The Story of Heyford (Extra): Dear Diary – November 1958

November 1958

Dear Diary,

It’s another lovely morning. Not much left in dad’s veggie patch now summer’s over, just boring green vegetables like cabbage and brussels. It all has to be picked at the right time, vegetables to store in the pantry, fruit to bottle and onions to hang in the barn. We can see his Army influence in the garden, all the vegetables and the flowers in straight lines, like they are on parade, but he’s got so much to look after and he’s very proud of it. Mum’s preparing dinner. I love the first course of Yorkshire pudding with gravy but have to show willing with the main course of meat and vegetables after she’s gone to the trouble of preparing them. Could be rice pudding for afters if we have plenty of milk.

On November 5th some of us made a Guy Fawkes, dressed it in old clothes, put it in an old pram and pushed it round the village with a sign saying “penny for the guy”. Some people were kind enough to give us 1d for some sparklers but it was fun anyway.

We didn’t get a family summer holiday this year, which I wasn’t surprised at, not many families go away. I did get a treat though when I went on a day trip by train to London with my friend Jane. We visited Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. We didn’t see the queen though. We forgot to let her know we were coming.

We’ve got a telly now and I like to watch Crackerjack. The TV came from Radio Rentals and we pay for it weekly but it’s great fun for us all and it’s on until about 10 o’clock. They then play The National Anthem, a bit like they do at the cinema, except nobody stands up at home. I still like listening to the wireless on a Saturday morning though, with Children’s Choice and Uncle Mac, who always says “Hello Children everywhere”. They have some smashing songs on and I know them all. There’s Tubby The Tuba, A Four-Legged Friend and The Ugly Duckling.

The old Bricklayers Arms on the canal bridge has been sold to a coal merchant. That’s another pub that bites the dust. The Wharf opposite was also a pub at one time called The Boat but that was before the First World War. They say we used to have several pubs in Heyford, now we only have 2. None of them could have done much trade in such a small village though. I think The Old Sun and The Foresters Arms are here to stay. Sometimes my family catch the bus to Daventry, have a drink in the pub near the bus terminus, then come back on the same one. It’s good because it goes through all the little villages. The Railway at Daventry which runs to Leamington Spa is closing to passengers. I’ve never been on it myself. I think it will still be open for freight for a while.

I’ve joined the choir. There are quite a lot of us, maybe 6 girls, 6 boys, 6 warbling women and 6 growling men. We walk to the choir stalls by the altar from the vestry at the back, like in Noah’s Ark, 2 x 2. I enjoy the services and the singing except when we have to learn a special anthem. They are hard to learn, pretty tuneless and the congregation look bored because they can’t join in. Still, it’s not every week. The church looked beautiful in October for Harvest Festival with flowers everywhere and children brought along fruit and vegetables grown in their garden or allotment. On Remembrance Sunday, the nearest one to 11th, the choir will walk to the War Memorial after the service to remember those who died in the two World Wars, and we have 2 minutes silence. Rehearsals will then start for the Carol concert at Christmas. Roll on.


Letter published in The Prattler – November edition 2020

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