Friday, 4 November 2016

Churches, maypoles, and the dangers of lochs - stories from my grandma

'The parish church that we went to when we were at school had box pews. You would go into the pew and you could shut the door. Each pew had its own door. No one could see what you were up to! Well, I suppose the rector could have, when he gave his sermon, so we never played up when he was there. There was the remnants of a - I think it must have been a bishop - in the church, 300 years old, at least that's what we were told.'

'The last year of school, we were allowed to go and help decorate for the harvest festival. That was how we got up on the roof, and to see the priesthole - it was on the way up to the roof. It was so small. You climbed up a wee stair in the church, into what was the priesthole. And then I think you must have gone up the stairs, further up the stairs to the roof.'

 'It was a lovely day and you could see for miles and miles. I don't think many people were allowed up there. We only got up because we were with the school and helping with the harvest festival.'

'I remember one or two May Days in the village, with the maypole, and the dancing. They don't have them very much now. That was way back in '44 or '45. But they had the maypole up, on Astbury Green - the village green. And we watched the kids dancing around the maypole, winding in and out of the ribbons. As usual they had - they called it a rectory down there, but it was just a church manse really - as usual it was as big as they could make them!' [the implication being that rectors always had large families.]

'It was a lovely old church. I presume it's still functioning, but who knows in this day it might not be. There's so many old churches closing.'

'I remember one half term I went home with this girl called Casey Gant. She lived in Nottingham, and we thought it would be fun to go out on the river in a rowing boat. Casey's father spotted us on the river, the river Trent, and we were in trouble. We didn't realise we were in trouble, [but] there was a wier approaching. Casey's father was in his factory office, and saw us, and sent a motor boat to get us, and Casey got in trouble for taking us on the river.'

'So between that and Loch Lomond it's lucky I'm here at all! Oh that Loch Lomond was a terror. I think I was only about sixteen at the time (don't put that down! - well, if you must...). We'd gone up to Inverbeg. Inverbeg was quite a big place for the Youth Hostel Association and things like that. It was a beautiful calm day, and the lady I was with, her husband was a captain in the navy, and she was left at Inverbeg with the wee boy. And she said to me, 'Jean, can you row?' I said, 'A wee bit.'

'So we rowed over to Inverdenham, and we had afternoon tea. And between times a storm had blown up. I'll never know how we got back over to the river at Inverbeg. We had to go right up the side and back again. Boy was I glad to see the river at Inverbeg!'

'So that's why I have a fear of the Scottish lochs.'

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