It is now forty years since we discovered the wonderful village of Woodhall Spa, and in particular a dilapidated, empty cottage in the corner of a field within a stone's throw of the River Witham. Tony and I came to Lincolnshire with our three sons in order to visit our friends who had moved into the Station House at Stixwould, which is the first village that you pass through if you take the "back" route to Lincoln. We were on our way back to Crawley in West Sussex, having spent a few days near York, visiting other friends who had also recently moved. We didn't own a large car in those days, so the rug that was now no longer needed in Bishopthorpe, York, was tied to the roof of the car because the back was packed with boys. When we reached Stixwould, the carpet was unloaded and laid on the roadway between Val and Graham's house and the disused railway station. Eight of us sat on it, willing it to fly! Somewhere there is a photo of us, but it hasn't, to my knowledge, been converted to digital, so you'll just have to use your imagination. For many years this carpet, which came from Tony's parents' bungalow in Hampshire, lived in the Station House, until it was replaced with new rugs on top of the original floor boards that had been lovingly sanded and sealed by Graham. (40 years ago "recycling" was common place.)
I had been very sceptical when Valerie told me that she was moving from the picturesque village of Lingfield in Sussex to Lincolnshire because her husband was now based at RAF Waddington. Valerie and I met on a teacher training course for mature ladies in 1969. There was a shortage of teachers in the 1960's and we were both delighted to be accepted on a three year, part-time course, mainly based in Crawley but run by Bognor College of Education. We both opted for Religious Studies as our main subject, whilst I specialised in the middle school years (8-13 year olds) for basic subjects and Val's favourite age group was nursery and reception. It was a fantastic three years (and we even got a grant of £2000 per year in those days to help us along). Many of the women had left other jobs, but I was a full-time mum and enjoyed being a registered child minder.
Anyway, back to Stixwould and Woodhall Spa. I "ate my hat" within hours of arriving and Tony and I went off to look for something to buy and use as a holiday home. For years we'd fantasized about getting one in Devon, but we knew it was outside of our price range, and in those days properties in Lincolnshire were certainly worth considering. Whilst I was training to be a teacher, we learnt that all of our sons were dyslexic, and I very much wanted somewhere to take them away for weekends and school holidays to a place where they could realise that it didn't matter if you couldn't read or write, because there are other, far more important, aspects to living happily. Tony and I also discovered that we too were dyslexic, which explained our perplexing results at grammar school. We soon accepted the limitations that we had to come to terms with, but neither of us would have wished to be have been "made" differently. We delighted in realising that we saw our worlds visually, and not through words, if that makes sense to you. Dyslexics are often creative, divergent thinkers and problem solvers.
To be continued......