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Outlook May 2020

From Outlook Reporter, Marion Woodbridge …

Marion Woodbridge
Marion Woodbridge

I was really delighted to have tea with Aud Eastham before complete “shut-down”. We talked a lot and I learnt a great deal.

Aud was born in Hendon, North London, and had. three sisters. Unfortunately her youngest sister died recently, and another sister is in Australia. Aud went to the Baptist Church, Brownies and Guides and did lots of camping. School was very important to her - she went to Hendon County School, and after A levels went on to study English at the University of North Wales in Bangor on the advice of her teacher.

Balenau Ffestiniog
Blaenau Ffestiniog [Trip Advisor]

Aud got married at the age of twenty and moved from Menai Bridge to Llan Ffestiniog in Merionethshire where she lived in the awful winter of 1963. She lived in a house with no water - all frozen up and - well nothing! Aud got her degree and her son Russell was born soon after, by which time she had moved to Blaenau Ffestiniog.

Aud was very athletic and enjoyed rounders and hockey. Whilst playing in a mixed team at North Herts College an undercut ball smashed into her face and unfortunately one tooth was broken. She was taken to Hospital and this resulted in having plastic surgery to her face at Mount Vernon two years later.

Aud always wanted to be at home for her childrenRussell, then Shaw Emerson and Landon Scott and then Harry who went to Hitchin Boys School in 1991. When son Harry got married in 2016 in Newport, Pembrokeshire, it was a great celebration, not only the actual service but because it was an opportunity for family and also for many of Harrys friends from School who, with their wives and children, also came to celebrate the occasion.

N. Herts music School
N. Herts music School

Aud met Harry Eastham at a gym class in Stevenage. The gym was well equipped and had ropes which Aud liked to climb. [do you remember the ropes in the Hall which were used by GLB girls?] Aud and Harry married in 1977. They began researching their family tree - Harrys in Preston and Auds in East Lancs and Yorkshire. Aud followed her mother, grandmother and great grandma. In April 1997 Aud, with cousin Lilly Baxandall, visited the Baxandall family in Alberta. They stayed in a motel for the first night and then with various members of the family in Westlock, Vegreville, finishing with a coach tour to Jasper, Lake Louise where it snowed, ending in Banff. A really wonderful time!

Aud enjoys music and began serving on the Friends of North Herts Music School, later becoming Secretary when son Harry began trumpet lessons at Highbury House. Concerts were put on at the end of every term but the biggest event of the year was the outdoor concert with fireworks at The Priory . A lot of people and friends used to take a picnic and listened to the very good music from each band or ensemble being show-cased.

Who would you like to have a cup of tea with?

I would like tea with any of my family or my next door neighbours

What would you talk about?

Oh general chat. My neighbour calls if they are in trouble and we are willing to help. We talk about health, the weather, the garden and jig-saw swops!

Dance class
Dance class

What is your earliest memory?

I started school aged three and on my first day I found that after the lunch break we all had to lie down on little tubular framed beds and go to sleep which was strange to me! Soon after I was called to the front of the classroom to pull a ticket out of a big black hat and I won a food parcel dropped by parachute from New Zealand sent by the Reed family. It contained things like like rice, dried egg, dried potato, sugar and so on. I started writing to their daughter and wrote to her, my pen- friend Alison, until she died a few years ago.

My sisters and I went to dancing classes on Saturdays - cartwheels to Percy Graingers Country Gardens, tap-dancing and ballet, with a concert at the end of term. I was once a snowflake in a Christmas concert where we all wore white ballet dresses, white socks and ballet shoes. I had my first pair of new white socks with the utility mark on them. But one girl had no ballet shoes, so we were all told to go on stage in white socks. I went back and put my long grey socks on over the top to keep the white socks new. I never lived it down!

Carol singing
Carol singing

Who influenced you as a teenager?

I went to Claremont Baptist Church where the Minister was Lionel Orlando Reed. The Sunday School Superintendent was Norman Bedford and his wife Marjorie ran the Girls Bible Class, They were both a great influence on me. Once a year we sat the Sunday School Scripture Exam and I still have my certificates. At Christmas time we went carol singing with Norman and Julia Suter who played a small type of harmonium on wheels which was pushed around from one lamp-post to the next where we would sing carols - all round the private houses surrounding the church, all along a row of Railway cottages for L.M.S. Employees, and two council estates, one built in the 1930s and an estate of prefabs, high-rise flats and the Tin town estate. The carol singing went on for fifty years!

I was also influenced by my English Teacher at Grammar School, Keith Richards, who taught me in the 4th, 5th and two 6th form years. I did O level English language and literature with him, and also A level English. I still email or write to him most weeks.

Which book are you reading at the moment?

I dont read much now because I have problems with my eyes, but I used to read a lot for information, i.e. Non-fiction, but now I mostly read poetry. My favourite book is a French book called Le Grand Meaulnes which I studied for A level French literature. It is a book I read over and over again.

What do you do when at home?

I used to do lots of knitting and some crochet, but my hands are too arthritic now. I also do mending and darning. I write lots of letters but my writing is not as tidy as it used to be.. I used to do most of the gardening but cannot do that now.

Where would you like to go on holiday?

I like to go to Ladyhouse in Milnrow, the Pennine village where my parents came from. And I also like to go to Cornwall where we spent our honeymoon and two subsequent holidays. We went back for our Silver Wedding.

The Chase
The Chase [ITV]

Which TV programmes do you watch?

I dont watch much TV except for quiz programmes - University Challenge, Only Connect and The Chase.

What makes you cross?

I dont like to see one person valued over another i.e. class division, racism, snobbery.

Is there a statement or phrase you try to live by?

Yes - love God and love thy neighbour

We could have talked together for much longer but we began to feel sorry for Harry sitting in the car! Next time he must come in.

We dont get much chance to talk after church so it was so good to meet up. Thank-you Aud for being willing to tell me just a little about yourself. I am sure there is much more so please come again!

Marion Woodbridge..