20 January 2003

Ainstable Our Arrival

OldEric says :-) Our family left West Cumberland in 1938 to live at the Barugh Cottages about two kilometres from Ainstable and to the northeast of Penrith. I was four years old almost five. It was at this age I really seemed to begin to remember things in detail and start to consciously work things out for myself.

My father came to Ainstable to work for a man called Parkin who had a large house and grounds on the edge of Ainstable village opposite the village school. We did not stay long at Ainstable probably not much more than twelve months before we moved to Sharrow Bay on the shores of Ullswater Lake. I don't think my father cared for Mr Parkin very much. I seem to remember my parents talking ......Mr Parkin says this, or Mr Parkin says I must do that, etc. Nothing specific, just a feeling of dissatisfaction working for Mr Parkin.

When I became five and eventually started school I decided one day instead of walking directly home I would go and see my father at work up Parkin's drive opposite the school gates. I went up the steep drive and found my father working on the circular portion of the sloping drive below the house. He talked to me for a little while and told me I'd better go home. I didn't want to. Two children appeared from the house about my age or a little older and we three started to play. A lady appeared at the door said a few words to my father and everything seemed to be alright and we continued playing until five o'clock came round and I went home with my father sitting on the crossbar of his bike. A little later I repeated the visit to my father's work place and he firmly told me to go home and marched me down the drive to the road telling me on the way down I wasn't welcome to play with the Parkin children. Mr Parkin's orders. I didn't visit again.

I often used to dawdle on my way home from school finding all kinds of interesting things to do. One of my favourite stopping places was at the top of the hill by the road junction on my way home. Here was a small wood with a wide road berm which the local Council used as a dump for roading metal or chippings. This was one of my magic places where imagination takes over and where I could make in the chippings roads with high banks and cliffs and rivers with bridges of twigs and bits of wood. Where I could run my imaginary lorries and trains and boats.

One day I did not arrive home from school and my mother must have panicked. Somehow she contacted my father at work, how I don't know, most people did not have a phone in those long gone days. He left work at his usual time of five o'clock looking for me to find I had only got to the top of the hill on my way home from school and I was lost in my own little world in the pile of Council chippings.

Another favourite stopping place was further along the road on my way home, it was at a farm called the Bramery located just before the road dropped down the hill to our home at Barugh Cottages . I would hang around the farm gate and very soon the farmers wife would come to the door and call me in for a glass of milk and a piece of her still warm daily baking. She kept an eye out for me each school day.

This road home from school was the road where I learned to whistle. In those days all boys learnt to whistle. I always practiced just after I came out of the school going up the hill. All I could do was all blow and no whistle until one day much to my surprise a whistle came out. After that it was practice, mostly blow and some whistle until after a while I could whistle at will.

The road home, mostly empty of traffic was certainly an interesting place for a five year old boy. Much better than the road to school where there was'nt time to look at 'things' and do 'things'.

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