My school was about half a mile outside the village we had a normal field and a tarmac area. At 11 I sat the 11+ but I failed and I was supplied with a cycle to cycle 2 1/2 miles to secondary school in Melton Constable. When you left school you gave the bicycle back to the Council. From age 11 and after school I used to go and work on a farm for 2 hours a night and 4 hours on a Saturday morning and I got 25 pence a week (5 shillings) and that was a fortune. I was cleaning mangels to feed the bullocks. They had bullock yards then and they piled the manure at one end and put it on the fields when they started ploughing, as fertilizer. We had a huge garden at home; a quarter of an acre. We grew potatoes, brussels, cabbages, carrots, parsley everything, we had chickens and rabbits and one time we had a goat. We once fattened up geese for Christmas but my stepfather was too soft hearted to kill them and he had to get a neighbour to do it. We had a penny a week pocket money and you could buy quite a lot with it (10 toffees, 1 bar of chocolate). During the school holidays I used to work a 12-hour day for a full week during the school summer holidays doing the harvest and I got paid £1 a week that was a lot of money and I had to give it to my mother because we were hard up. If you worked on a farm you could get a bit of extra cheese. We used to do scrumping because there were a lot of orchards in the village and I would catch rabbits when the harvest was on. My brothers and I were all in the forces, my eldest brother was in the navy I was in the army, Joe was in the RAF and the youngest was in the army.
My Saturday job as a child was to take the accumulators to be refilled with acid. I didn't mind taking them but they were heavy to carry back. They clipped on to the back of the radio to make it work. Nowadays Health and Safety would never allow a child to do this.
I used to go with my dad to a house in Cambridge Road to get ours charged.
I used to take mine to a shop in St. Peters Street.
My job was to collect the meat.
My job was to light the fire to heat the water in the copper and the fire in oven for the wall oven. We didn't have running water in our house, we had to rely on rain water that was collected in a tank in the garden and if it didn't rain there was a well where we used to get drinking water but it had to supply 10 houses and if there was no water in the garden we had to queue up to get the water from the well which was 60 feet deep. The well was in our garden.
I used to go and buy the joint each weekend and one day I took my nephew and I forgot him because I was in a hurry to get home and go to the Saturday pictures. I got back and I said "I've put it in the larder, mum. I'm going now". She said "Where have you put Hayden?" I ran back for him and he was fast asleep quite safe.
I went to many churches as a boy I tried them all but I really liked the Salvation Army. They had some tables and they would lift the tops off and there was sand inside and they used to put little model buildings on the sand and demonstrate different things with them - it was very interesting. I also sang in the choir at St. Saviours: for a meeting you got paid 3d, for a wedding you got paid 6d and 6d for a funeral. Many years later it seemed that everywhere we were sent in the Far East the Salvation Army was there and it meant so much to see them so far from home.