home page   back to the History Page

Linda remembers growing up at Orchard Cottages, Sompting
"Hi Andy, I have a look at your web site every day, I particularly look forward to the picture you post daily of somewhere in Sompting or Lancing. I was born along with my brother and sister in number 11 Orchard Cottages West Street Sompting ....... "
About Linda's Dad  "My Dad was evacuated to Lancing with his Mum, from Paddington in London during the second world war and we were one of the few families on Busticle Lane at the time that had a car and because of his London connections, took us there whenever he could {which was quite often}"


Early Days " I was born along with my brother and sister in number 11 Orchard Cottages West Street Sompting, although we lived with my Mum and Dad Freda and Joe Reardon in number 9. It was my Nan and Grandad that lived in number 11 and Uncle Jack and Aunty Nelly lived with there family in number 8, that was of course until they demolished them, all of Orchard Cottages in the 60s. My childhood growing up in Sompting was brilliant, we not only had the beach but Grandad and Uncle Jack worked for Langmeades farm up Dancton Lane. If we were on holiday from school and wanted to go up the hill as we called it, we would wait for Grandad to come home for dinner {at 12pm} and ask if we could go back with him at 1pm.{ he was more often or not at Dancton barn, no longer there, with a new herd of bullocks which he took annually to Reading show and always came back with a rosette for them} or he was hedge trimming, which he did with a swap hook, not a scythe. If he said no! then we gave him a ten minute start and followed anyway, when he saw us he would try and be really cross {which was very difficult for him to be} and say "corr bugger" which with Grandad countrified accent was one of the few things he said that we actually understood.


Uncle Jack "Uncle Jack was a wonderful man with the biggest heart and a sense of humour to match. I remember the year before he died, talking to him in his beloved garden about when he and my Dad were in their prime, they used to drink in the Balltree and I think the Crabtree, well he was telling me that they would put a bottle of brown ale in each of their jacket pockets, I assumed for either Nan or Grandad but no , when I suggested this, he fell about laughing saying that they were for self defence in case they came across any blokes from Shoreham looking for trouble, I didn't know what to say because I was shocked to think that my Dad and Uncle Jack as unassuming as they were, were a pair of hooligans bless} Uncle Jack was highly amused and so was I but there is always a fly in the ointment, on this occ it was Aunty Nelly telling Uncle Jack off for telling me and telling me of for laughing at him. It just goes to show though that in some respects time only goes on it doesn't change and male rivalry is still alive and kicking {excuse the pun"  Uncle Jack died in 2000 after working on the farm for 50 years, he actually received a gold medal for 50 years service at the Ardingly show ground for working for Mr. Langmeade


Christmas Time "Christmas at Orchard cottages, as iv said before , their wasn't just our family that lived there, my Nan and Grandad lived at number 11, we were at 9 and Uncle Jack and Aunty Nelly were in number 8. Mr and Mrs Garrett lived in number 12 at the end and when the sheep over at Wadmans farm had their lambs Mrs Garrett always had at least 1 in a box in front of the range because it had lost its mother or been abandoned, their  son Dicky was an only child and we used to play with him and envy the fact that we only had a cat for a pet when he had the Sunday roast. Anyway to get back to Christmas, as you can imagine, I don't know if you ever saw the Cottages but they were made of flint and very spooky, but also very homely, on Christmas eve, we grandchildren and at the time there were nine of us of various ages and height, were summoned to Nan and Granddads for our pay packets {xmas box} which if you were very lucky came to about 11bob{60p} . It was always put in a "pay packet" I think Granddad must have persuaded Mr Pavy the farm manager to provide said packets and they were the best present we had {it was cash and cash is always preferred}

Then it was back home in front of the fire to watch the xmas entertainment on the tele, Nan babysat while Mum and Dad and Grandad went down to the Balltree. While they were out Nan cooked the turkey, baked sausage rolls and made mince pies, when the turkey was cooked, Nan had to try it {cooks perks} and I'm afraid we upset her, telling Mum and Dad that "Nans been pinching the turkey" she vowed and declared that was the last time she came and stopped at our house {until next xmas}. Then on xmas day and if we were lucky it had snowed over night, which it did then, we were up and opening our presents. Grandad and Uncle Jack would have been up hours before and gone up the hill to Dancton barn and fed the bullocks, then home for breakfast and a drink of something a little stronger than tea, Kit, Grandads whippet cross {and she used to get very cross especially if you touched Granddads coat if she was laying on it, which if Grandad didn't have it on, she was} got into her favourite place underneath the kitchen table, where on numerous occ you would find her with a litter of pups. After this we kids would compare xmas presents, I always thought Uncle Jacks girls got far more girly presents than I did but my preference was books and if they had animals in them then all the better, I have always had a great interest in British wildlife and can be quite a bore on the subject.

Anyway I digress, after the comparing of the presents and the troughing of the selection box, it was time yet again to go and feed the bullocks, this time with kids in tow, while Mum, Nan and Aunty Nelly got dinner prepared and on the table. On the way up to the barn if you looked , there was old mans beard, rose hips and various other wild plants buried beneath the snow, sometimes the snow would have drifted and it could be four or five foot deep. when we got to the barn we had to walk through the cattle to the barn door, I hated that bit and stuck to Granddad as close as I could {I never did like cows} once in the barn there was always a smell that I took for some reason to be rat poison! weather it was I don't know but it didn't seem to do the rats much harm. Granddad and Uncle Jack had made us a swing out of bailing twine and feed sacks, the twine was doubled and then doubled again, tied to the rafters and the sacks wrapped round the twine to make the seat. It was the best swing you could have wished for. If you got fed up with the swing there was always the horse made from two bales, one put on the other sideways up, then you formed the bridle by tying extra twine to the sides of the top bale and same as for stirrups, smashing, you were off. One year my Dad who could make anything if he had the right tools, made us a sledge with sheet metal runners and a pallet board base, you couldn't have bought a better sledge, boy could it move. Then tragedy struck in the shape of Uncle Jack and his tractor, he was reversing it into the barn after work one day and he ran over our beloved sledge, flattening it beyond repair.


School Days "My time at Sompting school was equally, to my mind interesting and fun, the headmaster Mr Fleming although he could shout and frighten the life out of you, was a man that made everything interesting, he took us on nature walks at lunch time, he made slides in the ice on the playground { can you imagine that happening today} by pouring cold water on it so that it would freeze and make a better slide, there was Mayday on the rec, with country dancing and maypole dancing, dressing the May queens throne with lilac and allsorts of other flowers from everybody's gardens. Happy happy days ......

page created 03/01/12