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I'm all over the place today......

Posted 25-03-2005 at 22:10 by Busman747

Its strange that with age comes an ability to forget what you did (or even where you were) yesterday but with a little thought, memories of decades ago come flooding back…

A regular topic on the Accy web is the punishment of children. I am generally anti-smacking but NOT because the PC Brigade have managed to push through a stupid law forbidding parents from administering a chastising smack to their off-spring (note the word “smack” rather than “hit,”) I still consider a slap to the wrist of a baby that’s reaching out for a dangerous or hot object necessary until they reach an age where the parent can communicate with them verbally and after that point, smacking should be looked upon as assault.

I have had two wives Carol and Anne and had two daughters with each My eldest daughter Michelle who sadly died in a road traffic accident in December last year was the “perfect” child. She knew right from wrong, never pushed the boundaries …..and NEVER did anything that warranted a “smack”

Her younger sister Jacquie was (and still is) a rebel!! Even now, her lifestyle is very much a Chav. She often did things as a child that warranted (eventually) a smack as she was deliberately pushing the boundaries but this came to a halt when she was around 6 years old. I can’t remember what she had done that day but I DO remember that her mum (Carol) totally lost control. I remember walking into the room and Carol had Jacquie suspended above the floor with one hand and indiscriminatly lashing out with the other while my daughter spun in the air! I stopped her before permanent injury was done and forbid her to hit Jacquie again…….but I do not blame Carol for her actions, I do not condone it but understand the frustrations of parenthood when a child wilfully and regularly push their parents to the limit and beyond.

After seven years, (maybe this occurrence with Jacquie sparked it off?) I divorced Carol and fought for custody of my two children. Social workers were called in and at the court hearing, the social worker told the judge that “Mrs. H*** is an unfit mother and seems to be incapable of looking after her children…..HOWEVER I feel that children should remain with the Mother rather than the Father!” This was in 1980 and the judge took the words of the social worker as gospel. This was typical of the attitude in those days. As it turned out, Carol did a good job of bringing up our two daughters and I have nothing but praise for her. If you ever read this Carol, THANK YOU!

My second marriage was in 1981 to Anne, I said earlier that I had 4 daughters, not quite true, I “inherited” Kelly-Anne who was born within a month of Jacquie and quickly came to love her as much as my own! I can’t ever remember thinking that she wasn’t “of my blood” and she grew up boasting “I’ve got two Dads” which is fantastic. I got on well with her father (as opposed to Dad) and to complete the family, we had Laura, born two years later.

That’s my marital history out of the way, I will try to get back to “corporal punishment” which seems to be the the thought of the day!

Kelly-Anne was the typical bull in a china shop! Every ornament had to be above 4ft or she would knock it over. I never smacked Kelly-Anne but her mum would and I noticed that Kelly-Anne seemed impervious to pain and the “smacks” were getting harder and harder. I got my wife Anne to one side and discussed things. We both decided that “smacking” had no effect on her and that we should try other avenues…….

I remember one day when Kelly-Anne pushed Anne to the limit because of an untidy bedroom and Anne threatened to chuck everything out of the window.if it wasn’t cleared up! Kelly-Anne defied the threat so……we went up to the bedroom and threw everything out of the window! For those youngsters reading this, only threaten to do something if you are prepared to see it through! Around £200-00 of toys ended up in the wheelie bin that day but Kelly-Anne realised that our threats were not idle threats and learnt from it.

Laura, our youngest was the complete opposite! The mere mention of a smack reduced her to genuine tears and that was punishment enough. I don’t think she was ever on the receiving end of a hand either by me or her mum!

To complete my marital history, Anne left me after 21 years of marriage and the reasons were never given. She moved in with a guy (family friend?) but insisted that the relationship was “platonic” I am unlikely to know what caused the breakdown of our marriage as she died shortly after with an aggressive form of cancer……

Anne is greatly missed by all.


This is what I had in mind to say at the beginning of this entry but got waylaid! My father was brought up in a welsh family and HIS father was a miner. He would be regularly beaten when his dad came home from the mines as this was the accepted thing in those days. He ran away from home when he was thirteen and came to Bedfordshire. At some point, his parents followed him and when his father was put in a hospice, I remember feeling the love and respect between them despite the history of violence.

My dad was in the 2nd world war (pretty obviously) and came home with a German belt. He would rarely smack me but the ultimate threat was “getting the belt!” I remember it being very thick and almost black. In his latter years, he insisted that he NEVER actually hit me with it but I recall one occasion when he did! Whenever I considered doing some misdemeanour as a youngster, I would take into consideration THAT belt! While the PC Prats go on about the rights of children, I consider myself lucky to have had a father that issued unspeakable threats if I strayed from what was acceptable. I got no help from my mother who would typically say “wait ‘til your father gets home!”

The belt sadly no longer exists, In the 50’s, resources and money was scarce and I would watch my dad use it inch by inch to re-heel his shoes……….and the threat get smaller and smaller!

I had a wonderful childhood, the village of Totternhoe was around 2 miles long and split into three parts. Church end, Middle end and Lower end. I was born in Lower end but moved to the other end of the village (Church end) when I was five years old. In the summer, we used to walk to a pub in Lower end called the “Dukes Head” We didn’t use the road but walked through the chalk quarries which is famous for producing useless chalk for buildings like St. Pauls Cathedral in London and has since been found to be too soft and suffers greatly from erosion.

There is a Lime factory (still in operation) and we used to watch the steam trains being loaded up with chalk and taken to the factory to be processed. The end product was put into a “carriage” and by means of rail and cables, was lowered down the incline to await transportation while the empty carriages were brought back up ready for the next load!
My parents were always complaining about the cracks in the plaster in our house that they put down to the dynamiting of the chalk face……

Because the entire village was built on a massive chalk mound, it was reflected in the wildlife. Certain plants thrived on these conditions, Clover and Vetch would compete with the long grasses along the bridleway and butterflies of all different colours were in abundance. The main income of local farmers were wheat crops and the fields would suddenly erupt in a blaze of red as the poppies outgrew the wheat and barley. As beautiful as Hyndburn is, I still miss seeing the vast tracts of cereals growing in the fields.

Totternhoe was built on the side of a hill with the quarry behind us and the “knolls” a small forest of Beech and sycamore trees with a bare high point in the centre which was once the site of a Norman keep complete with moat (now bone dry) To the front of us was the “meads” a low land of fields and marshes where birds like snipe and lapwing congregated. In latter years these birds disappeared but I have re-found them in and around Accy!

As I mentioned earlier, I spent my first 5 years of my life in “Lower End” and have vivid memories of the house. There was no inside loo, it was situated several yards down the garden and try as I might, I can’t ever remember loo paper, it always seemed to be shreds of newspaper……….just had a flashback, chippies!! Always wrapped in newspaper and always tasted fantastic! Was it the print? Or maybe the fat that was used…or the spuds!

Bathtime was always a nightmare in that house, A zinc bath put down in the kitchen and filled from the kettle! When we moved to the top of the village into an almost new council house, it must have been bliss for my parents with hot water in the tank and a real bath and loo inside! Central heating was still a few years off though so each evening, paper, wood and coal was stacked by the fire ready for the next morning. I remember standing in my underpants waiting for my mother to rake out the old cinders and rekindle the fire each morning in the winter and waiting for the first breath of heat from the new fire……….bliss!

OK, Enough for now, speak again in a few days…
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  1. Old Comment
    Tinkerbelle's Avatar

    Re: I'm all over the place today......

    Oh we had the outside loo and the newspaper for loo roll Busman lol! My Mum used to give me a 'crack round the gob' when I stepped out of line and the respect I've got for that lady mmmm if only she knew, I knew right from wrong and always will!
    Posted 26-03-2005 at 02:08 by Tinkerbelle Tinkerbelle is offline

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