Tom Lizzie Cook

A Memory of Culbone.

1948 - onwards. My Mother and her two cousins were brought up by their Aunt and Uncle as above and I spent all my childhood holidays with them. Great Aunt Liz was well known for her teas for visitors and ramblers from CHA Porlock. On such an occasion all the kettles we could find would be filled and put on the range, every tea cup & saucer, milk jug and sugar bowl would be washed and placed on as many trays (with tray cloths) as were available. She had difficulty understanding decimal coinage and everyone was still only charged 2s.0d. Uncle Tom was a good horseman working at Porlock Riding Stables, Porlock Weir, and a knowledgeable countryman. He could tell a good yarn and played at many dances with his squeeze box. They are both buried in the Churchyard along with my great grandparents and great great uncle Nath who retired to Worthy Lodge from Parsonage Farm collecting tolls at the toll road gate. His only comment I can remember was "Ooh Arhh". Great Great Aunt Louie was Elizabeth Louise Burrows & her father was known as Farmer Jim. Great Aunt Liz welcomed everyone with her cheery smile and her saying "Bless you m'dear". Visitors to Culbone with children would very often find her giving the children back the money they had paid for their tea! I was put in charge of making the icing for all the many buns she cooked in the range and also cutting up the cherries used on the buns to make them go further. Saturday was always brass and copper cleaning day and cleaning the church for the service next day. There were times when the church would be full and it would be decided to take the Harmonium organ out into the church yard (weather permitting) and hold an open air service. The services were conducted in the mornings one week and afternoons the other. I was told to sit in a chair and be very quiet after services, when the Rector and Church dignatories and even his Lordship on occasions, came into Great Aunt Liz's little cottage and partook of dainty sandwiches, buns and tea. I slept in the little bedroom at the front of the cottage and remember how I was allowed a whole candle to go to bed with. I would read or draw well into the night. Who would allow a child to do that these days. I also remember the cold water to wash in in the mornings. But that was after Aunt Liz brought up a cup of tea and biscuit on a tray with a tray cloth! She always had hers first thing in bed. A round parafin stove would be lit and a small kettle placed there before she done anything. This used to worry us when she was older as it was placed so near to the feather tie. After washing and dressing she would be down to start the fire in the range and get the breakfast on. Scrambled eggs, boiled eggs, fried eggs and bacon and toast. One or two of these was always provided. The postman who I remember was called Mick and lived in Porlock, usually came around 11am and would bring up papers and groceries as well as any post. We were usually his last port of call on this particular round including all the farms and outlying cottages. He would sit and have his cup of tea and sometimes a breakfast and tell us all the gossip - who was poorly, on holiday or had passed away. Aunt Liz had a lodger called Eric who married a girl called Molly from Porlock. I met her some years ago working at the Porlock Toll Road Gate. I know she remarried after Eric died to someone at Oare but unfortunately I have lost her address and would love to get in touch. I remember very well going up to Silcome Farm with Aunt Liz to collect milk or just for a walk and talk with the "Misses" and "Maister" who I know was called Richards. My mother named me after one of their children -Ilott - who I believe in later years lived in Porlock. I was taken aback at that farm as the kitchen seemed enormous after the little kitchen and scullery at Aunt Liz's cottage. Aunt Liz took me by boat from Minehead to Cardiff (but I can't remember who we met there). This would entail a very early start to walk to Porlock Wier, catch the bus from there to Minehead and the boat to Cardiff. The return journey was almost as long but we would stop overnight at Uncle Nath's in the lodge. If we did walk back to Culbone, Aunt Liz would never use the torch as she was "saving the battery". We were once challenged by soldiers who were training in the woods. That was quite alarming. I also remember walking over to Cherry Steep where we would watch the sunset and marvel at all the stars on a clear night. It is such a shame that the big house Ashley Combe is no longer there as I remember it being Dr. Barnardos and a Country Club. Lady Lovelace was before my time but Aunt Liz worked for her as did Uncle Tom on the Estate. I do hope you have found my memories interesting. I will never forget Great Aunt Liz and Great Uncle Tom and my stays at lovely, peaceful but quite busy Culbone.

Added 16 March 2010


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