Dick and Ivy

When I was a child, family friends seemed few and far between but one man stands out as a real friend and he was called Dick. Dick lived in Leigh in Kent. He was a quietly spoken man, with a lovely gentle accent and a wife I don’t remember really called Ede or Edie.

I liked Dick very much and when we visited grandparents in Tonbridge, we often broke our journey home at Leigh Halt and went to see Dick, Sometimes, if there was time, he’d take us to his place of work which was the little sewage treatment plant for Leigh. Walks with Dick were full of country facts. He seemed to know every bird, every tree, and every flower. He knew where to see fish in the river. In fact he knew everything. I realised my dad also engaged him in conversation about politics and other matters of a more national or international kind and Dick was fully up to them as well. It was clear that Dick was perceptive and sharp witted despite what seemed to be quite a lowly job.

By the time I was a driver and went off to see grandparents on my own or with my girlfriend, Dick had remarried. He married his next door neighbour called Ivy. It amused me that after years of calling him ‘Mr Wood’ which was his name, she persisted well after they were man and wife.

Like my dad, I found Dick a fascinating chap and we used to visit him whenever we could.

Here he is with Ivy.


This was on one of my dad’s Industrial Archaeology courses in the early 1970s. Dick loved to learn.

I have no doubt that Dick influenced my father and me as well. He never had children of his own, so it is good to think that some of his ways still live on.

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