort of small courtyard, if I remember rightly. Now, to a boy of tender years but growing up fast, this was a place of great fascination for me. It was run by two young girls always attired in mini-skirts and long white kinky boots and they sold what I suppose would be called fashion artefacts. Things for the home but styled and painted in modern psychedelic colours, very swinging-sixties indeed. I don't remember much about the shop but the girls left an indelible mark in my memory. Down to the crossroads and on the opposite side of the road was a fantastic toy shop. I can't recall its name. I bought many a die-cast model car in there. Beyond that was the butcher, Piggotts and a grocery store. When our parents were first married, they lived above a dry cleaners in that same parade and they still recall horror stories about the place. Not the shop, just their flat. Another favourite outing was to Knighton Woods and Lords Bushes. Armed with small fishing nets we used to fish for sticklebacks at the lake and let off steam running round in the woods. Very care-free days indeed. I have such fond memories of those times and wish I could have had them bottled.
A memory shared byon Sep 23rd, 2009.
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