Tuesday, 23 February 2016

autobiographical guff continued

So..in the village where I grew up, it was all vaguely feudal. The local toff opened his gardens once a year to the general populace of the village where we were allowed to walk through the gardens, admire the enormous goldfish in his huge swimming pool sized pond and partake of very small sandwiches and even tinier cakes. The house was just outside the village so on the appointed day and at the appointed time, there would be a ribbon of people (mainly women in their best dresses) trailing along with children dressed in itchy dresses or knife edge sharpened shorts, ankle socks and 'those' Clarks sandals which we all had then. I had a particularly itchy dress which only came out on high days and holidays. It was smocked but the front was so stiff that it was uncomfortable. It was also yellow. Maybe that has contributed to my dislike of clothes in yellow (for me) to this day.
We children were all warned that we had to be on our very best behaviour at all times whilst in the gardens. No running, no jumping, no shouting..basically the very old adage of 'be seen but not heard'! It was all supposed to be a treat but I don't know that any of us children felt that it was a treat but rather something we had to go through to keep the mothers happy. There were tables and chairs all over the lawns where the mothers sat primly, on the edge of their seats, ready to intervene in case we children started acting like children. We were allowed to eat the teeny ,tiny sandwiches and cakes but not too many..we didn't want to appear greedy (or presumably, needy) after all!  We children endured the afternoon until the mothers deemed it to be time to go...such joy! We were not allowed to run until we had left the toff's premises..which was quite a long way as he had a very long drive! But once we were on public land again, we were like creatures set free. We galloped home to remove the horrible, stiff ,uncomfortable clothes and become the slightly feral ( in a good way) children that we liked to be. The mothers all relaxed and drank tea while we gambolled about loudly! That ordeal was over for another year!
At Christmas, the same Toff and his Toffette put on an indoor tea for the village children. Once again we had to be on best behaviour, not eat too much, not be too loud..all those things but this time it was in a church hall. There were games and even a Father Christmas. All very exciting and rather hot.
Here's me (on the left) with Little Friend Susan next to me. I look vaguely terrified. I was terrified!!! What if I ate too much...or was loud....or spilled my drink???? The world would surely end and my mother would surely be furious with me for letting her down. It WAS terrifying! Little Friend Susan had no such worries, I remember and chomped her way through countless sandwiches and bowls of jelly.  How did she dare??? She was exactly two weeks older than me and our fiancĂ© was exactly two weeks older than her so I was always the baby one in the relationship. I wonder whatever became of the toff and his toffette....in fact, I wonder what became of LFS too..if you know her, say hello from me
The End