Upon my construction of the Scratch Build ,`Hillcrest Cottage`, i began to pen the tales of this old place,and of the people who once lived there. Although fiction much of it is based upon real people, as well as certain episodes and conditions witnessed and suffered in my own lifetime. At its beginning it was named Hillcrest, because of it having been built up from one.
The off-white painted cottage was rather long,being over 60` long and made of 18" Thick Cob,and had four good sized ground floor windows with the door planted just off side of the center on each side of this place. Reaching 33` wide it was also very large and the thatched roof housed two great tall brick chimney stacks,one at each end, and also four good sized Dormer Windows. Windows that looked down from on high upon the slopping ground of the front garden,and the narrow pathway leading down to iron gate, sheep pen fence,and the road beyond.To the back similar windows looked up as more ground gradually rose steeply then levelled out. That was where wooden outbuildings stood in place. It was George Triggle Senior,a Willow Hurdle Maker a man with strong hands that had bought the land in 1897,and who had built both the cottage and extensive wooden outbuildings at the back. One being a workshop rather like a small open sided Barn,that just had a slopped roof. It was here the Hurdle Maker worked long hours and countless days making Willow Fence Panels which were sold for Half a Crown a piece.
Working at other things and other places to earn a small wage,George did what work on the place when he could. finally he placed the chimney pots in place in the Spring of 1905. It had been a hard long slog building a home from the very ground it stood on. Now it was finished,and they named it Hillcrest.
In those days no mains water ment getting water from a stand pipe down the road.No Electricity supply,ment oil lamps and wax candles,were the order of the early dark nights. George Senior,had a vision. Get married and raise a large family,then sit back comfy in his ripe old age because he would be supported by them. However visions, Dreams do not often materialise. He had married Beatrice Maude in 1903,and it was she who helped out with the thatching of the roof. Eventually two sons were born. Twins in the February of 1920, and Beatrice Triggle was 36 years old.Old George as he was called then tipped the scales at 51,and was still working as a Hurdle Maker. He reckoned upon being born in 1869,but as there were no records of his birth he might well have been much older.
As for George and Jack ,with only 7 minutes between each birth. That was going to make a world of difference,and from a young age the boys displayed odd uncanny behavior. George Seniors Dream was winding slowly down.
Old George Triggle,the Hurdle Maker died in 1925.
Beatrice was left to bring up her boys alone. It was very,tough, rough,and at times starvation touched the ribs inside all of them. The land was used wisely,and planting crops and raising Goats,and Chickens kept them all from being claimed by the Grim Reaper,but it was a close call.
( An experience never forgotten.)
George`s Sevice to The Crown
1939 loomed up dark and most menacing for Gt Britain, and George went off to war after joining the RAF, he being assigned to ground crew work. Serving in N Africa he rose to Warrant Officer,and vowed never to set foot on sand ever again if he made it through. Making sure Spitfires were patched up quick for the next near miss sorty ment George, was not well liked with the ground crews,but he was a man bourn for these times and he now found himself excelling in the field of war time engineering. In making do and mend, The RAF Command could see no better caustic man for that rough duty. George was however a very fair man, if they worked he did along side of them. In the vast scorching heat , or freezing cold of that long lasting desert war the planes flew. It was George who helped out on the Bofors Guns when the Italians mistook the odd shiff-shuffle of tents and out buildings for a German Air base. The surprise on both sides was complete as the three Italian trucks not firing a shot drove right through that make shift base without firing a single shot. By the time the Guns were manned those cheeky Italians faded into the cold night. George wearing only shorts was glad those 40mm shells he carried to the Guns were not needed. The base was bombed by Gerry later the next afternoon twice,but they only bombed a few empty tents and useless prefabricated huts, and stripped bare trucks used for spares, along with a few hundred empty oil drums that took off as if they were rockets as the fumes inside them ignited. It was a few days later those same Italians lost again surrendered gladly to a force of three RAF Armoured Cars sent out to pick up downed allied pilots.With water and fags passed around instead of bullets,their war was over and thankful glad they all were too.For George, and many more their war was not.
Old George as I knew him,was one to keep his word for he never walked on sand ever again. When I met him in 1998 he was just a blind man who counted his rich blessings.
After the war,George and his Wife,would live with Beatrice up until her death in 1954.
This left George and his Wife Daisy living at Hillcrest.
Things were now about to get really worse.
A Small Insight of Jack`s War
Jack,was one of Sterling`s, SAS hard to handle mob, having left the Guards Commando under a cloud of charges one being of assaulting a Superior Officer, who had the misfortune of man handling Jack, after him having had a bout of hard drinking overnight. He too fought in the desert war,but would never meet up with his older brother there.It was David Sterling,who requested Jack,be allowed to leave and join his small unit. Jack,was happy to rather than face the possibility of a firing squad.The Commando`s lost a good explosives man as Jack, could make explosives out of near anything to hand and although short fused himself could, would ,and did do valuable service to the war effort in helping blow stuff up. His Army Record went conveniently missing after 1946. Jack would go on to fight in others wars, but in 1947 he headed for home and a showdown with his older brother George. The scene was set for big time trouble at Hillcrest.
It simmered on and on in one endless bout of displayed craziness, between the two of them.
( I always mention, "One must recognize insanity when you meet it." )
George verses Jack
Due to a disgruntled conversion in 1955,there were now two small cottages leaning for support one from another,and a younger Triggle brother lived in the other cottage which would oddly share the name.
It was the hard wearing case,that the two Triggle brother`s had fallen out in their school days over a petty something ,and never made up. Eventually the younger brother bag in hand left the family home at the age of 16.
Then the Cottage had been one large one,however much later when a Will ,was finally read out aloud both the Triggle Brothers had been left half of the property each.
The return of the younger brother resulted in furniture being shoved to one side. Then a very angry quick straight line of chalk was drawn up across the floor, while hot under the collar contention like a red hot fire flared up as to where the first brick should be laid.
"It should be laid along the Line your side." One Brother would shout,and the other so caustic would reply likewise. Finally it was decided upon, to lay each of the old bricks with the line to the center of each one. George Triggle would lay one course of bricks,then Jack Triggle, the next until eventually each were well bricked up in their own new space. So each were left with a tiny room and the snug chimney at the far end of it. The floor above converted likewise finally divided these two rather nasty individuals from each others sight. The Brothers never spoke to each other after this occasion,but did cuss at each other over the garden fence when fearsome eyes of madness caught sight of each other.
It was at this time 1955,that the name changed to Hillcrest Cottage,the large garden and very large but steep parcel of land remained the property of George Triggle. Next door was to remain Hillcrest as Jack would not give it up. Although the home was now split in half by the brothers,eventually the younger one Jack sold his half and went his scornful way never to be seen of again. Gritting his teeth almost to the point of biting his tongue,he was adamant he would not let his older brother George buy it. As i remember it the original argument started over a game of Conkers at school,and over the years this paranoia also linked to 7 minutes fested to bursting point. Very sad indeed.
Mrs Daisy Triggle
It was often said of Mrs Triggle,that she slept upon the finest Duck-down feather mattress ,and pillows so soft that they were indeed fit for Nobleman,Prince or Princes or even Kings and Queens. You see Mrs Triggle,was known as the Duck Lady of Honey Well,who kept Ducks,Geese and Chickens too,and was very handy at the necking of them one in each hand at the same time. Always quite well fluffed with nose a wet and dripping ,her feathery nostrils certainly helped out in part to describe such a rather short, portly figure of a women in her mid 40`s , in the process of plucking them. Daisy always wore a smile,and never took her duty lightly.
Daisy, would always sing along with every action applied in the plucking. "Tuck,tear and Pull___Tuck Tear and Pull." So with each days work,as it passed by,the song continued on in this constantly monotonous occupation of a living, which is why the reason for keeping ducks and chickens in the first place.
As for the Geese they were her Security Watch and darn good noisy violent,and quick at it they all were.
Concerning the song it went on with no rhyme or real reason to it,unless you have ever done a plucking yourself. Holding the bird on your lap tight,and applying what is directed within the song is something never forgotten.
For a while George Kept Bee`s, and hand made several of the wooden hives. He was content for a while,but later a nearby farmer sprayed his crops and George lost all his Bee`s. Sinking mentally lower he just sighed a sigh and gave up his former interests for good.( Later George and Daisy, would change ,practice Christian values and go out preaching every day.)
Yes for the Triggle`s it was a Living. Eggs were sold for two penny`s each or half a dozen for a ten-pence,and the large family`s certainly appreciated the two free eggs within every dozen.
Selling is a lot easier if you give a little away.The family Motto,` Better the quick Shilling rather than the slow Pound.
Now Mrs Triggle also sold at the garden gate the eggs and when not there people would take what they needed leaving the money in an old jam jar. Duck egg`s were also sold threepence each,which helped pay for her daily bottle of best Cream Stout. A certain something she shared with her rather flea ridden Black Cat.Occasionally it got done and dusted with white powder that rid the beast of the fleas,but upon the over licking of it made Tiddles, foam a perfusion of bubbles as if awaiting a shave. Tiddles, was known locally as the `Killer Cat`,and for good reason too. It being the case it encountered on many a well planned hunting trip passers by.It also attacked the Vicars head. Yes Head.
Tiddles a Cat Tale
One day,a hot day. A Sunday as i recall,yes certainly it was a Sunday. Tiddles was stretched out lazylike a dreaming and a kipping away the dose of Milk Stout while laying in the sun in his favourite spot on the cemetery wall. The wall of half red brick,and grey flint was about eight foot high at that stretch and was studded in wild flowers that always spread and appeared throughout each passing spring and summer.This high wall always gave this old moggy security enough to stretch out and sleep a cat-nap.On this occasion one eye opening ment that he caught sight of the congregation leaving the church. The over nodding Vicar was collecting his tenth as they all filed out. A Tenbob Note, Shillings,and sixpences,Half-crowns and two-bob`s along with a few copper coins from the children were dropping nicely into the one handled wooden collection box he was holding. While a nodding of thanks,the Vicar thought to himself, ` Praise the Lord this is good day.` He was wrong.
The Killer Cat now made alert caught sight of a weird creature all curled up and sitting upon the nodding Vicars head,and so it, this Half-cut Moggy shot into blood thirsty action. Down it shot from the rustic ancient wall.
With a Massive fluffed up tail,it streaked at speed across the old Church yard full of lazy leaning grave stones until it shot up the back of the Vicars legs. Massive claws ,hook-like and deadly in design penetrated both cloth and skin and what lay beneath. This poor fellow now fear struck and painfully frightened out of his wits,also felt in another instant as the Cat continued up his back.Then jumping from his shoulder clawed away and caught in its mouth this fluffed up creature which had oddly not even stirred at all. What a scene for any eye to behold after a restful Sunday Service. Screaming Vicar,jumping crazily arms moving as if motivated from an unsound mind. Congregation screaming and a running,the Cat Swearing,but throughout it all,an awfully quiet hairy creature. Perhaps the Killer Cat had thought,` I`ve killed it,"
The end result of the attack was a black moggy bolting away across the leaning grave stones while swearing with a rather dead thing limp and hairy in its wet jaws,and scarpering away in another direction a very bald man fleeing wildly to escape this horrendous creature.
Well that was the last time anyone ever saw anything of the Vicars favourite hairpiece.
The Bible Thumper was soon gone too. Being so traumatised by the whole incident, he began to jerk and to stutter out aloud which made a twenty minute sermon last quite a lot longer. He had also taken to wrapping newspaper around the bottom of his legs held there fixed in place by elastic bands,just in case that brute of a Killer Cat reappeared for another climbing spree.
Being all full of nerves ,he rose in the dead of one night,and most fearfully stole away. He was last heard of trying to order a double whisky in a tavern of most ill repute in a town far away. Well it was at least 23 miles away from the old Saxon Church at Honey Well,the high wall and Tiddles the alcoholic Cat.
The Tale of Good Old Ron