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.