Back in the days, 1989 that is, a pint would set me back one pound, later one pound and a tuppence. The Landlord in The Brick Kilns usually said, “Give us a nick and we call it quits.” as he knew he would get a tip later that evening when we ordered the last round or pay a 45p bag of crisps with a 50p coin.
On the wall in that pub, there was a pub clock like the one in this photograph that would tell us when to order that last round and at eleven o’clock straight after the eleventh chime, he shouted: “Ladies and gentlemen, drink up time!” and gave us half an hour to finish our pint.
It was 1826 and the wind was howling through the bare trees. I always liked October, I loved the smell of wetland and rotting leaves and all the changing colours but this time was different. It was nearly dark and bitter cold already and the rain and hail slammed my face so hard it hurt. It shouldn’t be long before Autumn was over and Winter would come now. I entered the inn and the door slammed shut behind me as the wind grabbed it and blew leaves inside. There were only a few guests in the room lit with a few oil lamps and candles and two candles were blown out instantly by the gust of wind.
The reverend was always there to greet you at the doorsteps and the heating was never turned off in winter, may the warmth of the Lord lure you in here he used to say with a big smile on his face at the entrance of a country church somewhere in Norfolk.
The Pastor had Dutch roots and he even knew a few Dutch words like “Hoe gaat het?”, -“How are you?” that he had learned from his great parents.
I can’t help myself but other than most people my favourite subject is Autumn, specifically Autumn in England. I have no logical explanation for this, maybe it has something to do with a how I felt decades ago living in Old Hall in England. Then again, Autumn in this place is equally wonderful and happy.
A few years ago I wrote this poem, Why I love those places. It may also be connected to this feeling of excitement, a gut feeling so to speak as it was then and it is like that again my current mood and I like it. Thinking back after nearly thirty years of those times I was young and free doesn’t make me sad, they are very strong and happy memories.
Many years ago I lived in England for a few years, I am sure I have told you all about it on many occasions. Even though I love my life in Swampyland, the love of my life my wife, and my four children and all the friends I have here, I do long to be there at times.
I think it has to do with all these great memories I have of those good time I had as a young man, being in England, having friends around me there (just as I have them around me here nowadays) and not in the least the British food. Yes, there are times I wish I could just pop over for a pint or a proper English meal.
Yes I know, I am not a keen sharer of petitions because I have the feeling it never helps and I must admit, even this one will probably be of little interest to you but today I must act. I urge you to sign a petition. I just did, wholeheartedly. You see, I am what they call an anglophile, I love England.
The Old Hall in Little Plumstead burnt down on 14 August 2016 and was consequently demolished, they believed it was arson. This story is to remember Old Hall as it was in “the good old days” when I lived there with my friends. I will never forget the good times we had.
The Grey Lady
Old Hall of Little Plumstead has no ghost and it isn’t haunted. At least not on the inside. Well, there is The Grey Lady of course but she is roaming the grounds outside Old Hall: “Near the stables and the duck pond she can be found, crying.” as the story goes.
The history of The Grey Lady was once told to me by a dear friend, Liz, who got it from her mother Susan who, probably, has heard it from her mother as well as it must have originated from sometime during the first half of the 20th century. Well, aren’t most ghost stories?
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