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Sunday, 11 May 2014

40. George Forrest talks about steam trains

Playing With Trains
One thing about being 7 - 8 years of age, living on the south side of the railway line and going to school on the north side of the line meant having to cross the railway line four times a school day. It didn't matter whether the gates were open or closed it was almost obligatory, that we, that is three or four of us, went over the footbridge. We waited for a steamer to come through in order that we could become enveloped in steam and smoke. If a train wasn't due we would wait. To our minds it was essential that we smelled of smoke. Often this made us late home for dinner ( we didn't have lunch then) only posh people had lunch. I can still hear the tellings-off that I got from my mother to this very day. and the occasions that having finished my meal my wrist was grasped and I was hauled back to school at a rate of knots.

One of my friends at the time was Roger Price, his father owned a small grocers just below the Luxor cinema. If you stand facing the Luxor you will see to the right a gap, next was a very old cottage, it might have been two, next was the grocers, then a shop I can't really recall, the third shop was Newberry's , a tobacconist and confectioner. Very few shops had window displays, but one warm sunny Sunday afternoon our family was out for a stroll and happened to pass said grocers. There in the window was two sacks of rice, these were being attacked by about 8 - 10 mice. They had gnawed a hole and were busy eating. We watched for some minutes they were far too busy eating to notice us. We left them to it, didn't wish to disturb them. Though from that day on my mother never bought anything from Mr Price that wasn't in a tin. .

The next two buildings were detached dwellings, now offices, My father was employed as a trainee bricklayer on the site nearest the Farmers Hotel, my mother lived in one of the thatched cottages opposite, she spotted him and as they say "The rest is history".

Enough for today ATB

George Forrest

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