Moving house and changing life

Today was spent moving to another apartment, a place by myself. It comes fully furnished, right down to every electrical appliance and the cutlery in the kitchen drawers. It is the the fifteenth change of address in forty years (and that doesn’t include student years).

In the previous twenty years, I moved only once, it was fifty-five years ago in 1967.

To a six year old, the suggestion that we move from my grandfather’s farm, to a village of which I had never heard, was one that brought many tears. I can clearly recall standing in my grandmother’s kitchen saying that I did not want to move, that I would not move.

Even though I would not have been worried at leaving the primary school where the infant teacher was a persistent bully, I was worried at the thought of starting another school. High Ham was no more than three or four miles away, but might have been another country. The daily life of the farm to which I was accustomed would be lost and gone forever.

Of course, the protests of a six year old boy were of no avail and the day for the move seemed to come all too quickly.

It was a Saturday and the coal lorry belonging to Charlie Brewer from Somerton was brushed down to carry our furniture. Dot Lucey, a friend of my mother came to lend a hand for the day and it all seemed to be completed in a fraction of the time required for my own house moves in more recent times: we probably had a fraction of the stuff that most households now accumulate.

The house was different from the farmhouse in which we had lived. It was semi-detached and although, like the farmhouse, it had an outside toilet, it did have a bathroom, something absent from our farm dwelling. It belonged to Langport Rural District Council and had been built in 1926. For a 1920s house, it was probably not bad, thick walls and fireplaces in both of the downstairs rooms made it warmer than many homes. The toilet was the coldest of places though, in the winter temperatures we then experienced a paraffin heater would be left in the toilet to prevent the water in the cistern and bowl freezing.

The house was at the end of a row. Beyond it, in front, and behind, there were open fields. The location seemed only to exacerbate a small boy’s sense of isolation, a sense of being in a different world.

On Monday, the moment came to start at the village primary school. Standing with Miss Everitt as she asked if there was anyone I knew is a moment fresh in the memory.

It is odd that it is fifty-five years ago. It seems such a long time and no time at all.

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6 Responses to Moving house and changing life

  1. Antony Crossman says:

    Hi Ian I am a Crossman living in Derbyshire have been to High Ham it has fantastic views. My great grand father Frederick George Crossman came from nearby.

    • Ian says:

      Hi Antony, I shall look at Ancestry and work out what degree of cousin you are!

    • Ian says:

      Hi Antony, do you have dates for your great grandfather? I have Frederick Henry Crossman and Frederick George Burrows in my tree. I assume your great grandfather might be in that line somewhere.

  2. Antony Crossman says:

    Frederick George Crossman was born in 1891 in Heathfield and as child was in Huish Espicopi. I have been several times. His son was also Frederick George Crossman and was born in Mansfield. The last Frederick George Crossman was killed in an army accident before I was born. His name is on the wall of remembrance at the National Arboretum he was my dad’s older brother.

    • Ian says:

      I think his father was also Frederick George and that his grandfather may have been Robert Crossman. I’ll try to find out more.

    • Ian says:

      Hi Antony,

      I have Frederick George worked out.

      He was the son of Walter Crossman and grandson of Thomas Crossman. Thomas Crossman was my great great great grandfather.

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