The Parish Church of St George the Martyr, Waterlooville


22. Moving to Waterlooville

After these visits I felt much better and settled down again, and started to take an interest in what was going on in the country. The American Neil Armstrong had a walk on the moon, it was a great step forward for the scientists but when I look at the moon at night I don't feel the slightest wish to go there even after all these years. It’s a good job we are not all made alike, and our own world seemed to be in a very bad way. Ireland was causing trouble and British troops were being sent to Ulster where there were gun battles and strife, but on the other side of the coin the “Jumbo Jet” had arrived from America bringing 300 employees of Pan Am Airline and members of the U.S. Federation of Airways. The planes were able to carry 400 passengers. They looked so enormous from the ground that one wondered how ever they took off but they did and are still doing so I believe. But with all this wonderful achievement nobody seemed to be able to prevent war from breaking out in so many parts of the world; Vietnam being just one of them.

I had now made my mind up to settle somewhere near Denmead and started to look for a cottage or a bungalow. At least I don’t think I really liked the thought of living alone and Tony came up with the idea of a “granny pad” in their house. There was plenty of room, Mark was born about this time so Jane would have three children to look after now while Tony was away, so I might be of some use. It seemed a great idea, Tony drew the plans for the council to pass. This proved to be rather a long job, so I bought myself my first caravan and lived in it in the garden until the building was complete. As usual it took much longer than I expected so I went to America to see what I had missed.

After Bob’s death his brother invited me to visit him in Baltimore so I flew there in one of these new Jumbo Jets. This was a great adventure, I had never flown across the Atlantic, nor had I travelled alone on a plane and now I was to meet a sister-in-law whom I had never seen on the other side of the ocean. I knew Bob’s brother when he was in England visiting his mother. The family came to see me off with great excitement, but I was terrified. I boarded this great monster, after a hurried goodbye and was soon taken in hand by a charming Hostess who saw me comfortably settled and asked if I would like a drink after take-off. I said “Sure”, and I think you should make it a double!! It was a wonderful flight, the meals were great, there were earphones for music, and a film to watch if you wished. It was “Cabaret”, and I can still remember it. At the airport I found my sister-in-law quite easily and we were soon on our way to Baltimore. The house was very spacious, large rooms, a swimming pool in the garden, a veranda, and a rocking chair on the patio. All was very American, press buttons for everything in the kitchen with a breakfast bar. My room reminded me of a book called “Anne of Green Gables” which I had read years ago. It was a very large farm for breeding racehorses complete with racing stables and we spent a lot of time going to different race meetings. I had only had dealings with hacks and hunters but these thoroughbred race horses were quite a different matter. There were acres and acres of post and rail fences separating the different horses. There were brood mares with foals - some awaiting them, some race horses in training, some resting and many others. There were two old hunters spending their last years out to grass, they were very sweet and gave you a gentle ride. I never got tired of walking round these enclosures with a forest of maple trees in the distance with their leaves turning bright red in the fall. At one of the Race Meetings we had a winner and had our photos taken with the owner, jockey and trainer, and celebrated after the meeting with a lunch in one of the spacious dining rooms under the stands.

I went to Washington and saw the White House, Lincoln Statue, Jeffersons Memorial and many other things my memory fails on. There was Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, Long Island, playgrounds of the wealthy, also the lovely old seaport town of Annapolis where the Naval Academy is situated. There was also Fort McHenry on the Maryland coast, the historic fort that the British attacked after burning Washington, and this inspired the wording of “The Star Spangled Banner” by Francis Scot Key in memory of the magnificent defence put up by the Fort and the local people which prevented the British from landing.

At this time Nixon was up for the presidency and we went to one of the meetings about the time of the election, which he won only soon to lose after “Watergate”. What a climax to his career. About this time I made preparations to return home.

Ruby Bullock

Festival Edition 2011

Ruby’s Memoirs