My Friend Albert.

                                Words for Wednesday, July 18. 2018
 Cheerful. River. Children. Sunday. House. Age. Or and. Demise.Noise.Point. Idea. Above. Year.

                                             Remembering Albert, an old friend..
  Old Albert as few of us young lads from the neighbouring village referred to him was a cheerful and helpful person. Most Saturday mornings we would find Albert fishing in the river Thame not far from where it enters the Thames at Dorchester on the Thames in Oxfordshire. It seemed to some, that Albert was an ordinary working person, However, my own judgement was otherwise, Although his dialect was slightly different than local his superior brand of fishing tackle suggested he was 'Well off 'so to speak

I was about nine years of age when Albert took the time to instruct me on how to catch that elusive Jack-Pike; a large predatory river fish, by tying a hook and line around a frog and allowing it to swim in an Eddy of a river bend

 But these Halcyon years of my youth faded to summer vacations from then on from my wretched boarding school at ten point five years until Joining the Royal Navy At a tender age of 15 years and Five months And like many other children became a crew member of a large battleship one year later.

It was during the Second World War in July1944 I had arrived home on leave from my ship which had returned from the Mediterranean and was refitting in Liverpool in order to form the British Pacific fleet later that year.

Chalgrove my home village was agog with activity, A British company had built an airfield within about 100 yards from our back garden. The noise factor was intense. So without much ado, I discovered my brother's aged Motorcycle which had a small amount of fuel to which I added a quantity of paint thinner.- It Roared to life after a few kicks then shortly after I  set off with my Fishing Tackle; praying this mechanical beast would make it there and back from the river.

Being it was a Sunday it was fairly quiet except for a shout" Is that, you Les". An old Guy in his Sixties or more appeared. It was old Albert. he seemed pleased to see me again. I told him I intended to go to the lock keepers house to visit his daughter although much my senior Pearl was perceived to be a little above my station, nevertheless, we were good friends.

Albert placed his hand on my shoulder and say's " I'm sorry to disappoint you Les but the family have moved away, but to where I have no idea. You see the lock keeper had a complete breakdown on hearing of his sons' demise on the Battleship Barham last year.

I was fortunate to meet Albert on that Sunday when the summer rain arrived unexpectantly he said we should go to his house for lunch, it was not far as he had walked there but now hitched a ride on the pillion of the motorcycle - we were nearly there when the fuel ran out. We then wheeled the Bike to his amazing waterfront home.

It was discovered that a fuel line was the problem with the bike so It was arranged for it to be fixed and refuelled the following day on a Monday.

My fishing friend who apart from knowing him as a regular guy on the river bank; had a lovely home, We had lunch in a unique and interesting dining room where the walls were painted with beautiful murals in a panorama  of rolling hills and babbling streams, with winding roads which meandered through pleasant meadows, tiny houses dot the landscape and a small white church with a tall steeple.

That is the church I attended as a boy, up north a bit, Laughing he say's" I sat through many boring sermons in that church with my parents, they are long buried in its cemetery but in memory I go and stand by their graves and to hear them speak to me as in days gone by. it helps to sit here and return to the untroubled days when my life was new and fresh, it does something for me, it gives me peace.

It was several years later after WW2 when I revisited the area, to call on old Albert. Sadly old Albert unknown to me had retired from his business - shoe manufacturing in Northampton. and was living on borrowed time even when I first met him. His kind old body lies buried in the cemetery of that little white church with the tall steeple.

 I visited Alberts lovely home by the river, now occupied by a family with several children playing happily in Albert's lovely garden.

Kindly words are a honeycomb, sweet to the taste, wholesome to the body.

Vest Daily Gaggle.


What a beautiful story and I know where Old Albert is coming from surrounded by his 'murals of the past'. I too live with many mementoes of a sweeter time. Great collection of words this time. I shall apply myself.
Lee said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lee said…
love your story, Vest. Wonderfully told. :)

Mine is minor in comparison....

"The CHEERFUL sound of the CHILDREN playing on the banks of the gently-flowing RIVER that meandered past the HOUSE always warmed their mother's heart, but on that particular SUNDAY their laughter was drowned out by a NOISE previously not heard around those parts.

Hovering ABOVE the grassy POINT at the bend of the river was a helicopter.

The YEAR was 1986.

At the AGE of 10 years, Amy and her twin brother, Jason had never seen such a sight before. They were never likely to forget that first time.

The twins stopped their play. Hand in hand they stood, their eyes agape in wonderment.

he helicopter’s arrival heralded the DEMISE of cattle mustering by horseback. Before that day the IDEA of such a thing happening had never entered their young minds."
Okay Vest, here we go:
In the individual pod of 2A1 the occupant sat in silent reflection. Now 142 YEARS of AGE 2A1 could remember a time far different from this. There was a time when families; mother, father and CHILDREN, lived together in HOUSES that were full of CHEERFUL NOISES. There were meadows and RIVERS, lakes and mountains but something was happening to the environment and no one knew how to fix it. 2A1 could POINT to the exact day that everything changed. Someone had a brilliant IDEA ABOUT how to survive in the sickening environment and that instigated the DEMISE of life as it was then lived.

“Is this living?” 2A1 wondered. Turning to the calendar icon on the main screen 2A1 realised that it was SUNDAY and wonderful, warm memories flooded in of Mom and Sunday dinners with siblings gathered round the dinner table. 2A1 sighed deeply and fingered the ‘elimination dose’ provided by administration to all inhabitants of Green Block. “You will know when the time is right.” was written on the label. Ageing fingers fumbled with the epi pen.
Peace Thyme said…
Yours is a lovely, beautifully written story. When I saw the words this morning, it brought back some memories to me. Dark ones to match my mood today.

When I was a young teenager, I had a few good friends. One Sunday, just about two weeks before the start of the school year, I left my house and met up with my friends, one of whom had a car. We were all very cheerful as we drove the twelve miles to the river and our favorite swimming spot.

It was very crowded as it was a hot day in August . Many children having a great time on a Sunday with their parents. We had only been there about an hour when a woman began screaming from the bank of the river that she couldn't find her child, a boy, the tender age of four. There must have been about 50 people on the banks and in the water that began to search for the lad. Within ten minutes we scoured the land areas all around that part of the small river. He wasn't anywhere to be found. So about 10 of us, my friends and I as well as some strangers, joined hands so that our bodies stretched from one side of the river to the other. Everybody was as quiet as could be when we began slowly walking the length of that part of the river while looking into the dark water.

We found him. I was so thankful that it was someone else that found him and carried his body to his sobbing mother.
Love your memories of Albert. Another great collection of memories.
I too have lurched to the dark side today. We make too many assumptions based on appearances...

Sophie was always cheerful. Correction, she always appeared cheerful. Out of sight she often cried a river of tears.
'Don't wash your dirty linen in public' was an idea her parents had instilled like a gospel. A gospel she still followed religiously despite their demise over a year ago.
Other women of her age had children. And grandchildren. Sunday was a day when they expected, and received, visits from the family and their houses were filled with the noise of laughter and conversation.
She knew that they pointed their fingers at her and said wisely to each other 'It is all her own fault. She thought she was above everyone else, and now she is alone'.
They were right and they were wrong. Would they be kinder if they knew the abuse her parents had heaped on her for years? Physical, mental and emotional abuse? She was alone but it was safer. So much safer.
Vest said…
Only S Confused, Thank you, there may be a follow on from this story which relates to the same era.
Vest said…
Lee. I recall seeing my first Helicopter in the 1933-34 era. It was called then an 'AUTO_GYRO.
Vest said…

Peace Thyme. Yours is a sad story although rare that it should be the river in which he drowned. Hardly a day passes when a child drowns in a garden swimming pool during the Australian summer season. Thank you for calling.
Vest said…
Elephants Child. Sadly there are far too many Sophies being controlled by overbearing parents, whose archaic moralising is soul destroying.
River said…
This is a lovely story, thank you for sharing.
I'll have a story on my blog by Friday.
Cindi said…
What a wonderful story and memory. Thank you for sharing it. My contribution this week is posted here on my blog: like a river
Vest said…
River.. Most of my stories are based on fact. having lived in a world of constant change for the most of my life, I have accumulated so much detail that gives little time or space for the glossy non-factual tripe that some people enjoy writing about which has little or no purpose.
Thank you for your kind appreciation.
Vest said…
Cindy Summerlin.Thank you, Cindy.

Memory is the scribe of the soul.
Edward Jones. said…
Morning Les. Nice to read a few of your memories from the 2nd world war period. It was a strange time. remember going to school and seeing on the way aircraft returning ablaze and others forming an armada and heading for Germany and us children learning the history of hundreds of years ago and history was being seen walking to school!
After school, no homework walking to aerodrome about 3 miles away and watching armourers bomb up aircraft for the nightly assault. Where I lived in Stowmarket we were surrounded by airfields within biking distance.
Keep well Les. Edward Jones Watts Naval School.No, 183. 1945-49
Vest said…
Hello Edward. I was reading today of the first raid on Hamburg in 1943, 791 Planes bombed Hamburg 40,000 German casualyies.
Hope you are keeping well. LES Watts naval school 117, 16/12/36.-7/1/42. Vest not Forget.
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