Personal and undiluted views
The Field

685 days ago

Photo Article: Guy Fawkes Night in Wrexham, a nation forgets its history & the Mrs thinks I am becoming Peter Hitchens

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.

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1662 days ago

The Field No 8 - Halloween, at last something sweet to eat

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. 

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1663 days ago

The Field No 7 - Rob, Maggie, the horse and caravan

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.

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1664 days ago

The Field No 6 - Chocolate was very much a treat

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.

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1665 days ago

The Field Number 5 - My Godfather Vicious, Anthony & Cleopatra

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.

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1683 days ago

The Field Number 4 - I think I watched 3 TV programmes in my first seven years.

As a father, I know how useful the goggle box can be as an assistant parent and thus after my mother's death my father understandably relented and bought us an old black and white TV. Who can blame a newly single parent from seeking assistance in this way. But for the first eight years of my life we lived without a TV and I think that I watched just three, or maybe four, programmes in that time.

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1686 days ago

The Field Number 3 - Wringing the neck of the vicar

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.

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1686 days ago

The Field Number 2 - My father & the one armed bell ringer

My father says that he remembers the name of the man who liberated goldfish, hastening their swim to meeting their maker: it was Mr Hutt. Winnifrith Senior 1 Alzheimer's nil. This surprising defeat of the Alzheimer's creates a long discussion, was that Fred Hutt or was Fred his brother or indeed related at all. Fred, who I am sure was not the goldfish liberator and who I am far from certain was a Hutt, but was certainly called Fred enters my memories of Byfield for two main reasons: he had only one arm and he was a bell ringer at the Church.

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1689 days ago

The Field No 1 - the goldfish on their doomed swim to freedom

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.

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1690 days ago

Time to start the Field? A Childhood Memoir

I know. I know. I have made minimal progress at all with learning Greek or with the novel based out in Greece so why start a third project? Well I shall make progress on both of my major tasks this summer as I take six months away from full time writing to work on a building site, that is to say the Greek Hovel. So before I get Alzheimers...

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