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Ted Talks:

Things Change

Alex Perry Published: 01 October 2023

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That used to be the American Army headquarters,” said Ted, pointing at the Old School. The U.S. G.I.s were a sociable bunch with plenty to say to the locals, plenty of chewing gum for small kids and plenty of time for the young ladies of Wymondham.

That was the reality of life in the town, till the War ended and they left. Things change, and in Ted’s ninety-one years he’s seen many changes.

Ted remembers the brush factory which used to be in Damgate, and a Mr. Stubbs who sold the brushes by weight. He recalls the brothers, Leslie and Olly Moore, who used to go round the houses asking residents for their metal waste. And then there was Billy Lemon with his horse-drawn milk cart who would ladle milk out of his churn to his customers in the 1940s. They were all Wymondham characters; now they just live on as memories.

Ted recollects the people who would knock on the doors of their friends and neighbours in search of work. They would offer to babysit, to do the shopping or to wash clothes at the laundrette. And their customers always said thank you to them, even if they were paying to get the job done. This was called mixing business with good manners.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, modernisation, technology and automation meant that many jobs which Ted had done by hand became obsolete as the machines took over. His farm boss, Leslie Barnard went into the café business and Ted followed him, and he proved to be a dab hand at preparing cooked breakfasts.

Ted, as ever, was willing to work more than one job, and he ventured into the building trade. He especially remembers the time when he and his co-workers built a house with the manager’s son. This man did every task wrong, “he even got grease on his shovel hand,” but they could not complain as he was the boss’ son. At the end of the working day, this chap went looking for his donkey jacket, which he had put underneath a sheet to keep it dust free. He discovered that his jacket had been accidentally nailed (with 4-inch nails) to a ceiling beam! How everyone laughed!

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