Memory Lane @”Milling Around”

The Mill supports its own online magazine called “Milling Around”. Walthamstow residents and fans are invited to submit writing for publication after Irena has edited it professionally. All good fun.

The Mill has activities going on all the time e.g baby yoga, herbal recipe workshops, chess and so much more. It’s great and stands at the St James’ Station end of Walthmastow Market, E17. If ever you get a chance to go on a social history walk around that High Street, then Roger Huddle is your man, and others too. The Street is oozing with history. It used to be called Marsh Lane.

The Christmas Post.

When I was a mere young thing I did the Christmas Post in Walthamstow starting each snow-hung morning in the Walthamstow Sorting Office in Church Hill. That was in 1970 when I lived in a ground floor two-room lodging in West Avenue Road. Around the corner was the entrance to the “Village of Walthamstow Toni ” as advertised inside the railings on a Council notice-board. I never ventured up that path.

My postal round took me into Grove Road, Eden and Palmerston Roads and all their off-shoots. Every house had an unlocked porch and most had in them low-burning paraffin heaters with that unique warm smell.

At that time I was a student and very hard up. On one particular morning I was feeling the cold and was hungry. At the end of Beulah Road, an old woman was putting out her cat just as I was approaching. Without shame, I asked her if she had a crust of bread for me. She went in and came out with a slice of Sunblest covered in butter. That was a good day for me.sunblest

My last job finished on Christmas Eve and by 4pm I had to report back to the office to give in my bag and collect my wages, in cash of course. Relieved, I went straight into the market into the winter darkness and queued at the first fruit stall.

“Two oranges please.”

The costermonger flicked open the brown paper bag with his fingerless gloved hands and raised his voice facing the queue behind me.

“Two oranges. Cor! You ‘avin’ a party?”

The lights swinging under the tarpaulin never caught my reddening face.”

By Gillian Lawrence. Christmas 2012

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