Drink up time

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.

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The Black Horse Inn

1. Arrival at the Black Horse Inn

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.

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Great is Thy faithfulness

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.

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I said goodbye today

I said goodbye to my old home today and cried
To my worn down house, there it laid in ruins
In the evening sun when the light let go of it
And the last rays warmed it’s walls once more
Before the coldness took over in the starry night
The darkness surrounded it’s walls and just then
Every room was cold in my beloved ancient house
Subdued to time and weather it sighed and died

I said goodbye to my Old Hall today and cried
There I wept, mourning for a home once so alive
When friends were its heart and bloodstream
Of this old building once majestic and so nice
A perfect world within a broken world outside
That house in tatters, bricks have fallen down
It bowed its head like I did mine and died today
And my heart broke down and then it too died

Old Hall

Life was wonderful in those days
So strange yet so good
Sitting there in the living room
Up in that magic Old Hall
In that lovely Little Plumstead

It was so good looking at the world
So perfectly at peace
All snugged up in my four post bed
Up in my room in Old Hall
In that lovely Little Plumstead

I remember it was like a castle then
So incredibly majestic
A happy bunch in a beautiful mansion
All in our room in Old Hall
In that lovely Little Plumstead

Plumstead Hall

When I was 19 years old I went to England to live there for a few years. Ever since I returned the people I lived with there have a special place in my heart and I will never forget them.

Judi Arnold, now Judi Dale, Annette Francis, now Annette Thorpe, Liz May (where are you now Liz?), Anzio Cabrini, Simon Parsons, Nick Bowman, Elliot Stevens, Ruth Wilkinson, Anne-Louise James, Darrin Fox, Stuart Ingram, Rod and Sue Townend, Gordon and Nancy managing the Social Club, Sue May, Lawrence Swerlinck (now deceased, bless his heart), Sarah Blake (Blakey), Mark Blazeby, Joe Toehill, Tim Bryant, Norman Allen, Sue Harris, Margaret Jackson (Maggie, my ‘surrogate mother’), Stephen Eyers, Jean Ringwood, Susan May (Liz’ mother) and so many others were an important part of my life. And in case if I have forgotten your name, you too.


My rooms were in the Old Hall, an old but beautiful mansion, built in red stone with a large lawn in front of it. Here is a picture of it from around 1930 when Major Ashley lived there.

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Old Hall, Little Plumstead

Some time ago I asked a complete stranger to take a picture for me of a place where I once lived and had a very good time.

In 1989 I came to live in Old Hall, Little Plumstead Hospital. I made friends there that I haven’t forgotten and I never will. I lived and worked there, grew up, learned, loved and was loved.

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