The guildhall Square as it is called is really a triangle, with the row of houses one side the guild & Town halls the other while the third one was the entrance to the castle and its walls. The castle green as we called the area inside had some Nissan huts put there but I don’t know what for.
As I said there was a Market there for cattle, machinery and it seemed all the trappings for Farmers. I used to go in and look at the sheep in the pens cattle and I felt so sorry for the lonely calves. But what intrigued me was the large variety of machinery there and I wondered what it might be used for. On those days the town was absolutely packed full and you needed to be very careful when going around.
I recall there was a lady who was always smartly dressed and so on and often you would come across her standing on the pavement having a discussion with her reflection in the shop windows, this intrigued me and I tried to look in the window to see who she was talking to. Pavements were so narrow that really you had to walk either in the road or walk between her and her “friend” and as I had always been told it was rude to barge between conversing adults it seemed natural to me to see who her “friend” was.
Just outside of town there was a prisoner of war camp and they would come and roam around the town. They had big yellow diamonds on the backs of the jackets. Sometimes they would come into the shop to buy brushes or paints. I think they were Italians.
Sometimes if Bill had to drive into Plymouth to pick up stock we would travel the nice way across the moor, and other times we might be in close proximity to the Dartmoor prison and we would see working parties of prisoners and guards with rifles being carried. I always tried to look into the prison through the arch to see what was around but of course there was nothing to be seen. But what a forbidding place it was.
When we travelled into Plymouth it had been badly bombed and on the rubble of the bombed sites there were several Nissan Huts that were the “Shops” Places like Dingles, you know prestige shops with rubble footpaths and edged with whitewashed stones as of course in the dark there would be no lights due to the blackout. Inside there were trestle tables laid out with the shops wares.
There used to be family car rides to Bude & Widmouth Bay and that was where Bill taught me to swim. On the way home in the car there was always a singsong with Mary’s strong soprano voice leading the way & Bill sang in the choir of St Mary’s Magdalene Church so he was used to singing. Although there were beaches there were very clearly defined areas for visitors as for defence purposes a lot of additions had been made to them.
Herbert and I used to go down the hill to the river Kensey fishing for tiddlers with a jam jar in the River Kensey at the bottom of St Thomas hill the jam jar was thrown in with string around the neck and we would patiently wait until a tiddler swam into the Jar and then quickly pull out the jar and fish. I can’t recall us ever catching one but we lay there patiently waiting and feeling sure it was just a matter of time.
There was a bridge over the river, but as most of the time the water was shallow people used to drive their cars through it and sometimes one or two would stop their car and get out giving the car a wash down.
Then Uncle running his own business he was classed as in a reserve occupation until he did get called up into the Royal Engineers. So now Auntie was trying run the house, the shop, and us children plus the business as well, luckily the workmen were less employees and more friends so they shouldered a lot of the hassle but eventually Auntie had a nervous breakdown and I was told I would be moving to someone else by the billeting lady Mrs. Christopher.