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Country notebook, by David Hill

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 02, 2014

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The summer after I’d won the painting competition, there was more success at the manor summer sport’s day.

On Saturday morning I went to pick my wild flowers, recalling my aged maiden aunt’s tip as I gathered my blooms. The two and a half mile walk to the manor house – treat time filled with frolics, fun and feasting. The egg and spoon, three legged, sack, 100 yards, two laps around the field races and the high jump.

I won the egg and spoon, breasting the binder cord tape and receiving six pence (2½p).

I recall the tug of war – boys and men taking the strain in a heave and pull on the hempen rope. A white handkerchief was knotted in the middle of the rope. A sudden tug, the winning pull over the starting mark.

In the hall the wild flowers rammed into jam jars were set out on the trestle table top. The judging over. Waiting for the announcement by the lady of the manor. Six pence for third prize. A shilling for second placed contestant.

My name called out. A muttering from the mother whose daughter had been placed second as I received my florin (10p). “Grasses aren’t flowers.”

My aunt’s retorted:, “Of course they’m flowers. Got seeds on them. Flowers make seeds, so they’m flowering grasses.’

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