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|RETURN TO MEMORIES|
|BOB CHISHOLM - WALKS|
|VE AND VJ DAY|
MEMORIES OF RAYNE
MRS GILES OF DUCK END GREEN
Mrs Giles was one of four children and her father earned twelve shillings a week. "we were regular poor then". Families with more than one child could go at the beginning of winter to Miss Polly's in The Street and each person was given a grey blanket. Mrs Gile's family would mark the corners of their blankets so that they could have the same blankets each year.
There were two bedrooms in their housed and during the FirstWorld War the family had two soldiers staying with them, one of whom used to bring them and extra bit of jam. The gift of a loaf of bread to each family in October provided another memorable occasion.
The children would help their parents farming in the fields - gleaning and "red robinning" or picking all the red flowers out of the corn. They also picked up the stones and sold them at one penny a bucketful for road building. At potato picking time again the family all worked hard and at mid-day lit a fire in the fields and roasted potatoes for their dinner, warming their hands at the same time.
Mrs Giles attended Rayne School before the turn of the twentieth century. Children started then at the age of three, but she actually started a little before her third birthday. The first week she cried and was sent home, but the second week her mother took her to school and they kept her there. She had only been there for two days when she was caned. The reason for this was that she, together with some other children, ran up to the railway, through the gate, and instead of crossing carefully, put their hands on the buffers of the stationary goods train engines; on this particular day they were caught, and were all caned, although it was really just a tap on the hand.
She remembered that the girls wore pork pie hats and breeches with frills on the bottom and they used to lift their skirts to show off their breeches.
On the way to school they would call at the village shop (which used to stand in front of Oak House) and buy a pennyworth of rice pudding. It was cooked in a tray and cut up when it was cool and hard. She said that the children put it in their hands and ate it on the way to school.
The games they played at school were leap-frogging and skipping. Her skipping rope, a great treat, was a piece of rope with the ends knotted. They had tops and whips, hoops and peg dolls and used to make "horse's reins" out of pieces of rainbow wool.
At school there was a lot of strict memory work and in sewing lessons they made half a chemise each, with plenty of frills. She was very proud when eventually she became a monitor and in her last year at school she used to wash up for the headmaster's wife during school time and be paid 3d a week for it.
She remembers the school inspector, Mr Sedd, "a little lively man who frightened us all, he was so strict". The headmaster was Mr Yuill "he was nice, but he was strict". The children had a verse about him which they used to repeat:
"Mr Yuill was a very good man
'e tried to learn ye all e ken
Read, write and arithmetic
But 'e never forgot t'give ye a stick
When 'e did 'e made ye dance
Out o' England int' France
Out o' France int' Spain
Over the 'ills and back to Rayne"
The children used to play in the bales of corn on Gould's Farm and hide from the farmer by lying low down.
As a young child Mrs Giles did errands for other people and was paid a penny a time "or more likely, a bit of plum pudding". She walked about half a mile every morning and evening for their cans of milk. When she was three years old she walked to the shop for meat. She would be sent to the shop to buy lumps of starch for her mother.
|© Geoffrey Stone, Braintree 22-6-2008|