I was born in Blands school house in December 1945 where I lived with my eldest sisters Sheila and Janet and later my brother Keith. My mum looked after the children and my dad ran the school as headmaster, At the side of the house was a small gate leading into the playground, where I used to spend time talking to the children attending school. In the middle of the playground there was a very large metal bell which I clearly recall being hit by lightning on one occasion during a thunderstorm, a lot of the children in the nearby classroom were very upset.
I had a very happy childhood and many wonderful memories. I can still visualise the firs where we all used to play, building campsite, going fishing in the local ponds for tadpoles and always spending lots of time exploring and having picnics on the common. I had a friend who lived on the edge of the common and she would let me play with her dolls pram, a real up market model!! I would have my pocket money on a Friday and was allowed to go over to Gregsons shop and choose something. My favourites were sherbot dips. I think most of the shops are gone now, there was a really good bakery up the road and Mum used to send me for the bread, however it didn't all arrive home in one piece.
Every Christmas there would be parties for all the children in the school hall. I've never seen so many jellies, blanchmanges and sandwiches, not to mention all the cakes Mum made. They all went down a treat. Father Christmas always visited and everyone had a little gift. You could nearly always guarantee snow every year and I well remember one year when we had no electricity on Christmas Day and we invited all the workmen intp the warmth of the kitchen where there were nappies hanging above the open fire to dry. No tumble driers in those days. I think we had soup for dinner on that occasion but at least it kept us all going.
The old school house was a lovely building full of open fireplaces, a walk in larder, winding staircase which I used to help my grandma climb with a window half way up overlooking the playground, There was no bathroom just a bath in the bedroom I shared with my brother and I hasten to add was very cold. There was a very enthusiastic cricket team at Burghfield common, my dad being among one of the players, so on a Sunday there would be either a home or away match which we would go along to watch. I usually ended up making egg sandwiches for tea and I remember that my hands would become quite sore from shelling all the eggs. We didn't always watch the matches but at least it was a day out, somewhere new to explore.
When I left Blands school I went to Willink which I know is still open today. I have passed through the area on several occasions and some things havnt changed a great deal, it's just a shame the school was demolished some years ago and no records seem available now.
A memory shared byon Jan 10th, 2011.
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