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Memoirs of Constance Annie Mayfield - in her own words

William Herbert Mayfield was born at Long Eaton. When he married Mildred Elizabeth Booth they took up residence at "Eversleigh" Park Road, Chilwell where their daughter, Constance Annie & son Denis William Henson were born. The house was 2 storey with the living area on ground level and the bedrooms upstairs closed off by a door leading to a staircase. There was no laid on water, this was provided by a pump outside the back door, which had to be primed with hot water on winter mornings. Cooking was done on a fuel stove the fire never went out being banked overnight with coal slack which was damped down so hot water was available. There was no bathroom so on bath night, usually Friday, a large bath-tub was put in front of the fire and the whole family had their turn. Lighting was by gas I don't remember if the bedrooms were connected but one thing which comes to mind one night - Mum put Denis to bed and left a candle burning she had a duster in her hand and threw it back on her way downstairs it landed on the candle, it started to smolder & when Mum smelled, great was the panic - the only damage a scorched dressing table.

We had a William pear tree which was trained on the side wall of the house & Mum used to lean out of the bedroom windows to pick the higher fruit. In the garden also were red & black currant bushes, raspberry canes, strawberries, beautiful Pippin apples & a damson tree (which is like a small plum).

Dad joined the Army as a Private in 1914, at the start of World War 1. On his discharge in 1919 as 1st Lieutenant after service with the Army of Occupation in Germany. He was decorated with the Military Medal and the Military Cross also received a Citation from King George V.

Before her marriage Mum worked at Pollards Lace factory and while Dad was away at the war did lace mending at home to supplement the family income. Sometimes the looms may miss a thread and a small hole would result. It was very tedious and hard on the eyes so was only done during daylight hours. When Dad was in camp at Sunderland, Mum took Frank and me for a week-end visit with him. We stayed in a boarding house and Frank, who was about 12 months old, fell out of bed onto a chamber-pot, causing a gash about 3 inches across the back of his head. The scar was quite noticeable when he was young but over the years it probably faded.

The Public House (Hotel) called Chequers was a family meeting place, it was at the top of our road. Dad would take us on occasions and they had a very good Social Committee that organised Brake outings for the members. The nearest thing I could compare to a Brake would be a truck with seats down the sides & canvas blinds which were rolled up if the weather was good or strapped down if it rained. From memory they were horse drawn vehicles. During the war these outings were discontinued & afterwards the gas bag charabancs were introduced.

I don't remember much about my school days in England apart from my special friend Maisie Metheringham, who lived with her family at the bottom of Park Road. We spent quite a lot of our playtime after school with each other. We frequently visited our relations which gave us the pleasure of playing with our cousins. One of our favourite pastimes in Winter was the slides on the frozen footpaths until some nasty person put salt on the ice which immediately melted it.

When I left school, to join the family on our move to Australia, I was presented with a fountain pen but from memory didn't use it to keep in touch with my friends.

On November 1921 we went by train to Tilbury to join the ship "Beltana" during the trip Denis then aged 2, fell against the steam pipe which resulted in a very nasty burn. The pipes were used for heating the train. Mum had to take him to the ship’s doctor every day for the six weeks to have it dressed.

On board the family was separated, Mum, Den and me were allocated a cabin in the for'ard section with Dad and Frank in the aft section with the men. There were two other women and three of their children in with us, fortunately everyone got along very well. We met the men folk at meal times and on deck through the day.

Frank, aged 6, soon became involved in shipboard life, walking the corridors with a steward ringing the wake-up bell at 6a.m. and the routine for meal times, he was a very important person!

We celebrated Christmas and New Year on board between Capetown & Fremantle, Denis had his 3rd Birthday in Western Australia. On arrival in Adelaide, a number of passengers disembarked and our family was re-united in a cabin together. From Adelaide on to Melbourne then our final destination Sydney where Aunt Emma and Uncle Will Beardall met us. They had kindly been our sponsors.

Grandma and Grandad Booth lived in a 2 storey house situated at 59 Wollaton Road, Beeston which was the nearest village to Chilwell. The things I remember when we visited them, there was always a mixing bowl of bread dough on the hearth in front of the fuel stove to rise. When it was baking in the oven the smell was wonderful. At the bottom of the stairs leading to the bedrooms was a copper warming pan, it was shaped like a Banjo, it was used as a bed warmer with hot coals being put in it, I don't remember it being used but it was always kept highly polished. The parlour was another treat it was opened on Sunday when all the families visited the rest of the week it was out of bounds. There was a large walnut tree in the yard but Grandad grew his vegetables in a Council allotment which was further up the road. It was a wonderful experience to be invited to accompany him when he went to harvest some of his crops. Grandma was a busy lady organising whist-drives (card evenings). All the women attending provided the refreshments which had to be seen to be believed. Mum would take us along on rare occasions and we were allowed to have a small helping of trifle - without sherry. I don't know where the money raised was donated but it would have been put to good use. Grandma was the local midwife. One of her patients (an unmarried pregnant girl) arranged to have the baby adopted but twins were born so Grandma nominated Mum and Dad as the second adoptive parents and so Wilfred Francis (Frank) became a legal member of the Mayfield clan. He was always treated the same as one of us and always considered as our brother.