Some childhood memories

As I write this I have just seen a couple of postcards for sale on Ebay which have brought back childhood memories. I have no intention of buying the cards so you won’t see them here. I can’t collect other folks family history.

One of the cards is addressed to Mrs H Reed of Alma Cottage in Ifield.

I knew Mrs Reed well in my childhood. She was a nice, kindly lady and her husband, Harry, was a lovely man. Harry was an avid gardener – as people were in those days. I’ll return to that. Mrs Reed never knew it but she was a leading member of a club we invented. It was the ‘Ifield Wobbly Cyclist Club’. I can picture her now, riding slowly on her old bike with her face always cheerful and smiling. But due mainly to lack of speed she never kept a straight course.

Her bike was something like this one.

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I have memories of that curved strut and the little join between it and the straight strut. In my memory Mrs Reed had a handlebar mounted basket.

But returning to Harry Reed and his love of gardening. I actually have a hoe which belonged to him and here it is.

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The head of the hoe has an unusual shape.

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It is a plain triangle in shape.

Both Harry and my dad reckoned this was the best possible shape for a hoe but I reckon that was because Ifield was on heavy clay. Here, on light sandy soil we don’t find it so good and prefer a wing shaped hoe and they are hard to find at a sensible price. So Harry’s old how doesn’t get used which is a bit of a shame.

Amazingly, another postcard on Ebay brought to mind a very near neighbour of Harry’s and this was Amos Flint. Amos, born I now know in 1874 was amongst the oldest people I ever knew as a child. He’d have been 80 at the dawning of my memory. He was an old, bow legged chap who smoked a curving pipe and spoke with a wonderful local accent. Like Harry he was mad keen on gardening. He died in 1962.

He had obviously played boy’s cricket as a youngster. There was a tree on the Green which he said had been a good width for a wicket when he was a lad. Sadly Amos’s tree was blown down by that infamous 1987 storm – by that time it was a mature tree, far too big for a cricket wicket.

Happy memories!

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