Life in Ninfield

Mark Pont recalls life as a butcher in Ninfield

This newspaper article was published in April 1959.


Ninfield

A poem by L. C. Spandley

Where is this Ninfield I once knew.
With narrow roads and houses few?
Gone, are the days beyond recall
Of fete’s and parties at Moor Hall.
 
The Old Windmill has disappeared
The Blacksmiths too, as we all feared
Gone are the “Old Un’s, sons of the soil
Taken by the reaper from their earthly toil.
 
I knew them all, and they knew me
As plain old “Chuff”, and not Leslie;
My dear old Dad; God bless his heart
Gave me that name from the start.
 
My life in this village I have spent,
From a boy, to manhood, well content.
But the changes that have taken place
Have removed from the village “her old face”.
 
One cottage I lived in when I was a lad,
It was during this time I missed my Dad
We knew the cottage as “The Thatch”, now called “Pipers”
And Dad ? was away; fighting in Ypres.
 
To write down all, I’d need a book
So now I sit, and back on my memories look;
Times were hard but we didn’t complain
And if I could, I’d relive it all again.
 
Some of my pals left this life
Called very young; during years of strife
Caused by war, not of their making,
But we didn’t complain at this great undertaking.
 
They fought for their country and their King;
To some people nowadays, a stupid thing;
The lads were called, a cause to serve,
And from their duties did not swerve.
 
We still recall them by their names,
When we talk of bygone days, and games
In which as boys we had played;
And now in foreign soil they are laid.
 
Gone is the “Tollgate” and “Ducking Pond” as well,
The “Saddlers Shop”, and now sad to tell
“Smith’s Shop” has had to go at last
All it remains is a memory of the past.
 
My days at school I did not waste,
Because if I did I’d get a taste
Of “Boss Rider’s” cane, one on each hand
And so I sought to do my best, and not in trouble land.
 
He taught us that, Politeness cost us nought
And since that time I’ve often thought
How true he was; because in the end
It has often brought a “dividend”.
 
I love this old village, which gave me a start
She’s always had a place in my heart
And given hours of happiness in my leisure hours.
Wandering in her woodlands, ‘neath leafy bowers.
 
And when I’ve drawn my final breath
My body stilled by the kiss of death
Until the final Judgement Day, to her bosom my I be pressed,
And in her Churchyard “Laid to Rest”

Leslie Charles “Chuff” Spandley