Another memory of her childhood in the village from Mary J Baxter (Article first appeared in the Spring 2011 edition of the Rollestonian).
At school, time passed quickly and soon it was Christmas with all the preparations this entailed. This year, because of the war, there was little in the way of extras, but then, we had never had any luxuries and made the best of what we had.
Easter followed quickly and after the dark days of winter we were pleased. Now there would be time to learn more about the village and explore. Because I was older, some of my time was spent making sure that David did not get into trouble and this could be irksome for both of us.
One sunny afternoon, David decided he would like to go fishing in the village brook where no licence was needed. He had a small rod and line plus hooks which had been given to him by our grandfather on one of our visits to Evesham. Granddad had instructed him in the use of this as our grandparents lived on the banks of the River Avon and fishing was a popular pastime.
We arrived at the brook and David , having decided on a suitable place not far from the Spread Eagle bridge where it was shady, I sat down nearby and watched the water flow past and now and then saw a fish rise to a fly. My thoughts were soon far away. It was a warm afternoon and there were few people about and the gentle sound of the water was hypnotic as I sat and wondered about the new school I would soon be attending.
Suddenly a shout from David roused me from my thoughts and I turned to see him holding his rod, calling to me for help. I jumped up but even as I did so, he heaved a huge fish onto the bank.
“Quick! Get the bucket” he shouted.
I grabbed the bucket and he pulled the fish up by the line and deposited it in the water which splashed everywhere.
“Careful!” I warned rather too late as the front of my dress was already wet. We both gazed at the fish which seemed enormous as it lashed around sending more water over both of us.
“Shouldn’t you take out the hook?” I asked.
“Yes, but look at its teeth”, he said.
The teeth looked huge as the fish opened its mouth and seemed to snap at us.
“Perhaps we had better take it home”, I said.
Holding the bucket between us, we began to make our way home, the fish doing its best to jump out of the bucket which was something we did not want to happen. To be faced with those teeth as we tried to put the fish back was something we did not want. The bucket was heavy and as we walked along Station Road we stopped frequently to rest our arms. On one such stop, two men were coming away from the allotments and stopped to see what we were carrying. At that moment the fish must have been exhausted and was lying at the bottom of the bucket.
“It’s a dead fish”, one of them said, “better throw it away”, as he gave it a poke. At this, the fish almost jumped out onto the path. The men backed away quickly as they saw its sharp teeth.
“You didn’t catch this?” the other man said. “It’s a pike”.
“Yes I did,” David was indignant . “Look it’s got my hooks in it”.
“Well get it home quickly then and take care”.
The men went on their way and so did we. There was not far to go, but the fish seemed heavier all the time. At last we arrived at South Hill and were soon showing the best “catch” of the holiday to our parents. Luckily my father was home and soon put the poor fish out of its misery and removed the hook which David washed carefully before putting it away. My mother cooked the fish for tea and we each had a very enjoyable portion.
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