Richard was born in Olney in 1947 and at the age of three years old his parents moved to live in Abbey Square, Turvey. Richard recalls the living conditions they found there. Richard and his family moved five or six times over the years, living at Abbey Square, 2 High Street and Tandys’ Close in Turvey. When Richard left school he recalls how he was offered and accepted a job as gardener to Mrs. Allan at Turvey Abbey, and describes the type of work he did. Richard recalls his favourite meal and the lengths that the family went to provide food for the table.
Richard recalls the living conditions they found in Abbey Square
“I mean we had … it was very Spartan, how I can remember it, gas mantle lights and just sort of two rooms, and nothing in them really. An outside toilet, which was a bucket toilet, where we had … used to have tore up newspapers, on a nail, you know, we could use, to go the toilet. And bath night was Friday night, old tin bath in front of the fire that mum used to boil the kettle and pots and pans and everything to fill it up. And we used to share that, well it was only me to start really until we got my brother and sister come along later on, but it was the same sort of thing all the way through really.”
Richard remembers his interview with Mrs. Allan for his first job as a gardener.
“Then we got back to Turvey, we moved to 2 High Street, yeah 2 High Street, Turvey. It was sort of a tied cottage thing, arrangement, with me mum working for Mrs. Allan at Turvey Abbey, because it was a private house then, and we was there for a little while until I sort of left school. And Mrs. Allan asked me if I’d like to become a gardener with her, over there and so she, she invited me over to see her for an interview really and I … we met, I had to go and sit on the porch with her. I remember she cut me a little thin slice of cake out of this sponge, and I ate it. I thought that was alright. She said, ‘did you like that Richard?’ I said, oh I did, yeah. I was looking at the other one but I didn’t get … didn’t get anymore, that was it, that was me lot! And she, she offered me a job there so that’s where I first sort of started work really. Round the Abbey.”
Richard describes his favourite meal and some of the other meals they ate.
“Generally we’d have … oh we’d have beans and chips I suppose, ock’n’dough, that was one we used to like. Interviewer: What was that? Richard: It’s like a, it’s like a dumpling mix made with suet, and you roll it out and put it in a tin, in a tray, and you slice onions up on top of it,, and then you put a nice bit of pork on it, then roast. Well, potatoes on top all round it, and probably a few carrots and that and put it in the oven. It’s like a one … one tray dish really I suppose, it’s, because the fat from the pork kind of gets in to the suet stuff, and it’s quite tasty actually. It’s probably not very good for you, but we used to like it, used to be crispy on the bottom and soft in the middle and soft on top. And we used to have, Sunday we’d probably have a joint and that would last three days. We’d have, mum’d, we’d have cold cuts on Monday and then Tuesday we’d, she’d probably make rissoles or something, she’d just grind them up with this mincer thing with a few onions or whatever.
Interviewer: Did you do the roast at home or did you put it in the bakers? Richard: Yeah, no we used to do it at home. I know they did that sort of thing, you know, that time of day, But I think most of the time she did it herself. I seen a few people go up with tins, you know when I was younger. I think most of, well most things you eat really, I mean when we lived at Abbey Square, it was … well me dad didn’t have a lot of money. He was … I remember the winter time, I had two, some pet rabbits there. Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail I think it was called and we … he didn’t have no money really and we had to eat the rabbits, they had to be killed and something to eat really.”