I’m back in Manchester, it is October 2020, the pandemic is still with us and we are in a high risk area. The lock down has barely affected me as I am house bound anyway, and this has let me spend time writing and painting. Yesterday, I had to walk a couple of hundred yards to Spec Savers for a hearing aid fitting, it was all I was able to do, old age is catching me up.
I never did read my stories to my grandsons, but I am thinking of making the Apache stories into a little book as a Christmas present. It will keep me busy and give me another thing to learn—book binding. I have re-written them to make them suitable for children but knowing kids of today I need not have bothered about scaring them.
The Apache stories are just a few moments of a couple of days in1940 and were almost forgotten. What happened later that day, when we had been listening to Mr Wade’s story of the Haunted House, completely overshadowed everything—we were bombed out, but that’s another story.
Chertsey is a very old town, and like any other, has so many stories and legends. Sometimes a street name will give a clue to a famous person or a terrible event like, Gibbet Lane, where people were hanged for very minor crimes. A few miles away in Bagshot, the roads are all Highwaymen related; Turpin’s rise, Highwayman’s Ridge, Snows Ride, the list goes on. What is now the A30 was Bagshot Heath and a main road to London, and a happy hunting ground for these robbers.
There is a notion, that the first few letters in the name of Pyrcroft Road in Chertsey, could be related to the story of the Monk and the Nun. There is a lot of similarity to the story of Pyramus and Thesbi, which even has a Mulberry tree!
Pyrcroft House, is said to be where Charles Dickens wrote Oliver Twist, he certainly mentions Chertsey, perhaps he picked up some vibes and inspiration from out spooky old town.
Some of these stories clash with each other, the top field has so many tales of being haunted. But one thing is common, animals are not happy to be near the top field woods, the grass always seems to be long. The young men don’t set their rabbit snares up there as they have never caught a single rabbit. The well which is now covered with brambles and was said to have been abandoned because a horse had bolted and fell down it, even now the huge blackberries that grow on it are never picked.
I’m afraid it doesn’t end there, the bottom corner of the field, at the junction of St Anne’s Road and Thorpe Road, opposite the Haunted House, was never cultivated and was a thicket of bushes and large Oak trees. My mother told me that it also haunted, but we used to collect the acorns and sell them to The Old Mill Farm. The farmer told us that they were the biggest acorns he had ever seen.
The road layout has been changed and is now a roundabout. Unwary drivers have found the roundabout is quite confusing, never knowing which lane to be in.
Perhaps the ghosts are unhappy with being disturbed.
The story of being bombed out, later that day is called ‘Bombed’ and is one of six stories of a couple weeks of that day and several days later.