My early education was at a couple of small private schools, the first one being Miss Mason’s somewhere at the top of our road. 

She was a very little old lady with white hair and a very, very old Pekinese called ’Ming’ who scratched a lot.  It was a very happy time for me.  There were only about eight pupils ranging from four to probably twelve years.  We all learned together on a rug on her living room floor during the winter and in her garden in the summer.  We acted in plays and learned French, albeit that the French she taught us only stretched to ‘silver plate’ and ‘mercy’! 

One morning I got up with a very itchy head.  On inspection, my Mum discovered some of Ming’s house guests in my hair!  Miss Mason told her not to worry – “Just rinse her hair in ‘quasha chips’ – that’ll get rid of them” and, worryingly added, “That’s all I ever use!”  These ‘chips’ were seemingly pieces of bark and it was necessary for them to be soaked in a jug of boiling water, for use once they were cool.  By now, looking like brown ale with cockroaches floating around in it, this mixture had to be poured over my head.  I remember so clearly the large white ceramic jug holding this wonderful concoction.  I also remember the smell!  It was foul, but she was absolutely right – those little nits didn’t like it and they went!

I have since Googled ‘quasha chips’ and discovered that they are in fact quassia chips.  Just another of little Miss Mason’s faux pas!

Top picture

Seated from left – Clive Wilkinson, Sandra Flexman

Standing from left Celia Wilkinson, Phyllis Latimer, Elizabeth Land, David Mack, Sylvia White

Middle picture

Conducting – Clive Wilkinson.  On the piano – David Mack

Choir front row from left – Celia Wilkinson, Phyllis Latimer, Elizabeth Land, Sandra Flexman

Back row from left – Doris Simpson, unknown, Sylvia White, unknown.  (Can you fill in the gaps – perhaps you were one of those?)

Lower picture

Seated – the Queen & King – David Mack & Sandra Flexman

The Maid – Elizabeth Land.  The Cow – Clive Wilkinson.

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  • Phyllis Latimer was the grandaughter of Evans the builder who built a few houses in Brock Hill and Athelstan Gardens. Her father was a car mechanic who fixed the ring gear on my Mk1 Cortina in the early years. They lived opposite Haselmere Road as was, now Alderney Gardens.

    By bobcroot (28/02/2017)
  • What year were these pictures taken? It could be that Elizabeth (Betty) Land is my aunty, but she is a lot older.

    By bobcroot (31/01/2017)
  • Who was the Anglo-Indian family who lived in a small building at Wantz Corner, where the community hall now stands? I remember a young girl with long hair; where did they go?

    By bobcroot (27/01/2017)
  • I played with a girl called Phyllis Latimer, went to her birthday party, she lived in a bungalow near to Wantz Corner and her grandmother lived in a house by the bus stop at Wantz Corner. The bus that stopped there would have been going to Wickford village and the bus company was Eastern National.

    By Lorraine Taylor (12/12/2016)
  • Could someone tell me the date of the photos as my wife Maureen, nee Cooper, could be one of them but she cannot recognize herself, she knows the names mentioned.

    By bobcroot (23/12/2015)

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