A couple of weekends ago I went back to the village where I grew up. I go back once or twice a year but for this visit we stayed at a hotel near the village and the weather was so wonderful we were able to have a wander around and it brought back so many childhood memories.
I lived in Bearsted from the age of 4 to the age of 14, so not a long time but those years were most of my childhood and my memories are special and my time living there had a big impact on who I am today.
I made two great friends on the playground at Thurnham Infant School and we have mostly kept in touch for the last 45 years since I moved to Buckinghamshire. Busy lives and young children meant we went quite a long time without managing to meet up, but now our children are grown-up and with social media making contact so much easier, we try and get-together two or three times a year. We always giggle - a lot!
I was so fortunate to have such a wonderful and carefree childhood. Growing up in the safety of a village community, surrounded by countryside and with my best friends.
Childhood friendships and so special and I feel very luck to have Nicola and Joanna in my life still. Our chats have changed over the years from boyfriends, to husbands, to children, to divorces and now menopause and aging parents but we still enjoy our time together.
When we arrived on Saturday the annual carnival and fayre was taking place on the village green - they were commemorating 40 years of the fayre and I realised, I was at the very first one - in fact our mum's helped organise it! As we wandered around the village on Sunday morning, it bought back so many memories ....
Cycling to Holly House Stores for our quarter of sweets.
Collecting vouchers and going to the village garage to collect our smurfs.
Sitting on 'my bench' on the village green and watching the cricket (yes I did have my eye on a boy that I really liked and yes he did come and chat to me sometimes)!
Fishing for tadpoles in the village pond.
Harvest festivals and Brownie and Guide services at Holy Cross Church. And my sister's baptism.
Playing 'It's a Knockout' style games on the field behind the church.
Making our 'pound grow' to help raise money to build a Catholic church in the village - we used to make sweets and sell them from our front garden!
My dad 'going to Japan' from the village station - well that is what my sister thought, he actually got a train to Heathrow of course.
Cycling very fast down the hill outside our house, which we thought was enormous, but looking back at it now, it is tiny!
The bottles of school milk waiting for us at Thurnham, sitting under the old oak tree at playtime and walking to school across the golf course and listening out for the first cuckoo.
Walking to Mote Park swimming pool via Banky Meadows, with my baby sister in her pram and my other sister sat on the front of the pram in a special seat with me one side and my friend Nicola the other side, both holding the pram handle.
Tobogganing at Banky Meadow! Avoiding the stream at the bottom!
Endless summer days in 1976 running under the sprinkler or in the paddling pool in our back garden.
First Holy Communion parties in our garden.
Buying sweets and magazines at Taylor's on the village green or Hoods on the Maidstone Road.
Decorating our floats for the carnival and loving the journey through the village.
The Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations and street parties.
So many wonderful times! I could go on but instead I will share my photos from our weekend away.
Holly House Stores is no longer a traditional sweet shop!
Not Dressed as Lamb
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