A Village Childhood by Ruth Tremayne Harry

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A Village Childhood by Ruth Tremayne


An aerial view in the 1960s


Surfboards and sunsets
And pasties for lunch
With mackerel and ice cream
And flowers by the bunch

The hedges were high
And morals to match
Roosters and chickens
With eggs that would hatch

There were horses and rabbits
And sermons galore
With milkmen and grocers
Bringing food to your door

The steam train arrived
As my alarm every day
Then the bread man drove up
Saffron buns on display

The Methodist Chapel
Was the big focal point
But the village youth club
Was a seedier joint

We’d meet on the Green
To hang out with the boys
And climb sycamore trees
To escape family noise

With gymkhanas and whist drives
The Parish Council would meet
My Mum was the clerk
That was quite the hot seat

Grass track racing at night
The roar filled the air
We tasted the thrill
There was danger to share

Fish and chips in a van
At last heaven had come
But it exploded in flames
Before the cooking was done

Sunday School Anniversary
Was the height of the year
I would practice my solo
The lesson was clear

You had better conform
For God’s in command
My Dad’s on the organ
Does he understand?

There’s a farm on the corner
And a Pub by the Green
But that’s a place to avoid
Just make sure you’re not seen

Crossing gates were the heart
Of the small village lanes
Sleeman’s coal yard next door
But we’re the Tremayne’s

The railway crossing gate cottage


The garden show was the chance
For the locals to shine
There were carrots and beans
Grown to perfection on time

The farmers would triumph
They were best in the show
They had secrets not shared
How to make seedlings grow

With miniature gardens
The children compete
This creative pursuit
Kept the kids off the street

But with veggies and flowers
It was all based on size
The biggest and best
Would win the first prize

An idyllic time
Such an innocent life
I couldn’t wait to escape
The fate of being a wife

A village childhood
Was one I’ll never forget
And this Cornish adventure
Is not over yet

Greytop where Ruth lived


Ruth Tremayne Harry

Ruth was born in Quintrell Downs to Hugh and Edna Tremayne and believes her poetry stems from her love of music lyrics and the Methodist hymns from her childhood when her father was the organist at Kestle Mill and Quintrell Downs Methodist Chapels. Her writing in rhymed couplets was further developed during her many years in creative writing groups in New York City. One of her poems about a Cornish childhood was written for the Toronto Cornish Association and sent by her brother-in-law to cornwallyesteryear.com a newly created website in 2020. This re-connected Ruth and Terry Harry who had worked together at Barclays Bank Trust Company in Truro during the late 1960s.  Reunited when Ruth visited for a holiday in 2020, they married in 2021 and now make their home in St Day. Her poetry is currently inspired by her homecoming to Cornwall and is enhanced by Terry’s photography and posted to the website. They have jointly published a book entitled A Cornish Homecoming.

3 thoughts on “A Village Childhood by Ruth Tremayne Harry

  1. I love this poem. You’ve encompassed the simplicity of village life back in the day.

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