Don't be alarmed, I'm not preaching a sermon!
My father and mother brought Lindsay and I here in August, 1935. That's seventy years ago, two months ago.
And when we arrived in Carlton the water supply in the village was nil. There was a pump down Acre road and that's where everybody got their water from. There was no electricity. The electricity didn't come here until 1953. The electricity was turned on the eve of Coronation Day which was June 2nd, 1953.
The water was piped into the village in 1938. There was a stand pipe put down near the bus station, where the bus shelter now is. And everybody in the village used to go their with their buckets and pails to fill up from this brilliant new contraption, the tap. You turned it on and water came out! As opposed to the old pump down Acre road. And a couple of months later they put another stand pipe in the village just outside where Carl's barn now is, on the corner there, so that made it very easy for people living at this end of the village.
We relied in those days on deliveries from traders: the butcher, the baker, not quite the candlestick maker, but a greengrocer. I think there were three butchers a week used to come through the village, all different ones. The one I remember distinctly was called Mr Gore, he came from Swaffham Prior, he was a good butcher. There was Dewhursts, and there was one called the red? butcher from Haverhill. The baker was Dan Clark in Weston Colville. He made the best bread we've ever eaten yet. He had three deliveries a week. His fellows used to come round, the man who collected the money never touched the bread but the boy who delivered the bread, he wore white gloves and had a basket with loaves of bread which were all wrapped up in tissue paper and everything, and that was that.
Quite a few characters lived in the village. If we go back to mention one or two of them. Probably the one that most people would like to remember, and those who knew him would definitely like to remember, was Carl Long. Carl lived in Church House, Church Farm where Mr Buxton now lives. Carl was a farmer, his father was a farmer before him. They had actually farmed the land for four hundred years in a continuous line. Carl was the last. Carl was almost blind. He played the guitar, he sang. He sang all the western songs, he knew them all off by heart and he was brilliant.
He also owned a car and he had a driving license and although he couldn't see he could drive. When we were kids we used to steer Carl, he would operate the foot pedals and we would steer the car. And we would go to Newmarket, Haverhill, Cambridge, you name it. I once steered him all the way to Felixstowe when I was about 15. We got lost on the Ipswich bypass and we ended up in Ipswich, and we stopped to ask a policeman the way and he told us: go along the next turning left and you're back on the bypass again. He obviously didn't see my hands on the steering wheel.
Carl was also an inventor, when corn drying first came into the agricultural business they were jolly expensive and hard to get and Carl built his own and it made a hell of a noise, you could hear it miles away at night and Carl used to dry all his corn in a barn round here and sometimes fall asleep, I think my father did go down in the early hours of one morning because the old dryer was still going and Carl lay on some sacks of corn fast asleep, but he was clever.
When the first big class combines came out, Carl was visited by the inspectors of the ministry, land and the ministry and he was told that the ladder that the driver of the combine had to climb up was 6 inches too tall, six inches too far off the ground, had to be lowered, before he could get a permit to use the combine. So when the man from the ministry had gone Carl just said to his man Harry Page, "Harry let the wind out of the tyres, put a bit of soil around it, and we'll soon fix that one." Anyway the man came back and he was very pleased because the ladder was at the right level.
That was Carl Long, he was a lovely old man, he's buried in the churchyard here and he was one of nature's gentlemen.
He employed, many many years ago, and he was still working for him when we came here, a bloke called Harry Sparrow. Harry was a little man, he was a horseman, and there are several good tales about Harry - one or two that Carl Long told me. One of the best ones was in the 1930's, just before Derby Day, Carl though he would have a sweepstake for the Derby, and when he paid all the men, he would see if they would put sixpence in and draw a horse and see if they could come up with a winner.
And in those days he paid all the men out of the, well I think it was the small sitting room at the house at the corner in Church Farm, and the men would all line up across the other side of the wall, a dozen of them, and would be called across one at a time to get their pay and Carl asked them all would you like to take part in the sweepstake for the Derby. All you have to do is draw a horse and give me sixpence and then see which horse wins the race.
Harry's turn came, "would you like to have a sweepstake ticket for the Derby, Harry?".
"Wot do I have to doo?"
"Well you give me sixpence and you draw a horse."
"Draw? I can't read or write, let alone draw!"
Another one with Harry was in the war, when war broke out, agriculture was the top priority in the land, to feed the nation. In the summer months they had what they called "Lend a hand on the land" and these professors and professional men would come from the universities to work on the farms for nothing, they worked for their keep. This chappie arrived at Long's farm, when Charles, Carl's father picked him up from Six Mile Bottom station off the evening train and gave him his orders that night. He said tomorrow morning you go back towards Six Mile Bottom, get to Brinkley, go into school field Brinkley and you'll see a bloke called Harry Sparrow there putting up the shocks. You go help him be stucking the fields, that'll be your morning's work.
Well the old Prof set off - and he thought it was lovely country air - he walked right through Brinkley and ended up at ??Tork?? Farm, Six Mile Bottom. This is how the story goes - anyway he made his way back to Brinkley and then about ten o'clock he arrived in the field with Harry Sparrow, and I suppose being a professional man he walked across and he put his hand up to shake hands and said "Dr Livingstone I presume". That night Vera Stubbings who worked as a maid for the Longs (Vera came from Willingham Green). Harry Sparrow turned up and so she went into dinner and said "Mr Long, Harry Sparrow is outside he is very agitated, he must see you". What does he want - he oughtn't to come up until Saturday morning for his pay. Well he wants to see you urgently. So Charlie went out "What is it Sparrow" "That there bloke what you sent to work for me this morning" he said "he ain't all there. First of all he reckons I'm a doctor. And he ain't all there at all - you can't employ him for very long" so Charlie went in and told the old professor and that's how the story came out. All I said was "Dr Livingstone I presume", but Harry thought he meant him.
There was another character, he was a roadman, Tom Newman (We've got no photographs of poor old Tom) he lived in one of the cottages where Miss Syed lives now [173-174 Acre Road]. Tom was a character and a half, he was the village roadman, he used to spend all of his time in the pub (if he could) where Hedley lives, The Axe and Saw, and Tom's wife died during the war and he pitched up at our house before breakfast one morning, and he was crying and Lindsay and I heard him and he was calling for my father [Andrew Wylie] and I suppose that because dad lived in a rectory with no parson, everybody used to come to him with all their problems.
Anyway Tom's poor old wife, she had died in the night, Tom was heartbroken, I don't know what I'll do without her, she did everything for me she did. Anyway, my father calmed him down and gave him some breakfast. He and Carl Long took him to the register of births and deaths at Linton, and I went with them, and I sat in the back of the car with Tom, poor old boy, he was very upset crying away and when they came out my dad said that we'll stop at that pub the Bell halfway up the high street in Linton and have a pint. I was told that if I waited in the car I would get a lemonade. I'm still waiting for it, but the three of them came out an hour later, old Tom was singing his heart out - he'd forgotten all about his wife before he'd got back to the car.
One morning I was with dad during the war and we were down near the bridge and Tom had been scything the grass and dad stopped to talk to him, my father took his pipe out filled it, and lit it, Tom took his pipe out, took out his baccy pouch and there was nothing in it. So dad said go on Tom have a fill out of my baggy. So Tom took the tobacco pouch, well I've never seen a man put so much tobacco into a pipe, he rammed it in and he gave my dad back his pouch, and then he took three-quarters of the baccy out of his pipe and put it in his pouch. And that showed intelligence and brain, he was a great fellow.
When the war came in 1939, 1940, the home guard was formed and my dad had been in the territorial army just after World War I, and he was appointed commander of the home guard, and they had a very flourishing platoon here. Most of the people in the home guard were ex-servicemen. But there was a little chap called Jimmy King, he lived up at Carlton Green. Jimmy had been in what Lord Derby called World War I's ??abandoned?? regiment. Lord Derby founded a regiment of little tiny men and they did well. Jimmy had been one of them. My brother Lindsay joined the home guard at sixteen and a half, him and Jimmy were on fire duty down in the Old School one night, and this German bomber came over, fairly low, they could see the crew sitting in the plane, and old Jimmy tried to shoot it down with a .303". But he missed.
But we did have during the war two or three raids over here. One