Dawn Griffis (née Alsford)
Most will remember all the "Ings"
There was always the "wooding" that was done all year to supplement the 1 cwt of coal we were rationed to a week, we didn't have coke. At Aynhoe we had one huge problem the village was on the top of the hill to get anywhere it was down hill & to come back it was uphill. We left to go wooding empty handed or rather anything that had wheels that could hold wood was empty going down hill but very full coming back uphill. This made for strong legs & backs. We only gathered fallen wood so consequently it meant traveling for many miles to fill prams, pushchairs, bikes etc. The last thing to be filled was the children's arms then we would be told to hold our arms out straight so they could be filled. The women pushed and pulled the loaded prams etc. This wasn't all work we usually went in large groups from the village, some were not just gathering for themselves but also for relatives that were no longer physically able to go wooding. This was also a great time to combine the activity with other "ings" for example birds nesting, blackberrying, in the hedgerows and cowsliping in the field called the common. That field was where all the villagers years before could graze their animals without owning the land. With the blackberrying & cowsliping it meant another trip to gather them. Of course there was always the ones you could eat along the way.
There was the "Ings" that were very special those were primrosing & bluebelling in Newbottle woods this was done usually by riding our bikes over there. The bluebells we went to see more than to pick. The primroses we would pick them & tie them into small posies that we would string across our bike handles. When we got back to the village we would give posies to the elderly people in the village, because they no longer could go themselves. We would always save a posie for each of our own close relatives. At that time in Aynhoe almost all of the village people were related someway or other.
Two other "Ings" snowdroping and violeting one had to go down to the field at the bottom of Portway that looked across to Souldern. As soon as you entered the field to the left in early spring the bank was covered in snowdrops. There were so many that after picking a good bunch to take home there wasn't any evidence that they had been touched. A little later in the spring the same area was covered in the deep purple fragrant violets.
Another "Ing" was mushrooming most of the fields around Aynhoe had an abundance of mushrooms. They were the small button ones to the large ones that were so big only one would fit in a frying pan at a time. There is nothing so good to smell and to eat for breakfast then a freshly gathered mushrooms cooked in butter in a frying pan. My Grandfather George Parrish was able to find the best and largest mushrooms ever - I am sorry to say he took the knowledge of where his mushroom patch was to his grave.
The final "Ing" that I remember was the snail racing we played down the lane
that runs through the village from the village square to the main road. There
are high walls on either side of the lane and they were always covered in
snails of all sizes and colours. We kids would gather them up put them in a
straight line to have races. These were not the speediest or most exciting
races in the world though not for the want of all of us cheering them on.
Probably wouldn't appeal to the children of today!
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