MY DRIVING CAREER

FIAT.500

My first car was very generously given to me by my sister. She had bought it new in 1962, and gave it to me on my seventeenth birthday in 1966. I was a FIAT 500. These cars were tiny, but would hold four people, providing they were not too fat. There was even a minute crack for luggage. It had a sunroof, which made it slightly less claustrophobic in the summer. I saw dozens of these ‘Topolinos’ struggling up the Alps when I holiday’d in Italy in 1968. They were really popular in their homeland. It had a horizontal two cylinder four stroke engine. This was at the back of the car, a very similar arrangement to the VW Beetle that I was to drive twenty years later, although the Beetle had four cylinders.

I got used to all the things which you had to check before driving off; the oil needed a quick inspection of the dip stick and the air pressure required a kick or two on the tyres to give some indication of the amount of inflation. The water level was not an issue, as this was an air cooled car, but as for the battery I had to keep the electrolyte topped up with distilled water. It was also a good idea to make sure all the lights were working, especially if any night driving was in prospect. All these checks are still important, but do not have to be done so regularly in 2021, and many are done automatically on the display. One thing I had to do on the FIAT 500 that is no longer required was to clean the contacts in the distributor head; modern cars do not have a distributor.

I happily drove this car around Norfolk and as far as Oxford for years; my sister and I even took the car by ferry to Cork and drove around Southern Ireland in 1966. However, by1970 it had largely rusted away, and it failed its MOT. After this exciting start to my motoring life I did not own a car for many years; even the Beetle referred to above was in fact my wife’s car. I drove my father’s cars at first and company cars after that. Later shared a VW Golf and VW Polo with Molly. The next car that was undoubtedly mine was a blue Nissan Micra. This was bought secondhand in 1998. The Micra was another small car, but not quite as small as the FIAT 500. It also had a proper luggage space.

SEICENTO

My last car was another Fiat – this time a Seicento. This was a real bargain; a new car, but having just been discontinued it only cost me £4000. The only unusual thing was that I had to go up to Lincoln to collect it. This was no problem, just an adventure on the train The only difficulty I faced was finding out how to unlock the petrol tank. When I retired I decided that I no longer needed car, and so my 43 year long driving career came to an end.

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

THE BLOG FOR THE STORY OF DRIVING

GARDENING, OCTOBER 1975

It was time to lift the potato crop on the 4th of the month, a Saturday.
It had been Dad’s 64th birthday on the 21st of September, so next year he will be officially a pensioner! He got a book on American railways from my sister in Canada, his daughter Christine. He was reading it in the evening.

On the 11th of October we were busy making a cold frame for the garden. We had to anchor it down, so I fitted four 2″x 2″ legs to the frame to bury in the earth. The lower part was being treated with Cuprinol by Dad. We had a job finding a place to get the clear plastic sheet to glaze the frame with, but tracked it down eventually. The price locally was so high it was cheaper to order it from the Isle of Wight, and get it sent up here!

Mum, Dad and I had tea at Aunty Olive’s in Bramerton, Fido came too. Aunty has been having high blood pressure again. She said it was brought on by corn-dolly making, though how that was so I do not know. I doesn’t sound a particularly stressful occupation. [This high blood pressure malarkey is a family trait, for which I now have to take daily medication. Aunty Olive didn’t do too badly however, living to the age of ninety.]

MY.DAD.LIFTS.SPUDS

Aunty had a huge tomato, grown on a Pixie plant. ‘Pixie’ is a bush tomato, producing a heavy crop of medium-sized fruits – Olive’s wasn’t medium sized though – with a rich traditional flavour. (We had an excellent tomato crop in 2020, and we were still eating plenty of the fruit daily almost to Christmas.)

On the 13th we bought some lengths of 2″x 1″ wood to make the top of the cold frame, the bit which will hold the glazing. This was quite a complicated job as we used halving joints; they are stronger made that way. We made up one of these two glazing frames. In fact I think it would have been simpler (and just as strong) to use halved mitre joints instead. On the way back from the post office I got some eggs and orange juice.

When we got home after six p.m. there was a message from my other sister Tig, who had been unable to talk to us this afternoon as we got back so late. She is worried about her future on Guernsey where she lived because she has to leave her cottage; it transpired that she had to leave her dog Suki too. She stayed with us in England, as her mistress was unable to find a house on Guernsey that would take a dog.

On the morrow we made up the second glazed part of the cold frame, using halving mitre joints. We glued up the frames by lunchtime. We were doing this in the workshop in Norwich. We drove home for lunch by way of the Feathers pub in Framingham Pigot. In the afternoon we were busy making up more magnifiers to replace those going to the Ministry of Defence, and came home for tea which included courgettes from Aunty Olive’s garden.

On the 16th I put a couple of coats of white paint on the glazing frames for the cold frame; it is nearly ready to take home for installation. At the pub (the King George at Harford Bridges) I had a pint of draught Guinness. For tea we had fried cod and chips.

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

THE BLOG FOR THE STORY OF EAST ANGLIA


RAILWAYS; THE FRAMLINGHAM BRANCH

This railway ran for six miles from Wickham Market station on the East Suffolk line. The name of the station is misleading, because it is in fact in the village Campsey Ashe. It retains this name, in spite of periodic attempts to change it – which began almost immediately, and have continued ever since – because it would too expensive to alter all references to the name. The reason for its name appears to come from the fact that Wickham Market was the more progressive place at the time. The Framlingham line opened in 1859. Numbers declined in the 1930s, and closure to passengers came on November 1st 1952; freight traffic continued for another dozen years before its ultimate demise.

FORMER.STATION.FRAMLINGHAM

After weeks of delay the Framlingham Branch opened on the 1st of June, (along with rest of the East Suffolk Line from Halesworth to Woodbridge). The operation of the railway was new and unfamiliar, and an unfortunate accident befell Edward Plantain, a porter newly recruited. One of his tasks was to uncouple the engine from the train at the terminus. In his anxiety to accomplish this he did not wait until the train was stationery, and was knocked down by the locomotive. He was the leader of the string section of the Town Band, and the concert laid on to celebrate the coming of the railway had to be cancelled. He was not killed by the accident, but he later died of his injuries. To illustrate the kind of thing people had to get used to, another example occurred, when a few months later, a horse was frightened by an approaching train. The owner was thrown from his gig, suffering cuts and bruises, and the bolted animal was only caught by the crossing keeper. Nor was this the only time this happened.

The goods yard was a busy place from the start. It soon became apparent that more staff were required to unload (and particularly load) the trucks and vans that were carried on the two or three trains that served the facility daily. Heavy traffic caused ruts to make the yard increasingly difficult to use and needed urgent repair. Parcels and timber were among the goods sent from Framlingham, while coal was the staple import. Agricultural machinery needed the installation of a crane at Wickham Market. A seed company along the line need an additional siding to be constructed. The construction of the boarding school Framlingham College had also required a siding to bring in the building materials.

Traffic continued to grow for half a century, and the coming of the Great War lead to an increased demand for produce to replace that which was no longer available from Europe. The strain on resources lead the Government (who were controlling the nation’s railways) to reduce services. This was compensated to a certain extent on the Framlingham Branch by the introduction of mixed traffic trains. The ending of hostilities led to the dawn of the motor transport age and the decline of rail.

I am sorry that I never saw the branch; indeed I may never been to Framlingham at all, although in a long life it is possible.. Certainly my father and mother-in law attended a concert in the castle in their retirement.

JOSEPH MASON

THE BLOG FOR THE HISTORY OF SUFFOLK

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INSTRUMENT MAKER

It happened a long time ago, but beginning in the nineteen seventies I made optical instruments. The instrument I was producing was called the Versator. I know they were well made, because nearly fifty years later, they still regularly turn up for resale on eBay. The other day I saw one advertised for £45, which is over four times what it cost new!

 I was a binocular magnifier that had been designed by my father, who had died a couple of years before the time of which I write. These went to all sorts of users; Government Department, universities, Nationalised Industries and customers from all over Britain. One I remember frequent dealings with was the Ministry of Defence; all sorts of users from REME (the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Regiment) to Aldermaston  Atomic Energy Authority and Porton Down procured them. With the recent use of nerve agent to attack spies I have again been remind of Porton Down, the Chemical and Biological Weapon Establishment. Although it brought some horrible facts about chemical weapons to the front of your mind, I was secretly rather proud of supplying such official facilities as these. I can remember saying at the time that while I happy to send my instruments off to Porton Down, I didn’t want them to return any, for obvious reasons.

That was in this country, but my reach was worldwide. For example, in January 1979 I got an order from Mexico; also in that month I received a repeat order from Jean-Paul Texier in France; he wanted another six instruments. Also from France I got an order from a M. d’Avila, for another two dozen instruments (I had already sold him a dozen the previous month). In March I got multiple orders from a man called Allegro Francesco in Turin. I always thought Allegro was a musical term, but apparently it is also a first name in Italy. I even got an order from Japan. This all happened in just a couple of months or so. Incredibly I didn’t advertise overseas, so goodness knows where all these orders came from. The worst part of all this exporting was that I was finding the customs declarations (that I was filling in almost daily) very time consuming and utterly unremunerative.

It wasn’t just the magnifiers I made that I dealt with; I also sold all kinds of other instruments that I got from other manufacturers. One of the most successful was an mains powered magnifying lamp that cost the buyer nearly £100. It was mostly optical goods that I dealt with, but as I was  in the local trade directory as ‘dealing in instruments’  so I also got involved with other things like compasses and barometers. 

If you think it strange that someone whose whole educational background was in the Arts should be so deeply involved with something that, if it was not quite scientific, was certainly highly technical, then you must blame my father. He had spent his entire career involved in optics (much of it technical), and finding himself required to feeling himself requited to find an occupation for his son, he naturally turned to that trade. It has taken me almost a lifetime to return to my natural inclinations, and to write history books. My most recent history book received a good response, the first edition selling  out in less than two years. I must turn to a second edition, when  I have completed  my current book. 

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

THE BLOG FOR MEMORIES OF EAST ANGLIAN LIFE

THE APOCRYPHA

The First Lesson read at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral service was taken from the Book Ecclesiasticus, but it was not made clear that this was part of the Apocrypha. I don’t think many people know what the Apocrypha is, and I don’t suppose many people care either. However, if you just took a moment or two to read from the book of Ecclesiasticus in the Bible it is likely that you would not find it. Although the Apocrypha was originally included in the English Bible it has been omitted for the last two hundred years at least. What is meant by the word anyway, and what is the problem with these books?

Apocryphal is defined in the dictionary as meaning false, and (although this is the popular meaning of the word) the Apocrypha is not false. Rather it is that these sections of the Bible have an obscure origin. The Old Testament is taken from the Hebrew, and the New Testament comes from Greek, but the Apocrypha, although relating a a period before the birth of Christ, only exists in the Greek language. The books do not form a part of the Jewish Bible.

This is not a problem for the Roman Catholics and members of the Eastern Orthodox Church, who make no distinction between the books that formed the Bible from Hebrew those that were originally Greek. The first Protestant (Martin Luther) likewise included these suspect texts in his ground breaking translation of the Bible into German, and so did the John Calvin inspired translation into English, the Geneva Bible. The Geneva Bible (first published in full in 1560) incorporated the Apocrypha but the preface to it explained that while these books “were not received by a common consent to be read and expounded publicly in the Church,” and did not serve “to prove any point of Christian religion” nonetheless, “as books proceeding from godly men they were received to be read for the advancement and furtherance of the knowledge…” It is apparently a specific feature of the English Protestant Reformation that the Bible without the Apocrypha – i.e. the 66 book Bible – was promoted as sufficient.

The Authorised Version of the Bible was first published in 1611 with the Apocrypha included, but it soon began to appear in editions without it. In the early 19th century the influential BFBS (British and Foreign Bible Society) decided that they would not print it in the annotated editions of the Bible which they were allowed to produce. As a consequence of these actions the Apocrypha became a forgotten part of the Bible in England.

SIMON WILKIN, founder member of the NORWICH branch of the BFBS.

Prince Philip was raised as a member of the Greek Orthodox Church, not converting to the C of E until a teenager, and this may have given him a greater awareness of these deleted books of the English Bible. Maybe the inclusion of the extract from the Book of Ecclesiasticus (which we know was Prince Philip’s own choice of reading) can be traced to his Orthodox beginnings, although its references to the natural world form a perfect example of his lifelong commitment to the environment.

Note that the Apocrypha remains in the Church of England’s Lectionary ([i.e. readings provided for Sunday services) despite the origin of these readings being obscure to many worshippers.

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

FOR THE HISTORY OF THE SCRIPTURES

SKETCHES

One of the most pleasing experiences has bee to find a sketch that I have dashed off in moment and forgotten being treasured by the recipient years later. I do not claim any ability as an artist, even in my past, and certainly not now,. Although I have spent many years making optical instruments, and it gives me a certain reward to see these things for sale on Ebay, these are items of commerce and as such not intensely personal. I am not thinking of close friends, who might be expected to invest some some worth in a sketch, not for its its intrinsic value but for its personal touch. My sisters and school friends have all been given sketches; but were they kept because theyr ae from me, or because they really like them?

Rather it is the works that I have given away to casual acquaintances and which I discover years later that they still give pride of place to on their mantlepieces that I refer to here. One example is a lino cut of a donkey that I must have done at school. I don’t remember giving a copy to my friend Giles, but when I visited him I saw my print of that donkey framed and in an honoured place on his mother’s wall.

Another example was a sketch I did of my double bass teacher’s cat looking in the f hole of his bass (you should know that the ball of fluff that accumulates in the instrument is called the mouse). I did a sketch of this animal with the caption ‘Looking for the mouse’. When my tutor left Norwich I gave him the sketch as a farewell gift and promptly forgot all about it. When, a few years later, I called in on him in his new home in London, I was surprised and gratified to see the cat still looking for the mouse framed on his wall.

I no longer capable of producing artworks of any description; there is so much else to do in my life that this does not worry me at all. But because I still have some sketches lying about I use them from time to time to illustrate this blog. Thus my sketches still get known to an even greater extent than before. Scarcely a week goes by that at least one person downloads one of my sketches; mostly it is this one of a man wearing a Billycock hat (i.e. a bowler). What attraction of a bowler hat is I do not know, and I am particularly puzzled by the fact that the interest comes exclusively from India. This is not a flash in the pan either, it has been going on for years. If anyone has a idea to explain this please let me known. Here is a section of my post on the Billycock hat. There you will learn that the Bowler was invented in Norfolk, hence my interest in this form of headwear.

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

FOR MEMORIES OF LIFE

SEPTEMBER 1988

Tuesday 6th. Although my business was owed several thousand pounds in rent, none of my tenants had seen fit to pay up. The Postal Dispute meant that any orders or refunds were languishing in the delivery system. There was local version the postal dispute at Costessey sorting office. I was personally not really involved, it was between Tony and the Welches. Of course we should have been on strike too, but as nobody bothered to come down to Costessey to talk to us about why we should be on strike, we kept working. We had a certain number of contracted hours to work, but during the dispute our work is very light, so we have been signing off, putting the usual time down in the book, but going home early. You can see the problem. It was naughty of us not to strike I suppose, but that was what the management wanted. Did they want us not to strike but then not pay us?

The Post Office is always keen to reduce our hours but reluctant to grant us overtime when required. Anyway, I did my round in a leisurely way and then I counted out the leaflets I had to deliver. I even took a few out to the nearest end of Townhouse Road. This I regretted as soon as I got back, because the election polling cards had arrived, so I would have to go to all the addresses again. I also had pools coupons and film envelopes to deliver, so it is not an inconsiderable workload, but unlike regular post there is a week to do it.

I had finished my postal work by 9 a.m., and came home and changed out of my uniform. I had only recently been signed on as a postman, and had only worn uniform for three days. The novelty had not yet worn off! After breakfast it was off to my other job in Norwich. I was busily involved in making up my magnifying glasses. It may sound a busy life, but that’s because it was. I did take some time off to go to the library though.

Costessey Post Office, circa 1920.

The boss’s wife Janet Welch had passed me a letter to answer; it was addressed to Costessey Hall. Costessey Hall had been abandoned before the First Word War and demolished shortly after that conflict, so it should have been returned to sender unopened and marked address unknown. That is not the way we did things in Costessey however, so I read it. The writer of the letter was a woman who was researching the music used in Mass in the 1770s and the residents of the hall had been Catholics,. It was a worthy enquiry, but she had left it about 70 years too late for an answer. My researches at the library had not been very relevant to the demise of the Hall, but they did turn up some material on the Post Office. It was Lot 59 in the 1918 auction sale of the Costessey Hall estate. At the time it was let to Barney Welch’s father Frank, at £10 per annum. Presumably it was then that he bought the property, perhaps on a mortgage.

There is lots to learn about the estate. Beech Cottage already had the name, but it was two cottages not one and was spelled Beach Cottages. Also the booklet on Costessey by Norgate is packed with fascinating facts but they are ill-digested. Is it really true that he makes no reference to St Walstan, the famous saint? He lived in Taverham it is true, but there is a St Walstan’s well in Costessey Park. St Walstan worked as a farm labourer in Taverham, He died in 1016. From the age of 12 he devoted himself to a life of prayer. Two sources for his life exist: the De Sancto Walstano Confessore in the Nova Legenda Angliæ, printed by Wynkyn de Worde  in 1516, and known as the English Life; and a later Latin manuscript copied in 1658 from a now lost medieval source. He is the local patron saint of farm workers. Norgate does mention the Stafford Knot, which he says may be seen on several of the older houses in Costessey. I was new to the area in 1988, and had not spotted any at the time, although I am now very familiar with them. The Stafford knot is the symbol of Staffordshire and occurs all over the county. (Its origins are unknown.) It was brought to Costessey in the early 19th century when Sir Henry Jerningham was created the Earl of Stafford. 

In the afternoon Molly’s sister came over from Nottinghamshire on the train – one of the “new” Sprinters. Suzanne brought her daughter Claire and her friend Holly, and my son Peter had a great time playing with his cousin. I spoke with Suzanne on the phone but did not see her. Her baby is due in December, six weeks after ours, [She had a boy and we had a daughter. With all this going on it was no wonder I had two jobs!]

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

FOR MEMORIES OF EAST ANGLIAN LIFE

RANDOM THOUGHTS ON KNOWLEDGE and the LACK OF IT

I must have been haunted by the spelling fairy, for I can still recall this from years ago. The notice was very professionally painted, and mounted on the gate of our local school. “No admission for members of the public. By order of The Governers”. If only it wasn’t an educational establishment, it wouldn’t have been quite so bad.

This next piece relates to the time I was in business; every time I went to the VAT office in Norwich I was unsettled on my journey up on the lift by the sign engraved on the alloy floor; “INDEPENDANT SERVICE”. I hope they were better at doing their maths homework than their English, otherwise it was poor lookout for us VAT payers. But this was not the worst of spelling mistakes. These howlers make one doubt that the author has even the slightest idea about what the word means. Or take this example (it was a girl who said it, but it could equally have been a man). “I always get the spelling of where and were confused.” For heaven’s sake, the words are not even pronounced the same, even in most dialects.

When I was clearing out some papers left behind by one of my tenants, I found a page from a management training course that they had prepared. “Discuss this problem using you incite and experience.” I don’t think I would use their instruction manual! It is not so much that the writer was unable to distinguish between a verb and a noun; when the Marriage Guidance Council changed its name to Relate it showed that this was a common failing. Rather it is that the spelling of “insight” is intrinsic to its meaning. What could the word mean but “seeing in”. It had never occurred to me that incitement to study management could be so problematical.

To rub salt in the wound, the proprietor of this business, during her brief career from inception to insolvency, the owner of the consultancy ran a course for the Chamber of Commerce. It was called “Effective Business Writing”. In my opinion her most egregious use of English was a completely meaningless use of inverted commas; why was the word discussion stressed in this way in the following phrase. ‘With reference to our recent “discussion”.’ Or ‘I am forward a “set” of copies’. The purpose of inverted commas is to distance oneself from the word or thought expressed; either it is direct speech, where you are crediting someone else with the authorship, or you have doubts about the applicability of the saying. This lady just seemed to place all her nouns into inverted commas.

Incidentally how did rivetting become a synonym for spellbinding? In over twenty years work in light engineering I have done plenty of rivetting, and I can assure you that it is not by any means engrossing. Dead boring in fact. [To stop you emailing me to explain how the popular meaning of rivetting came about, I do know really.)

A footnote; my son Peter asked me “Do numbers ever end?” He was five years old. With a mind like that he should have grown up to be a mathematician, but he turned out to be a linguist instead.

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

FOR MEMORIES OF EAST ANGLIAN LIFE

RAILWAYS: TRAVELLING FROM EYE

In the mid-nineteenth century Eye had been a major stopping place on the road to London, with the coaches from Great Yarmouth changing horses at the White Lion inn. The “Star” went from Yarmouth via Beccles and Bungay with a major halt at Eye. Although most of the coaches from Norwich bypassed the town by sticking to the Pye turnpike, and coming no nearer to Eye than Yaxley, the “Monarch” coach called there on the way from Norwich to London and back.

When the railway arrived in Ipswich in 1846 travel to London became a fast and smooth journey, and the cost by Parliamentary train was a penny a mile. At the best part of a pound this was still quite expensive, but it cost much less than going by coach had done. As the iron road spread, it was soon not just the capital that drew people in. Previous generations had lived and died in a single village, but now they could spread their wings and seek work anywhere in the land.

Travel became an option for all, instead of just for the seriously wealthy. As the railways spread to almost every corner of the country the people of East Anglia were liberated from their enclosed communities. The worthies of Eye lobbied hard for the line to go through the town, but without success. Instead of being on the main route to London the town became a backwater. Unlike Eye, Diss had not been a stop in coaching days (that honour went to Scole), and while the Norfolk town grew the Suffolk one dwindled. 

However the locals were determined to have a railway link to the wider world. This short line – the Mellis and Eye Railway – of just under three miles in length was opened in 1867. Before a line was built from Ipswich to Norwich, a route through Debenham and Harleston was proposed, and this would have passed through Eye. However, before that line could be begun, a line from Ipswich to Bury St Edmunds was built through Stowmarket. A continuation of this line from Stowmarket to Norwich was the way selected, and this passed through the town of Diss and bypassed Eye by three miles. The gentry and landowners around Eye were mostly in favour of building the Mellis and Eye Railway, carrying coal to the town and exporting flax (a major industry at the time). They could afford no rolling stock, so they were totally dependent on the Great Eastern Railway, and after a difficult few early years things settled down and the GER eventually bought the share capital in the Mellis and Eye Railway at par.

The first station master was William Jarvis, and this job was influential in the early years. As the flax industry died out a brewery took its place as a major user of freight at Eye station. At its peak there were eight passenger trains in each direction daily. As the twentieth century progressed with the growth of motor traffic, the importance of the branch declined and the line was administered by the Mellis station master. At the end passenger trains had reduced to four in each direction. When the passenger traffic was withdrawn the management of the line eventually fell to the station master at Diss.

In the years around the new century things were progressing steadily on all fronts however. Specials were laid on to seaside towns at Cromer, Yarmouth and Felixstowe. Day returns were available to Norwich and Ipswich, and the tickets were cheap enough for even the poorer residents to use the railway. The line lasted as a passenger service until 1931; already the growth of road transport had provided a local bus service. This made train journeys uneconomic for passengers, and for the last thirty years of its existence the short goods trains were hauled to the town by J15s on the Stowmarket service. After steam was ended on the Eastern Region diesels briefly served the line. The railway closed altogether in 1964.

I am sorry that I never saw the line, as I could have done. My father must have driven us close to Eye on the family’s forays into Suffolk. He even took me to see the abandoned branch line to Debenham, but even as we stood lamenting the passing of the Mid Suffolk Light Railway the line to Eye was still operating, though only as a goods line.

JOSEPH MASON

joemasonspage@gmail.com

THE BLOG FOR THE STORY OF EAST ANGLIA

EASTER 1977

It was early April, and snow showers had greeted me on Good Friday morning. There was just about enough snow to make snowballs. [Nine years later I was married on April 5th, and it snowed then too, though not enough to make snowballs on that occasion.] After breakfast of hot cross buns my sister and I took our dogs for a walk in the snow. I saw the blackbird on her nest, looking beady eyed as she tried to keep her eggs warm.

Tiggie (my sister) was baking bread on Good Friday. She made the dough in the morning while I went in the front room to clean it – I polished the furniture, swept the floor and cleaned the windows. Mum used the vacuum cleaner on the carpet. We took the dogs out again after lunch, and the younger one (my dog Fido) enjoyed jumping to catch snowballs.

The coalman called and we got the bunker filled up with coal. Dad polished his wardrobe (we were all doing the place up for Easter apparently). Tig’s bread was done so we had a fresh loaf with our tea, which was kippers. She also made two currant loaves and baked a cake. In the evening we played cribbage, watched Are You Being Served? on the TV and then went to the Dove for a drink.

On Easter Saturday we had no snow, just sleet. At 8.45 p.m. we got a phone call from my other sister (Cornie), who lives in Canada. She told us she will be in England for 10 days in August. We had toast and marmalade for breakfast on Saturday. We went up to Norwich and Tig and I had coffee at Backs. I bought a new pair of shoes. They are K’s, and cost me £14.95 at Rutlands. Tig picked primroses on the way back home. While I planted the potatoes Tig weeded the cold frame and spread some of the compost heap on the vegetable garden. Dad was busy too, weeding the vegetable patch. Mum was making a curry for tea.

Easter Sunday (the 10th of April) was milder. Porridge, followed sausages and mushroom for breakfast. Aunt Olive called on the way back from the Cathedral Close. Her son Andrew (who lives there) had just left home to go to his father-in-law with his children. (This was Aubrey Aitken, the Bishop of Lynn, whose home was in Elsing.)

Oliver.Cromwell

Easter Monday was rather chilly. We drove to Banham Zoo, which was Tiggy’s treat. We walked the dogs round the car park, and then had sandwiches in the Café for lunch. We saw among other animals the monkeys, dingos and sea lions. Then we looked round the Motor Museum, which was also part of the Banham experience; next it was about ten miles to Bressingham, where we saw Britannia steam locomotive Oliver Cromwell in steam. Also there (but not in steam) were the Royal Scot and the Duchess of Sutherland.

We came home for tea of soup and cake. In the evening we listened to Iolanthe on the gramophone.

JOSEPH MASON
joemasonspage@gmail.com
MEMORIES OF EAST ANGLIA