Wootton Bridge and Whippingham on the Isle of Wight

The wind of change passing through as seen and commented on by VICTORIA M SNOW. (1911 - 1998)

Chapter 8

Well just about everywhere in Wootton our usual haunts have changed enormously. I have left the square of the back roads of our homes until last. So now I must tell of this part, at the back of our gardens there was a lane which led to our allotments. There was a large gate at the bottom end that led down through the garden of the people who were the owners of our houses.

The top part of the lane turned right to the High Road and the left went along at the end of the gardens in Station Road, then turned right to meet up with Gravel-Pit Road. A house on the left corner was where one of my school friend's lived, her father was the gardener for the Chatfield Clark family. I must mention that the main football ground was at the end of Gravel-Pit Road, next to the Shedden grounds, we would watch matches there on Saturdays.

In the square piece of land was the gravel-pit, a place for children to play, in one part was a field and we would play cricket or tennis with our old bats. We would climb up and down the grooves made in the gravel pit and on one occasion we took our mothers tin-trays which she kept for her tea-shop, and slid on these from top to the bottom of the pit, girls were as bad as the boys and no doubt we got very gritty and tore our clothes as there were wild rose bushes growing on the side and other plants, no doubt we got into trouble.

What a source of pleasure though this was to me for it was a place to find all sorts of flowers. The little pink and white convolvulus abounded there and this was one of my favourites when we pretended we were a bride or bridesmaid and these trailed nicely down the back of our bouquets as did the purple vetches. On the field part there was a little yellow pea flower we called Tom Thumb which grew in patches and there were patches of clover, pink and white.

There were the wild scabious or gipsy roses as we called them. The large frilled and the small purple knapweed which I called 'my paint brushes'. The wild-carrot too I called 'cups and saucers' because when over they closed up like a cup and when open they were flat like a saucer. Large clumps of yellow michaelmas-like-daisies, yarrow, white morgren daisies which was said to bring warts, if you picked them. A little white gypsophila-like flower, sorrel and lots of others. The field was filled with horse-daisies and grasses too. A partridge made its nest there once and we found fifteen eggs, some of which we took home to cook.

We had many chats with our friends in the Station Road gardens and one of these conversations has stood out to me through the years. When I was young it was not done to mention just how babies were born though at puberty I was told of this by my mother. Anyhow before that what had been said was, that babies were born under the gooseberry-bush, I must say I thought this a very tall-story as they say. Also that the stork would bring them and in my case the doctor brought me in his black bag. Well while we were chatting (I was about 9 then) a lad amongst our group said to me, "You will have to have your stomach cut open when you have a baby." I must say this didn't appeal to me very much. But now I am older and have heard of caesarean section, I guess he had heard someone say about this in his family, an aunt perhaps had to have an infant like that, but at that time it quite scared me!