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Harford Family Stories

Return to The Cross Guns

The first story concerns my Great Grandfather Henry James Harford , whilst living at Westwood he enjoyed his visits to the Cross Guns at Avonliff, one night having imbibed his fill of ale he was returning to Westwood in a strong head wind, which made it difficult to light his pipe, he therefore turned his back into the wind, lit his pipe and promptly walked back to the Pub!!!.

Jack & Bill The Polish Lodgers

In the late 1940's when things were a lot tougher than today, my Mother Nora took in Lodgers to suppliment the family income, one day a knock came on the back door, there standing on the step were two Polish guys in their late twenties with unpronouncable names looking for digs,The eldest one could speak some English and after a short discussion Mother agreed to take them in with the proviso they were renamed Jack & Bill, Jack stll lives in Bradford & although he was naturalised some years ago he is still named Jack Chorley.

Bryans Fusty Fruit

This story concerns my younger brother Bryan and a Christmas Tea during the days after the Second World War when food was still in short supply, my mother Nora opened a tin of fruit only to discover it had gone off, she then opened a second and third tin with the same result , upon close inspection two small holes were discovered in the bottom of each tin, the culprit was Bryan who had drunk the juice without realising that by allowing air into the tin, the fruit would rot.

Later Uncle Dennis Gullis sent a report to "Jarges Corner" in The Wiltshire Times with a postscript " It was a case of Fust Come Fust Served".

Uncle Ern and the Escapologist

Living in a village such as Westwood between the wars must have been rather boring for teenager Ernest Harford until an Escapologist called to demonstrate his art, his act involved being tied up with ropes by a member of the audience and then releasing himself, he made the mistake of asking young Ernest to come up on the stage, for when the youngster had finished binding him, much to his chagrin and the amusement of the audience, hard as he tried he was unable to escape.

Uncle Bob Rogers and the farmers apples.

When living in Westwood as a boy Uncle Bob and his friend Bob Farley agreed to assist the local farmer with apple picking for 6 pence each per day, when the task was complete the farmer refused to pay the boys and started to drive off with the sacks of apples on his horse and cart, not to be outdone by the farmer Bob crept up behind the cart and with his penknife slit the sacks of apples, the two boys watched in glee as the farmer drove off with apples running back down the road.

The Reluctant Choirboy.

I joined the Holy Trinity Church Choir at the age of 7 years in 1942 , it was wartime with no street lights in the winter, after choir practice on Monday,Wednesday and Friday we would run home in the pitch dark up Trowbridge Road as fast as our legs would carry us.

One or two incidents stick in the memory, one concerned Mrs Moore the church caretaker ( a bit of a dragon) we were in the habit of firing paper pellets at each other using elastic bands prior to choir practice whilst hiding amongst the church pews, one evening in the middle of practicing a particular hymn Mrs Moore marched down the aisle with an offertory plate full of pellets and made a formal complaint to our choirmaster Mr Clifford(Cheesy) Hathaway, much to our amusement.

During one particularly boring sermon I twisted my friend Rueben Coles fingers , I must have over done it as he started to cry, as a result of my actions I was disciplined the following Sunday morning by having to sit in the front row of the Church on my own wearing my Cassock and Surplus.

One of the perks of being a choirboy was the annual outing, these resumed after the War , one I remember was to Weston Super Mare, it was at the time some foodstuffs came back onto the market , on the way as we stopped in Bristol around the Ashton Gate area, we found a shop selling Crisps which was a rarity in those days, unfortunately these caused all sorts of tummy upsets to all that ate them spoiling what was a good day out.

V E Day 8th May 1945

As a ten year old I was staying with my Auntie Gladys in the home of Mrs Lloyd the ex wife of the one of the Lloyd’s Bank family, at Chingford in Essex on the edge of Epping Forest where she was housekeeper, I had been taken there by my Uncle Bob & Auntie Phyllis Rogers together with Cousin David Rogers. By our living standards at the time it was very luxurious with a telephone in every room, a well stocked Cocktail Bar (even though it was wartime) and it’s own underground Air Raid Shelter, David and I took great delight in phoning each other from our bedrooms it was probably the first time we had used a phone.

On the morning of the 8th May, Victory in Europe was announced on the Radio to great celebration by all present, later that morning an Army lorry pulled up outside the house containing a troop of soldiers, we ran out to them with tins of Players cigarettes taken from the Cocktail bar, only to discover they did not know the War was over !!!.

Later that day we returned home via London in the midst of all the celebrations it was impossible to enter the underground because of the crowds, we therefore walked for what seemed like miles to Paddington Station and returned to our mundane life in “ Snuffy” Bradford on Avon.

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