When I was a child, we lived at Oulton Broad and our house had a big river frontage. My grandfather had bought the land when it wasn’t much valued and he’d been lucky. It was the first house in the road to be built and the building materials were brought along the river by barge.
We had, as well as the frontage, mooring spaces – to the side, there was a cut where I should think you’d have got four medium-sized boats and there was also a slipway, which you see here. There was nothing I liked better than messing about in the water. Going without a lifejacket, even in the shallows, was forbidden. My mother was protective to a fault.
The boys were John and Pearson – both about my age (I was probably ten, possibly nine in this picture) – Pearson was my mother’s godson and spent summer holidays with us for several years, it being more to his taste than Basingstoke where he lived, and John was a London boy from Stratford who, with his younger brother George, stayed with us for a couple of summers – it was a charitable thing, arranged through the WRVS. I’ve no idea how much of a kindness it was, a very different lifestyle was physically healthy, I’m sure, but the double adjustment must have been difficult. Anyway, we all got on pretty well and they shared my enthusiasm for getting wet and muddy.
*Thank you, Tim.