Thursday, 30 December 2010


Just popped in to wish all my Summervale  friends a Happy and Healthy New Year.
Here's to another year of memories and reminiscences of the past combined with perhaps our thoughts and wishes for the future.
See you in 2011

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Hello Jean
With Christmas coming up I have been thinking about making a contribution to the site. Then I realised I couldn't recall a huge amount about my Christmas experiences in Summervale from 54-57, that is until I read your piece on Christmas Is Coming.  So thanks for writing it; it stirred my slumbering memory!!
It was a great collection of photos you posted from the STC Christmas parties, although most of them were before my time. I think I went to three of the parties, the first being in 1954 and the last in 1956. After that I was probably too old! Of course, I recognized several of you from the 17/12/55 photo, and yes it was definitely Peter Symons in the fairisle jumper. Some of the unamed faces looked familiar but I couldn't name them now.
The thing I remember vividly from those parties was the blancmange we got. It always seemed to have a hard skin/crust on it, and I never really liked that. Ugh! The jelly we usually got might have been a bit like that too!  But they were very happy occasions, because in those days we didn't seem to go to many parties, unlike our grandchildren who seem to get invites all the time.  The presents we took home from STC were always very welcome too. Along with other items we always seemed to get an orange, chocs and some nuts!
In number 10 (our home) my abiding memory is the waking up at ridiculously early hours on Christmas morning to raid our stockings.  Yes,  we were still putting those out at 14 and 15 years old!  Well, if you didn't believe in Santa you might not get the pressies!  Our grandsons do just the same; they are also up well before 6, eager to see what's in the stockings.
In some ways things don't change much!
A very Happy Christmas to you Jean and all |Summervaleans, wherever you are.  Thanks, too, for another great year of fascinating reading on the Summervale site.  Well done!
Best Wishes
Peter Westmacott

Friday, 17 December 2010




1930's 1940's, 50's, 60's

First, we survived being born to mothers who drank while they carried us and lived in houses made of asbestos.
They took aspirin, ate blue cheese, raw egg products, loads of bacon and processed meat, tuna from a can, and didn't get tested for diabetes or cervical cancer..

Then after that trauma, our baby cots were covered with bright coloured lead-based paints.

We had no childproof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets or shoes, not to mention, the risks we took hitchhiking.

As children, we would ride in cars with no seat belts or air bags.

We drank water from the garden hose and NOT from a bottle...

Take away food was limited to fish and chips, no pizza shops, McDonalds , KFC, Subway or Red Rooster.

Even though all the shops closed at 6.00pm and didn't open on the weekends, somehow we didn't starve to death!

We shared one soft drink with four friends, from one bottle and NO ONE actually died from this.

We could collect old drink bottles and cash them in at the corner store and buy Toffees, Gobstoppers, Bubble Gum and some bangers to blow up frogs with.
We ate cupcakes, white bread and real butter and drank soft drinks with sugar in it, but we weren't overweight because......


We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on.

No one was able to reach us all day. And we were O.K.

We would spend hours building our go-carts out of old prams and then ride down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. We built tree houses and cubbies and played in river beds with matchbox cars.

We did not have Playstations, Nintendo Wii , X-boxes, no video games at all, no 999 channels on SKY , no video/dvd films,
no mobile phones, no personal computers, no Internet or Internet chat rooms..........WE HAD FRIENDS and we went outside and found them!


We fell out of trees, got cut, broke bones and teeth and there were no
Lawsuits from these accidents.


Only girls had pierced ears!


We ate worms and mud pies made from dirt, and the worms did not live in us forever.


You could only buy Easter Eggs and Hot Cross Buns at Easter time...


We were given air guns and catapults for our 10th birthdays,


We rode bikes or walked to a friend's house and knocked on the door or rang the bell, or just yelled for them!

Mum didn't have to go to work to help dad make ends meet!


FOOTBALL and CRICKET had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment. Imagine that!! Getting into the team was based on


Our teachers used to hit us with straps and sand shoes and bully'salways ruled the playground at school.



The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of.
They actually sided with the law!


Our parents didn't invent stupid names for their kids like 'Kiora' and 'Blade' and 'Ridge' and 'Vanilla'


We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned HOW TO


And YOU are one of them!

You might want to share this with others who have had the luck to grow up as kids, before the lawyers and the government regulated our lives for our own good.

And while you are at it, forward it to your kids so they will know how brave their parents were.



PS -The big type is because your eyes are not too good at your age anymore

Thursday, 9 December 2010


Remember the parties we used to have at STC. Great entertainment, food and rounded off by a present from Father Christmas.

STC certainly knew how to look after their employees and their


Here are some of Ron Dixon’s photos ………‘

Another STC party

I can see David Chambers and Mike Jolly  in the middle of  the front row aged about 8??

Not so sure it is a Christmas party. Could be the Coronation as the Union Jack is displayed.

Here is a closer look at half of the photo




Here is one of me singing for my supper


Here  we are waiting for the bus to take us to the factory


Me in the middle sucking my thumb which I did ALL the time. Mind you it never did drop off! I’m holding Shirley Hewitt’s hand.


This one is a Christmas party lets do a close up



Who do you recognise above?

Here are some of the X Factor contestants circa 1955


Joan Wakeham and me in the back row and Gloria Dixon and Christine Jolly in the middle row. Possibly Peter Symons in the fairisle jumper – front row.


Friday, 19 November 2010



John Satchell has sent me his thoughts -

1 plumridge,

2 kearney,

3 beard,

4 wakeham,

6 hooke,

43 hudson,

46 lester,

45 ward,

48 NOT chown, (they were down on the green),

39 bishop.

40 duke

46 peters

49 lester

pretty sure these are right!!





We currently have our friends Lynne & Barry staying with us in between their trips aboard and yesterday I mentioned Ilminster.  They attended the funeral of Barry’s cousin’s father in law on Monday and and I was told he came from Ilminster.

Apparently it was Reg Forbes – brother of Irene Forbes,  who was in his eighties.

shirley Irene & margaret

Irene is sitting in the middle between Shirley Hewitt on the left and Margaret Mason on the right.

I don’t remember him as Irene is about 10 years older than me and he would have been 10 years older than her but some of you may remember him.

Sad that another Summervalian has gone to join so many others but what a legacy these people have left us.

STC really was a family affair – Irene’s father, her brother and herself all worked there and I believe Reg’s son Stuart and his son Christian continued the family tradition.

I also bumped into Jessie Satchell in town looking amazing as always.

Here is a photo of Jessie -“Digging for Britain!”

jessie garden

Her grand daughter Dani came over recently from New Zealand to get married

jessand dani 1

and I believe Tony is in the UK until January.

Bun bobbing

If you read this Tony, it would be great to hear from you.

Thursday, 11 November 2010


Good morning Jean
Thanks for bungalow list. We lived in 10 and not 8 as shown. I think Drivers were in 8.  I was sure that Kearneys lived at number 4 and not 43 as shown but I might be wrong. I always thought they were on  the same side as Wakehams.  What do you think?




32 LEOH?




Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Music in the 1950s

Hello Jean
When my family settled in Summervale permanently in 1954  -  we had been there many times before on holiday at our grandparents, Reg and Ethel Durham  - some of the first music I remember hearing was on the radio on Saturday mornings. "Children's Favourites", with the friendly Uncle Mac, at 9 o'clock, started our week-end off. How many of you remember that programme? We were avid listeners and I can remember some of our favourite songs : The Runaway Train, the Laughing Policeman, I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly, and, of course, Teddy Bears' Picnic. I'm sure there were many others, but these are the ones I can most easily recall.  Uncle Mac always ended his programme with: "Good-bye children, everywhere" . How different it all is today! 



One of the first songs I remember hearing around the estate in 1954 was 'O Mein Papa', a German song usually played by Eddie Calvert on his golden trumpet, or sung by Eddie Fisher.  I remember hearing lots of Summervalians singing or whistling it. Yes, you as well, Jean! I can certainly remember Vic Noad pretending to play the trumpet to the tune!
My brother, David, wrote recently about how John Rogers was a big Slim Whitman fan, always singing his songs. Another big singer then was David Whitfield, and I recall trying to imitate him when singing 'Answer Me O My Love', usually in the bath!

The Billy Cotton Band always seemed to be singing 'Friends and Neighbours' on the radio and another great favourite was 'I See the Moon and the Moon Sees Me' from The Stargazers. There was a silly song called 'Close the Door ,They're Coming through the Window' in about 54-55, but I can't recall who sang it. Anyone remember? I think we usually heard it on the Billy Cotton show on Sundays.
We used to sing 'The Happy Wanderer', a German folk song very popular in about 1954. "I love to go a wandering along the mountain track ....val-de-ree-val-de-rah.... Dickie Valentine was a popular crooner 50S SINERS 2

at about this time, and I remember singing 'Mr Sandman, bring me a dream', one of his big hits. Another one was 'The Finger of Suspicion Points at You', which I would sing and point the finger at one of my brothers' if I suspected them of any wrongdoing!
There were lots of songs about the American West at that time. We often played cowboys and Indians, of course, so it wasn't surprising that we liked the cowboy songs. There were some memorable ones about Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, and Roy Rogers with his 'A Four-legged Friend'. There was 'The Yellow Rose of Texas (who sang that one?) and 'The Man from Laramie', which I remember Jimmy Young singing. This was well before he became a DJ. Then there was 'Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Riding through the Glen', but I can't remember who sang it. The same is true for 'Running Bear', a song about an Indian brave.

I remember quite liking Anne Shelton.  She was a big, powerful singer. I particularly liked her 'Lay Down Your Arms ... and Surrender to Mine" . Petula Clark was another popular singer with many hit songs. 'The Little Shoemaker' was one I remember well.  Can you imagine songs like this being hits today!!

In about 1956, I think, the skiffle craze erupted and Lonnie Donegan became a big name.  'Lost John' , 'Don't You Rock Me Daddy-O', 'Gambling Man', 'Grand Coulee Dam', and 'Tom Dooley' were all great hits. This was especially true in our house as we tried to form our own skiffle group using our Mum's washboard, pots and pans. My brother, David, was very keen on this and he carried Paul and I along with it. But, like most crazes, it was short-lived.
Some of the other popular singers I remember from Summervale days were Doris Day (I liked Secret Love and Que Sera, Sera), Frankie Laine (liked his Cool Water), Frankie Vaughan - remember Green Door?) and Johnny Ray - but can't remember what he sang.
Can anyone else remember any other favourite songs and singers from Summervale in the 1950s?
Best Wishes everyone
Peter Westmacott

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Peter PS :

Hello again Jean
Loved your pics and food memories. You certainly recalled a lot.
A few more food snippets from 1950s Summervale:
     *  Mother sending us off to watch Somerset play cricket at Taunton with a load of beetroot  sandwiches in our bags.  You should have seen our T-shirts after lunch!

  *  Mother making a steak and kidney pudding using one of her old stockings!

My mum used to use a square of old sheeting – I still do it that way , Just doesn’t taste the same using foil. A little water in the crust adds a certain – Je ne sais Quoi.
  *  Fish in milk. Ugh!  We had this most weeks. I love fish now but that early experience could   have put me off for life!

  *  Marmite sandwiches.  Say no more!! 

  *  Lambs' hearts - mother first gave us these when I was about 12. They were lovely, full of  lean meat.

O No – bet you liked liver too!

Up until then so much meat that we ate seemed to me to be full of fat and  gristle, consequently I didn't like it much and tried to avoid it if possible!

Peter W


Hello Jean
On a recent half-term visit one of my grandsons (8) asked me what food I ate when I was a boy. This got me thinking about food in Summervale in the 1950s.
I think one of the things that stands out is the monotony and predictability of the meals then. Sundays always seemed to be a roast (beef or lamb), Yorkshire pudding, greens and lashings of gravy, made with Bisto. This was often followed by heavy puddings like Spotted Dick and custard or bread and butter pudding - all designed to fill up active,

hungry children.

My Mum always cooked this in a cloth in boiling water. Loved it and it was just as good next day fried with sugar on top! And I wonder why I’m over weight??

Sunday tea was fairly predictable, too.  Heinz spaghetti on toast or fish paste sandwiches (which I quite liked), or tinned pink salmon, celery, tomatoes and cucumber. For a special treat we had Libby's tinned fruit

salad and Carnation milk. Lovely!

Very occasionally, tinned peaches and clotted cream appeared on the table. Even better! If our mother had been busy in the kitchen, we might have got some fairy cakes too.


Or those very sticky pieces of homemade toffee!
Breakfast in our house was usually cereal because mother had to work at STC, so there wasn't usually time for a cooked breakfast in the week. Corn flakes, shredded wheat or weetabix and milk were the regulars. In winter the milk was often heated. We were sent off to school with slices of toast and dripping, meant for the morning break. But we usually scoffed them en route to school.


Anyway, our real treat came at break ,if we managed to secure a cream bun off the tray that was on sale each day in the school hall.
School dinners weren't up to much at the Sec. Mod. in Ditton Street. Meat and two veg was standard fare, with soggy cabbage suffering from overcooking. Puddings were typically rice, tapioca or semolina with a dollop of jam dropped in the centre.


I remember occasionally persuading one of the cooks to add an extra dollop. Much of the time we seemed to be quite hungry, so it was always exciting when we were called up for 'seconds'. The very rare 'thirds' were even better!
When we got home from school we were soon out to play. I remember seeing
Mick Jolly one day eating what he called a 'doorstep' - a chunk of bread smothered in jam. This impressed us and we soon copied Mick, taking out a doorstep whenever we could.
In the evenings, before bed, we would have what we called 'supper' For us it was either hot milk (ugh - I hated the skin!) or Ovaltine or Horlicks.  The "Ovaltiney Kids" were on Radio Luxembourg at that time, so we often ended up with Ovaltine and a dry biscuit - broken biscuits from the International Stores on the corner of East Street and Ditton Street.


I suppose they were a lot cheaper than whole biscuits. When I worked for Tony White's grocery on the High Street on Friday evenings, I remember Tony would sometimes give me some broken biscuits to take home.
Anyone else got some food memories from 1950s Summervale?
Best Wishes everyone
Peter Westmacott

I cannot remember breakfast. As I could not drink cows milk I guess I had bread and ??

I loved the finger rolls from Tolleys and my favourite on Saturday mornings was a ripe tomato in a warm roll with butter!

Lunch – or dinner as we called it was things like Stews and shepherds pies, meat pies, steak & kidney puddings and rabbit stew – yummy.

Fridays was fish day – which I hated and I was made to sit and eat it. I can remember gagging at the table but was still made to sit there. I still don’t like fish very much.

Sundays, yes a roast and still the tradition in our home. I can remember my mother drawing a chicken and the smell was just awful. We also had lamb and beef and pork if there was an “R” in the month. Pork was considered dangerous to eat in the summer months as it went off. Roast lamb and mint sauce with fresh garden peas still reminds me of Family Favourite with Cliff and Jean Metcalf.

Pudding usually apple pie or perhaps rhubarb – as i did not like pastry I never had any.

Tea – Sardines on toast, sandwiches, salad with cold meat. Cold bread pudding with a cup of tea – lovely.


Monday, 25 October 2010

A Tour of modern Ilminster by Peter Westmacott

Hello Jean
My wife (Glenys) and I recently spent a few days in Ilminster exploring the town and surroundings. I showed her where Summervale was, we walked down Brewery Lane by the side of our prefab and we strolled through Abbotts Close and Ladymead ,that now stand on the field where the willows were at the back of the gardens at the bottom of Summervale.  Yes, that's where we played cowboys and indians, kiss chase and hiding in the stooks of hay that the farmer laid out. Passing beyond where this field was we met Canal Way, a modern development running alongside the Rec, and which now passes for a major through route in Ilminster. Of course, back in the 1950s, this was Wharf Lane, much of which was a cinder track then. Now, I note ,the top end of Wharf Lane, that used to come out by Mr Giles' newsagent's shop in Silver Street, is now closed off completely to traffic.

Still, we did find the footpath that ran parallel to the bottom hedge of Summervale, the one we used to take when walking to the fair in the autumn. Some of the footpath has been metalled but at least it is still there. The fair field is covered in houses now, but it was pleasing to see that its name lives on in Fairfield, the name of one of the new roads. There was also a Carnival Close nearby.  'Summervale' has disappeared and it has been renamed Summerlands Park. the willows

A photo of John Satchell by the kissing gate down by the willows

We managed a walk up to Herne Hill and noted there had been a lot of recent tree planting - probably replacing those that some of the Summervale men, my grandfather included, chopped down for firewood in the 1950s.

I can remember my grandfather dragging home big branches with a rope slung over his shoulder.My grandmother was not too keen on seeing this and she used to reprimand him!


Here is a photo from Lily & Dennis Crockett’s wedding reception.Mrs Durham ( Known as Dunnell to me!) third from the right at the back – between my Dad and Bob Irwin.Reg Durham, Second from left in the front between my Mum and my brother.


We walked out of Herne Hill and on to Donyatt. Here we were impressed by  the conversion of the old Chard-Ilminster-Taunton railway line to a cycle/walk track. We followed this back to Ilminster. What struck me on Herne Hill were the very fine views over the town from  here. I don't think I ever appreciated this as a boy in the 1950s!

summervale view
On another day we walked up the Old Road (at the side where Hurlestone's cycle shop used to be) and at the top were rewarded with good views of the town again. Then on to Dillington House and through the park and on to the Long Ponds and out to the road at Knott Oak House. Then a bit further on we passed Bay Hill, at the entrance to Ilminster. As we passed one of the houses, I was sorely reminded of the day a car crushed the wheel of my bike whilst I was doing my paper round. Not a very pleasant memory!!
Looking back on these walks around Ilminster made me realise how limited our horizons were as children in the 1950s. Yes, we went up Herne Hill many times and on to Donyatt, but I could not recall ever going through Dillington Park or past the Long Ponds as a boy. And I'm not sure I ever went up the Old Road, an enclosed track near Blackdown View where I did go many times because I had friends there.
I'm very pleased to see that my brother, David, has been making several contributions to the blog. I have been amazed by his memory and some of the things he has recalled for us all. Very impressive, David! One thing though.You  thought that the first record you had for playing on our old gramophone was a Lonnie Donegan song. Actually I'm pretty certain it was a Gracie Fields number called Sally.  We used to try and sing at the top of our voices!  Do you remember that?
All for now Jean.  Keep up the excellent work; we really do enjoy reading it, I promise you!

Wow, thanks Peter for that – reawakened so many more memories -

The Day I went to the fair and had my arm broken by someone falling on me on the Noah's Ark. When I got home I received a smacking for going to the fair!

Falling in the Canal after Alan Dixon said there was a snake. Losing a shoe in the mud and getting another smack when I got home!

Watching your grandad and my father dragging tree trunks up the garden in their wellies.

Watching a pageant at Dillington House when people were dressed in medieval costume. What was that all about?

More memories please


Sunday, 17 October 2010


I have received a letter from Gloria telling me that she recently attended the funeral of Eddy Vane who died. aged 96 in Brixham. Eddy and Ron Dixon were great pals and Gloria wanted to pay her respects.

Barry Vane was there with his wife and daughter and they now live in Kent. Gloria says that he had loads of photos so I hope he gets in touch.

Here is a photo of Eddy Vane and Harry Everson taken in a boat

eddy vane & Harry Everson

Eversons, Vane &

I remember Eddy as one of the men who entertained us at the STC parties.

Just in case Barry looks in here – this is a photo of him with his Mum at the Coronation Day celebration

barry vane & mum

R.I.P. Eddy and join all those who have gone before you.

Friday, 15 October 2010

More from David - Girls, Girls, Girls

Hi Jean, Special correspondent David calling. This next little story is about other girls I remember
apart from yourself. Mary Williams (Clive's sister) Valerie Jolly ( Mick's sister) . Mary Williams
made contact on the internet in 2002, but not having a computer then, a friend took the various
messages I had meant to reply but hadn't a clue really how to do it I'm still stuck in the 70's good years, like many summervalians of our age they may also not have this technology this is possibly why some of the contact we are hoping to get is coming in slow.

Both Mary and Valerie seemed If I can remember back that far, were close friends and spent quite a
lot of time together, I saw them quite a lot with Michael and Clive and the gang when out roaming
as young boys, girls then were around but playing out with them was more of a sissy thing to us urchins
ie: Mick Jolly and myself, we always seemed to have more mischievous pursuits in mind (more about
that later) we knew most of the girls on the estate but the main girls round our age group were slightly
older were the ones I can remember more of, we would go in gangs up to Herne Hill or some country walks
rambling and messing about or watching Fox Hunting below Herne Hill, this pursuit seemed to be a normal
part of country life in those days but looked upon differently now.
When not going on walks, the Summervale green always had something to offer, like cart rides down the main road sloping down to the green, if you could get to the bottom without coming off or hitting the curb, you were lucky!! it seemed to be very steep but was a most exciting ride. I never had a bike at that young age, but managed building one at a later date after getting fed up with borrowing Mike Smith's mums high/stepper. Mary Williams was the first girl to introduce me to bike rides I would be sat on the back and
Mary doing all the hard work, by peddling me round the green it was great fun for me maybe not so for Mary. I can remember most of the other girls joining in on games etc, Valerie and Christine Jolly and the
Richard sisters had tents in the garden below us like ourselves and much fun was had in them. Gloria
Dixon was always round and about like yourself Jean, the Wakeham girls and family we knew but got to
know more about them in Paignton.

June Wakeham became Beauty Queen in Paignton, in the late 50's or early 60's ? Seeing some of the
Summervale Coronation photographs, Jean, brought all the names back and memories of such a lot of good fun that we had. At that point in my life I was still a very shy, quiet young lad when it came to girls, can't
say I had many girlfriends in Summervale, only thoughts about them.

Jean, you must work hard on the jeanjeannie blog, we are always amazed when we see how you plan it and finish it.
Best Wishes DW.
I'm afraid my hard drive packed up the day before I went on holiday and although I have salvaged most of my photos the computer is playing up an d I cannot upload them at the moment.
When it's fixed I will include photos of those mentioned above
Well. not many photos of the girls mwentioned above but here is one entitled " dressing up" a favourite pastime fro us girlies.
June and Mary are on the right with me next to Mary and Susan Newlyn sitting in the middle. There are also two of the Ralph girls and either Christine or Val Jolly on the left. I wonder who the Golly Wog is ? very un P C now.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

More from our Special Correspondent

Dear Jean, Once again you have created for me another fantastic blog on Alan Dixon. The photos were great, couldn't  remember what Alan looked like but the pose on the bonfire made us wonder how he was balancing on the top, this was  very typical of Alan, doing the daring bit again. The other which had people we didn't know, where Alan was stood on  the end, in that "way out" overcoat, brought some of the memories back, and the mischievous look on his face said  it all!! Then how he looked came back to me.
By the way, Mike Smith rang me the other day and we had a 2 hour long  chat, it was brilliant about old times and things he had done up to now, at last we have made contact, so it does  work, and I will phone Mick Jolly next week. 
mike jolly
Mike Jolly standing in front of me waiting for our Coronation money 1953.
Now for the next on my list, this is John Rogers, my next door neighbour, alias "Slim Whitman". John lived  next door in the semi prefab to our family, with his sister Pat and mum and dad,
Above – Mrs. Rogers with Pat in her wheelchair. In front, do I recognise those ears Mike? And right in the front – Bobby Chambers ( Not a brilliant photo but cropped  from this larger one – )
I can't remember much about  his parents and can't say I saw much of them. Maybe just a passing glance at the back door of their house,  when I was scooting out to have fun on The Green. John you could say, introduced me to hearing some of the  more popular music of the day, he was a Slim Whitman fan and played and sang, if I can remember, most days  in his leisure time, I would imagine he would play the records on his parent's radiogram.
Slim Whitman.

Cannot find a photo of John Rogers – I only remember him as tall and thin.
I was a bit behind  with quality radiograms and was given a windup version from a neighbour, can't remember who, the first record  I ever played on it, was Cumberland Gap by Lonny Donnigan,

the gramophone was very old when I was given it  it had the trumpet for the sound and great big needles, from what I remember, it didn't last for very long  wish I had kept it, even in it's broken down state it might have been worth a bob or two now!!
I can remember me and my brothers laughing on many occasions to the Slim Whitman music John played at that  time in the 50's, as John would try singing like him.  John was a lot older than us being then 21 or so when  we were 11 to 13 years old, any time since those days, when I have heard Slim Whitman sing, it always  reminds me of John and his family back in the old Summervale prefab -
happy days!!  If you see this John  hope you can ring me, you may even give us a song, but it has got to be one of Slim's.
I was not a fan so googled his songs and you will see that he was obviously a very popular artist. Many familiar songs – made me think of Family Favourites on Sundays.

  • 1. 12th Of Never

  • 2. A Fool Such As I

  • 3. Bandera Waltz

  • 4.Birmingham Jail

  • 5. Born To Lose

  • 6. China Doll

  • 7. China Doll Ver. 2

  • 8. Ghost Riders In The Sky

  • 9. I Remember You

  • 10.Ill Take You Home Again Kathleen

  • 11. Indian Love Call

  • 12. Its A Small World

  • 13. Love Song Of The Waterfall

  • 14. Nobody`s Darling But Mine

  • 15. Now Is The Hour

  • 16. Paint A Rose On The Garden Wall

  • 17. Rose Marie

  • 18. Secret Love

  • 19. Silver Threads Among The Gold

  • 20. Stranger On The Shore

  • 21. The Cattle Call

  • 22. Tumbling Tumbleweeds

  • 23. Una Paloma Blanca

  • 24. You Belong To My Heart

  •        More later  --  Regard, DW.

    Sunday, 5 September 2010

    Alan Dixon – Dare Devil

    Hi Jean, Just two or three more friends stories to go !!! Continuing now with Alan and Gloria Dixon   Alan's nickname to us now as I remembered him, is "The Stunt Man" and Gloria was the more quieter,

    Gloria's 8 birthday 2 Gloria’s 8th birthday.

    a  girl that we didn't see much of, but we mixed in with various games and would see her often going out with Ron her father, in the car, which seemed to be the only vehicle on
    the estate in those days.  The Dixon family lived at the opposite side of the green from us on the corner.

    I can remember Ron having his photography business doing weddings and various other work, I cannot remember Mrs Dixon very well are they both still living?  - Sadly both have passed on – Vi several years ago but Ron fairly recently within the last 5 years or so I think.

    Alan was always about doing things where ever the lads were

    Alan as Guy Fawkes 1949


    A good example of his DARING DO!

    He may have been slightly older than myself but everyone joined in with the fun, the swimming sessions in the different rivers were  always sensational the locks above the waterfall behind the Horlick's Factory and further down river  going out of Ilminster over the top road leading to further locks and waterfalls, Alan would do things that us kids wouldn't attempt like diving into waterfalls and off the lock tops into the river below.

    Alan Dixon

    There were many more scary stunts in winter when it came to sledging he had the fastest and most well made sledge in Ilminster, that meant another exciting show of going down very steep inclines and through very narrow gaps in hedges, over humps and bumps where he would take off like
    Evil Kenival, luckily he managed to always stay on and never come to a sticky end!!!. It was fantastic
    to watch, but not for the faint hearted  like ourselves to even try there were so many more daring escapades, too many to mention, Alan stood out in my mind and to a lot of the more younger lads as a hero! Summervale boys 1950

    The last I saw of Alan was in Paignton where he had gone one step further and constructed a MONSTER MOTOR now he could drive, this special car which  looked like something out of the film Mad Max, very way out for those days, had been made out of various   models, it had a 6 cylinder engine, was a two seater, they called them hotrods in those days. He asked me  on several occasions if I would like a ride in it, but can't remember if I was brave enough, can only  remember going out in his more conventional car, a Standard Vanguard,

    with friends, it had a bench seat  in the front and Alan was never short of a girl sat by his side in it, amazing what attraction bravery is!!
    He was as they would say today, "so cool" but then " way out".
    Alan, if you're still living, after what I remember of your daring past, get in touch and let us know
    how you have been getting along. By the way, did you go to Ditton Street school like Peter and myself
    or did you go to the Grammar  School in Ilminster?

    That's all for now folks  best wishes DW.

    My memories of Alan are -

    1. He built a canoe in the passage of his house.
    2. We all went to the river Isle and learned to role the canoe over.
    3. Once when we went, there were loads of dead fish on the surface. Were we bovvered? Nah!
    4. One day on the canal he shouted out there was a snake, I ran, got bogged down in the mud, lost a shoe and got a good hiding when I got home!
    5. His Mum used to give him and Gloria Malt extract which I loved.
    6. Pretty sure he went to the Grammar school.

    Monday, 30 August 2010

    Derek Drayton AKA “sweetie”

    Hi Jean thanks for doing a good blog on Mick Jolly and Mick Smith love the added touches of The Lone Ranger and Tonto and the classic car, couldn't make out the model but it looked to me like a Riley and looked brilliant.

    Yet another little story for the blog!! regarding another Summervale friend - Derek Drayton – nicknamed by us as " sweetie" not meant in the sense that you were "sweet" Derek, but that you were always fortunate to have a packet of sweets on the way to school, and cadging one off you could be an almost impossible task, the movement from pocket to mouth by yourself was very rarely seen but we all noticed that you were always chewing your secret goodies!! Sweets in those days were a luxury and enjoyed more so.

    (Derek, please email me a photo of you as I can’t remember what you looked like although I do remember the name……… JJ)

    I remember I think, you may have worked at Stan Kearney's small glass shop in Ilminster, along with myself for extra pocket money, is that so?


    We worked part time I think, it was some Saturday's or evenings after school. At the shop we learnt how to cut glass, make test tubes and make insemination tubes for what I thought was for cattle breeding centres, am I right? The first shop was on the main street on the hill behind the church can't think of the names of the streets (Silver street ?)  but then we moved to another shop near to Scrivens TV shop on that parade and went down into a basement to work, I believe your father and Stan Kearney were at that time partners. When I moved to Paignton to live I worked for about a year in the labs at STC, Stan Kearney was my foreman there and we learnt more lathe glasswork, I believe you stayed  on living in Ilminster, is that so?

    Being older than myself I think you were more my elder brother's age, that's Peter and may have more memories with him than myself, the school class age difference made this so. I remember you lived in the prefab near the bottom from us above the pathway that cut through to Brewery Lane, your father I remember well but didn't really know your younger brother, who has been mentioned on one of the previous jeanjeannie blogs hope you read this and get in contact to have a chat about old times!!

    that's all for now, Jean!! 

    Best wishes DW.

    Wednesday, 25 August 2010


    Here are yet more memories of Summervale friends --- Mick Smith -- Mick son of Reg and Dorothy  Smith, was certainly one of our families closest friends with his father being the personnel manager at STC and having quite a great deal of contact with us we were all growing up and starting
    work. In Summervale Michael would come to our house many times for tea and his parents would make us always very welcome at his house for watching TV for the very first time Mick's house had the very first TV we had ever seen, programmes such as The Lone Ranger and Tonto,

    Cup final football and many more  it was all very exciting in those days and new I remember us all sat in the house along with many other friends who may still remember this. We would all be sat glued to it, and it took some time to get  us out when the shows were  over!! I remember Mick as a good sensible lad and good company, his mum Dot  would quite often lend me her push bike to ride around The Green it was the first larger bike I had   ever ridden, One day I came off it when learning how to ride and I still have the scar on my  right knee to prove it!!

    I last saw Mick when we had all moved to Paignton and lived on the Foxhole  estate we were both interested in cars Mick in the garage next to mine, was rebuilding a vintage  MG. and I had started to do work on a car I had bought, a 1947 Austin 12 saloon (a very large car  by today's standards) it cost me the meagre sum of seven pounds and ten
    shillings probably a full weeks  wages in those days for a man. Michael was very clever with his hands
    and had the MG stripped down to  the chassis to rebuild and make the wooden frame structure before
    mounting the outer body panels, he  completed the job himself and I can still remember him driving around the estate with the top down,  looking very pleased with himself having a sports car back in the late 50's and early 60's was something rare to the younger set. Be nice to be able to talk over old times
    with Mick again.
    More episodes of good friends and Summervale days to follow!!
    Best wishes DW.

    Sunday, 22 August 2010

    More From David Westmacott keeping things ticking along.

    Hello again Jean, I think I have the Summervale blog bug !!!!

    These are just a few of the many friends I would like to contact   which would bring back memories of childhood days in Summervale Ilminster in Somerset: Mick Jolley and Valerie, Mike Smith, Derrick Drayton, Clive and Mary Williams, Alan Dixon and Gloria, John Rogers, Mick Sibley not a Summervalian but lived on the top road and (Steve Crossland) already contacted) and any others not mentioned, who remember me I  would be pleased to here from you.


    One of my closest friends was Mick Jolley, nicknamed MICK ROUSALL. Named this because he could rouse up the neighbourhood in seconds, either has Davey Crockatt with his mottley fur hat with tail attatched or The Lone Ranger minus the horse. This was depending on what we had just seen on the TV or the Pictures.

    I can still see the two of us with big doorsteps of bread and jam in our grubby mitts, after coming home

    from school running around the estate sometimes causing mayhem or wandering down Brewery Lane to see what we could get up to in the Willows area. In the field adjoining the Willows, we became" blood brothers" another thing we saw on cowboys and Indian films, we cut our fingers and let the blood mingle and vowed we would be friends for life - what happened ?. Mick was a great friend always fun to be with and good company, activities we got up to were going fishing in the river behind the Horlicks factory on the outskirts of Ilminster, going scrumping if lucky in Mr. Britton's fields or going to Herne Hill and exploring all the surrounding countryside, whilst whittling wood or making catapults most of us in our childhood days, carried the common scouts knife mainly used it for this purpose and then it was classed as perfectly safe, it had all the different useful attachments which came in handy when camping or going youth hostelling.
    We did a lot of wandering and enjoyed every moment of it, all the time in Ilminster we never seemed to ever

    stay in the house always glad to get out and leave the old folks indoors. When most families went onto Paignton, Mick and most of my other friends seemed to drift away, work and responsibilities took over. I saw Mick afew times in Paignton, but can't remember what we did, would love to here from you again Mick if you should see this on the famous Jeanjeannie blog.

    More to follow Best wishes DW.

    Sunday, 8 August 2010

    Summer Holiday Time

    Well, it is very quiet here so I’m wondering if you are all away enjoying the sun.

    We recently came back from Spain and it was O so nice to feel the sun on your body.

    It also reminded me of long summer holidays when we were kids; I don’t ever remember staying indoors because it was raining but I suppose it must have from time to time.

    Remember the long grass in the field by the willows?

    We used to run through it, and play kiss chase and cowboys and indians.

    Then it used to be cut and left in long neat rows which were just too perfect and just asking to be rearranged a bit. The smell was lovely.







    This was then left to dry out and collected on a big hay wagon.

    Then there were the days spent on Herne Hill. Leaving home with a few sandwiches wrapped in greaseproof paper and a bottle of pop if you were lucky.

    Bracken, Beacon Hill

    Making a den out of the ferns and branches. Searching for butterflies and climbing the trees so quickly and coming down much more slowly. Cycling around the many lanes or playing tennis in the grammar school courts. My life long love of tennis started there. I played with Pam Noad and Irene Forbes even though they were much older than me. I also played with Tony’s racket –


    it was a heavy old wooden one which I had to put back in it’s press when I had finished with it – or else!

    Cricket was played in the Rec – Clive Williams bowled a googly and the ball hit my shin and really hurt! I still have a dent to prove it.

    The old grandstand!

    I remember having to climb up each level so I must have been really small. It was like climbing Everest.


    Then there were the haystacks in the farmyard.

    Under a corrugated roof to keep the hay dry but very high ,20 – 25 foot high?

    I loved the feel and the smell of the hay and had no trouble climbing up but …………..

    different story when I had to come down!image

    I’m still the same – no, not with haystacks but ladders or stairs. My little knees just tremble when I look down.image