Yesterday I was wandering around Manor Farm, a living history site and Victorian Farm that forms part of Manor Farm Country Park near Burseldon in Hampshire http://www.hants.gov.uk/manorfarm and the large group of five to eight yr olds with me loved discovering how people only washed once a week and washed their clothes and slept three to a bed, stored cheeses, preserved fruit etc.,
Today, I met with Mr Horn, a 74 year old gentleman who does picture framing. As we talked he shared with me stories about his early life living in Broughton near Stockbridge, Hampshire in a Tudor house that was mentioned in the Doomesday Book. About an air raid during the war when his mother (or was it his grandmother?) didn’t go to the air raid shelter but hid under the stairs in the family house and thus witnessed a German Junkers plane land in the paddock, the pilot get out and walk around the plane before getting back in and taking off, only to be shot down minutes later crashing into the hills nearby, that still bear the indentations of where the plane fell from the skies.
I heard about the place near Danebury Hillfort over from Chattis Hill, where they made Spitfires, in particular the blue ones that had cameras on them (in fact when you google the area on googlemaps you can see a lane marked ‘Spitfire Lane’). How he recently discovered his Grandfathers Pony and Trap Licence. About a race-course dating back to the 1730s which attracted royalty and London Society down by train to Stockbridge and then by pony and trap on to the race course to gamble on races, picnic and how the Racecourse Grandstand is still there but overgrown by ivy and the racecourse hasn’t been used for many years. About Lily Langtree staying in the house which is behind the old garage forecourt near the hotel in Stockbridge and a nut tree that grew in the garden of Stud House that was so old that the nuts were very large….
History, stories, memories wonderful warm clues to how things came to be, how it used to be. Things lost, forgotten. My head is full of pictures of people, Regency gamblers, Victorian gentry, German air pilots, people I never knew and tiny windows into their lives. All places that I haven’t been to but today I have travelled.