A Childhood in Foxton and Meldreth ...

Ida Rosendale, c. 1950
Photograph supplied by Colin Matthews

I lived at 4 Dryden Cottages in Foxton. My nanny moved to 2 Woolpack Way in Meldreth. I spent my childhood between the two addresses, with Ida Rosendale on the 108 bus.

As an adult, I became a professional writer in America, specialising in poetry and literature. With several books out, and awards, I’m now working on a book for Foxton and Meldreth.

Here’s a poem I have written for Ida.

Village Clippie

for Ida Rosendale, of Royston


I never knew her name.

I was impoverished

by the amnesia of a four-year old.

All I can tell you

is what I need to keep for myself:

the age of my nanny, she was a woman

who rode a double-decker bus for a job.

She clipped tickets, laughed often,

and gave me ribbons of receipts to play with

when I rode the bus from Foxton to Cambridge

and Foxton to Royston.

She was a village and a world

a sepia lifetime ago — who rides

eternal through gratitude,

whose kindness to a four-year old child

continues in an ageing man who believes

village life has its certainties,

has a chance to retain

the innocence of a world, a black and white decade,

the dot of a red bus growing in the distance,

to come aboard by the hands of a kind person

lifting you into your place.

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