Memories of Quarley by Nigel Taylor

Nigel TaylorFor those of you that remember me "Hello", for those of you that do not, I shall give you a brief history, my name is Nigel Taylor, and from the age of 4 years old to around 19 (that would be 1967 to about 1982) I lived with my family, father and mother Norman and Joe Taylor, and my brother Norman at No.4 Etwall, Quarley, and what a great place to grow up it was. Now I am nearing my 43 birthday and live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, with my wife Keri and our two children Brett Robert (6 years old) and Brooke Elizabeth (2 years old). I work as a Paralegal (Legal assistant) for South Florida Water Management District helping to restore the natural waterways and Everglades to as close to their original state as possible. Well thatís me, at the end of this, I will put in my home address, and for those of you who have leapt or have been dragged into the computer era my e-mail, just in case youíd like to swap memories, but I digress.

Quarley was without doubt a fine village to be raised in, and by all account there wasnít a finer village in the area to be chased by the farmer (Stuart Cross and his uncles) or by the livestock, here I refer to the one and only "Billy the Bull" whose countenance and stature up there on the hill above the newly installed sewage "thingy" was the stuff of legend and so was his speed, for those that donít know the sewage "thingy" was located where the newer houses and flats are located on the left side as you enter Etwall. Stuart also had the best barns to play in (while he and Mouse werenít looking) and although at the time I believe he thought it was us that set fire to the large barn of the track up Duck Street, I can tell him that at the time we were all playing football at the pitch and it was us that raised the alarm, again I digress.

Anyway back to Quarley, during my early life there, there werenít very many children, the Watts, Davies, Stones, Wells and Sandifordís, and later the Hills and the notorious Mark Abbey (just kidding). I remember that the Sandifords at the time had cornered the market on children at about 7, and the echoís of Billy and David Sandiford running for cover as their mother wheeled the hosepipe around her head, still makes me smile. While there wasnít much in the way of artificial amusements we found plenty to occupy our time spend dawn to dusk, play "arrow tag" a form of hide and seek played over many a mile including Quarley hill and all the surrounding woods, walking in the woods watching the badgers, looking for birds nest, playing football and digging up old bottle and old things in general in the dump. The life saver to us kids during summer holidays was the wonderful Mrs. Marshall who had a lovely cottage off Skew Road, she would have us all up to the house, she nicknamed named me "midge" to play crocket on the lawns, watch the test matches in her lovely living room, play games and enjoy huge bowls of her best homemade strawberry ice cream. She was fantastic to us and made sure we stayed out of trouble, Iíll never forget her.

The Place and People.

As I remember at that time, Quarley and in particular Etwall consisted of about 11 house and about 6 flats I believe the bungalows came later, and I canít remember the dear old man that lived there, for the longest time I saw him through my eye as a mean old person, only to find out late, he was one of the nicest people I would ever encounter, I believe he is buried at Quarley and it is shameful that is name slips me. There were further cottages up Duck Street, Mrs. Futcher and Tony along with Dr. Bell on the corner and the Post Officer, the occupant whose name is lost to me at this time, up toward Stuartís farm at the corner lived Mr. Newman, who was forever telling us to go play at our own end of the village, there were two further cottages of which I canít remember who owned them, but we had a fine time playing in them when they were being renovated, then there was the old school house, which I believe Mr. & Mrs. Wells and their three children lived in for a while, and where Charlie "the cowman" Clothier's bungalow was later built, then further up down the little track at the back of the farm is where Mouse and his family lived, the owner of the Jack Russellís that would chase anyone on foot or bike, then Stuart Cross built a bungalow just further up where he lived and had a daughter Lucinda and further down the road was where Danny and Shirley Cope lived, with Shaun and Colin near Lanes farm. Now as far as Etwall was concerned let me see if I remember right, on entering Etwall the first house on the right belonged to Mr. & Mrs. Rose, then came Mr. & Mrs. Tubbs, then Mrs. Stone, later to house Mr. & Mrs. Davis with Annette and Denise, who I believe lived in the flats to start, after that was us, next was Mr. Turton with Chris (I will walk everywhere) and Carol, next the Sandiford clan, later to be occupied by Mr. & Mrs. Hill, next I believe were the Blackmanís with Ron, next not sure, then the Abbeyís with Mark and Tammy, next Mr. & Mrs. Stone, Kevinís grandparents, next Mr. & Mrs. Horner, the pigeon guy and if memory serves was the pre-runner to Hartleyís van, last of the houses was Mr. & Mrs. Watts with David, Ian, Jimmy and Shirley, next were the bungalows and I canít remember who was in them or in the flats. Now we all I am sure remember the Saturday afternoon football matches at the pitch up Duck Street, having the scar and keep the cows of the pitch and the players slipping in the stuff and of course dear old Cyril the manager. Who can forget the many nights at Quarley Club, the darts matches, the tournaments and the dances, great times? Who remembers the Silver Jubilee 1977 whole steer roast, anyone still have pictures, Iíd love to see them.

There are so many memories I have of that little village that seemed so far removed from Andover growing up, Razeyís (phonetic) buses, being snowed in, Somerton Rainier (phonetic) in Duck Street landing his helicopters and driving that huge amphibious landing craft around the little roads, old Mr. Sevier eventually getting electricity, Amport school and so much more, harvest time, The yearly trips from Quarley club, these were lots of fun as a lot of drinking took place as the coach was loaded to the gills with beer and crisps, Thruxton races on Easter Monday and then paper picking the day after, ferreting on Quarley Hill without telling Stuart of course, knock down ginger, tying string to the door knocker and pulling it to knock the door much to the chagrin most of the time to Mr. Rose and the Bell of the good Doctor, ringing those now stolen church bells and thinking no one would know who did it despite there being only a few of us, still fun, and most of all preparing for and having bonfire night on the site where the sewage "thingy" was with baked potatoes on the burning embers.

I would be happy to hear from anyone who remembers me, and who can give me updates on Etwall and the area, I know that some of the people have sadly passed that were a big part of my life in Quarley, but their memories are still fresh in my mind. Cheers to you all.

Nigel Taylor E-Mail:

P.S. Sorry to hear about the church bell, I hope they get the perpetrator and are able to put the bells back.

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