Thanks to everyone who has contributed, I am always very pleased to hear a new story.
Thanks also to all the visitors who have read any of the stories.

While reading please be sure to click on the comments links beneath the stories.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

41. The Brooks by George Forrest

When the war ended my father returned from his army service and a short while later we moved back into Tower Road, a bit further up the road this time. This changed my area of play, new friends and neighbours, new places to explore and things to learn. The area we knew as "The Brooks" was close at hand, a way into the country side. The brooks started at the end of Tower Road, where Carnforth Road now begins,no more buildings, just fields. The boundary to the open fields was Cokeham Lane and this had a long line of large elm trees, sadly now gone. Cokeham Lane at the bottom end was no more than a track which ended with a solid white gate at the railway line. On the south side of the railway line on what has become a much larger industrial estate were a couple of businesses, I can recall Solarbo, Lancing Packers and I believe Manhattan kitchens , I believe the correct name was Robinsons, A number of people from Tower Road worked there and rather then take the long way round, illegally crossed the line by climbing over the gate. I know a number of people with a criminal record, having been caught trespassing by the British Transport Police were taken to court..
The Brooks consisted mainly of fields, some of which were planted but mostly because of the streams crossing them, not suitable for crops I believe there were two streams, one I know would have been the Teville Stream, not sure about the other. It was new world to me, and I spent a lot of time there just meandering , catching sticklebacks and frogs in the streams, and watching nature. Many happy days and memories.
One such memory I recall was on a bright,warm summers day, three or four of us were just wandering, doing nothing in particular, walking down beside a hedge came to a gate, originally a five barred gate, a little dilapidated , but still substantial enough. Any way, me being me, showing off decided that I would try to vault the gate. I was fitter then and managed it. Over he gate and in mid air I looked down at my landing spot, the grass flattened by other people using the gate had become the ideal spot for a huge snake to do a bit of sunbathing. . It was the largest snake I had ever seen outside of a zoo. A while ago a newspaper cartoonist named Styx, drew characters running in midair. That was me. Gravity being what it is though I managed to land astride the snake and was immediately making haste to get away. Poor snake was probably just as startled. I ran. The other lads caught me up, but were still laughing. I was told later that it was undoubtedly a female grass snake and probably pregnant. I was not waiting to find out, it was a big snake that was enough.
Most definitely a case of look before you leap. It didn't deter me from going down to the brooks and I spent many more happy days there. Hope you can laugh at this as I now can.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

40. George Forrest talks about steam trains

Playing With Trains
One thing about being 7 - 8 years of age, living on the south side of the railway line and going to school on the north side of the line meant having to cross the railway line four times a school day. It didn't matter whether the gates were open or closed it was almost obligatory, that we, that is three or four of us, went over the footbridge. We waited for a steamer to come through in order that we could become enveloped in steam and smoke. If a train wasn't due we would wait. To our minds it was essential that we smelled of smoke. Often this made us late home for dinner ( we didn't have lunch then) only posh people had lunch. I can still hear the tellings-off that I got from my mother to this very day. and the occasions that having finished my meal my wrist was grasped and I was hauled back to school at a rate of knots.

One of my friends at the time was Roger Price, his father owned a small grocers just below the Luxor cinema. If you stand facing the Luxor you will see to the right a gap, next was a very old cottage, it might have been two, next was the grocers, then a shop I can't really recall, the third shop was Newberry's , a tobacconist and confectioner. Very few shops had window displays, but one warm sunny Sunday afternoon our family was out for a stroll and happened to pass said grocers. There in the window was two sacks of rice, these were being attacked by about 8 - 10 mice. They had gnawed a hole and were busy eating. We watched for some minutes they were far too busy eating to notice us. We left them to it, didn't wish to disturb them. Though from that day on my mother never bought anything from Mr Price that wasn't in a tin. .

The next two buildings were detached dwellings, now offices, My father was employed as a trainee bricklayer on the site nearest the Farmers Hotel, my mother lived in one of the thatched cottages opposite, she spotted him and as they say "The rest is history".

Enough for today ATB

George Forrest

Thursday, 1 May 2014

39. George Forrest tells a story about the men at the Lancing Railway Carriage Works

Whilst the Lancing railway carriage works was probably the largest employer in the area I personally did not have a lot to do with it, some of our friends and neighbours worked there and some of my school friends did on leaving school. It was said , tongue in cheek , that it was always possible to tell where a carriage worker lived because the house was painted green and cream, i.e. the colours of the old Southern Railway.

My only real contact with some of them came early in the morning when I worked for an hour in the paper shop now occupied by Garretts in North Road just above the railway station. At that time it was owned by a man named Briggs. Later sold to a Mr Forshaw.
Anyway the carriage workers had to clock in by 07.45 or they lost 15 minutes pay. I worked from 06.30 until 07.30 although I rarely got away before 07.45 because of the late workers. Usually all went smoothly until about 07.30, there was ample time to make up three paper rounds for the boys delivering them. The late running workers would throw their bicycles on to the pavement, run into the shop, almost throw their money onto the counter and became quite impatient if their paper and cigarettes were not immediately forthcoming. It was always the same ones, they never seemed to learn. I think this was when and where I learned to swear. The swearing was increased when it was realised that the railway level crossing gates were closed and they would have to carry their bicycles over the foot bridge. The situation was not helped by Mr Briggs and I being amused by this and showing it.
The shop was, or at least the back half of it was the main Lancing Post Office at that time and the sorting office was in a detached building to the rear of that.