“The Village People” by John Hansell and the third year boys of NCPE

The following item was kindly contributed to this website by John Hansell and the third year boys of NCPE

 

Today’s Self Isolation Character is V” and the topic is :-The Village People.”

Nonington College was essentially a village in itself, where small was beautiful most of the time, and where everyone was a character who seemed to know everyone else; a bit like a sports version of “The Archers, an everyday story of sweaty folk.”

Nonington village also had characters of its own, many of them with blood lines that were probably mentioned in the Doomsday book. The Plumtre’s, the Clarks, the Webbs, the Pilchers, the Garlinges, the Luckhurst’s, the Ovendens, the Barwicks, the Rings and the rest of the village had probably been happily welcoming invaders and outsiders in for a pint at “Ye Olde Royal Oak” even before Missionaries were thought of.

I found the Village People to be a very friendly bunch. They seemed very happy to have us spending all our grant in the Oak, the Post Office, the Village Store and the petrol station – and we seemed pretty happy to let them have our money too.

I recently realised just how much the village had adopted the College, when I read on the Village of Nonington web site that many of the local youth used to walk down to the College on Saturdays to watch us play football against other Colleges and Universities. They had adopted us as their local team!

This was also true when it came to cricket. Nonington had quite a strong village side who played on a lovely square with lots of bounce and carry in beautiful Fredville Park. Steve Dockwray played for them in the first year of men, then I played for the village for the next two years and when I left, Brian Mayes and Graham Finch took my place. If you got more than 50 runs or three wickets for Nonington C. C. against local rivals such as Sibton Park, Sandwich, Deal , etc., it was free beer all evening.  When home matches on a Saturday and Sunday had finished – we went over the road and straight into the Oak to “entertain” the opposition – and so again the village economy profited.

The Royal Oak has already been covered earlier, but it is worth mentioning that the Sunday lunchtimes there were special. In those days, licensing laws were strictly enforced and we used to be queuing up to get into the Oak as soon as mid day had arrived.  Nick Larsen pulled the bolts down on the door and we were in. Nick used to put peanuts, crisps, pieces of cheese, and pickled onions on the bar counter; so that was our one solid meal of the day on Sundays taken care of. There was also the opportunity to belt down as many pints of Trophy within the two hour Sunday serving limit.

We only occasionally went to The Griffin for a beer in the village of Chillenden. The Griffin was a very different sort of pub to the Oak, quieter, more upmarket and more traditional – no juke box or dart board.  The sort of place where you took a girl if you really wanted to impress her with your cultural standing – or propose sodding marriage; which meant that it did very little business with us students.  As Sue Maitland has already pointed out:-“The men at Nonington treated women there as if they were a selection of Pick and Mix at Woolworths.” I reckon it was more like a Chinese takeaway in our third year, as you could order by numbers!

The Post Office was used as an old fashioned cash point for weekly withdrawal of wedges of our grant, only to be handed over the counter to Nick Larsen, 50 yards up the road at the Oak. There was such a homely “Dad’s Army” feel about the place, with the gentle tinkle of the bell as you pushed open the Post Office door to hand over your ration card, aka your Post Office Savings Book to the owners, who managed to take five minutes to complete any sort of transaction. Roger Brown was the only one in our year who used to pay money in to the Post Office, as he ran as a taxi service in his sky blue Renault Dauphine, charging Rob Silver a daily fare for running him down the Oak to withdraw cash. There was never a chance of a robbery at the Post Office as it would take too long for the owners to open the cash till, let alone the safe.

There was also the Nonington Village Hall, but you only got an invite to attend a function there if you had passed all the local tests and if you knew the right people. A bit like joining the Masons, without the rolling up of trousers, weird hand shakes and other strange rituals that Little Werry has tried without any success to have any of the third year boys join his Lodge.

As regards digs, there were students housed all over the village.  The majority were regarded as a “home from home,” where the hospitality and warmth of welcome and breakfast were envied by those few who were lodged in less friendly surrounded where the reason for the householder providing “digs” was more on a par with those provided for comedians in Blackpool. In these digs, it was obvious why the reason the householder was taking in students was purely mercenary, often with draconian rules about times of breakfasts, times of use of the bathroom and also what times students were supposed to be in and out of the accommodation.

In my second year, I was one of the “Eythorne Four,” sharing the upstairs of “The Manse,” which was just off the Eythorne crossroads.

We never got to know Eythorne as a village, as we commuted the four miles into College first every morning – and the four miles back from the Oak last thing every night.

When the topic of the “Village People” was introduced a year ago, it generated a huge response from members recalling their experiences of being in digs, As we have doubled in membership since then, what are the chances of new members adding some later memories to this collection?

Here’s your chance to add your experiences of being in digs in Nonington, and the relationships you developed with the “Village People.”

Rachel Legrand
How on earth do you remember all that

John Hansell
It’s called cut and paste!!

Jean Dagg
I was in digs in the second year with Judith Scott. We were with Mrs Onions in a bungalow. She was elderly, deaf and had poor eyesight but made lovely apple pies!    She didn’t like us being out late so Judith and I used to go to bed then escape through the window to go to the pub!

Sandra Thwaites
My friend Chris and I were with Mrs Onions 68-69. She had a cataract operation during our stay which improved her eyesight. You’re right about her apple pies…they were lovely. Always had a chuckle at the way she used to sing along with Songs of Praise on Sundays! Because she couldn’t hear herself she sang higher and higher until she must have made top A!!!

Sandra Thwaites
I think you might have known my sister Annette Dodd?

Annette Dodd
OMG, what a coincidence!

Sandra Thwaites
How amazing is that?!!!

Judith Trewhitt
1st year in digs in Elvington with Val Coffin. A lovely old couple, but sadly can’t remember their name. 2nd year in Nonington Village with Denise Pye! Huge posters of Barry John and Tom Jones on the walls! Abiding memories of that year involved letting Den back into our room after she’d been to The Bridge Club! 3rd Year Mickie’s…… Fab memories!

Denise Pye
I moved a few doors down from Barry J.  Let’s just say he changed. Tom on the other hand………Very happy memories of long chats into the night and early mornings

Shan James
In my second year I was out in the back of beyond at Frogham which, as far as I remember consisted of one line of terraced houses with gardens at the front. I can’t remember the name of my hosts but they were a lovely old couple with a Downs syndrome son. I was sharing a room with Paddy – Patricia Mclelland, who liked a drink even more than me and often I had to cover for her when she failed to make it back to digs. The regular excuse being ‘Oh, she’s staying on someone’s floor in college!!! It was never queried by the couple.  In the second and 3rd year I lived with the Clarke’s, the Fredville Gamekeeper up on the middle of the park. Scary walk from The Oak in pitch black. I used to lie under the Fredville Oak (mentioned in the Doomsday Book) to study… Very occasionally!! I am told the tree is still alive 50 years on!!! Happy days.

John Hansell
I used to play with Peter Clarke – your game keeper / landlord-in the Nonington village cricket team. He had huge forearms from chopping down trees for a living on the estate . He used to sing “Ivan Skavinsky Scavar and Abdul The Bull Bull Amir” as his party piece when he got pissed after a game. If he was sober, he couldn’t remember the words. Link to the song that Peter Clarke used to sing – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul_Abulbul_Amir https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Bh3qAySZII Nice bloke.

Sue Bond
Yep, he was a lovely man x

Sue Maitland
1st and 2nd years at Home Farm with the Barwicks…fan..bloody..tastic. 3rd year East 3 Room 1 even more fantastic. Shared with Pat Boyes with Linda and Mollie Robinson taking up visitors rights.

Annette Dodd
I was in digs with Chris Stone, in Snowdown, staying with Mr and Mrs Mussett. They were a wonderful couple who looked after us so well, that I stayed with them for a 2nd year! Mrs Mussett lived on to a ripe old age and I was able to stay in touch. I even got a chance to take my twin boys to see her down in Dover where she lived after Mr Mussett died.

Jan Farmer
I was in digs at Little Cooting farm cottages out at Adisham with Mary Peach (then Ives) The owners of the dairy farm were the Coleman’s. Happy memories of Mary’s old Morris Oxford jalopying over the ramps in and out of college, and also on my trusty steed, my 49cc moped, which I also rode home the 101miles to Lancing in Sussex. The journey, with stops for overheating, used to take me about 5 hours! Mary used to cook some legendary Sunday roasts with invited and sometimes not invited but always welcomed anyway!



Andrea Lunn
I think Sue Hodge and I were at the manse in Eythorne – 1st year – till we got chucked out!   Then we were put into Court House. We had a downstairs room and ALL “visitors” – not necessarily for us – entered and exited through our window at whatever time of night. Poor Sue had the short straw – her bed was under the window!

2nd year was Elvington – if we cycled home after the pub, we had to get off at the top of the hill to pee in the fields – magnificent crops though!
3rd year East 1 with Sue Cook and co – downstairs at front turn right at top of steps. Can’t remember the number. Sue always had her essays written on time but alas I did not – so I wrote mine the night before they needed handing in – in the kitchen – on the ironing board. Wendy Hume – doing a similar thing – would take it in turns with me to keep the tea and toast going through the night.

John Hansell
Tibbles, Are you sure that was the Manse in Eythorne that you and Sue were in digs at? The Manse used to be for the blokes in Eythorne, the girls were usually in digs in the large Vicarage house by the railway level crossing. Or maybe you were at the Manse, and the landlords decided to take in girls instead of men, after we were there. The landlords were called Couchman. They were a very religious pair, so having us four in digs with them tested their patience. They weren’t overjoyed about our late hours, the noise and the guests that we often had staying over.

June Morgan
You sound like me. Annette Dodd was on the ground floor in East 3. Always had her essays in on time and done early to boot! I would be burning the midnight oil with a pot of coffee bubbling in the kitchen (that was a loose term) and 10 fags on the desk. I didn’t really smoke but it helped keep me awake and buzzing!

Annette Dodd
What can I say June, I couldn’t do without my sleep!

Andrea Lunn
John – could well have been the Vicarage – can’t remember

Sheila Kitchener
I was with Lynda Potter at Mrs Bell’s in Snowdown, we lived next door to Elizabeth Furner and Mo Garvin. It was great for coming back to college, as it was near the station, not so good for getting into and back from college. We were leant to bikes by the Hook twins……that was great BUT, when you went to get the bikes to go back they may/may not be in the bike racks. Bikes were borrowed and returned at all times of night and day!

The three day week and restricted streetlights was interesting, as you walked up the hill, pass Nightingale Lane, the high hedges were a magnet for the bats to swoop from, I found myself running up that section because I was sure that the bats would get stuck in my hair.

John Hansell
Nightingale Lane?? Oh, the memories. My favourite road in England! I saw the sun rise there quite a few times in summer!

Sheila Kitchener
I spent my second year, in digs, at Nightingale Lane with Mrs Maxted.

June Morgan
Did we walk to early morning synchro training together?

Sheila Kitchener
I think we did, I think I have said elsewhere … there was a morning that I woke too early and got dressed to go downstairs, Mrs Maxted called out “Sheila, it’s only 4.30 in the morning, go back to bed” lol

Sue Bond
Oh.. I remember the Hook twins.. Year below me but I also had an identical twin and could never get my head round the fact they were both at the same college…. Maybe because my sister was that girl who avoided PE like the plague and was open mouthed that twinnie actually enjoyed sport!!!

June Morgan
I was in Nightingale Lane with the Garlinge’s. Lovely couple. I stated for 2 years. The first one with Julia Brown. I injured my back and slept on the floor for 2 weeks between the single beds. Mrs Garlinge brought us tea in bed every morning and forgot always asked where I was!

June Morgan
Mr Garlinge’s was the local coal man and arranged for Myself and I think Linda Sharp to go down the mine. Terrifying experience crawling along the coal seam!

Linda Sharp
It was me – 2nd year and it was my first trip down a mine, which was crazy having lived all my life in South Wales. …never allowed in the valleys with us – women were unlucky. I think we went down on a Sunday with the maintenance crew-the lift was sooooo scary.

June Morgan
My Dad was a Bevan boy in the war. He was in Newcastle hated it as two of his Welsh uncles were injured down the mine. He ran away just before the war ended, they never went looking for him!

Sheila Kitchener
Mr Maxted was the winch man in the colliery, he offered to take us down but I chickened out …. just a tad claustrophobic

Linda Sharp
Here’s us on our mobility wheels with the colliery in the background – good times.

June Morgan
When I posted this years ago my friends thought it was my daughter Sally!   I rode that machine all the way home to Essex without stopping, had a numb ***** when I got home!  It was taken apart and never got put back together.

John Hansell
Norman Garlinge was also the Chairman of the Nonington cricket club. Lovely bloke, he thought the world of us students. He drove a green A35 with the registration WKT 365 – you have to be a cricket fan to understand the significance of that number. Will the OBB get it?

Jeff Lill
I spent the first two years out at Snowdown along with Tony Cousins at Mrs Roberts. She was a lovely Welsh lady who cooked the best Sunday breakfast I’ve ever had.

Sheila Barker
Was the road that the Royal Oak was in called The Street? As you came for college towards the Oak Tver were some bungalows on the right hand side. A lovely couple Joe and Jean lived there with their young daughter. Joe was a miner I don’t think Jean worked. They didn’t take students but Jean was amazing! A surrogate mother to so many of us gals! Cup of coffee and and chat while she listened to our problems and gave advice. Further along this road and turn right to White House Farm (I think?) to where I was in digs with Sylvia Goodenough. Lovely lady looked after us – we even had our own little sitting room and coal fire. Afraid I didn’t make much use of it but pleased to say Sylvia and Clive did (Clive of aforesaid bed-breaking game) and our landlady loved him! Going back along the road to the pub I believe there was also an antique shop on the right hand side. I bought a pair of John Lennon style specs from there – they were about 100 years old then and I couldn’t see a thing through them! Looked great on display though – complete with case.

John Hansell
It was called The Street

Gail Barwick
it is called Easole Street as far as the Oak, then it becomes Holt Street.

Sheila Barker
I actually got married in Nonington church (no John not The Royal Oak) in the glorious Summer of 1976

Jan Farmer
Talking of summer of ’76 and thinking back to student union action, I have vague memories of nobody going to lecturers but can’t remember whether this was due to lecturers striking, students striking or a mixture – does anyone remember this? We seemed to spend a lot of time sunbathing outside the SU, and attempting to use the pool until we hit stopped by caretaker because too much grass was being trampled into the pool. At this point someone had the idea to form a convoy to Joss Bay with whatever transport we could share. I followed on my trusty silver machine ( or was it sewing machine-49cc moped) Eventually I did arrive …On the way back the chain came off my moped near Chillenden and I had to push and carry the thing back to college. The guy at the petrol pump in the village came out and put my bike in his truck, drove it to his garage and later repaired it. So kind were people in the village.

Ruth McCluskey
What was the name of that garage – out of interest?  He rescued me a few times!

Jan Farmer
I really can’t remember, it was a bit of a run down old shack with a petrol pump outside in Nonington, not far from the Oak, but the chap was really friendly and obviously used to students’ old bangers conking out!

Min Chamberlain
Betts Bros was the garage …… and they’re still there! 

Jan Farmer
That’s amazing – presume it’s Betts Bros next generation? Considering I only spent about £1 every two weeks or so on two stroke for my moped they were very generous to help out!

Ruth McCluskey
Oh wow! Yes ! And still there! Thanks so much as it was irritating me

Sue Bond
BETTS garage I believe having trawled through the cobwebs of the brain

Pat Jennings
First year with Philippa in some awful digs in the village! Say no more!

Second year with Mr S Garlinge up Easole Heights with Linda Robinson. It was excellent. She looked after us so well. Third year in East 3 sharing with Sue Cook. Great times there.

John Hansell
What was the S for in Mr Garlinge’s first name? I also knew his brother Norman. They were both heavily involved with the local cricket so I got on really well with both of them.

Pat Jennings
Sorry Mrs Garlinge!

June Morgan
I must have followed you in there, was it in Nightingale Lane?

Pat Jennings
Easole Heights

Louise Giles
First 2 years 1968-69 in digs near the Church with Dusty & Dorothy Saunders sharing with Ingrid Lugowski, then 3rd year in West 3. Loved every day there!

Pat Jennings
And me

Ruth McCluskey
I was in digs in the 1st year with Vanessa Glover (sadly no longer with us) at number 9 Church Street, Nonington with Mr ND Mrs Turner. They were lovely and we loved their little house and she would ‘mother ‘ us quite a bit. I vividly recall eating my morning toast and marmalade in the little warm kitchen. Mr Turner was a retired miner. As the year progressed he became unwell and irrational (I now realise it was probably onset of dementia) One day he refused to let Vanessa and I leave our bedroom for college and he kept us ‘hostage’ through the day and the next night because he believed the government was holding the miners to ransom. I can’t remember exactly what was happening in the news at the time that triggered it. Mrs Turner was beside herself because she was worried we would complain after . It was actually very scary as he became verbally very aggressive, but we managed somehow to pretend to go along with him. We managed to get a message (no phones then) to next door where I think Marilyn Wookey was in digs. They contacted the police, who came and rescued Vanessa and I in the early hours of the morning and Mr. T was taken to hospital. It was very sad as he was always very kind prior to that. He did return but was never the same and eventually he ended up in care in later years. Mrs Turner was so upset for us to have gone through it but we reassured her that we understood and that we had no qualms about staying there. College obviously had to pay a visit to ensure our future safety. I always kept in touch and visited Mrs Turner until she died many years later. Vanessa and I had some great times whilst there and it was tragic when she died at a young age.

Sheila Kitchener
Imagine what would happen now in the same circumstances!

Ruth McCluskey
Yes. it would be awful. He was a nice man and we were genuinely devastated for them.

Mel Thompson
First year in Eythorne, long walk in and back. Boiled egg and toast for breakfast everyday. Second tear in Nonington with a lovely family. Father had fought in WW2 and was stationmaster, son called Ian who was at school and the mother cooked fantastic Sunday roasts.

Rachel Legrand
Mel, did you live in Deal at some point?

Linda Sharp
3rd year was in Walnut Tree Cottage, on the road to Eastry, with Julia Brown, Geraldine Callaghan and Pam Bojczuk (Travis). A tiny 2 up 2 down farm cottage – freezing in winter (before we lit the fire and Arga) and fab in summer with a huge garden and all the farm produce we could want (read steal) on the way home. Julia was the Brewing Queen – made wine out of all our ill gotten gains. A million laughs, here’s some pics



Lynda Potter
In first year I lived at 4 The Crescent, Snowdown with Sheila Kitchener (McQuitters). Mrs Bell was from Barnsley and believed in giving me a good, hearty, Yorkshire breakfast at the weekend (Sheila went home at weekends and I was always on my own). We were never allowed in the front room which was kept for special occasions, dried grasses and flowers in the fireplace and a loud ticking clock! It was quite a long walk to get to college for breakfast at 8 o’clock but once I found out that the gardener drove past about quarter to 8, I used to make sure I was walking down from the station and he would give me a lift. He had a Hillman Imp, green I think. I can see his face now! He was always friendly and chatty. As I was one of the furthest out on that road, I was always sure of a lift. He would always tell me when he was going to be off, so I could leave earlier and still make breakfast. Going home at night in the dark (it was rarely before 10 o’clock as I worked in college) was a different experience altogether! It was fine until I got to Nightingale Lane, and then it was pitch black going round the bend. I would usually jog, every so often doing a quick 360 turn to make sure nobody was following. I was always glad to see the welcoming lights of the colliery, and sometimes the miners with coal black faces shouting hello, as I knew I was nearly home. The things we put up with back then! Imagine today’s students even contemplating walking 3 miles home in the dark up a lonely country road. Weren’t we tough?

Year 2 was Church Street farm with Hilda Clarke (now Bull) which was fantastic. Year 3 West 1 room 1. I remember them all like it was yesterday. Wonderful times I will never forget!    

Sheila Kitchener
I posted earlier about the times when we had to walk back during the blackouts after 9 pm….I think it was the three day week, it was the bats that used to swoop down at that spot past Nightingale Lane.

Lynda Potter
That was another hazard! Weren’t we brave? X

Sheila Kitchener
LOL or stupid, hee hee

Pat Jennings
Yep

Liz Needham
Did anyone else live in Barfrestone?The Church ? Yew tree pub? And our digs. And the red phone box!!!   Pam Henson, Carol Foster, Angie Littlewood, Lesley Neville ?  Plus one more.   Only lasted a term there.

Horrendous conditions.  We then moved into college accommodation above Hinks flat!!!  lots of stories to tell to relate from there.

Denise Pye
I was with you there plus Wendy ?

Elizabeth Furmer

I was at 2 The Crescent, Snowdown with Maureen (Mo) Garvin. Mrs Whittaker was our landlady. We very soon called her Mrs Whitty and it stuck!  She was a no nonsense lady but very kind and funny.

Gail Barwick
Interesting reading about the villagers that I now live among! Thought you may want to know that Brian Luckhurst…a staunch member of the cricket club here at Nonington, passed away on Good Friday…..not covid connected. Sadly, only immediate family can attend his funeral.

John Hansell
Didn’t Brian marry a College girl called Ann? A lovely bloke with bright blue eyes, I used to open the batting with him for the village, his younger brother David was the scorer. Please pass on my condolences to his family if you get the chance. Lots of fond memories of him.

Gail Barwick
Yes, Brian married Ann Stainer and they went to Zambia. They split up many years ago and his partner for years is a local girl. David is still around….he and Brian have ‘nursed’ the cricket ground for many years after Ron Webb passed away. David, since his divorce, lives in a flat down in the ‘new hostels’ near the college tennis courts. I will pass on your message to him….he often comes here  (not at the moment of course).

John Hansell
Yes, please mention my name to David, I am sure that he will remember me, as he used to be scoring my runs and wickets in the Nonington CC scorebook!! Use this site to let me know when you have made contact with him. Many thanks for passing this sad info on. I also believe that Ron Webb’s son is the web master for the “History of Nonington Village” web site. This web site has quite a a big section on the College, and it is where I discovered that he and his friends in the village used to come and watch us play college football against other colleges and uni’s on Saturdays.

Gail Barwick
I sent David a message….he says thank you….he remembers you and says you were a very good player!!

Gail Barwick
Clive Webb, known as Fanta, does the Nonington village etc….he’s very  knowledgeable about Nonington and its history. His mum, Joan, has just recently gone into a nursing home. Fanta was never a cricketer!

John Hansell
David Luckhurst is a very good judge of class, then. Please pass on to David and any others that might know me just how much fun I had playing for the village – they had some good players – for a village side they also punched well above their weight. Nonington CC had a lovely ground at Fredville Park which was a million miles better than the garbage that the gardeners turned out for us at the College. I see that Nonington CC these days now have a pretty high standing in the Kent League, so they are continuing to progress. Is Nev Ring still about? He used to spend Saturday and Sunday mornings every summer on the road roller, preparing the wicket.

Gail Barwick
Neville moved away several years ago with his female friend….I believe it was Portsmouth way……divorced many years ago. His younger brother and mother went into a nursing home together but sadly she passed away last year having passed her 100th birthday. I don’t think you’d know many of the cricketers now. They mostly come from Wingham and other local villages. Brian was the last of the old boys. The ground misses the caring hand of Ron Webb…many old trees have gone and its rather messy near the Lodge Stores! Oh! You might remember Ian Clark (Titch) and Mike Kemp. Neither play now, but both live in the village. Others of your era are in nearby villages.          

Gail Barwick
Another name you may remember is Chud Pilcher….he’s still around.

John Hansell
I remember Titch and Chuddy

John Hansell
And Colin Clark, Titch’s elder brother

John Hansell
And Neil Medgett

Gail Barwick
Colin Clark is a cousin in law….he married Laura Barwick…who sadly passed away many years ago. He moved to Lyminge and played there, still lives there with his partner. Neil Medgett died about 3 years ago. Titch and Chud both live in the village. Chud married a college girl….Lesley, she too sadly passed away a few years ago.

John Hansell
 Please pass on my regards to Titch and Chudd

Gail Barwick
I will do.

John Hansell
Maybe there are still people in Nonington – who would like to see the articles on this site about their Village. I’m not sure if we really showed our appreciation of how they made us feel welcome as short term guests.

Sue Trewin
It seems that no matter when you were at Nonington it made a big impact on you, leaving fun and happy memories. How lucky we all were to be a part of it.

Ingrid Stanton
I was in Old Court House year 1 then lodged with Mr & Mrs Ledner in St. Mary’s Road next to  Mrs Docherty. Mrs Ledner was the housekeeper for the college & Mr Ledner was a manager up at the pit.

I was interviewed by Mrs Ledner when I requested to go into digs there, it was certainly home from home. My breakfast & evening meals were provided & Mrs L was a fantastic cook, the range  was always blasting away, the pies & roasts were amazing. On Wednesdays, they visited family in Ashford so I was allowed friends back. Trish Bailey & Jane Wass were in digs up by the pit so they came to me , Mrs L always left food for us which always included cheese.  One evening,  between us we ate 1lb of cheese, which meant that after that she left us small pieces.   Mrs L helped teach me to knit so that I could make a jumper for my then boyfriend, later husband, so it worked. I remember waking one morning to find a little mouse sitting on the eiderdown washing itself, I was so upset that Mr L put down mousetraps!!  I had such a great time in year 2, that I requested my 3rd year there as well. I had to go into college for a little while in year 3 when Mrs L had shingles very badly but soon went ” home.” I still have & use the knitting needle box that Mrs L gave me for my 21st birthday, its brings back such happy memories, I was so happy at Nonington with three wonderful years.

Ingrid Stanton
I forgot to say that I visited Mr & Mrs L for years, bringing my babies to see them & also as they grew older. We exchanged christmas & birthday cards, I came to Mr L’s funeral which walked through the village with the undertaker in front, all the traffic stopped & it was walked all the way to the church over the Barham crossroads to the other side of the main road. When Mrs L was taken ill, I visited her in Canterbury hospital & then sadly attended her funeral. They were so very much my second family and gave me so much, I could never have thanked them enough.

Sheila Barker
When did you attend Nonington, Ingrid?

Ingrid Stanton
1967-1970

Sheila Barker
Ah I was there 70-73. How wonderful that you continued your visitations. It must have been a very special relationship….

John Hansell
They were the real Golden Years, weren’t they?

Ingrid Stanton
They certainly were.

Ingrid Stanton
It was, I called them my 2nd mum & dad.

Carolyn Brown
I really enjoyed reading your story. My years at Nonington were very happy.

Ian Gedge
What years were you at the college? So many homes in the village had students in digs. We were no different at College Cottage; the only difference was my mum only wanted boys. Mind you there were 4 of us Gedge boys and she probably thought it was easier to deal with boys than girls.

Ian Gedge
By the time she had girl students lodging, I’d been packed off to the RAF!!!

John Hansell
That’s what mums are for!

Ingrid Stanton
1967-1970

Sandra Eldridge
What a lovely account. I’m fascinated by the interview bit! l had not heard of that happening before. I do remember Mrs Ledner though…68-72

Sandra Eldridge
Actually. Also the bit about asking to go into digs at the Ledners. What made you do that? Did they have a great reputation?

Sandra Eldridge
I wish I could match your story ….I was out at Aylesham with Mrs Jenkins…3 of us.. In a miners house. She was Welsh… Cooked breakfast every day and always freshly baked cakes for supper. Come to think of it, we 3 must have asked to be together…I had a car so travel to and fro from there was ok. l did always envy Geo and the other 7 at Old Court Farm…. It was such a welcoming place .

Ingrid Stanton
Yes, a wonderful reputation, I cannot remember the name of the 3rd year that was lodging with them, she too had spent 2 years with them. I don’t think interviews were the norm, but I went to Mrs L and asked if I could be considered their next lodger, so she arranged to met me and have a chat. Lots of questions & answers, she must have liked what she heard because she offered to have me the very next day, I was so happy.

John Hansell
When I close the comments on the Village People at the end of this week, can I cut and paste this post on that page – so we can add it to all the other nice comments about the digs we had?

Ingrid Stanton
Yes of course.

Rosemary Smith
I lived in Church Road with Mrs Bushell. She was a widow & loved to look after me.

Carolyn Brown
I lived with Mrs Bushell too and she loved having students. She had a little Jack Russell, I think her name was Mandy – as she called her Mandy moo. Gosh memories eh…

Rosemary Smith
Yes, you are right, Mandy the Jack Russell was as lovely as Mrs B. We exchanged Christmas cards for years after I left but then they stopped, presumably she moved or passed away.

Carolyn Brown
I think you are right. Such a lovely lady though.

Gail Barwick
That’s a lovely story about Mrs Ledner. She was such a nice lady….well liked in the village.

Susan Maitland
Two wonderful years with The Barwicks at Home Farm. They only did breakfasts on weekends, we were only a step away from the college . Lovely people. Can remember being caught swiping the cream off the milk that Mr B had brought in from milking. Fabulous!

Gail Barwick
I was actually in digs with Mrs Garlinge….called Mrs G, who lived up in Easole Heights, next door to Mr and Mrs Woodrow. My room mate was Denny, nee Lockley, and we were treated like family.   My 3rd year was with Peter and Liz Bushell, who lived in Church Street.

David File
How ever did they put up with you two.

David File
When I joined the Nonington badminton club, I was about twelve years old and Mrs Ledner was playing in the seniors.  She was a lovely person always smiling and laughing, she really enjoyed the club atmosphere.

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