Tenants at No 2

From Clifford Chambers
Jump to navigation Jump to search


It seems that Seth Smith owned both No 1 and No 2. Mr. and Mrs. J. Beasley were tenants at one time of No. 2 – a very jovial couple. Mr. Beasley, sporting an air-force moustache, worked on the railways – possibly the LMS. Mrs. Beasley had a delightful way of pronouncing Angela Salmon's name as 'An-jella'!

Mrs Welch was another tenant, possibly arriving when the Beasley's left. Mrs. Olive Welch was a widow when she arrived in the village. She and her husband had ran a sweet shop in Exmouth in Devon. Her husband, in his later years, became ill and had an operation. When recovering in hospital with strict instructions on his bed for the Nurses to observe, that he was NOT to be given drink, a nurse unfortunately gave him one. This resulted in his death.

So Olive came back to her home roots, living at No. 2 . At the time of my arrival in the village, I just knew her as the lady with a well-established pear tree growing against her side wall, its thick branches, laden with blossom and later fruit, spread out against the brick work like an open fan.

She was related to the Bailey family, and evidently, could do anything she put her mind to!

When it was realised that our well-known footpaths were becoming derelict and overgrown due to neglect, the Parish Council at an Annual Assembly, planned a Village Footpath Walk for the summer, and asked the people of the Parish to volunteer to be walkers on a certain day in the summer.

There were so many volunteers on that day, that it was decided to split up into three groups and go separate ways – one a short walk over Martins Hill; the other two longer. Miss. Welch was one of those who chose the short work - not surprising as she was well into her 80's! The wife of our Rector, Mrs. Hawkins and her twin sister, Miss Talbot - both good walkers - felt it might be a good idea if they went on the short walk, to help Miss. Welch should she fall.

“She is getting on for 90!”, whispered Mrs. Hawkins. “I don't know how she is going to do this short walk, let alone any longer walk.”

But Miss Welch showed everyone that, despite her age, she was just as good as any of the younger ones, and arrived back home safely without any sign of being exhausted or worn out.

When Olive moved out, a young mother moved in, with her son, Christopher - and Christopher, still at primary school, soon made many friends and joined in with everything his friends did – including singing in the Church Choir.

Everyone loved Chris. He spoke to everyone, whatever their age. There was no shyness there, yet there was a lot of respect in the way he approached even the oldest person. From him, we found out that his Mum was ill. She had cancer; and his Dad was “quite old and living in a Home for Retired Actors in London.”

But the fact that his Mum had cancer, gave everyone concern, until we found out that she was a member of the Holmes family, and knew she would be well looked after. But we all helped in some way, to help this ill Mother. Mrs. Trick living opposite, whose daughter, Mary, had married a 'Holmes' went across the road from her bungalow, “Red Walls” every day to see her, always with a dish of something for her and Chris to eat. For Mrs. Trick was noted for her very good cooking.

But it was Chris who was such a help to her. He seemed so young to take that responsibility, but he wanted to do it. “My Mum was sick this morning,” he announced one Sunday morning when he arrived in the Choir Vestry for the service. “all over the sheets”

“Oh Chris,” we said. “Is anyone looking after her?”

“I am,” announced Chris “She is alright now. I put clean sheets on her bed and put the messy ones in the washing machine. She is asleep now – but I left some water by her bed.”

His big sister came to help, but we missed all of them – especially Chris - when, after his Mum died, they left.

Then Mrs. Margaret Kingston moved in - into a caravan! - for she was going to have the cottage renovated!

But we all had to say 'goodbye' to the old pear tree against the wall.

That caravan was lived in, a long while, but Margaret often had a friend to stay weekends. At last the work was done, and she moved in – and moved in completely into village life. She served on Committees including the Parish Council, the Parochial Church Council, the W.I. …..and the list goes on.

Her energy seemed endless. She had just retired as Headmistress of a prestigious school, and in her student days she had played hockey for England. Even when she was reaching the age of 80, she was up on a ladder pruning the rambling rose adorning the front of her cottage. She knew everybody and everyone knew her. In fact, she was practically, the life and soul of village life, stirring those of us a lot younger than her, to join with her into any action.

Her final contribution to the village, before leaving, was to turn the Jubilee Garden from a jumble of stinging nettles, dock leaves, bricks, empty bottles and general rubbish, into a garden the village could be proud of. She just saw it needed to be done – and did it without any payment and without being asked.