This article was in the September 2006 Forest Town Crier and is still appropriate to re-print 10 years on. It will no doubt stir up memories for many of you. Phyllis born in September 1913 is no longer with us but would be tickled pink to think someone is still interested in her memories. Pauline Marples
Page 16, issue 20 Forest Town Crier Community Newspaper
The school holidays are now over and I am sure some of you will have been to a picnic. No doubt like us you will have travelled to your venue in a car, taken a freezer bag to keep your drinks cool, your sandwiches would be in a plastic container. A travel rug or picnic chairs to sit on are also often a part of today’s picnic outings. A 93 year old reader recalls a number of years ago picnics were a little different.
‘I lived at Sherwood Golf Club with my mum and dad and sisters and brothers, we had a happy life. The forest near to us was called Ling Forest – a type of heather that grew there had little bells on it and was called Ling Heather and this is where the forest got its name from.
In the school holidays people used to come up the lane near the Golf Club and they would spread their coats out on the grass or heather and sit down for a picnic, they probably had a few jam or dripping sandwiches with them and a bottle of water. When the water had gone the kids used to come to our back door asking for some water. My mum didn’t have time to keep getting this for them so she would open the wash house door for them to use the tap in there. The wash house which was built on to the Golf House had a copper and a little sink with a tap in.
The kids would go in and fill their bottles and then play about splashing the water around as kids do. Very often the water would run dry and when that happened we had to get the key and run down to the pump house in the trees below the house and start pumping with a handle, this was to get the generator working. We had to do it steady so not to fuse it. Gradually the water tank which was on the wall outside the bathroom would fill up, and once it started to overflow we knew it was full. One of us would stay near the tank and wave to the one down at the pump house to let them know.
The water was pumped from a stream or well in the woods. The woods in that area were always damp and had beautiful ferns growing there, very different to the woods with heather and grass.
People used to enjoy their picnics. I once remember we sat on the fence watching and some guides came. They asked us if we wanted to join in their games and we did.
The picnic area all changed when they put the big pylons up in Crown Farm Fields and the buckets came over from the pit, slurry ran down the slope and put an end to picnics on Ling Forest.
My sister-in-law who is a little younger than me does not recall any of the picnics, or seeing the soldiers from Clipstone Camp marching past and whistling, that was in the first world war. She remembers the soldiers and tanks near the golf club in the second world war.’