|Holy Trinity Church in the heart of the village. It's where I was christened.|
Mrs Rosling ran the post office on the corner of South Street and West Street. Mr Peers was the proprietor of the grocer's shop. Mr and Mrs Ward ran "The Hare and Hounds" public house. Joe Grubham was the village street cleaner and the vicar at Holy Trinity Church was The Reverend Staveley. Dr Baker presided over the village surgery. Mrs Austwick owned the sweet shop which of course was one of my favourite places.
By 1964 the village was already growing with private housing estates beginning to occupy what had once been open fields belonging to local farmers. Today the village has a population of 2,500.
One of those villagers is still my younger brother Simon. He is a single man who rents a little cottage opposite the village school, less than fifty yards from the front school house bedroom in which we were both born. At sixty three he is still working in the water services industry though he had several other jobs before that one - including hotel maintenance, gravel dredging in The North Sea, gas servicing and caravan repairs. In terms of work, he has had to be pretty adaptable.
That village with its associated childhood memories is ingrained in my psychology. I only have to close my eyes and I can walk those streets again or cycle out to surrounding farms or walk by the old canal all the way to The River Hull. It's all still there in my head.
And I can still see the people I knew back then as if it was yesterday. The other village lads with whom I played endless games of football. P.C. Pepys who lived in the old police house on High Stile and the newcomers who arrived with the new houses - like Paul and Ron and Roland and Ann-Marie Burns from Westlands Way who I pined for like a lost puppy when I was in my early teens. Later her pretty face was ravaged by acne.
I think it was good to grow up in a village like that. It was safe and certain and at least in the early years of life, every face was familiar. There was a world out there beyond the village boundaries but it didn't seem to impinge very significantly upon our lives.
Milk was delivered to our doorstep. The fishmonger's van came round on Fridays and the Law's pop (American: soda) wagon came every fortnight. There was a village bonfire every Guy Fawkes Night and every summer a village garden fete and a village show that was held in the old Recreation Hall. I won the first prize for children's arts and crafts twice.
That simple village life was all I really knew and for that I am grateful. You might say it has been the solid foundation from which the rest of my life has evolved. A community in which we all knew each other, knew about our individual ups and downs and generally supported one another. After all, we breathed the same air in the same square mile of this vast planet. We had much in common.