Sunday, 29 May 2011

Dave Westmacott Remembers ……………..

You will notice we haven't been on the blog since September, due to house move as you know and internet problem, sorted out now. we have read all the blog info since, very interesting.

Never did finish my first lot of memories, we got as far as (up to mischief in Summervale). So hear goes the next couple of episodes,Named "the wagon wheel bonanza" and "Scrumping from Britton's". Can anyone remember the wagon wheel bonanza and who was in the gang apart from myself and Mick Jolley,

wagon wheel

trying to eat the amount of Wagon Wheels we found would have been impossible in one go for two or more lads and they were twice the size then as they are today that's if they are still made. For those who do not know what wagon wheels are, they were large chocolate covered biscuits the size of a small plate.

In the gang we were out wondering and ventured into the lane at the bottom of the rec to the football tea hut, discovering the door open and being the mischievous, nosey lads that we were, we had to go in and

check it out we found a large box or two open, needless to say the temptation was too great,we quickly took them back into the lane and under the far hedge and then had a feast, the four of us could not finish them all, I can't remember going back for a second helping, but others did, it took me ages to even think of trying to eat another wagon wheel, don't think I've had one to this day and I know we felt sick and it serves us right!!!!

They did seem huge didn’t they but we had small hands in those days. I never liked them, Very fussy and totally spoilt I would only eat proper chocolate such as Cadbury’s or Fry’s or Terry’s. Do you remember Bond’s chocolate – YUCK!


After that, scrumping apples in Britton's field was more tasty,


even though we were chased quite often, do any of you remember that high fence, if you were on the inside and got chased, it was a mad panic scramble to get back on the other side (that was the field on the left after you went through the swing gate at the bottom of Summervale's lane, I think it is Brewery Lane) I tore my trousers on many occasions it was more of a sport then if you were fast you would get your price "the apple" heard the shouts behind us but never got caught, what athletes we were we could have entered for high jump or pole vault if we had kept training.We were all scared, but the excitement took over.

I remember scrumping apples from the field below The Shubbery Hotel. I loved climbing trees but was terrified of falling once up there. Many a time I was pushed or pulled.

Just an added one talking of Brewery Lane, has reminded me of wasps which were often about in the summer along the banks of the Lane and if disturbed could be a pest, this of course made both myself and Mick Jolley very annoyed, even though now looking at the situation, we could have taken the sensible route home which was across the bottom of Summervale and up the hill to no. 10, but being young we didn't want to be sensible so we had a plan and Mick's idea was to do a bombing raid on the wasp nests, something like the dam busters but done by hand. With a bomb of fireworks, ten strapped together we placed carefully into the bank in the nest, being the daring one, Mick would light it whilst I retired to a good 10 yards away and waited for him to start running, of course we watched till the bank blew open to our horror, we hadn't thought these wasps would still fly and boy did they fly, in a swarm at least three yards wide, once again we were athletes, we must have broke the 50 yard record for trying to get home, much too late of course, I had five strings, two on my head and various others on arms and legs, can't remember how many Mick had didn't see him till the next day and we still went to school. We had to!!!!!!!! today they would have been off for a few weeks and been to the doctors. We were built pretty tough in those days. More to follow such as school day friends and teachers and the 1st. school magazine 1st. December, 1957. Hope you and family are Ok Jean. all the best Dave No: 10.

Thanks for those stories David and glad to have you back. More please.


Wednesday, 25 May 2011

From our “foreign” Correspondent!

Hello Jean
Looking at the new Ilminster website you recently displayed, I accessed the cricket club's site. It showed a picture of the club's ground - the old grammar school sports fields. Back in the 1950s the town team played in the Rec. at the side of the football pitch. At this time we Summervale boys spent so much time in the Rec, either playing cricket or football, or watching the town teams play. We used to arrange all our own "matches " there, but when I was 13 I started to operate the scoreboard for the cricket club during their matches. Soon after some of us would hang around the nets when the men were practising; this gradually led to us being asked to bowl at the men. Eventually I got a chance to bat against the men, but some of their bowling could be a little bit quick!
The next season, when I was 14, I was delighted to get a late call-up to play for the town 2nd XI at Staplegrove, Taunton. When Ilminster batted they had a bad day and looked like being out for well below a 100. I was stuck in as last man and the fielders immediately crowded in on me, as they often do with small youngsters. This soon changed when I hit a couple of 4s and I ended up 19 not out. Walking back to the pavilion, I well remember the applause and encouragement, and I felt rather pleased with myself! And it was enough to get me hooked on cricket for life! (Incidentally, I have only just retired from the game last year, aged 68!) Anyway, after the match, we all repaired to a local pub where one of our players asked me what I wanted to drink. Well, of course, I had no idea! We didn't seem to know anything about drinks and drinking then! Someone suggested a cider shandy (what on earth is that, I thought) and I ended up trying a rough cider shandy. Ugh! I don't think I had an alcoholic drink after that for a few years!!
After that game I was asked to play regularly for the team. Soon after I got invited to the County Ground at Taunton to receive coaching from the Somerset players. A great moment for a 14 year old! I travelled up on the bus and had a long session in the indoor nets. I recall Brian Lobb, a very quick bowler for the county, letting go a few express deliveries at me. Wow! Yes, it was a bit nerve-wracking! A good test nevertheless.
At the Rec. our heroes in the Ilminster team were John England and Cyril White, both good batsmen, and the Crockett brothers, Roy and Derek. We loved it when John England whacked sixes out into Wharf Lane and we wondered if we would ever be able to emulate him.
We liked our football too. John England and Cyril White played for the town team and Sid Garland in goal was a great favourite. I liked watching Arthur Paull ("good old Arthur"), a dashing centre forward with brylcreemed hair and a centre parting. You don't see them like that any more! Peter Lee was a very promising young goalkeeper and later on he was to marry one of our Summervale girls, June Wakeham of course. (I wonder where they are now?)
Sometimes there would be big crowds at the matches. This was in the days before most people had cars, televisions and all the other leisure activities that we engage in nowadays.
For F.A. Amateur Cup matches the crowd might be all around the perimeter and packed into the grandstand too. On match days the club would close off the entrances to the Rec and would charge for entry. Often we boys didn't have the money to pay so we soon found ways of by-passing that obstacle. The best method was to arrive at the Rec. very early, well before the barriers went up. We'd set up our own games ,then as soon as the Town started playing we would sneak over to watch them! A bit unethical I suppose ,but we weren't too keen on paying. I think most people did pay, but we boys felt it was an injustice to be charged for using what we rightly felt was "our Rec".
Great days they were! Best wishes Summervalians!
Peter Westmacott

That has awakened a few memories for me too as Tony, my brother was a keen sportsman and,in fact, played at one time for Somerset colts before going into the RAF. He also played football but I’m not sure if he played for the town team. The name Sibley comes to mind in connection with the football – am I right?

I remember going to watch him play at Chard; it was a very hot day and, as we went into the tent for tea, I was sick! I never did get to tuck in to the cucumber sandwiches or the homemade cakes.

June Wakeham remained in Ilminster and is still there as far as I know. She used to work in the Chemists just along the road from Dyers – can’t remember the name but I do remember buying my first lipstick there – aged 11.

Here is a photo of June ( on the right) with Maureen Kearney

june and maureen (2)

Today is John Satchell’s birthday and we still keep in touch. Here is a photo of him as a trendy Mod back in 1961.

john and fred

Happy Birthday John. 


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

From Peter ( glad someone’s looking in!)

Hello Jean
A great set of photos of the VE celebrations in Summervale in 1945! I recognise my Mum in the back row, 3rd woman from right. She is holding my brother David (20 months old) in her arms. It made me wonder where I was at the time! No sign of me hanging around at all. I would have been 3 at the time. Perhaps my uncle, Peter Durham, was looking after me. My grandmother (Ethel Durham) is also in the photo, in the same row, the tall one along from my mother.

oldies1 reworked


I recognised several other women but there are quite a few I couldn't name. Can you please name them all for us, Jean? And who is the man (looks like one!) who is in the middle of the back row? How did he sneak in there?
In the photo of the men my grandad, Reg Durham, is in the front row seated 2nd from right. Again, I knew many of the men but certainly can't name them all.
Regarding the picture of the sit-down tea for the kids, I guess the chairs might have come from a local church, perhaps the Methodist church at the top of Summervale ,along West Street
Thanks for posting details of the new Ilminster website. Looking at it yesterday has given me some ideas for another piece for you. More about that next time.
Peter Westmacott
P.S. Mike Smith and I recently met up for an evening at his house in Berkshire! We had a great time, reminiscing over the old Summervale days in the 40s and 50s. We worked out
that we probably hadn't seen each other for 47 years!! We promised to meet again soon.



Monday, 2 May 2011

V E Day 8 MAY 1945

I have just made this banner above  for a forum I belong to and thought I would share it with you all.No, Winston Churchill was not in Summervale!

This photo shows a group of very happy women ready to celebrate; the bonfire ( bottom left corner) is ready to be lit and my Mum is centre stage holding a tray.
Lots of familiar faces, can you see your Mum?
In stark contrast – here is how the men celebrated probably on the actual day od Victory rather than at the celebrations.
I have to say it surprised me!

Another great photo by Ron Dixon amazingly sharp and clearly showing the hanging “German”
Do you think that is a loudspeaker rigged up behind Mr Ralph – top left?
Then we have the obligatory sit down tea. I wonder where all those chairs came from?
Not so clear this one but you might recognise someone?