Monday, 5 March 2012

The tree trunk field

Something brought this to mind but I'm blowed if I know just what that something was.

In the way back yonder, it seems to me that my mother quite frequently took my brother and I into the country for picnics. I say 'my mother' because I have no recollection of my father ever being there for one of those expeditions. This was probably because he was serving in the Royal navy and in those days a draft (or deployment) to a ship lasted for three years. If the ship in question was in the Pacific or Far East fleet, the man was away from home for those three years. A far cry from the six month deployments that are moaned about by the wives of today's servicemen!

One of her favourite picnic places was the tree trunk field. Well, that is what we called it. To get there we had to take a bus from Gillingham, through Chatham, Rochester, Strood and Frindsbury out almost to the Isle of Grain. We would get off the bus at Chattenden and walk down a track through woods into the tree trunk field. There was a small copse in the field and a tree at the edge of the copse had fallen. It must have been down for a good many years as it had lost the bark and the trunk was bleached to a silvery colour. My brother and I thoroughly enjoyed climbing on this.

After we had finished our picnic we would continue down the hill to the village of Upnor. Here we would board a small ferryboat to travel up and across the River Medway to Sun Pier at Chatham to catch the bus home. It must have been quite something for my mother to get on that boat as she could be seasick walking along a stone jetty.

I have just Googled Upnor and looked at the pictures of the castle. I don't remember ever seeing it on our picnic expeditions; we certainly never went there. Perhaps it wasn't open to the public in those days. I looked at the map as well - which looks completely different to how I recall things. But then, it was 50 years ago that I last went to the tree trunk field.

1 comment:

Stephen Hayes said...

Much can change in fifty years, but our memories often hold true.