Wright Family Album

Doris' memories - Boulton 1921-1923

Previous page

We all loved the large house and garden of the Vicarage at Boulton after our cramped conditions at Herne Bay.  The garden I remember better than the house: its front was surrounded by a high brick wall where we had a swing suspended between apple trees. One bore the most delicious apples I have ever tasted. The only snag was, we had to avoid eating the grubs which occupied each one.  In front of the house was a round lawn surrounded by the drive and in the middle of the lawn a large monkey puzzle tree. Further away from the house and just inside the front brick wall was a grassy patch where stood a weeping willow tree with branches that reached right to the ground. Underneath and inside this dark, spooky, damp space we often used to play but I wasn't happy with the many slugs which lived there.

Boulton vicarage garden Phil Gordon Betty AMW w Barbara Doris Basil Theo Hugh
Bolton vicarage garden Phil Gordon Betty AMW w Barbara Doris Basil Theo Hugh

The back, mostly vegetable, garden was fun. The old stables had been turned into a cosy cottage for the church verger to live in with his wife. He was also our gardener and she helped in the house. Beyond their cottage was a hen house and a very muddy duck yard where our two ducks laid their eggs. (No knowledge in those days of salmonella and the necessity of boiling duck eggs for ten minutes.) Great excitement when a hawk was seen hovering overhead and mother duck had to hide her ducklings under her wings. One summer the damson tree was so laden with fruit that one of its branches broke under the weight. We had a dog called Bruno and a mother cat. When she had kittens I thought Bruno was the father!

Gordon and Philip cycled to the Grammar School in the town every day; Betty and I went to the Alvaston Infant School three quarters of a mile away. We had to cross the main Derby/London road where the trams terminated but I don’t remember any warnings about crossing it on our own. There couldn't have been much traffic. Our sums were done on slates. I never remember having paper or pencil to write with.

One summer's day we were taken on a school outing to Elvaston Castle, all of us little ones standing crowded together in an old farm cart with the grown-ups walking by the side, my father among them. I enjoyed being at that school and was very miserable at saying goodbye to my friends when we had to leave.

Because Sunday was a so-called day of rest our roast joint dinner was on Saturday. Chickens were an expensive treat which we only had on high days and holidays so it was nearly always a large round of Argentinean top-side of beef - the cheapest but delicious nevertheless. How mouth-watering the gravy was and how delicious the dripping on our bread for tea. Usually the spread was margarine, rather a nasty concoction in those days; sometimes, when money was low, lard. Marmalade and jam were always eaten on dry bread. I remember one red letter occasion, towards the end of our days at Boulton (it may have been after Daddy was made bishop) when we were allowed not only butter but marmalade too on our bread. I made up my mind then and there always to have butter and marmalade together on bread when I got older! Those days were quite a long way off.

Mummy told me later that on one occasion at Boulton they hadn't a penny left in the house so she and Daddy prayed about it and in the very next day's post was a cheque for 80 - a fortune in those days.

I only remember one family outing and that was by train to Matlock. How steep was that hill behind the town: that's all I can remember!

Next page
Back to Contents          Britton Family home page