27 November 2003

Milnthorpe Kidside The Kenyon's

Myles Noel Kenyon was a retired woollen mill owner from Bury in Lancashire, always known as Mr. Kenyon, at least to us. He was of course Dad's new employer and lived at Kidside House which he leased from the estate company who owned Kidside. His lease consisted of the whole of Kidside with the exception of Kidside Farm and the farm buildings. His lease also included the paddock in front of Kidside House and the paddock between the house drive and the farm lane.

He was in his younger days captain of Lancashire County Cricket Club and for cricket enthusiasts regularly play cricket at Old Trafford. When we came to Kidside in 1948 he would have been 62 years old, he was born on Christmas Day at Walshaw Hall, Bury in 1886. In the eyes of an 14 year old boy, I remember him as an old man and towards the end of his days, in his dotage and could no longer shave himself Dad had to attend to it. Dad did become quite an accomplished barber. He passed away in 1960 at his daughters home in Birdham, Surrey at the age of 74.

He appeared to me at this time to be an old, old man at 74 and he probably was in those days. I look around today in the year 2003 and 74 is a common age for spritley people going about tending to their business. In fact spritley people in their 80s abound and some even older. Much has to be said for the magic of modern medicine. In the days of Myles Noel Kenyon and our parents, they aged more quickly.

During the early years at Kidside the Kenyon's daughter and family would come to stay in the summer. Two of the grandchildren were twin boys a little older than I, I think and who used to enjoy cricket. We would be invited down for a game on the Kenyon's front lawn. Often David Bell would also be on holiday at our house and he was invited too. As we played Mr Kenyon would coach us and point out any errors in our play and give us tips on batting. I don't think there were too many boys who could say that they were coached by a famous ex captain of Lancashire County Cricket Club.

Later, when after my marine training and went to sea at the age of almost 18 the Kenyon's presented me with an expandable suit case which I used for many years, in fact it came to NZ with us in 1966 and I had it for many years after that, it always reminded me of the Kenyon's. It also reminded me of the reluctance at that time to go down, receive the present and thank them forit. Shyness or what I don't know. After much bullying by Mum and Dad I went down after a few days and ever afterwards I felt ashamed of my rude actions of that time.

As far as I know Mum and Dad enjoyed working for the Kenyon's, at least I never heard them complain. Dad as I remember was left to his own devices and as long as work flowed smoothly he was his own man. Mum used to go down part time to help Mrs. Kenyon and they used to get on well together. With visiting guests Mum would prepare the food and Mrs. Kenyon would cook.

I remember one incident with John. In our later years some of the younger grandchildren from the Kenyon's came up to our house looking for Dad. Mr. Kenyon always called Dad "Irving", never Frank or Mr. Irving, just "Irving". The children asked where's Irving and John being present let rip into them and said " to you it is Mr. Irving, not Irving". I remember feeling quite proud of my brother.

In those days in schools it was common for a pupil to be addressed by a teacher by his surname only, it certainly was at my school in Penrith and so it was often the same in a employer/employee relationship.

Dad and Mum stayed with the Kenyon's for 12 years until the death of Mr. Kenyon in 1960. Mr Kenyon left Dad 100 pounds for each year of service. This sum as a percentage of his wage would be possibly 20%. With slow inflation this reduced. Mrs. Kenyon doubled the sum.

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