Enroute to watch Haverhill Rovers take on Mildenhall Town this afternoon I stopped off in the village of Cavendish. The Suffolk-Essex border in these parts is formed by the River Stour and Cavendish, one of several villages along its banks, is quite easily the most picturesque. From many perspectives I consider myself very lucky to have lived here during the formative years of my youth (six of them anyway) and here are a few highlights (refer to panorama below).
In the far left is the village school. I wasn’t there for long but long enough to write two memorable essays. The first, penned shortly after we moved to the village, was written the day after the 1968 European Cup Final and we had to write a four page essay/match report in our English workbooks. I don’t think I’d ever been asked to do school work about a subject I was really interested in before so doubled my efforts to make sure it was a good one. And teacher obviously thought it was as I got a gold star!
A few weeks later and we were taken on a day trip to the Houses of Parliament where Eldon Griffiths (Member of Parliament for Bury St Edmunds) was on hand to give us a tour of the lower and upper houses. He’d also arranged a trip up the clock tower to see ‘Big Ben’ – I was entranced! So entranced that the essay that I wrote describing our day out was considered the best in the school (out of its +/-30 pupils) and the reward was a 10 bob note from said Mr Griffiths who came around to the school to hand it over in person! The 10/- was blown at the sweet shop at the bottom of the green (behind you in the panorama).
Roughly in the centre of the picture is the village church (where yours truly was chorister and server) and in front of that the famous Pink Cottages that have appeared on the covers of numerous local, regional and national guide books, biscuit tins, etc, etc. It was in one of these cottages that my Aunt lived – until they were almost burnt to the ground by fire after the thatched roof ignited in the middle of one November night in 1969. Through no fault of hers I should hasten to add. It was at the back of the cottage, in the church grounds, that your narrator had his first fumbling encounter with a person of the opposite gender. But I’ll spare you the details.