Saturday, 19 November 2016

Albert's washday blues

Albert's washday blues
November 2016

One of the thing I love about sharing my discoveries on the blog are the responses I get and the fresh insights, which add snippits of information which would otherwise be lost forever.

Riverbank above Horstead Lock

This weekend I am visiting my mother in Norfolk and my journey to her home took me through Coltishall, where I spent my childhood. With the sun setting there was just time to stop at Horstead Mill and grab a photo under the stand of beech trees which grow along he riverbank just above the lock. Its one of my favourite spots and is an area where I spent many happy days during the summer holidays in the 1970's.

As I stood on the lock I looked over the water meadows towards the old Salvation Army building in Coltishall (now a tea room) and saw the huge willow tree which reminded me about some recollections made by a local resident I vaguely knew in my youth.

Way back "in the day" the garage which stood on the island in the middle of the village was very different and consisted of a set of sheds out of which a car and cycle repair business operated. This old Central Garage was run by Mr Albert Deacon, who retired with his wife to a bungalow in Westbourne Road. I dont think I knew Albert but I did know his widow with whom I struck up a real friendship, and most Sunday evenings would see me heading off to her house where we watched programmes like Triangle, The Brothers and, I think, Cilla!. My parents didn't have a TV at the time so this was all heady stuff for a teenage lad, aided and abetted by some rather big slices of cake. 

 Albert's clothes line

Anyway, I digress. Before they moved to their retirement home they must have lived close to the garage because they had an allotment on what is now a triangle of common land behind the petrol station. The allotments had sheds and washing lines and the story goes that Doris's washing post snapped dropping all the laundry on the ground. Without and delay Albert sought out a suitable branch of a willow tree, cut it down and rammed it into the ground as a replacement post.

Sadly the allotments are long gone, as are the Central Garage workshops and both of the Deacons, but the post lives on. The branch took root  and sprouted into the 80ft tree which dominates the common today. So, next time you refuel your car in in the village, look over towards the water meadows and offer a nod of appreciation to Albert's living memorial.

Richard - thanks for this little nugget.


Carol said...

Great story.

ditchcrawler said...

Sounds a bit like my childhood, about 6 of us kids use to traps round a house in the village to watch TV.
I remember the garage in coltishall well. Wasn't the long building known as the rife range or something similar

Andrew Tidy said...

Ditchcrawler - That sounds familiar. I have a feeling that there was a disused rifle range in the old building behind the Sally Ann Chapel.

Naughty-Cal said...

We have spent many a happy hour on Coltishall. Lovely place.

Looking forward to going back next year.