I eventually found a friend ….. Rodney. We must have just bumped into each other in the area because I have no recollections of seeing him at either Infants or Junior Schools.
He lived just across from where our driveway joined the street, and his house clearly used to be part of a farm in earlier times. They still had a barn, kept a lot of chickens, and their back yard went all the way down to the River Nene. Molly, who I believe was an aunt, lived on a houseboat moored there with access via a narrow wooden ramp!
Valerie was visiting once and fell off the ramp into the river and, not being able to swim, caused a total panic for a short time. I don’t think the water was that deep there, but it could still have turned out rather badly had one of Rodney’s family not jumped in to pull her out!
He had a dog called Rover who was very approachable and became a close friend. Rover used to love laying on the stone slab, just outside their front door, when the sun was on it. I had great pleasure in spending many happy moments curled up with him on that concrete slab. I wonder what secrets I shared with him?
Times with Rodney were usually spent chasing chickens, or just playing in the barn making hiding places in the straw which was there. Unfortunately, the relationship did not last very long as (unbeknown to me) we would soon be moving again.
A miscellany of other Stanground memories:
One Christmas started off as normal until we went into the living room and there, on a board laying on top of Mum and Dad’s bed, was a Triang electric train set. I would guess that the board must have been around 4ft square but there it was complete with track, a “Princess Elizabeth” locomotive, and two carriages (passenger cars). No doubt I drove it around that circle for hours!
Frances would have been around 4 years old when she tripped upon entering the caravan and her head hit, and broke, a glass milk bottle. I am pretty certain that she had to have a few stitches in her forehead to close the cut.
Mum was getting the oven heated up for some reason (Dinner? Baking?) however, when she checked on it, the gas burners had gone out. Her immediate reaction was to try and relight the burners but she had not considered the unburned gas in the oven! That gas ignited and there was an explosion which threw Mum across the kitchen, and left her with no eyebrows for the immediate future! Fortunately that was the only outcome!
The warehouse* full of theatrical props and scenery etc. was quite the place to explore. Valerie and I discovered boxes of huge diamonds (pear shaped pieces of glass used for chandelier hangings), and loads of sequins. We spent a lot of time in there climbing over boxes just to see what there was, and if it was of any interest to us.
Valerie had a friend who lived up the road a short way (I passed her house when I walked to Infants School). Her name was Carol and the family had come from Bulowayo in S. Africa. They were very friendly and I was always welcomed into their home.
My time at Stanground Junior School was short lived and I remember being pulled from class because my Dad was at the school. He was with a man driving a Land Rover which was attached to our caravan. While I was sort of excited at having a ride in a Land Rover, where were we going with the caravan? It was time to move again.
*See “Dear Diary – Page 6” – May 26, 2015