JOURNAL OF A LIFE – The Woodlands


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As a great mentor of mine – Joe Schroeder – never tired of saying “A Life Worth Living is a Life Worth Recording

so today I am here to share another episode in the life’s journey of one of the great people whose life I am privileged to have shared a part of – my mother AnneKaete Pocklington.

The War Is Over – The Woodlands

Imagine, if you will, you are at your wit’s end finding a permanent home for your family.

Imagine you have laid your plans to confront your husband’s Commanding Officer to get the situation resolved.

And then “Knock, Knock”

Could YOUR Guardian Angel ever look like that?


The Woodlands

My plans were laid alright. Erika would think I had gone back to Shipley, and Freda would think I was still in Hebden Bridge.

And then, on the Wednesday, a small knock came to the door of Erika’s house . When we opened the door a very tiny lady stood there, in a very large brimmed picture hat, and a wide skirt on her dress, looking almost like a Crinoline. She had silk gloves on and a handkerchief fastened on a gold plain ring on her arm . Her large eyes looked astounded around after we had asked her in, and she had come to inquire – about me.

And so we met, quite by chance, a real angel. I had never imagined a saving angel to look quite like that, but I have learned different since.

This then was Mrs. Ida Grenshaw. Who had been brought in the car by her husband Cecil Grenshaw, and they had come to have a word with this German girl so far away from home. Just once more to see if there was a way out . Even though they did not really want children in the house.

And they told me later, when they saw how we lived, that they had no choice left in the matter. She still could not explain why she had come, what had made her come, she only knew she had to come.

And so it was, that Peter and I moved very quickly to the Woodlands. I got all my clothes and things from Freda, leaving the cases still with her, and moved for the very first time into a proper house again. We had living-room, a kitchen, a bedroom, and a real, proper bathroom, with a Toilet in the house, and a garden all around the house.

And I had 15 rooms to clean and keep tidy, washing up after every meal, and help with the garden or chickens if I could. It was not too easy work, but we were living properly and clean again, and reasonable warm.

The house had lots of brass things, my room, and another room had very intricate large brass fenders around the hearth, which I had to clean every week, and hated more and more, but taking it all in, it was so good.

When Bill, my Darling, finally came on leave my bliss was full. He could not believe our luck.

One of the rooms was a very large, very beautiful Dining Room. Once a year, at Sylvester night, all their friends, which included us, had a wonderful dance in there. The carpet was rolled back, the Gramophone playing wonderful tunes, and we danced until the early hours of the New Year. We lived at the Woodlands for about 18 months, nearly two years, I think, but we went to the New Year’s Party for at least 18 years, meeting these particular friends just that once a year, but it was wonderful and something very, very special. It was a right mixture of people, Intellectuals, Politicians, Doctors, Teachers, Business people, a wonderful crowd.

And Mr. and Mrs. Grenshaw had a son, Christopher, Chris for short, who was studying at Leeds University but was home frequently. And he played the Piano wonderfully, and was altogether a wonderful friend to me. Somebody my own age I could talk with, and listen to good music with and go for walks in the surrounding countryside. It helped a little bit with the longing for my darling so far away in the South of England, and I shall forever be grateful to Chris for that. He soon got his B.Sc. and moved to Scotland, but it was nice while he was at home.

But Mrs.G and Mr. G and I became great friends and Pals, we had a wonderful understanding. They had had a German Jew, a Refugee, staying with them in their house during the War, until they all were interned, and they knew so much about Germany from him. Now they wanted to see from me what made the Germans tick, and what were they really like. They took a risk, really, with all the things they knew already from Herr Stern. But, as I said, we became wonderful friends, and when they finally left this earth I missed them greatly. Especially Cecil, who lived longest, was well over eighty and visited us often when he was lonely and wanted to chat and listen to some good music. But again, that’s a long way away.

Both Mr. and Mrs. were great philosophers, wonderfully thinking people. I did not agree with all their Theories, but in most things we were one. They were also Theosophists and all the Theories and beliefs made great sense to me. They were along the lines I had thought myself for a very long time. Even though I would never join anything, because I don’t believe whole-heartedly in those Theories, a lot of things made my whole position in the recent past so much easier to explain and bear. I do believe in reincarnation, I do believe that our destiny is mapped out for us to a certain extent, leaving it to our own make-up as to how we follow this destiny, for instance.

When my Darling Bill came finally out of the Forces and came home, it was not always easy when one did not have a day off, and especially on Sundays when I was not free until, perhaps, three o’clock, when they finally had had their dinner and I had cleaned the kitchen. But on the whole, it was alright, and in places even very wonderful at my WOODLANDS.

When my boxes finally came, and all our cut glass, silver and very beautiful things came at last to light again, Mrs. G. was very thrilled and happy with me about these lovely things.

When Bill came home we went to Germany first, for two months, before he would start work as a civil citizen. That was a wonderful experience and healed the broken heart altogether.

And a new couple in the village had bought a Greengrocery business at the bottom of the hill we lived on. And Mrs.G. had been shopping there once or twice, to find the Lady was very rundown and near a nervous breakdown for some unknown reason. And such was her kind nature and human feeling for her fellows, that she begged me to do my shopping there in future. As she had obligation to the other Greengrocer in the village who had served her faithfully during the War and let her have the occasional lettuce etc. when things were bad. And as the G’s were Vegetarians this must have meant a lot.

So I went shopping in the little shop…. And a new lifelong friendship began for us, with a wonderful couple who were friends nobody could wish for better.

And we had meetings about once a week when Mrs. G. would give some very interesting and wonderful lectures, on various Philosophies, and a very interesting bunch of people would come to these, and we would discuss all factions of life until the early hours, never feeling tired.

And then an Election took place in England, and my dear G’s, who were great Conservatives, were horrified that the Labour Party might get in. They were, as she said, uneducated, terrible people. And as I could not understand why a Party, which was obviously so dreadful, had got as far as that in free England, I read, learned, questioned, and generally made it my duty to find out as much about this Labour Party as I could, before I voted. In Germany the people had followed advice like sheep. I must question, I must ask as much as I can, I must find out for myself.

And I liked what I found and voted, with all my heart, for the British Labour Party at that time. It did all seem to make sense somehow.


If  life is the best teacher, doesn’t it make sense to learn from the lives of others?

So what did I learn from today’s episode?

I learned that Guardian Angels really do appear dressed up in the strangest of outfits,

I gained an even deeper respect for Mrs. Ida Grenshaw, and the wisdom of her “Letters To The Editor” under her pseudonym of “Know Thyself”, and

I learned one again that money is neither Good nor Bad. It is neutral. It makes good people better, and, on the other side, it makes bad people worse.

So Now it’s YOUR turn, dear Reader. What did YOU learn?

Please ADD and SHARE your insights in the COMMENT BOX Below




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Published: September 17, 2014, 03:41 | 4 Comments on JOURNAL OF A LIFE – The Woodlands
Category: Real People Helping Real People, The Story Of A Life

4 responses to “JOURNAL OF A LIFE – The Woodlands”

  1. Peter – your blog is the first one I look forward to reading especially this story about your mother…please keep sharing! I’m learning many life lessons in persistence

    • freedomwithpeter says:

      Thanks, Lisa, for your kind words. That you are learning from it along the way – that knowledge so confirms the intent my mother had in sharing it for her child, grandchildren, and now even great-grandchildren to learn from first-hand, and, more importantly, to apply the lessons to their lives and their circumstance.

  2. Sonia says:

    What a lovely story you are telling Peter!
    I feel taken back in time reading your words and yes, learning lessons as well 🙂

    Thank you my friend.

    • freedomwithpeter says:

      Sonia: Since your example was the inspiration for this series of blogs I take your words as one of the highest complements this “labor of love” could receive. That you are learning lessons and, hopefully, applying them to your context, your life, that is just the proverbial “icing on the cake”. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You. prp

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