A Real English Village - a Memory of Wickham Bishops.
My parents moved to Wickham Bishops in 1948 to help friends run the village Post Office Stores which sold everything - stamps, paraffin (you brought your own can and it was filled from a barrel at the back), vinegar (as for the parafin, it came from a barrel out back), cheese portions cut from huge cheeses wrapped in linen, and loose flour and pulses which even as a five year old I was allowed to put into blue sugar-paper bags to be weighed. Sweets where still rationed and broken biscuits were popular. My mother and her friend went once a year to order skirts, blouses, frocks and underwear from the London warehouses. Toys that came in for Christmas were not in plastic so I got the first go with them! There was a village pantomime every year in which all the local characters took part, glamorous in fish-net tights as Dandini or hideous in wigs and false chests as the ugly sisters. There was also a Christmas party for everyone who wanted to go, with proper games in which all the adults made fools of themselves trying to whistle the National anthem after eating a cream cracker or rushing round chairs till the music stopped. I remember many of the people, great characters all of them, some wealthy, some poor. We were quite poor but it was post-war and we weren't alone in that. I was ill a lot with asthma and one kind family lent me their children's toys to play with - I loved the lego - being female I had never been given such a toy before. Two sisters were reported to have died during the war because they stewed rhubarb leaves with terrible results! My fondest memory was of a family who lived in converted railway carriages whilst they built themselves a house - I thought it was wonderful having one room after another and lots of windows. We moved to Great Totham when I was 10 but Wickham Bishops remains always in my memory as my childhood home.
A memory shared by on Dec 20th, 2006.
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