Post War Years in Babbacombe
In 1953 traces of W.W.2 were still in evidence around Babbacombe with the destruction of the homes in Princes Street still visible. Under the dark stairs which held coal at Nan’s cottage in Enfield Cottages (now St. James Place), we played as kids but were scared stiff by the gas mask still hanging on a nail.
She had brought up seven kids in that two up, two down and a scullery cottage. I asked my Mother where they all slept and she told me there had been another bedroom above the scullery before the war. It now houses a bathroom built by Mr. Higgins the plumber and builder in town in those days.
At the top of the garden the wall had collapsed. No-one had bothered to fix it and no-one ever mentioned how it had occurred, but looking back I am wondering if it was damaged during the bomb blast. There was a large cage containing many rabbits all of which became my pets. I named each one, but one-day when I came home from Babbacombe School the cage was empty!!!
Granddad also kept chickens. I used to go and sit in their lovely warm cage and cuddle them. We called them copies. That Christmas we had a chicken for dinner. I had figured out that it was my favourite pet chicken on the table, so I would not eat. I pounded granddad with my fists and ran out crying! Granddad grew many vegetables in his little garden patch to supplement our meals. I had to swallow tripe and onions too, but eventually the smell of it cooking made me nauseous.
The last recollections of my very early childhood days were of watching the marching band with the drum major twirling his big baton in Coronation Park, and watching the Queen’s coronation on granddad’s tiny tv. All were glued to the set in the tiny living room. We were given a commemorative spoon to mark the occasion.