Wednesday, 17 April 2013

It’s enough to make you weep!

THIS column is usually made up of a mix of nostalgia, comment (invariably on the council)  and tributes to those who loom large in our community.

I write it in the hour before we go to press late on a Tuesday afternoon, by which time I usually have a good idea what I’m going to say.

Finding something for 'Event of The Week' gets a little more difficult as time goes on, as I attend fewer events in Lyme as I am responsible for the editing and managing of 18 titles out of our Lyme Regis office.

Daughter Francesca covers most of the events in Lyme and in a few weeks time I will be handing over this page for the return of her popular “Summertime in Lyme” column. 
If nothing else, it gives the councillors a break from me for a few weeks.

There have only been a few occasions when I have got to 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon and I can’t think of a thing to write about. This happened a few weeks ago and I was scratching my head when someone in the office opined: “Are we ever going to get some spring weather?”

Suddenly I started thinking about springtime when I was a boy and Stuart Broom and I would cycle over to Wootton Fitzpaine to pick wild daffodils and sell them around the estate for sixpence a bunch. I went on to recall how our fathers spent every Sunday in the garden growing veg, picking fruit and rearing chickens to provide for their family.

As with all such memories, they were recalled through rose tinted glasses but they did strike a cord with many people who lived on the estate during their growing-up years.

One stopped me and said: “Your column made my cry. It took me back to my own childhood days. Such happy times in Anning Road.”

This column, of course, has reduced many to tears over the years, but for very different reasons!

Resorting to un-ashamed nostalgia when you can’t think of another subject is old trick for newspaper columnists. There’s always great interest when we publish old photos of Lyme people and the thirst for days gone by seem unquenchable, as demonstrated by Ken Gollop’s recent “Under Shady Tree” afternoon at the Woodmead Halls.

“Shady Tree” was a popular post-war meeting place for young people in Anning Road and over the years Ken has presented a number of what we used to call slide shows on various events and personalities in Lyme.

There is also a Facebook page dedicated to Lyme Regis Nostalgia - - which has unearthed some previously unseen and fascinating material and is hugely popular.

I’m not one for looking back but, of course, the older I get the more thankful I am that my life has been full of wonderful memories of life in this town. 

Dinner time with the Homyers....

I AM often called an old woman and recently I have attracted a few quizical looks from my staff as I have been thumbing through a copy of “Women’s Weekly”, dated October 1952. In those days you could buy a copy of one of the top selling women’s magazines for the princely sum of 3d (that’s threepence in old money).

I promised not to reveal the identity of the reader who thought I would be interested in seeing the magazine (he’s married to a councillor and lives in Woodmead Road!).

Obviously an avid reader himself, he drew my attention to an advertisement for Bisto featuring the Homyer fishing family of Lyme Regis. This was of particular interest to me as my grandmother was a Homyer.

The ad showed a picture (black and white of course) of Jack Homyer carrying a lobster pot on his shoulder with the caption: 

Fishing? It’s all long hours and hard going, says Mr J. Homyer of Lyme Regis who works 81 pots with his son. But good luck or bad, we’re always ready for a square meal at the end of our homeward run. 

The ad also shows a photo of Jack pouring out the gravy at a Homyer family table with son Victor (who went on to become mayor of Lyme), his wife and daughter, captioned as follows: 

“From six years old graddaughter to 60 years old, there’s no doubt about Bisto’s popularity in the Homyer’s. You’ve got to eat well when you work hard, says Mrs Homyer. That’s why I would not be without my Bisto. It makes the meal.”

The ad also included a voucher worth £1 which could be redeemed if a Bisto Kid called at your house and you showed them a tin of the gravy granules.

Ahh! Bisto! There’s always a tin in our house.


THINGS were a little fractious in the Evans household early on Friday morning. We had to get up early to put the bacon and sausages on to cook in the kitchen at the Baptist Church where we were holding the annual Big Breakfast in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Even before a cursory “good morning”, Mrs E commented: “You know, you don’t actually do much at the Big Breakfast do you? Just talk to people really.”

I protested that I was the official “meeter and greeter” and was there to see everything went smoothly. She was not impressed.

She was even less impressed a few hours later,  having sweated over a hot oven with my sister-in-law Christine who between them, committee members Joanna Hopkins and Anita Routley, prepared not far off 200 breakfasts. 

Brother John washed up for over five hours and daughter Francesca, Michaela Ellis and her mum, Gloria, helped with the waitressing and ran the raffle. Claire Denslow delivered the bacon and sausage butties in the View From Smart car. What a team!

I kept a low profile, although I was drafted into the kitchen on a few occasions to help out.

This was the fifth Big Breakfast we had organised for Cancer Research and it turned out to be the best ever, raising nearly £1,200. You can’t beat a good fry-up!

So a huge thank you to all of you who gave your support and a special thank you to the Baptist Church who allow us to use their wonderful hall and are always very kind and helpful. 

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