In the beginning……….

1968 was a very significant year for Keynsham and for me.

!968, of course, was the year of the catastrophic floods which sadly took the lives of seven local residents, but on a different note it was the year that a fresh faced youth (me) and his family moved lock stock and barrel from their home of thirteen years in Hartcliffe in Bristol to start a new shoe repair business and a new life in Keynsham.

It was just a few days after the flood, and shortly after signing the lease for the old Boots chemist building that we arrived to find that the premises had survived the deluge and destruction that a lot of Keynsham had experienced.

We were still living in Hartcliffe and commuting to Keynsham to decorate the shop and the living accommodation.

I say commuting, I was sixteen and just passed my motorbike driving exam, so I “chauffeured” the family back and forth on the pavilion of my Honda 50. Which, as the name suggests, is a small 50cc motorcycle. It was one of the most unstable bikes that I have ever ridden!! It had an automatic gear box and if changed down to go up a hill, with a passenger on the back, the chances were that the front would rear up and the bike would flip over.

I don’t know if any body remembers what the Whitchurch Lane was like in 1968, but you certainly wouldn’t recognise it now!!

Picture if you will, me aged 16, and my Dad, who was a big man, with a big bag of tools and decorating materials wedged between us, traveling on the cold November nights through those narrow dark country lanes.

If you know the area you will know that there used to be a “ford” on that road with a stream running over.

Every time that ford froze we were destined to take a tumble on the ice. How we survived, I will never know.

Watch out for the next episode.

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