The Thurlows

Village News & Information

Errand boy

Mr Ryder of Great Thurlow passed away in 1942. I remember that at his funeral our teachers and us older children lined the entrance to the Church from the drive to pay our respects.

I had now started delivering groceries for Miss Dowsett, on the tradesman’s bicycle. A lot of us boys have ridden that old bicycle! I also used to deliver paraffin oil, not at the same time though, since sometimes the caps did not fit very well on the cans and it was then a smelly job.

I started model-aircraft making, now that I had some pocket money. I was lucky I had the old cobbler’s shop, complete with a bench to work on. Like me, my mate Dennis Houchen was not a ball-game player. We made some models that were supposed to fly, made of balsa wood, covered with paper and sealed with dope paint. We used to take them to Rutter’s meadow, where the grass was long, so less damage was caused to the planes when they crashed.

I also changed my errand boy’s job. I started with Les Rising, helping with the butcher’s round. This used to be on Friday afternoons after school had finished. I used to meet Les at the shop, where he would be all loaded up ready, and we delivered to several villages. Mrs Rising would have sandwiches packed for our tea, and we arrived back home at about 8 o’ clock. The meat was all ordered, with the customer’s name and bill, and we collected the orders for next week at the same time.

I now had my Saturday’s free, which enabled me to go ‘brushing’ during the shooting season. The head gamekeeper used to come up the bank to the corner of the school playground on Friday afternoons to see how many of us boys wanted a day’s beating. He would take our names and we would meet up at the Hog Yard on Saturday mornings. The beginning of the season would start with field driving. In those days there were plenty of partridges about and we would put up large coveys for the guns. This was pretty tiring work on the old legs, especially if driving over ploughed land after heavy rain on good old Suffolk clay! Next it would be wood driving, for the pheasants, I liked Trundley the best. We would drive Trundley, sometimes also Fourteen Acre Park and The Grove in the morning and have lunch, or ‘docky’ as it was called, in The Grove. We were given a bottle of ginger beer or lemonade to have with our sandwiches, which by now were a bit squashed, having been in our pockets all morning. In the afternoon we drove Wadgell’s and finished up at ‘T’ plantation. I remember Dr Sunderland and Major Horn were good shots – if you finished a drive in front of them there would be several brace to take down the ride to the game cart.

The Thurlow Estate had now been sold. The new owner was Mr Vestey and his land agent was Mr Hannay.