Auntie & Uncle were the nicest and kindest people you would ever want to meet. They had a small business of Builders, Decorators and Undertakers. The house was in a row, well end of row of houses and had a small shop attached selling paints, wallpapers etc which Auntie served so whenever the shop door bell rang she would go through the drawing room to the side door of the shop leaving anything she was doing. At the back of the house was a Kitchen and pantry and as I believe it had once been a farm house they both had slate floors and the pantry had slate shelves all around for keeping milk cool I think.
Out the back door was a yard that opened out to the Square with Double gates. In the yard was a couple of storage sheds or outhouses, a blacksmiths shop with forge etc and just outside was the “contraption for shrinking the metal tyres onto wooden spoke wheels. There was the entrance down into the carpenters shop, and alongside it was the stairs down to the garden. Also the shop had storage at the back which doubled as a store for painting materials and putty and a bench for cutting the glass on. In the entrance there was a wall that I should think had been used for many years for the painters to clean their brushes out so it must have been half inch thick and truly like a rainbow of so many colours and their shades. In the far corner of the yard was little one man office that belonged to a garage business next door. On Market day which used to be Tuesday every space in town was crammed with cars of the farmers and so the yard was filled up with them too. So on those days auntie couldn’t hang out her washing and cars were so tightly parked that often you clambered over bumper to bumper to get around until late afternoon anyway. My bedroom was at the front and it looked out onto the Square and opposite was the Guildhall & Town Hall. There was and still is a Clock and a striking Quaterjacks that had a 2 tone dull clunk noise of metal on metal every 15 minutes. Uncle was a special Constable Sergeant, I am not sure if Aunties father had been Lord Mayor or was Lord Mayor but we used to go visiting them in quite a big house (to me anyway) and there was a sunken lawn and I remember rolling down the grassy slopes to the flat area.
Uncles Mother and sister lived the other side of the town square in a little house but his mother had been crippled in a road accident being knocked down by a car so I never saw her except to see her with her leg resting on a pouf and she used to do all the needle work for the family. They had great big Grandfather clock and living in such a quiet place the tick tock seemed so loud and restful, therapeutic in a way.
In the early morning along would come a milkman’s cart with Milk Churns on and he would ladle out the milk into the Jugs Auntie had left out overnight. She used to simmer some milk on a Rayburn cooker in the kitchen and then collect the cream from the top and there was always a dollop of cream on my Corn flakes or with one of the many things Auntie would make. Hmmm have not had any Junket for so many years.
The workman would all appear in the yard in the morning to collect tools or equipment, ladders etc. or instructions for the day but there was also a Bedford lorry that might be used to take them out into the country where they were working.
In the Blacksmiths shop was a ladder store and they had a triple extension ladder that I saw used when they were painting the windows on the White Hart Hotel up in the town square. To get the angle right the bottom of the ladder was out in the road with a red flag stuck in a paint pot and this was a traffic through road as well. I was so frightened to see a painter climb up the fully extended ladder that flexed every rung he climbed and when at the top he wanted to move the ladder to reach a bit farther he would shake and bounce the ladder until it was where he wanted it.
School in Madford Lane to start with was in either what had been a Baptist Church or still was I don’t know and Miss Evan’s was our teacher. I remember as I was a good reader I was left alone mostly having been given a book to read. I used to go home past a Jewellers’ on a corner called I think Trewin & Philps and in the corner window stood up in a stand were Shotguns. I can’t remember going home at lunchtime or having a packed lunch. It wasn’t very far at all from the house to the school so not a problem. In those days she was allowed to give you medicines or put drops in your eyes etc. as long as she had a note. Eventually my schooling changed to a school up Windmill Hill but my memories only remember the climb up that hill.