The Larkfield Historical Society

Where memories are recalled

Moira Johansen – Memory is a funny thing isn`t it?

Memory is a funny thing isn`t it?
Reading Memories of Larkfield recently was like walking through a door into the past, like walking into our old house and finding everyone still there. Colin Cable wrote about working at Kemp`s, we shopped at Kemp`s for hair slides and ankle socks, one Christmas we bought coloured paper strips to make paper chains, you had to lick one end of each strip , stick it to the other end and make a circle then form a chain. I can still taste the glue. Mum climbed on the dining table and draped them artistically around the ceiling light where they caught fire and fell on us.
Colin Hoare wrote about Taylor`s shop, the Inkpen`s house and The Lindens. I used to walk Mr. Taylor`s dog Bob after school and throw sticks for him on The Heath. Diane Inkpen was my best friend, another friend, Margaret Wall lived at The Lindens with her mother and sister, they had come there as evacuees during the war. We lived at 9 Syringa Terrace on New Hythe Lane, a rather gloomy house in retrospect , there was a coal cellar with a resident toad grown fat on spiders, he was coated in coal dust and easily mistaken for a lump of coal until he leaped out at you. The cellar was used as an air-raid shelter in the war, everyone kept an eye out for our cat which always made a dash for home long before the siren went off and then ” there goes Mrs. Smith`s cat” and everyone would pile through our front door.
The kitchen was tiny, mum was forever knocking on the gas tap on the stove with her bum when she bent down, it didn`t help that dad parked his bike against the dresser so she invariably barked her shin on the pedal then barked at dad.
We did have a big garden though, one year there was a glut of blackcurrants so dad decided to make his own Ribena, what he actually made was blackcurrant jelly which never left the bottle. The garden backed onto a cherry orchard patrolled by Mr. Terry, a rather sinister figure lurking among the trees with a shotgun under his arm, my brother managed to convince me that I was Mr.  Terry`s  target and with Dick Barton Special Agent on the radio every night not to mention The Man in Black I believed him, I thought Mr. Terry was the man in black.
In the summer my brother and his mates would  take me with them to kick a ball around in Clair Park, the boys went skinny dipping in a stream we called The Dosher, at weekends we took a bus to Greenways, a country club where the hoi poloi could use the outdoor pool for a small fee. I had a nasty hand knitted bathing suit [probably bought the wool at Kemp`s] which more or less fell off as soon as I entered the water. I still can`t swim!
In winter it was tobogganing on Banky Meadows. In the awful winter of 1946/47 my sister and her husband and I took the toboggan to the coal yard at Ditton and loaded it with sacks of coal because the lorries couldn`t get through. I rode home perched atop the sacks.   I left Larkfield in 1958 when dad retired to Devon, it was the same year I left school. I have never been back. Until now that is.   Moira Johansen
Updated: 13th September 2017 — 3:49 am
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