My boyhood memories living in Daws Heath
Brand New Shoes
One particular day during the Easter school holiday,when I was about eight years of age, I was sent by my mother to get a haircut prior to returning to school the following Monday. It was the usual short back and sides crop at Stan Royce’s barber shop in Hadleigh. The previous Saturday my parents had taken me to Bata’s Shoe shop and bought me a new pair of brown leather shoes, and it was these I decided to wear that day. I remember waiting for my name to be called, between proudly gazing down at my shiny shoes and looking in his fish tank
After the haircut I decided that I would walk back down the heath and save my bus fare, because usually, after I had done this, my mother would allow me to keep the money to spend on sweets. After ambling past John Burrough’s recreation ground I became bored with walking along the main road and thought it would be a good idea to take a short cut via Poors Lane and across the fields that lead up to the back of our bungalow in Fairmead Avenue.
Poors Lane was never a through road and halfway down, it lead to a track that passed through a small thicket bordering the Great Wood. On this particular day, in front of the entrance to the thicket there was a huge green mound and unwisely, in my new shoes, decided to have a run and jump on it.
Unfortunately, when I landed I discovered that it wasn’t earth; it was a heap of chicken manure and I disappeared in it up to waist height. When I crawled out of this stinking mess I looked at my clothes and especially my new shoes, whereupon I turned and ran all the way back down Daws Heath Road. As I passed people waiting at the Central Avenue and the Triangle bus stops they said ‘Oh Ian you smell awful’.
As I neared home, I remember shouting out”‘Mum, Mum”. When she saw me she told me to go to the garage immediately and thereupon gave me a strip down wash in the old tin bath that hung behind the coal shed. She remarked, “Ian,what have you done this time and just look at your new shoes, your father will not be best pleased when he comes home”. He was not amused and try as they did for days afterward, they could not eradicate the stench of chicken manure from the shoes.
It was a valuable lesson learnt at an early age to always look before you leap; especially in new shoes.