144 days ago
This will be our second Christmas without my Godfather and Uncle, Christopher Booker. Every other Christmas in my life, Chris sent first my parents, then my father, then my father and myself a cheese from Cheddar: a real organic product from the county in which he lived and loved, Somerset. Last year, much to my surprise, a cheese arrived as normal. Knowing that he was dying he had, two years ago, placed orders for both 2018 and 2019. But this year I was rather resigned to that tradition ending. This morning a large box arrived at the Welsh Hovel.
554 days ago
It is only a few days ago that I was bemoaning how the true meaning and heritage of All Soul’s Night or Hop-tu-Naa had been lost into another alcohol fuelled consumer-fest that is Halloween. Now the Mrs thinks that I am turning into Peter Hitchens as we approach Guy Fawkes Night, or as it is known these day Bonfire Night. My thoughts turn to my childhood, forty five or more years ago and a different world.
1531 days ago
Having been deprived of chocolate and sweets for most of the year, late October until November 5th at Butterwell Farm, Byfield provided some greatly appreciated treats.
1532 days ago
One day we woke up and there was an old style gypsy caravan, the ones with a rounded wooden roof, parked in our field at Butterwell Farm in Byfield. Next to it a horse stood gazing. My mother, a free spirit of the 1970s, had offered out our field to a couple called Rob and Maggie who spent their lives as new style gypsies.
1533 days ago
Perhaps it explains why I have picked up such a sweet tooth later in life but, in my early years at Butterwell farm Byfield, chocolate was a real rarity and sweets were just non existent. This was my mother at work.
1534 days ago
I have mentioned my Godfather Vicious in another context elsewhere, that is to say his tendency to fall for lesbians, something that has somehow passed on to me. During our time at Butterwell farm Byfield when I was a young boy, Vicious was in a "between lesbian phase", that is to say his wife who much later became a lesbian had left him as a fresult of his own naughtiness, but he was yet to hook up with the mother of his daughter who then left him for another woman.
1555 days ago
Above the main field at Butterwell Farm in Byfield was a smaller field. On one side was a continuation of the dry stone wall that separated our land from that of Mr Peter Thompson, on the other the extensive gardens that my mother worked to create. At the bottom ,separating this land from the main field, was a giant old barn which contained a wooden three-seater lavatory seat among other gems. At the top there was another barn which in turn formed one half of one side of the yard behind our house. We we worked hard to turn the barn into a fox proof hen-house. and then started to build up a flock of chickens with the odd bantam picked up along the way, for fun.
1558 days ago
At the bottom of our big field at Butterwell farm in Byfield was a stream. For a small boy the bank on the other side, that led up to a metal fence and onto the Daventry Road, seemed very steep and since it was lined with nettles I regarded the stream as the border of our lands.
In the summer it trickled gently on from Mr Peter Thompson's field and open country beyond, at one end through our field and on to a neat, wire mesh lined, hole in a brick wall which separated the bottom part of our land from a small house where an old man lived. In the winter the stream became a bit of a torrent, often more than a yard and a half wide. One year it flooded almost all the way up the slope of the field and must have been thirty yards wide.