After a lifetime of living with the dramas that unfolded in his young life, Ted Baverstock has published his memoir, complete with charming photos from the time, putting images to the names and places in the book. Now we can all share his recollections of life in a simple, bygone age.
It’s hard to imagine how we would cope today with the uprooting of city children from their families and transplantation to totally alien rural communities. One can appreciate the threat posed by the blitz and mothers desperation to save their children from death and destruction. Frequently taking on an evacuee was seen as a way to boost the family budget as much as a duty for the war effort by the hosts in these far-off villages. It is in this atmosphere that Ted was shipped with his whole class, from Dagenham in Essex to Shapwick in Somerset. Neither they, nor their parents knew where they were being sent, who they would be billeted with or when, or if, they would see their mothers, fathers and siblings again should London fall to the Nazis. There were no means of communication other than by letters in the post.
Ted’s account is detailed and factual. His new life is a revelation and in spite of missing his family and the city he knew, he revels in the exciting new discoveries he makes. No aspect of his adoptive rural community is omitted – from the wild to the agricultural animals he encountered, the characters he met and the adventures he had.
In a world where children were expected to be resilient and active – helping hands on the farm, in the fields and in the household, Ted tells us of the experiences that shaped and formed him. Certainly his return to the city when the war ended, left him wishing for the clean clear air and open spaces of the Somerset countryside he had grown to love. No doubt his future was directed by these early experiences and his choice to work in horticulture stems directly from these early influences.
A poignant and charming testimony to the strength and spirit of human beings living in the adversity of war. Available on Kindle and in paperback from Amazon worldwide.
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