We moved to East Ogwell village in 1988. A long time ago now. Really I was returning to East Ogwell as I had moved to this pretty village first when I was sixteen. The view from the Village Green to Dartmoor still fills me with joy when I have been away. As you turn the corner and arrive at the green the view is stunning.
I got married in St Bartholomew's Church in 1976 and then our teaching careers took us to Dorset.
When we were planning our wedding the church bells were not in working order. They needed extensive renovation to bring them back to a full peal. A peal which was rung out all over the village to announce a wedding or a sad toll to call people together to pay their final respect to someone in the village when they had died.
My Mum was determined that the bells should peal out on my wedding day and the vicar at the time must have seen something in her, that up until that point no one else had recognised. Determination, relentless determination and energy to make things happen.
I remember him saying to my Mum, at that point not really a church goer " well if you want the bells to ring you will have to raise the money!
Well to cut a very long story short the bells rung out loud and clear on our wedding day. One of the hottest days in August 1976.
My Mum got the bug! Her list of fund raising activities for the village,local hospitals, the Kidney Unit in Exeter and other charitable institutions became a phenomenon. She actually had a kidney transplant herself but nothing stopped her. I smile when I think of her because people used to almost find it easier to say yes to her requests than no.
When she died my family placed a bench in the village dedicated to her, and my wonderful step dad who was her firmest supporter. The church put a plaque by her seat in the church she came to love.
She died in 2004 and I have missed her ever since. I walk into the church and I see her surrounded by flowers and greenery. The flower festivals she arranged were amazing.
I drive past the village hall and think of the Luncheon Clubs she started and worked tirelessly for.
I drive past the village green and think of her as Chairman of the Parish Council.
I was enormously proud of her but, I also, like many others,dreaded those words. " I just need a little help with ...." It would be the embryo of another scheme.
Of course over the years since her death others have continued her wonderful work in the village. But, I have watched from afar. I knew why. I knew that attending the Village Fair, or Flower Festival or Tennis Club Barbecue would make me miss my Mum even more.
But, this morning my Sister In Law phoned early. She has just moved into the village and her husband is away with work. She asked me to go to the Village Fair because she wanted to enter her little Westie in the Dog show. It would have been mean and churlish of me to say no. So I went for the first time since my Mum died. Ten years.
We had to book Archie, her West Highland Terrier in before the Summer Fair began . It was such a beautiful Midsummers Day.
Sideshows, games, stalls , exhibitions, barbecues and bands. All were there.
There was a super book being sold to raise funds for the a Church.
She lived in number 5 Rose Cottages.
I did shed a tear. I did not know that she was going to be a part of the display or the book. But, I do know she is still a part of our lives . We will never forget her but I was so proud that so many others have not either.
It was a happy day though and now I think I will be able to go to more Village events. And to end it in the perfect way. Archie came first in his class in the Dog Show. The Veterans Class. Time is passing us by so quickly... Even for little doggies. But he has only just moved to Devon and been honoured already.
I hope you have had a wonderful Midsummers Day too!