1 Manor Cottages
Let me introduce you to the Baker family – children first! I’ve seen a photograph taken at the village school; Maud the oldest in ringlets and large bow, Teddy, Sidney, then Barbara. There is also a photo of baby Tony adorned with beautiful lace. They were the occupants of No 1 Manor Cottages.
Mr. Baker was chauffeur to Dr. Douty who, with a practise at Cannes, often travelled there in his chauffeur-driven car. The fact that he also suffered from asthma and the fresh air of Cannes was far more beneficial than the closed-in-air of Clifford, might be another reason for his many journeys there! As Mrs. Douty often travelled to and from London to Cannes to join her husband, Mr. Baker saw quite a lot of the world, but not very much of Mrs. Baker – a delightful, charming, well-dressed lady resplendent in a big hat adorned with birds wings. Separation didn’t mar their marriage. It was a happy one though dogged with illness. Mrs. Baker had to spend several months at a hospital in Gloucester. Rumour had it that it was some kind of lunatic asylum. Ada Salmon, her next door neighbour, was taken by Mr. Baker to see his wife, and while walking along the corridor of the hospital, had to walk over a man who did, indeed, seem out of his mind. Eventually health returned, and the couple retired to, I believe, Bournemouth.
When they left No 1 Manor Cottage, the Hastie’s moved in. Mr. Hastie, along with his chauffering, twiddled with knobs and valves on his verandah in an effort to get sound out of his crystal set, while the cottage rocked to the sound of a trombone (played by Billy), a piano (played by Edie), an harmonium (played by Dolly) and a saxophone and violin (played by Stan). As it is very doubtful they were all playing the same tune (added to which was the sound of the gramophone), I would imagine Mrs. Hastie must have finished up many times with a headache! What I am saddened about is that Miss Wilding did not take advantage of this musical talent and encourage it in her school. Music did not form part of the three R’s and THAT was THAT! Both boys joined bands when they were older; Stan forming his own band. Edie married Frank Simmonds. Dolly became a teacher and married. Len Sylvester..
Mr. and Mrs. Albert Hall moved into No 1 when the Pagan Taylors arrived at The Manor, for they also came from Sweet Knowle, where Mr. Hall had been the Farm Manager and Mrs. Hall had been in charge of the accounts of Sweet Knowle Farm. Mrs. Hall was a motherly and attractive lady with rosy cheeks, white hair, and a great sense of humour. Straight away, she involved herself in the W.I., competing with other members in jam making and cake making. She also took on the job of distributing the Parish Magazine. But there was great tragedy in her family – a gene passed down through the females and only affecting them. By the time of the late 1960’s, Mrs. Hall was becoming very tearful, fearing that she would suffer too, like one of her Aunts. “I keep forgetting things,” she sobbed. “I know my memory is going – like Auntie’s, and she didn’t even know who she was at the end. Look at me! I’ve walked out of the house with my coat on, and I can’t remember where I am going.”
The handwriting in her little Account book for the Parish Magazine Subs, became more and more shaky. She forgot to write down when subs were paid, and then would go back and ask for payment. There were times when she looked at the little book in her hand, and wondered what the book was for, and who it belonged to. Albert began doing the cooking as there were one or two times when black smoke filled the kitchen, and flames appeared on the stove where Mrs. Hall had left a saucepan on the hob and forgotten it. He was very proud of his first apple pie, and Mrs. Hall beamed with pleasure at him. “He’s done well,” she said, her sense of humour still coming to fore, “in spite of the fact I couldn’t remember how to make pastry when he was asking me for instructions!”
She became worse – not even knowing who she was. “If you see her walking the other end of the village,” her daughter-in-law Kath said, “please turn her round and bring her back home.”
When Mrs. Hall died, there was no feeling of relief that her suffering was over. Instead, there was intense sorrow that such a joyous and peaceful woman had to end her days on this earth in such distress.
After the Halls, various tenants rented both cottages until it was eventually sold to Barry and June Conway who turned the two cottages into one and added, at the rear, a conservatory with jacuzzi. June was an expert gardener, and under her hand, the two cottage gardens were transformed into a landscaped garden leading down to the river, with every flower bed and shrub showing the heritage of its cottage ancestry. A wooden bridge built across the moat to the island completed the idyllic picture of rural and cottage harmony