Lily had a younger sister May, who was a much smaller version of Lily except that she was not in the least romantic, in fact she was rather dour and spoke but little. She was however, always kind to Bess and sometimes in the afternoon they would both go into May’s small bedroom up in the roof, with its sloping ceiling. Under the window May kept a large trunk, it mostly contained clothes but deep within was May’s pride and joy – a doll. She kept it wrapped in a shawl and it was a beautiful doll that she called Jane. It had a wax face with blue starry eyes and her body was made of kid. She wore a blue dress with a pinafore, a white bonnet with pink flowers and little white kid shoes. May would allow Bess to sit on her bed and nurse Jane while May changed her clothes and combed her hair. What happened to the doll is not known but she was dearly loved.
The mother of Lily and May was great aunt Lizzie. She was a truly terrifying old lady, tall and upright with white hair and a deep voice. She always wore ankle length dresses with high necks and sometimes she had a jet brooch at her throat. She frequently quoted the bible and often exhorted the children to “turn the other cheek,” etc. One day great aunt Lizzie discovered one of the hens eating its own eggs in the hen run. Her reaction was immediate. She fetched a chopper from the woodshed and while she held the unfortunate bird down with her foot, chopped off its head. The body of the chicken got up and ran for yards before dropping to the ground, twitching. This sight produced nightmares in the children for weeks.
Great aunt Lizzie had a long standing feud with her sister Ann Maria. They didn’t speak to each other for twenty years and not even on Lizzie’s death bed did a word pass. Forgiveness was not in their nature!
Apart from the horses and the horse drawn carriages, Sid and Bess’s experience of travel was limited. It was thus greeted with great delight when a farming friend of the family, Ted Lee, visited them. Ted had farmed Dovehouse Farm inSolihulland had just sold the farm saying that he’d had no idea just how much he was worth. With some of the proceeds of the sale Ted bought a brand new Model T Ford. It was a great honour and a privilege for Sid and Bess to be allowed to sit in it and be ogled enviously by passers by. The family had once been taken by Uncle Ted, as the children referred to him, to Dovehouse farm for dinner and the children were most excited with the joys of car travel. Uncle Ted even asked them if they were going fast enough, they were doing thirty miles an hour but to Sid and Bess, it seemed if as they were flying.
Sid related a story about an employee of Ted Lee. The man was a long serving farm labourer who lived happily with his wife in a tied cottage at Dovehouse Farm. One day the ‘phone rang and the call was for this labourer. Now remember, the telephone was a new fangled invention and very few people had the privilege of owning one. This being so, the labourer had never spoken to the ‘phone and refused to come and talk to the instrument. The matter was urgent and so the police were contacted and asked to take the news to the farm hand. It was to tell him that his brother had died and left him his farm in Wiltshire and all his money. The labourer refused his inheritence saying, “I don’t want no dyud man’s money. Me and the wife are happy here and we don’t want no dyud man’s money……..”