Dorothy E Clarke

Recorded and published as 'Tangled Tapes' by Dorothy E Clarke and reproduced here with her kind permission.


Sitting relaxed Fred mused:

Me sister Edith died some time ago she was 'ousekeeper for an old gent in Stratford-on-Avon till she married. They moved to Oxford. Me other two sisters died within a month or two of each other aged 94 and 95! I remember Emily worked in a big 'ouse with the front at the back. Beckwith-Smith lived there and then moved to Stratton Audley where 'e kept the Bicester Hounds. When she married they made 'er a bloomin' great big cake. One of the Queen's Ladies-in-Waiting is a Beckwith-Smith, I reckon it's one of them. "

He went on - "I reckon we 'ad one of the best do 's Dedd'nton seen in many a year- on my 90th birthday. Our Cyn never told me, they wrote to all the big toffs in Deddn'ton and some away, must have been 60 there! Mr. Robins President of the Beeches Bowling Club picked me up at 7. 45 and as soon as I got in they all sang 'For 'es a Jolly Good Fellow' and presented me with a certificate making me an Honorary Life Member of 'The Beeches'. They was all dancing and they got 'old of our Deb's old musical man from Shipston-on-Stour. When she was younger 'e used to take 'er to the Badger 'Ospital where she used to sing to the patients once a fortnight. It was called the Badger 'Ospital because it was left by the two Miss Badgers and there were two badgers carved in stone at the entrance. Our Deb's 'adn't seen 'im for years and got a shock seein' 'im playing the piano at my party. Fred Roberts, the President of the County Bowling Club come and later they got me to lay the first turf for the new bowling green at the Windmill. We thought we was goin' to play on it this year but the firm said 'No, you'll spoil it' so we got to wait till next year. It's beautiful now like a green carpet!

There's a 'ouse over the road with five bedrooms. It's owned by a man on Cherwell Council and 'is wife brings me mincepies. Ay, I do alright Ma'am!"