Memories of Olive Pallot

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Olive and her mother Elizabeth

Olive Mathilda Pallot (1913- ) was the daughter of Jerseyman John George Pallot (1879–1972), who left St Martin in Jersey and moved to Guernsey with his family as a teenager. In Guernsey he met his wife, Elizabeth Ogier (1876-1935), daughter of Henry (1849-1915) and Marie Sarre (1842-1928). They married in 1905. By the following year they had moved to Bursledon, a village on the River Hamble in Hampshire, located within the borough of Eastleigh, close to the city of Southampton.

There they lived at Netley Farm and brought up six children: Arthur John (1907-1977), Dorothy Alice (1909-2003), Mabel (1910- ), Henry George (1911-2000), Olive Mathilda (1913- ) and Margaret (1915- ).

Childhood memories

Olive never married, and when she died these notes were found in her flat:

"We were two brothers and four sisters and we lived with our parents in the end cottage of a terrace, bordering grandpa's small farm. Grandpa was medium height with grey curls and twinkling blue eyes. My grandmother is a dim memory, always wearing black. Auntie Mabel, who lived with them, was more active and she loved to work in her garden wearing her Guernsey sun bonnet or scoop.
"They had all left Guernsey, with Uncle Philip as well, when my dad took a gardener's job in the village and was so thrilled with the beauty around he encouraged his family to go over, and grandpa took his cows with them and some farm implements, and of course they took their brass ‘’bachin’’. I remember Auntie Mabel making jam in that ‘’bachin’’, and sitting on a stool while stirring it as she made a small fire with wood under her tierpied. (Which is two flat iron bars supported across the fire and the ‘’bachin’’ stood quite securely on these iron bars). When the jam was cooked and put into jars, we were allowed to scrape out the ‘’bachin’’ with crusts of bread; very good.
"My eldest brother Arthur went to live with the grandparents when Dorothy was born, and when he came to see us, he would tease and make me cry, but Mabel, who came next to Dorothy in age, would never let him make her cry. One day our mother called up and I refused to come saying: "It is only Arthur" and he had made two kites, one for Mabel and one for me, and as he heard what I had said he gave it to our little sister Margaret, so we all played with it anyway. Henry came between Mabel and me, and he was fun to be with. We would wander across the fields and down to the stream where we found clay to make models and later paint them, and we would find tadpoles in season.
"I am sure that we all helped our mother as much as we could in the house. My mother was also from Guernsey. Occasionally we went to town about three miles each way, which meant taking the big pram, and two would sit inside and one would sit on a bar under the hood over the axle. A queer sensation holding on for dear life and watching the road go by. We took turns riding or walking and my mother must have enjoyed walking.
"I dimly remember my dad coming home from the 1914-18 war and he would play ball with us at times and when he had to leave, he put us all in a corner and piled the chairs all round us, and by the time we had worked our way out he had gone and poor mama had only us.
"My first day at school I was so miserable that Henry brought me home in the dinner hour, only to be told to take me straight back, and mama looked so vexed with me I was relieved to go, and never felt so bad again. I saw our old school about two years ago, now so unbelieveably small, but enormous to us in our day. They were happy days. Eventually we left Bursledon and had to go to Butlocks Heath school, and that was even bigger, but nice and light, and more modern. Our way to school was down Grange Lane and over a style and through a field, and that is still just the same, only on entering the village there are more new houses The school is now just for infants.
"During the dinner hour we would play on the common or wander through the woods. The children are allowed in those woods on their own now and that beautiful common is mostly built on. The footpath through and over the Bunnie, or small stream, and on to the Netley railway station, is still there and the station is just the same (and the main street up through Butlocks Heath is the same). We had very good teachers at our school.
Olive with her sister Mabel and nephew John Frederick
"I remember making a boy’s shirt by hand. We had no machines and the teacher took it home to machine cuffs and collar etc. Another time I made a ladies’ white petticoat with some hem stitching drawn thread work that won a prize at the local show and my sister in law's mother bought the garment and was still using it when Carrie married my brother Arthur. We also had cooking in a purpose-built kitchen in the corner of the playground, and now it is used for handicrafts, I think. We had games and drill in the playground. Netball etc. but no teams to compete with; only just among ourselves. After playtimes we were formed into rows and marched back into school, very orderly.
"I suppose that I quite enjoyed my school days, but we loved our Sundays at home. When we lived in Bursledon our hair was washed and put into curlers on Saturday night and grandpa would come over to hear us say our prayers before going to bed. When living in Netley we still went to the Sunday school at Bursledon. Quite a long walk but I don't remember getting tired. Our teachers did their best and the superintendent had a crowd of us to his home for tea at least once a year. I remember the large round table, laden with good things, and we were on our best behaviour because the parents weren't there, and one of us with one of our cousins were often invited out for tea on a Sunday, when we lived at Netley.
"During the evening we would read or write letters to our cousins in Guernsey, or try to draw a picture of interest. Grandpa always made a bonfire for Guy Fawkes night and we had a few fireworks, but our sparklers were a dry twig made to glow in the fire. We would hold it and swing it around, and it would glow for a long time. Those were magic times.
"We all had measles and chicken pox at different times. Two or three of us together and Henry showed us how to make pixie houses with a Quaker Oats box with windows and door cut out, and the cardboard shaped up to the roof and the walls were covered in lichen that we must have collected previously, and on the roof tiles made from fir cones broken apart. Sometimes we made a garden on some thicker cardboard and placed the house on it. There was always something to do.
"I remember when we realised that other children said mum and dad and we always said mama and dadda, and I called over the bannisters at the top of the stairs "mama we are going to call you mum and dad like the other children" and she didn't seem to mind a bit.

Uncle George's ferrets

"Other memories come crowding in - Uncle George came to stay and he brought his two ferrets in a strong wooden slatted box, but he let them out on the kitchen floor for us to see and I didn't like them at all. Their long limp bodies and evil looking little eyes. Ugh! And up in bed that night a slight squeak under my bed I jumped out shouting that the ferrets were there and it was only Henry who thought he would bump me up when I got in, only he couldn't refrain from giggling. Luckily he got back into bed before mum came up so only me got told off for being so silly.
"Uncle George had a strange accent and we loved to listen. We loved to listen to mum and Uncle George talking in patois. Dad wasn't so good at it as he was a native of Jersey and only learned French on coming to Guernsey when about 11 years old. Grandpa used the Jersey patois I think but his English was good and he told us marvellous tales of his boyhood in Jersey. We would help him to pick his spring flowers, various bulbs and some gypsy ladies with bicycles would fetch them all bunched up with 72 blooms in each bunch and Auntie Mabel added some posies of her garden flowers which were very pretty.
"Auntie Mabel would sometimes make a picnic party for us and our cousins and a few friends all set out on a long table in that flower packing shed. That was when the flowers were finished. We had picnics at haymaking time too and grandpa fixed a good see saw for us. We did have fun. We helped auntie Mabel picking currants and gooseberries, also raspberries. Of course we stayed for the day, Mabel and I. I don't remember Dorothy coming those days and another Dorothy who was the daily help would come and play hide-and-seek with us after dinner.
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