The Farm On Broad Lane

A Memory of Burtonwood

I was four years old and lived with mum in a caravan parked in this farmer's field along with other caravaners. Mum and dad would have paid rent to the owner of the farm. I was the only youngster around and had no choice but to roam around and play in the fields by myself. The farmhouse was a big old white detached one built many years before I lived there and there was a bungalow across the yard. Once I became familiar with the folk who lived in these two homes, I certainly had a lot of "uncles" and "aunties". One of my dreaded mad dashes was to run across the yard from the farmhouse to the bungalow or vice-versa. There were three white geese out to get me if they should be around the yard but, luckily for me, I could outrun them thereby saving any tears in my frocks. I attended the little nursery school up the road but my teacher, Miss Appleton, always had to carry me in kicking and crying because I didn't want to leave mum but once I was inside, I was fine, playing and learning with the other kids. This occurrence happened every day. My favourite meal was beans on toast (the Heinz 57 variety) and "Bonio" dog biscuits which I chewed on nearly every day! I can thank "Auntie" Chris for those. It was in Burtonwood when I was introduced to my "monster" - every kid has a monster of some sort and mine was called "Ginny Greenteeth". I played in the field on the farm and in this field, there was a small pond with green algae floating on the surface - the pond was absolutely covered with green algae. I was always told not to go near this pond as Ginny Greenteeth would come and get me and drown me. What a thought! I was glad when we moved away from Ginny Greenteeth in January of 1960 when we - mum, dad, my newborn sister and myself moved from Burtonwood to go and live "down south" in Watford, Hertfordshire. I remember the driving took quite a while in those days and we drove at night because I will always remember dad picking up his false teeth at the dentists before we started out and it was dark and wet. I will always remember Ginny too and here is a poem about her written by Nicole Murray & Cloudstreet:- "Come into the water and bathe, my love - Come swim in the swirling pool - Come down in the deep with the rocks and the bones - You'll swim with me now, sweet fool ...". Yep, I never went close to that pool because I didn't want to get sucked under. Farewell Broad Lane, Burtonwood, Nr. St. Helens - I still call myself a "northerner" even though I have lived in Winnipeg, Canada for the past thirty-two years.

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Not sure what to write? It's easy - just think of an important place in your life and ask yourself:

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