We took the Ashford bus out of Canterbury station, getting off at the bottom of Howfield Lane, and walking up the hill to the Hatch. It was a overcast day, threatening rain, but warm enough to take off my jacket. The lane was busier than I remembered but comfortably familiar with the high hedges on every side, fruit orchards and wet lush fields ready to burst with flowers behind this wall of green. Grandpop's old brick house, 1 Primrose Villa, soon came into view and memories flooded me as I looked up at it. I could see in my mind the outhouse standing invitingly behind the kitchen window, the old shed full of rusting tools and cans of nails, the small potato garden and the leafy plum tree near the walkway. The very last time I saw my grandfather was in 1966, shortly before he died, after spending the summer of my 16th year with him. We cheered wildly that July when England won the World Cup, sitting together around his tiny back and white TV as Geoff Hurst scored three times and England beat West Germany 4-2. I was living in France then so in September had to return to the continent and back to school. I shall always remember the last sight of Grandpop, crying and looking frail and lonely leaning on his cane, as I waved goodbye and set out to catch the coach back to Canterbury. It has been one of those indelible memories imprinted on my mind...
|walking up Howfield lane|
|Across from 1 Primrose Villa|
|the old corner store|
|Chartham Hatch Village Hall (former village primary school)|
|Marie and holly bush, Bigbury road|
|hoppers oast house, Hatch Lane|
|Me and Jean Cutting (Bradley)|