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Aunt Bertha . . . Continued

British Wild Flowers, Wilfred Willett, illustrated by Amy D Webb, No6-Roses, Pinks and Bellflowers
AE additions from Ann in 2015

Continuing on our walk....
to Auntie Bertha's, we then passed a few residential houses until we reached the shops – the post office, chemists, various general stores, Timberlake Garage (as far as I can recollect) - which were set back from the carriageway by a wide pavement. {AE}Freitags Chips vom F + C next to Butchers. ? Mr and Mrs Lawrence [JH remembers the Lawrences having a general store next to No 8 Waltham Road] Elisabeth Phillip T.V. Heirat with the Butschers Family tiny screen moved to Waltham St Lawrence

After the end of rationing, two little girls, JH and Beatrice Swallow, went to one of the general stores and bought two wafer ice-creams: JH noted that the young lady serving . . . put a large wedge of ice-cream in between two wafers for Beatrice, but – her knife slipped – and JH received a slither of ice cream. Nearly in tears, JH spoke to Daddy who was busy gardening: with no hesitation, this little girl with her ice-cream were taken back to the shop. To the Shop assistant dad said ‘put more ice-cream in here’ which she did with great alacrity . . . and had the grace to look a little crestfallen – even if looking so truculent.

{AE}walking down Canon Lane in Woodlands Park - visited Family? right down steep steps, pretty garden, Elderly lady [JH - was this Mrs Swaine?] Waltham Road met with Woodlands Park Road and Cannon Lane at a Y junction where there is now a roundabout. Our butchers shop was located on the corner between Cannon Lane and Woodlands Park Road: no other shops were either side of the butchers but . . . a small child recollects that brick air-raid shelters were built alongside in Cannon Lane. JH is sure she remembers going into these shelters with lots of other people; and JH recollects playing in the shelters, and playing on the rough scrubland after the shelters were demolished. But, as we lived almost opposite White Waltham Aerodrome – which became very busy during the war – each house in Waltham Road had a brick air-raid shelter built in their back gardens. The walk along Cannon Lane seemed an awful long way to walk, but no doubt JH was taken in a pram and then a push chair for her earliest excursions. There were delights to be had on the way – once more or less securely on two feet: the banks by the south side of the bridge carrying the Great Western Railway were tremendous hills to climb but . . . on a warm sunny day all the butterflies were out. JH recollects recognising red admirals, peacocks, large and small blue butterflies, brown and yellow spotted butterflies – in fact any colour you can think of. And there were wild flowers in abundance. JH’s father new the common names of so many. JH was, and still is, entranced by the harebells which hung downwards on such slender stems – in varying shades of blue, and pink, and even clear white only. If picked, these delightful flowers rapidly languished sadly, but a very small posy of less delicate flowers were picked and taken to Auntie Bertha’s, or home.

Shouts echoed under the railway bridge. Traffic passing under the bridge - from either side - could only travel through the ‘tunnel’ in single file so - long since - traffic lights have been installed. After walking up the hill, we came to the entrance of a factory on our left where - no doubt - there is a large industrial estate now. On the corner of Fir Lane there is a Pub – still called the Thatched Cottage, as far as JH can remember. One day . . . in the middle of the 1940s, JH was walking past the Swallows’ house in Waltham Road . . . Mrs Swallow was standing by her gate; Mrs Swallow grasped JH in great distress exclaiming ‘That’s how close the drunk driver came to Beatrice when he swerved onto the pavement!’ This exhibition of distress – about Mrs Swallow’s daughter nearly being stuck by a car being driven by a drunkard – was rather a bewildering experience for a little girl . . . the recollection remains vivid in JH’s mind.
The Observer's Book of British Birds
JH and her Father watched the water birds swimming amongst the reeds by the streams encircling Wyatt's Farm in Waltham St Lawrence
Also . . . whilst standing outside her own gate, JH was introduced to new words, ie, words not yet in her vocabulary. A man cycled from the opposite direction and hit a large stone on the road; the tyre on his front wheel went down swiftly; an observer could hear the air escaping through the puncture; the cycling man was oblivious to the small bystander who heard his angry words. The reason for the road being covered in a pile of earth and stones, which had been excavated from a trench outside all the houses in Waltham Road . . . was that main drainage had arrived! Daddy no longer had to decant out the cesspit, and fertilise his kitchen garden with ordure, because the tanker had not arrived promptly enough to slurp up the contents of the cesspit before it started overflowing. And, of course Mummy was so frightened that JH or Ann might fall into the cesspit whilst the lid was off. JH observed the purple flags – with wonder - which used to flourish in our front garden round the cesspit.

{AE}Didn't Daddy just take the overflow as I remember a huge "lorry" with huge piping came to collect sewage.

{AE}Daddy + allotments busy - collected cow pats and ashes early morning on our bikes
Water Plants, illustration A: Flag
The Wild Flower Key by Francis Rose
Wild flags are yellow
the cultivated flags round the cesspit were purple!
Shortly after this acquisition of new words, JH’s Family moved to Furze Platt. But JH’s mother had spent so many years exhorting her daughters ‘not to pull the flush when only doing little things’ that it was several years before JH lost the habit of not flushing . . . in fact, in her first year at secondary school, JH used to be asked by Queen Anne House’s cleaner, if she had flushed . . . should she meet this tiny, quietly spoken lady, who seemed so old . . . on her way back down four flights of stairs. Queen Anne House has long been demolished; now the roundabout at the junction of Castle Hill, Marlow Road, Bad Godesberg Way, and Franscati Way, has buried a piece of Maidenhead’s history.