Andalucia Steve

...living the dream

A friend of mine, Judi Swift very kindly researched my family tree when she visited me in Spain a few years back, the branches of which can be seen by clicking on the branch names Gould and Oldrey.

No royalty or money was found I'm afraid!

The Coat of Arms of  the Gould FamilyDad's side were all agricultural labourers that were based for a long while in Froxfield, Hants. Notably Ann (b1854) had two children out of wedlock, but this was common practice at the time for poor people who perhaps were unable to afford a wedding - their relationship would be acknowledged and condoned by the church. A set of scans of the Froxfield census data can be downloaded here.

Grandma Sophia is the subject of a mystery, as at aged 18 she is listed as being resident in a 'home' for young woman. Whether this was because of a crime or whatever reason we have been unable to ascertain. Answers on a postcard!

On mum's side a mix of farmers and shop keepers are found. Notice how many Janes are listed as offspring of William Oldrey. It was thought quite normal in those days if a child had died, to reuse the name for subsequent issue. In this case it happened quite a few times, and the name was passed down the generations and was mum's middle name.

On both sides of the tree there is a recurring pattern of men marrying much younger women, noticeably Willam 'dirty old man' Oldrey who married Jemima who was 37 years his junior!!

I came along on 13th September 1962. My father was 54 years old and my mother 37 so I feel quite lucky to be here. I'm fact I am lucky to be here. Rather than being planned, I learned later that I was the product of the celebration of my middle sisters wedding!

My childhood was spent in Surbiton. We lived in Hollyfield road (see http://www.hollyfieldroad.co.uk/HollyfieldRoad.pdf)

in a tiny three bedroom cottage that was tied to a school where my father was the caretaker and my mother a cleaner. As they were there a lot of the time, so was I, and I had the whole of the place as my fantasy playground. As kids do, I got to know every  inch of the place. I even remember climbing inside the massive coal fired central heating boilers. Keeping the boilers going was a big part of my fathers job. We had two big enclosures that took a lorry load of coal each, and much time was spent bringing coal to the boilers and shovelling it in. So ever present was I with my father that the schools needlework teacher made me a boiler suit just like his. How proud I was being wheeled around in his barrow in matching costume! Everthing was fine and dandy until I went to school.

Tolworth infants school was probably not that bad, but when you're five you don't have a whole lot of things to compare it to. My take on it that it severely limited the time I cherished with my mom and dad so I hated it. I often wonder about whether having spent so much time at work with my parents was a good thing or not. I've certainly never warmed to spending time in any institution since and have ended up spending a good deal of the last twenty years working at home. Anyhow, three years at infants did teach me to read and write and I made a lasting friend, Andy, whom I sat next to on my first day and with whom I remain in touch 45 years later.

The move to junior school was less than ideal. Prior to the year before I arrived, St Matthew's had actually been an all girls school. There was stigma. We were teased and bullied. However after a year or two the number of boys and girls evened out and we just got on with it I suppose.

The thing I most remember about junior school was how magically special 1973 seemed to be. It's hard to put into words but it just seemed to have everything going on. The pop music seemed better than ever and I watched TOTP for the first time. We were planting a tree in 73. We visited the crystal palace dinosaur park. I discovered science fiction. Yvonne my next door neighbour kissed me and we looked at each others privates.  It was just a year where everything seemed to be happening and everything was modern, special and arty.

The following year 1974 was different. My father was 65 and had to retire, which meant we had to leave the cottage where I had been brought up. I also had to get rid of snowy my pet rabbit as there was a no pets rule in the new house. It was not a fun time. We moved into a council house in Glen Rd, Chessington. Actually it was quite lovely when I got used to it. I was a cul-de-sac with a green area of about half an acre in the middle, and I made a few friends for footy and french cricket etc.

Shortly after it was time to move up to secondary school....to be continued.