Growing Up In A Small Village
A Memory of Twycross.
My parents moved to Twycross from London in the early 1960s. We lived on Sheepy Road next door to Mr Charlie Brooks and Louie Jones. On the opposite side were Stan and Ilma Jones and Len Gibbs and his daughter Joan. I remember there being a family whose surname was Talbot in the big house opposite us, but they moved away and a family called Turner moved in. We went to school in Congerstone, followed by Market Bosworth High then Desford. We stood next to the Green to catch the bus for all 3 schools. I babysat for a family called Dodds who lived at Seale Cottage and we played with the girls who lived at The Hollies, Mandy and Debbie Thorpe.
Mr Brooks had a huge vegetable garden and we were lucky enough to be given fresh peas, beans and gooseberries from time to time. When he died, I remember a motorbike rider moved in, I think his name was Dennis Ireland. As far as I can tell, our old house is now the caretaker for the private school's home. The school was still a private home then belonging to Mr and Mrs Hamlet. There was a garage run by the Benn family where you could buy paraffin as well as petrol. My aunt ran the Post Office for a number of years up on the Hallfields estate (Flo Orton/Middleton). When she left I believe Sheila Booton took it over. My friend on Flax Lane was Sarah Nutt and I learned to ride a two-wheeler bike on her little red bike with chunky tyres bouncing all over the place on the bumpy unmade lane. One of my main pastimes was riding my red and yellow Mobo scooter down the hill towards Sheepy, you couldn't half get some speed up, but then of course you had to push it all the way back up the hill! We would make sandwiches and squash and ride our bikes to Watery Lane in the summer and paddle in the ford there. I don't remember the water being cold but I doubt you'd get me in it these days. I used to go to the other end of the village to play with my friend Jane Bailiss who lived with her mum and grandparents and uncle in the house at the top of the lane next to the entrance to what is now a garden centre. Her grandparents were Vic and Jessie Cope, her mum was Judy and her uncle was Bob Henton. I remember he had a large incubator in a shed behind Assheton House Country Club where he kept his chickens and sometimes he would let us in to peep as they hatched. My mum worked at the club for a while and I remember a lady called Pattie who I think was German and a Spanish lady called Millie who lived in a bungalow very close to the club. When the club closed down,we used to go inside it to play frisbeeing beer mats at the mirror ball above the dancefloor! At the back of the club was an old van/truck stuck across a stream which we could climb up inside and travel to all manner of imaginary places. There was also an old safe out there and we were convinced it was full of money so we spent a long time trying to get into that with no success.
Where Startins Tractors now stands was a small wooden cafe which my nan would walk us to, I was too small to remember that as my nan died when I was two. The Curzon Arms was run by a Mr Welch who had a stable door inside the entrance of the porch and he would sell sweets from there during the day, I have fond memories of Tunnocks teacakes from there. Thursday night was Youth club night at the village hall.I can't recall what we did but I do remember they sold Bubbly bubble gum and you got a paper straw to drink your pop with. My older sister and I went to Brownies in Witherley with Caroline Braddock whose mum, Lynn, ran the shop near the green. I went swimming in Atherstone with Jane and she always had black pudding and chips when we came out of the baths. I remember a mobile shop coming round and the lorry was an ex Sunblest delivery wagon and you could still see the faint outline of its livery. Our milk was delivered by Keith Sedgeley from Congerstone and our meat was from Taylors Butchers from Snarestone. I actually still buy my meat from Taylors shop in Measham even now.
As a family, we went to Nuneaton on a Saturday and shopped in a place called Treasure Island and on the indoor market. On the way home we would call at a little cafe called The Batch Bar for sausage and tomato cobs. A big treat was a big tub of Ski yoghurt shared between us, as yoghurt didn't seem as popular then as it is now. I think of the amount of freedom we had to go out and explore and wish my own kids had that opportunity now.
We moved away to Moira when I was seventeen as my dad was working at Donisthorpe pit then and we got a coal board house. Our house at Twycross was rented from the Crown Estates and maintenance was an issue. In the winter, if it was very windy, my mum made us stay in as the slate roof tiles would get blown off, slide down and drop onto the front lawn stuck in like daggers. We had no central heating and would have ice on the inside of the windows in winter. We used the kitchen as our main room and the front room only had its fire lit at Christmas and special occasions. Our pantry had a salting block in it and meat hooks in the ceiling. The coalhouse had a big copper for doing the washing but my mum used the copper for plants and had a twin tubwasher indoors. Happy days.