Last week, it was so hot—even here in Manchester! That I was seeking some shade, luckily there are plenty of large trees surrounding our home. Now it is so cold and wet—as it is in most parts of the country, that, Amanda, thought we should light the wood burner in the kitchen.
That made me think of the amount of wood that was used for heating years ago.
It was quite a business in Chertsey, we had Mr Johnson’s small wood yard at the end of Chelsey Green, specialising in fire wood and logs, delivering all over the area.
George Cawley’s much larger business, also selling logs, and involved in tree felling and a large saw mill for producing large planks of timber, which was stacked in the adjacent field to season.
As a child, I remember going to see Mrs Cawley, with my mother—I believe the Cawley family had lived in Pyrcroft road, and remained friends with my mother. I was friends with Roy, their youngest son. Now they lived in a bungalow next to the wood yard. It was paradise for me, Roy had a pedal car with pump up tyres! and they had an old car in a barn which was our playground—to have a car in any condition, must have meant the business was flourishing.
The river Bourne flowed past the house under ‘The New Bridge’, another playground for us kids. Mr Cawley widened the Bourne into a large pool beneath an over hanging tree with a rope for swinging.
After the war ended, while I and Roy were in the garden having a swing, we saw one of the Cawley boys come home from the war. With his big kitbag on his shoulder. It was amazing to see Mr Cawley, who was as hard a man as you could ever meet, break down and cry.
A few years later I, like a lot of the local boys, worked at Cawleys, but only very briefly, after I saw a man cut three of his fingers off on a circular saw, this was an occupational hazard—as they say.
In the nearby Johnson wood yard, Mr Johnson’s sons had all lost a couple of fingers at various times.
I started to think I should seek safer employment after that.