桥 – Extract from Christmas, 1915 – Part 2
Summer Holidays in War Time
The holidays this year were spent in an entirely novel fashion by a number of us accompanied by the Headmaster, Mr. Kay, Mr. Allison and Mr. Hickinbotham. The new occupation was helping the fruit growers who were unable to obtain labour owing to the war, and incidentally doing out ‘bit’ to help things along. We were in camp for five weeks, and by the end of that period, during which many of us had our first experience of camp life, we learnt many things we shall never forget.
The inconvenience in the transport of tents, etc, which would have been experienced, was obviated by the generosity of Mr. Hackett, who placed a motor lorry and driver at our disposal, and all our traps were conveyed to Fladbury, where our work was situated. An “Advanced Guard” including Mr. Kay and Mr. Hickinbotham, travelled down with the lorry, and when the “main body” arrived the following morning, the pioneers had used their time to such advantage that it was possible to commence picking in the afternoon.
The weather proved to be an important factor. Fruit, we soon learned, could be picked only when dry. Thus, during the first fortnight many idle hours were necessarily spent owing to the heavy rains, and to certain of the novices this would have been discouraging. However, we all knew that when we had to work up to our ankles in mud, it was not for ourselves alone, but for the prosperity of the whole camp, since we had ‘all things in common.’
The third week brought fine weather, and more regular hours were kept. Hitherto we had not paid our way. The fourth was entered upon with the comforting feeling that we were all ‘square,’ and the dividends were very acceptable.
The river afforded us great pleasure in the way of bathing and boating. We were in close proximity to Evesham, and on one occasion four of us rowed to that very attractive town. Occasional journeys were also made thither by train to purchase the necessities of life.
The valuable experiences we gained in the culinary art will be hard to forget. Orderlies did duty in pairs, and the meals were good, bad, indifference, and middling, accordingly.
The last week gave us our opportunity for seeing the beauties of the surrounding country, and boating was largely enjoyed. The shortage of pots caused great inconvenience both to our employer and to ourselves, but provided us with plenty of spare time.
The day before we left for home, we had a glorious picnic at the locks at Chadbury. But on our arrival at the camp in the evening, we found the tents in a sad state, “a roving Rosenante” having been alone in the field all afternoon with dire consequences.
We left for Handsworth next day with the assurance that we had at least done some service and that we had kept ourselves, enjoyed ourselves, and finished “fit as a fiddle”.
Letters to the Editors
Instead of a fortnightly meeting of the L. and D. S., I think it would be better if social evenings were held alternately. A small fee could perhaps be imposed for the purpose of securing some current literature, games could be brought, and the piano could be used. Thus, besides meetings which evidently do not attract enough of the elder members of the school, boys would mix to a greater extent and enjoy each other’s company.
This I suggest with all due deference, appealing to the “powers that be.”
It will be remembered by some of the elder boys that while Mr. Tomlinson was at the school the Camera Club was independent of the N. H. S. The possibilities of reinstating the Club on its original basis are being discussed by some of the boys. Some of the work, of course, would be done in conjunction with the N. H. S. The object of the society would be to help its members to obtain a general knowledge of the scientific aspects of the subject, for which a course of lectures would be given, and to acquire skill in the taking and production of photographs by means of excursions with the camera, and practice in the “Dark Room.” The financial aspects of the Club would be considered at a general meeting.
(C. R. Arrowsmith, Secretary pro. Tem, will be pleased to answer all enquiries with regard to the above)
J. B. Beards.