Noreen Kemp

Date of Interview: 28th Jan 2005

Place: Balmain, Sydney, Australia

Interviewer: Kevin Murray

Transcription: Catherine Sapir, Feb 2005


Perhaps you could start by just giving us some indication of where and when you were born and then you can launch into telling us the story of your selected photos as well.

Right well I was born in 1920 in Norwich in England and I have a photo of the little house where I was born. I didnít live there very long, we moved later to some little villas in the village called Trowse but Iíll tell you about that later. First of all Iíll tell you about my grandparents Miles and Alice Leech. Their family came from Manchester but they moved to the Isle of Man, which is a little island between Ireland and England for my grandfatherís health. That was in 1889. Grandad was a professional artist. He drew the most beautiful landscape watercolours. We still have a lot of them I expect there are some here and one was put into the Liverpool Academy called Sunrise. It was a beautiful oil painting, just the sun rising over the sea and he would never sell it. They might have no money but he would never sell this picture.

In fact he was always like that he would do beautiful pictures and my poor grandmother would have no money and then when he was finally forced to sell one you see and she would get some money but she never knew when the next money was coming. He couldnít bear to part with them you see. He did work for Canada too he did pictures of the Island for Canada so they were all island pictures or seascapes and they were the old-fashioned boats so there were some rather lovely pictures. We have got a lot of them and so that was grandfather.

My grandmother, only I didnít know her very well because of course they lived in the Isle of Man and we lived in Norwich, was just like you would imagine a grandmother, a grand Edwardian lady you see and so we used to have many holidays with them. Now Miles and Alice had seven children. Two boys and five girls - Miles, Alice, Jane, Louise, Nora and Amy.

Nora was my mother and I think that they had a wonderful time as children because they were always dressing up and did all sorts of things. In fact I think our grandchildrens love of drama possibly came from my mother and her sisters. They were great teasers and full of fun and my mother was all full of funny sayings. Well Judith and Angie would remember her very well and I still say some of the funny things that she said. They spring into mind. Anyway Iíll go now to my father.

Do you remember some of those funny sayings?

Yes, well if ever you said "oh well" she would say deep hole in the ground. She used to say that. Tell him what else she used to say. Friday, keep your nose tidy. Thatís right, all sorts of silly things like that. I canít remember any more but Iíll tell you if I think of them. So my mother was lovely, Iíll tell you about that when Iím into my own part,but thatís my motherís parents.

My fatherís parents I didnít know so well. Wait a minute thatís a photo of my mother Nora. Now my other grandparents, Thomas and Laura Reynolds lived in Essex in an old toll house. Thatís the only photo I have of it Ė a postcard. It used to be on the main London road and there used to be a gate across the road and people had to pay a toll to go through the village. It was the village of Newport in Essex. It was a turnpike, quite right and that was where they lived. Now they had seven children too but they had two girls and five boys Ė Mary was the eldest then Herbert, Hugh, Henry, Richard, Edward and Margaret. Richard was my father. I didnít know them very well but I can vaguely remember my grandmother dressed in black. She was blind and she had these black glasses on. This house they lived in had a lovely little stream running by it which I thought was lovely running through the garden and I always liked that when we stayed there though we didnít stay very often.

Now my father, Richard, he was born in 1891 and my mother Nora was born in 1886. Now the funny thing about it is, as long as I remember, my mother always used to say of course daddy is much older than me she used to say and it wasnít until she died at 93 and we saw her birth certificate that we discovered that she was older than daddy. In those days you couldnít have your husband younger than you, you see, it just wasnít done.

Even on their marriage certificate she had put the wrong date. Wasnít that naughty. Yes, six or seven years difference between them, yes. Because you see daddy his hair went grey and white very soon because of the terrible war Ė he was in the trenches you see and he had a limp because of being in water up to his waist for so long and so everybody always thought she was younger than him and just everybody and do you remember Aunty Gwen she always used to say Aunty Gwen Iím younger than you and Iím sure she wasnít really. Ever so funny though the ideas they had in those days. So that was my mother.

Well they met in quite a romantic way really because my mother and her sisters and brothers went to a little private chapel on a big estate just outside Douglas on the Isle of Man where they lived. They used to go there every Sunday and of course my father Richard had a job there. I donít know how he got it, but he was a gardener in this estate and of course they met, I donít know how exactly, but they fell in love. Of course my motherís family was horrified, a gardener Ė so beneath them you see. I donít that they could have been very happy. Then the war came so off he went to France and he was there for the whole of the war and he used to send home those lovely postcards which they had in those days, all lace and flowers with I Love You and things on. My mother had a whole collection and when we were little girls we would just love looking at these pictures and I just wish I had them now. I think Iíve got one. I donít know where it is but I have one.

Do you know what would have happened to the rest?

No, just thrown away I suppose. When we came to Australia we left a lot of things we didnít bring, anyway then the war finally ended. He was in the trenches you see and thatís why he got his limp. He hated the war. He hated it and that was why when he had two little girls he was so thankful, he didnít want a boy. He didnít want him to have to go through what he had been through. Anyway the war ended.

Did he talk much about the war?

Yes, he used to tell funny stories about it. In fact he always would keep telling the same ones. We got a bit tired of it sometimes, because when people came he would always tell the same story and in fact he would tell us the same story. But they werenít nasty stories they were all funny stories about the other soldiers and things you see. So yes, it was always on his mind, preying on his mind I think. Which I think wars must do. Anyway he finally came home and in 1918 they were married and they came to live in Norwich where he got a job and as I said, the family always looked down on them to start with but he was such a lovely character that very soon all the sisters and brothers thought he was wonderful. His family always called him Dick but my mother wouldnít call him Dick that was too infra dig you couldnít have Dick you see so he was Rich. He became greatly loved, all the sisters loved him. He was a lovely man, he was tall, fair, blue-eyed whereas my mother was small and dark. Yes he was very lovely my father and he was such an upright man he was a wonderful man. He was the church Warden, he carried the cross at the church. He was just so honest and good, he never did anything he shouldnít. He was a lovely man, wasnít he Vee? Yes he was a lovely man. Anyway I can remember when I was a little girl, he was studying, studying, learning all this hard stuff. He became a member of the Royal Horticultural Society and he eventually got a higher position where he was looking after the whole gardens in a great big estate about five miles out of Norwich which when I tell you my story is where we go to live. So he was very well respected in the village and he used to go around judging shows and things because he was a very knowledgeable man and so that was dad.

Then mum was, as I have told you, much more fun loving and funny. She was the loveliest mother you could ever imagine.

You sound like a very lucky child!

I had a wonderful childhood, yes. They were lovely. Father was strict, we were never allowed to answer back or do anything. When I met children who were rude to their parents I couldnít get over it.

He would be horrified today I guess.

Oh yes, I guess he would, I really do. But anyway we loved it, we were ever so happy. We had a lovely time. So thatís dad and mum and so we will come on to:

I was born in 1920 in Norwich and there I am with mother and thatís one of the family. We lived in this little villa in Trowse and three years later my sister Margaret was born. I can well remember this little house of course like these we had no electricity. It was oil lamp and cooking on a stove and to wash you had a boiler Ė you put the clothes in then stirred them around and then you had these rough things you rubbed on. We had a funny little Norfolk woman who came to do motherís washing at first when I was rather small and she spoke this broad Norfolk that Vee was talking about, and one time she asked mother where the dwile was. Of course mother had no idea what a dwile was. Itís just a floor cloth, just an old cloth for cleaning the floor. That was a dwile.

So you had never heard that word?

No, that was a very Norfolky word. That was Lisa there.

So the board you are talking about is a washboard is it?

Washboard yes. Wooden with metal things on and you rubbed it up and down. I never did it of course but they used to have a grocery man come once a week. He would sit down at the table and mother would dictate what she wanted and then they would come the next week. We didnít have any supermarkets or anything, thatís what we did. What else about those days. Well I have got a few memories of those days. Not as many as Vee has. But, one thing I remember, my first memory when I was three, I had my tonsils out . I had to go to the Norfolk & Norwich hospital and that I can remember vividly. Laying in the bed there and looking up and seeing the clock and crying to myself and I thought I cried all the time but when they took me, when mother came and took me home, they said how good I had been. I think they just said it because I can always remember being so unhappy Ė anyway I had my tonsils out and when I got home theyíd asked me what I had wanted for a present. I had said a dollís pram, so they had bought me this dollís pram. Well I was terribly disappointed because it wasnít a lay flat dollís pram, it was a sit up dollís pram. I never said anything but I was disappointed. But my aunt in the Isle of Man sent me this most beautiful doll Ė a great big doll. Iíve never had one this big. Itís name was Primrose and I did love that doll. I do remember that.

Did she fit in the pram?

She fitted in the pram. Yes, I used to wheel her out, and of course we went everywhere on our bicycles, my mother and father. I would sit on the front of one and Margaret would be on the back of motherís. Of course we hadnít a car and then when we were old enough I got a bicycle and then later Margaret did so then we were well set going about.

So were there only the two children?

Yes, two children, yes. Two sisters.

We had a visitor while we were there. A young lady, she was about eighteen I suppose who mother befriended who used to come and see us. We called her Aunty Doll. I was frightened to death of her. She was one of these bossy sort of ladies, you know. She terrified me but she used to play the piano and we used to sing. Because of course that was the entertainment, the piano you see, we didnít have any radio or anything, there wasnít anything like that but I was always frightened of Aunty Doll and she stayed with knowing her family in fact it was only a year or two ago that she died. She must have been 97 musn't she? But she was always very eccentric, eccentric woman wasnít she?

Vernon: Single woman, she died at 89 in Bournmouth, crazy. She used to drive a car even. Totally unfit to drive. She crashed several cars.

Noreen: Here are some more photos of me. Because we didnít have a bathroom you see thatís the tin bath that we bathed in right when we were big. We didnít have a bathroom you see, that was the tin bath.

Thatís my dad and me at the bottom of the garden.

Well another memory of my childhood of course, is going to the Isle of Man on holidays. My mother used to take us and of course it was a long trip by train across and then across by boat and my main memories of the boat was we all sat down to wait to feel seasick because that was what my mother was, she was always seasick

So you expected it?

Oh yes and it used to feel terrible. It is a bad passage and the ships in those days used to roll a lot but they donít now because they have stabilisers but they used to roll. Well it was really terrible. Thatís what I remember about that. But it was lovely Ė we enjoyed being on the Isle of Man. There was a great enormous beach when the tide went out but the tide came right up to the promenade so that it was always good sand for making sandcastles. When we saw other beaches like Yarmouth I thought they were terrible with this funny loose sand that you couldnít make things with. I have got a photo of us, where is it, oh there we are. They are the sort of bathing suits we wore. That was our mother you see, all nicely covered up you see. Oh and hereís a picture of Margaret and I and mother with grandmother in the Isle of Man. Another place we used to go, one of my motherís sisters lived in Sheffield. Her father, her husband had a cutlery business, in fact we still have some of his knives that say his name on. H Walker and this is a picture of Margaret and I with our cousin Geoffrey who was Aunty Lou's only child and we still keep in touch with Geoffrey. Whenever we cross over and go home on a trip we always go and stay with Geoffrey who lives in Bourne End on the River Thames near Windsor and we always used to go and stay with him and then later on when he was older we went with him to his first interview to get a job when he was about sixteen you see. We waited outside and he came out and he got this job with this big firm Taylor Woodrow and he ended up being a Director of this firm.

Then you were there at the very beginning

At the very beginning. He learned to be a heating and ventilating engineer.

So is he about your age?

Heís in between Margaret and me really. He is just in between us.

When we lived in Trowse one of motherís great friends was a lady called Gwen and Aunty Gwen stayed with us the whole of our lives, didnít she. You knew Aunty Gwen, the children all knew Aunty Gwen. She was just a family friend and when I had children she would sit in and mind them for us. When I had Alix she came a stayed a couple of weeks because I had Alix at home and she was a lovely lady. Judith and Angela would remember her very well and Alix. She used to knit all their jumpers, beautiful fair isle jumpers she used to knit. Thatís her when she was young and she was pretty old when she died, wasn't she dear.

When I was five I went to school in Norwich, to a little private school. Our mother you see wouldnít send us to the local school. She always thought she was better you see. Couldnít go to the local school, so I went to this little private school. Well it was a lovely little school. There was this grand lady called Miss Bidewell. Very Edwardian with white hair piled up, long beads and she was in her private house. It was called Carlisle House school and the front room was for the older children and the back rooms the smaller children. She had another teacher teaching them.

At that school we learnt all sorts of everything. We did maths, we did bits of algebra we did French, we did what was really good general knowledge. We used to have these general knowledge books. We would go through all these things. Well when I went to my High School I found I knew so much more than the other children. Teacher would say so and so and so and so and I would put my hand up because Iíd learnt it from Miss Bidewells you see. I was happy there. My father used to take me, on the front of his bike, to the tram stop. On the way he would buy me a penny bar of chocolate. Then I would go on the tram and it stopped just outside/near this school in Norwich and of course I suppose I looked very small in my panama hat and my little blazers and the people used to smile at me. I didnít like it very much but suppose I looked small to be doing that. When I learnt to read I used to read the advertisements on the tram and I can well remember reading Rinso, now Rinso was a soap powder and I did Ďiní and Ďsoí Ė Rinso. I can just remember that, itís one of those things you keep in your mind you know. Well anyway I was still there when in 1926 there was a general strike. Everything stopped, so I donít know how I got to school, I canít remember how I got to school. Anyway, I did.

How long did the strike go on for?

I donít know for how long in went on for, do you? It went on for quite a while. Months.

Vernon: Everybody was out of work. The street lights at that time were gas lights and so the lights didnít get put on.

This was prior to the Depression?

Vernon: This was 1926. Yes prior to the 1930 Depression Ė thatís right. It lasted a long time. The type of school that Noreen went to was called a Dame school. The Dame who looked after it you see in her home.

So you were in a class with other children?

Oh yes, other age groups.

So they were all different ages in the one group?

Different ages yes, and gradually I got to the top when I was ten. You see I was in the top group.

Apart from the experience of you apparently knowing more than the other children when you got to high school was it a sort of a shock to your system to be in classes where all the children were the same age?

No I donít remember. It was just a different adventure. I am always keen for something different so I enjoyed it.

Just thought of another treat we used to have when I was a little girl at home. My fatherís sister, his eldest sister Mary and her husband, ran a dairy and so we used to go there for afternoon tea and we could watch them making butter and we used to bring home a lovely slab of this beautiful butter. They were Jersey cows and beautiful cream, thick cream. Nothing like it really. I suppose King Island comes the nearest to it but it was beautiful. So that was nice going to see Aunty Mary.

Well when I was about five I suppose, five or six, mother joined me into an elocution class where I learned to read poetry and went in for competitions and things for saying poety,you see and we did plays. I was in lots of plays which I simply loved. I loved acting all along just like my grandson and my grand children. That was me as a fairy. I think I was about five then. I was Fairy Cobweb, it was an A A Milne play I think. No no thatís the next one. I donít know who wrote it. Miss Barber was a marvellous teacher and I did lots of plays and one of my favourite ones was in Norwich there's the Maddermarket, an old Elizabethan theatre and we did a play there. It was AA Milneís the "Princess and the Woodcutter" and I was the Princess. There I am Ė thatís me as a Princess, yes. I donít know how old I was then, I canít remember.

Thatís the end of the 1920ís. When I was ten I went to High School. Thatís rubbish Ė I didnít.

When I was ten we moved from Trowse a little village, five miles out of Norwich to a village called Framingham-Earl where my father got this better job being the head gardener in this big estate and so I remember going there to see the house. Of course we bicycled there. We were going along the country and we kept saying - is it that house, we were so keen to see what the house was like and when we finally saw it it was a very pretty little house, can I find it, yes, there it is. Itís still there, we took that when we were back.

Oh wow, isntít it beautiful.

In a little lane called Spur Lane Ė there were only three houses, those two and a house at the end. The excitement there was we had electricity. You put a switch on and the light came on. We had a cookerand you could cook. Well it was marvellous and we had a bathroom. Oh it was really so different. We still didnít have a washing machine or all those other things but it was definitely an improvement.

What age were you here?

I was ten. Then when I was elevenÖ..oh this house was all woodland around it so of course we had a wonderful time in these woods, exploring them and there were ditches we used to jump across, we had a wonderful childhood there in that house in the woods. You remember those donít you Vee?

Are those woods still there Ė dare I ask?

Theyíre still there, yes. Not as grown up as they used to be, not as nice as they used to be. They lost a lot of trees in a gale.

Vernon: There was a tremendous gale some years ago and a lot of them have blown down so itís a bit more open than it was. But there are some wonderful beech trees and bracken underneath. They are lovely really.

I think I remember that gale. Was it in the last decade or so?

Yes, it was only ten years ago. The woods are lovely.

When I was eleven I went to Notre Dame High School which is a convent school in Norwich. It was Roman Catholic and most of the teachers were nuns and I went mid-year so they didnít know where to put me so they put me in the Transition Class in between the X class. It was the class before you went up to High School you see but then when September came I went into Form 1 Ė Latin it was called. After that every report I had I was always top of the class. I loved being at school and it wasnít until I was in the last year in 6th form that I began to get a bit tired of it but I loved school and that was where I met my two lifelong friends. One was Marie and we were friends all our lives. We got married close together, we had our children close together, then she went to live in South Africa but we still SMS text each other now as well as write and send cards. Vera the other girl lived in our village. Quite different, a quiet girl and she became a nun and went out to the lepers in East Africa. Then she had to go home to mind her father but anyway she is still a sister but living at home and we go and see her every time we go home. I might try and find a picture of Sister Vera. Iíve got a very recent one, Iíll look that up. Iíll give it to you to put in there.

Well when I was at school, yes as I told you, I loved it. My favourite subjects were History and English and Latin and I did Greek as well so you see we were well suited when we met because we had our Latin and Greek in common Ė didnít we dear?

So arenít you fortunate you didnít come 10th?

Vernon: Yes it was. What a silly system. It could change your life completely.

Well I took my Ė well, while I was at school, thatís right Ė this goes back to 1931 when we had a holiday in Gorleston, that was my family then, my father nearly always wore tweeds and plus fours when he was on holiday, all the time on weekends and that and we had a week at Galston. I remember feeling so grown up. I suppose I was just ten or eleven but I can remember feeling quite grown up which I think people of eleven do, donít you? Miles does, heís wonderful. So that was a lovely holiday. It was a pleasant little seaside place, near Yarmouth, Great Yarmouth which is a big sort of place like Blackpool. My mother looked down on it, oh dear.

Who would have taken the photograph?

All photographs Ė there was people in the street who would take your photograph and then you can buy it if you wanted to. Yes, thatís who took that. This is a family picture while we were living at Framingham-Earl. Thatís my mother and father and thatís Caesar the dog.

Is that the same dog as in the previous photo?

No, I donít remember that dog. Itís when I was a baby so I have no idea what that dog was. This is Caesar. I remember getting him as a puppy and calling him Caesar and we were wearing our best party dresses there because my Aunt Jane had a sort of, what do you call it, a boutique, no she had a whole lot of girls working for her who made clothes and she made clothes for people. She made. they had all these girls and we used to go and see them working on their machines. What did she call it? I canít remember. It had a name. Anyway she used to make us these beautiful dresses. Intricate, you canít see there really but they had lace and things and they were really beautiful and she would send us for the party. And when Judith was born she sent me this beautiful Christening robe all lace, it was lovely. Weíve still got it and everybody in the family hass worn it, Judith and Angela and Alexís children so itís an heirloom.

Well one of the things that we loved my friends and I, Vera, Marie and my sisters, we used to do plays in the summer holidays at home for our parents and dress up, we loved dressing up and I was often the villarn. There we were that was a song called "No no a thousand times no, Iíd rather die than say yes" it was called, well I was the horrible villain and Marie was the beautiful maiden.

Who did you perform these for?

For our parents. Weíd charge twopence or something like that and some of them they liked but one time we got really adventurous, this was when we were a bit older, we did The Tempest and of course there was only about half a dozen of us you see. I was Prospero and my friend Marie was Miranda. I think Vera was the Prince Ferdinand. I donít think the parents enjoyed it very much, they werenít into Shakespeare much our parents. It was a bit dull for them but we enjoyed it. Yes we loved it.

You still got twopence out of them though.

Thatís right, yes, and thatís another one of us dressed up. But I was always fond of Shakespeare Ė thatís another memory of the twenties when I was a little girl, before I could read. My mother used to read to me and she used to read to me "Lambís Tales from Shakespeare" which I simply adored. Mother didnít like them, she didnít like Shakespeare stories but I thought they were lovely and as soon as I could read I read them myself. Before that she used to read them to me. Always loved Shakespeare.

So when I took, at school, the Higher School Certificate, I took the School Certificate first and then I did the Higher School. I took Advanced History, Advanced Latin and subsidiary English and Greek for my subjects and I remember it being very hot, it was always hot in July you see when we took our exams, that was the trouble. But anyway I got my HSC and when I took my School Certificate, if you got eight credits you got exemption from Matriculation which was another exam you had to take, so I got that and then I got my HSC and I got a place at London University to do Latin and Greek.

Then of course what happens, this was 1939, I left Ė the war. My father wouldnít let me go, he thought they were coming over to bomb everything, so I must stay at home, so I didnít go. So I have never minded because it was because I didnít go that I met Vee you see. So I had to get a job of course so I got a job with a big insurance company. You had to do a very critical test in which my general knowledge came in very handy because where did they make pins, or what was the longest river and all those silly little things. Well I passed that you see, so I got this job and I was to start on the 23rd October and the War had broken out on the 3rd September. I can remember it so well. I was in the garden playing cricket with a little boy, one of motherís friends, and I remember sitting on the bus when we was going to and from and it was all so peaceful and I thought how dreadful that was going to be a war because it was so lovely here. But anyway, back to my job.

The day before I went to my job, we went to Church, we always went Church on Sundays at Framingham-Earl - a dear little church, and there was a strange young man there with one of our friends. Canít think who it was. We never got strange young men in church. After the Service he introduced us to this Vernon Kemp. He was at the office with him. Oh yes, thatís the little church St Andrews Framingham-Earl.

And what was the strange young man doing there?

Well he was of course in the same department as this friend of ours and he went to church in his village and I suppose they were talking about it and he only lived about two or three miles from where we lived in a different village, Stoke, and so Uncle Frank had said oh well you know come to Framingham-Earl church and that was how he came there. So the next day I met him in the office, he held the door open for me. That was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The beginning of the end. It was lovely and I was in, what was my Department, the Cashiers Department Ė I did the accounts, thatís right. We wrote up these books, he used to come round and see me. We had a big canteen and they used to tell you what was going to be the menu and Vernon used to go across and get the menu, type it out and bring it to me, so I always knew what we were going to have for lunch Ė didnít you dear? Yes. So there you go that was how we started, that's it. Iíll just show you what we were like. That was Vee and that was me. That was either the end of 1939 or the beginning of 1940. I think they were 1940.

Vernon: 1941 that was. 1941, thatíll be it then. Yes they were at the same time, thatís right. It had been year, we had got to know each other better by then, so we had our photos taken, didnít we dear. And I used to want it to be wet because when it was fine Vernon biked into the office and when it was wet he used to come on the same bus as me so I used to want it to be wet and I used to look down the road and there he came. He never had an umbrella, I never remember you with an umbrella.

Vernon: I didnít have an umbrella until just before I came to Australia.

I can just see you walking along now with it raining in an overcoat.

Vernon: It was an old tradition of many years ago.

Well I always thought he was so elegant he always wore grey suits and a blue tie. Didnít you dear, yes.

I assume this meeting is etched in your memory as well?

Vernon: Something like that, yes, yes thatís right. Yes thatís quite true. They were happy days werenít they.

They were lovely werenít they.

They sound wonderful! What a shame there was the war.

Yes used to go bike rides together, used to go Hickling Lane, lovely little

It must have been such a dramatic change to go from that idyllic life to the war.

It was.

Vernon: Hickling Lane was special. Again it was a perfect example of a Norfolk Loke. Loke is a Norfold word and a loke is a track for farm vehicles that runs between fields, not open to traffic and the only purpose of it was to enable farm vehicles to get from one field to another on each side you see. It was the only way you could get on to some of the fields by having a loke. So a loke developed into a wonderful wildlife area. There was just a rough track for vehicles, farm vehicles and hedges and all sorts of things. It was full of birds and wild flowers. I loved it as a child.

He took me there you see.

Vernon: So we got to know, there was a pond at one end.

You could pick primroses.

So did you share your fatherís love of all things horticultural?

Oh yes, yes, I always loved it. I was always keen to know the names of things and still do. Father of course always knew the Latin names, so I grew up knowing the Latin names for most of the flowers.

Do you get disappointed at all now that when you go back to England and see the countryside now, has it changed?

Vernon: Not at all

We still go down Hickling Lane. We went down there last year. It still looks much the same.

Vernon: Farming methods different of course and some of the hedges have gone because the fields have been enlarged you see and chopped down the hedge to make double the size of a field for growing crops. Thatís only farm economics you see but itís all very much as it was.

The countryside is much the same and Framingham-Earl Ė thereís still only three houses in Spur Lane although Long Road the other road now has some modern houses down it.

So obviously a lot of the places you can recall are still there.

Oh yes.

Vernon: Thatís a modern picture taken a few months ago.

When we went back we took pictures of all the places of interest as we knew we were going to do this you see, of places where we had been.

Vernon: Noreenís house in Framingham-Earl we went down there last year when we were home and a lady in the front garden watering. I said hello, do you live here and she said yes. I said well we lived here, how many years ago, fifty years ago was it or whenever.

Sixty years ago.

Vernon: Yes, sixty years ago and she said oh well come in and have a look at it. She was so nice, she invited us into the house and then showed us all around the house how they had modernised it.

It was interesting because although it was the same it was so different you see. Fridges, etc you see

Vernon: The rooms were the same and yet they were modern. A nice modern kitchen. A hardwood floor in the lounge, a new bathroomÖ

And yet it was the same.

Vernon: And yet it was the same house, it was lovely, you know and we also went to the house in Upper Stoke Holy Cross where I lived and knocked on the door and a young girl answered, you see. We told her who we were, come in and have a cup of tea she said and showed us how they modernised their house.

Even different because they had built on a bit.

Vernon: So that was an attractive house. We ought to have done it to the other houses we had lived in. I think I will next time I go home Ė do that you see. People seem to welcome you.

Most definitely. They like to know the history of the house.

Yes, thatís right.

OK. Shall we have a break now?

We are just up to the war now.

Thank you, that was fascinating, that was wonderful.