Oral History Interviews

Playing in large vicarage garden in 1960s

Fiona’s father was a priest and they lived in a large vicarage with a large garden, so she has many many memories of playing in the garden and on the swing that was in the garden. They were loaned by kind permission rocking horse which again she has fond memories of. Fiona had dolls and prams and remembers scribbling on the dolls faces. They had a sandpit in the garden

Fiona is number three of four children, there was quite a lot of rivalry as they were very close in age. She remembers having to play as a fielder in the garden for her brother, all the girls would field for him. Along with the four children there was a dentist across the road who also had four children who they would play with.

The elder sister was the one who was quite motherly and looked after the children. Fiona can’t remember having any responsibilities to tend to her siblings. She remembers walking her younger sister to school. Along with her parents there was also her grandparents living in the house so there was a lot of people around to look after the children.

They didn’t have a television until Fiona was about four. They’d play cards and boardgames in the house. She shared a bedroom with a younger sister. They collected stamps kept in a stamp album, played cat’s cradle, they were encouraged to do a lot of things with their hands.

She went through the guide movement. Fiona’s older sister had been Brownie and a guide and Fiona chose to follow in sister’s footsteps first.

Most evenings after school Fiona wouldn’t go out again, once at home that was it.

Fiona started to learn to play the violin. Then there was a Saturday morning small orchestra at a church hall, which she was allowed to go to on the bus. After this she learned to play the clarinet, which she continued until she left school. Her daughter also took to play the clarinet, playing her old clarinet.

Fiona had neighbours that had a tennis court which she would play on quite a lot and she can remember hitting the ball around. Also played netball at school. And then in Rangers she did a lot canoeing.

At primary school there was a lot of skipping. She remembers how you do the different skipping games but can’t remember the songs they song while skipping. Talks about some of the ball games they played – bouncing balls, catching them with friends and against a wall on her own. Fiona also remembers just sitting around gossiping a lot, she didn’t have to go out side all the time and would be inside. It was an all girl school.

For lunch Fiona cycled home and so missed out a lot of the lunchtime games and social bonding that happens at this time.

Fiona used to cycle to school a lot, but just cycled as mode of transport, to get to and from school, to the library and to Oxford. That shouldn’t say as a social activity leisure activity.

Talks about the rules, the unwritten rules, of timekeeping of when she should be back at home. And how far she was allowed to go travel. She could go 3 miles into central Oxford, by bus or by her bike, on herself. She wouldn’t go outside of the Oxford area by herself.

Fiona don’t go to the cinema regularly, just when there was something they wanted to see. Her father was very keen on his music and they would go to concerts and as a family event they’d go to musicals.

Fiona laughs as she remembers having to tell her parents she was doing something different to what you’re telling them. For instance she hitched in Greece one holiday and she was economic with the truth in what she told them.

At college Fiona discovered the pubs and took up rowing. When she started working – was going to the cinema, going to the pub and walking.

In her late teens she took up walking.

As a teacher she always knew she had holidays to do walking. Again Fiona had always found time to read him. She gave up the clarinet, though she took up singing in choral Society. Fiona still goes to a lot of concerts.

Fiona does read a lot and did from an early age, remembers being in bed under the covers with a torch and a book. Going to the library every Saturday on a bike with books. Remembers choosing a book, which for quite a few years had to have less than 100 pages, she doesn’t know where that come from front.

Fiona remembers radio, listening to Listen to Mother. She remembers the first television she saw was been taken to the woman at the bottom of the garden and watching trooping of the colour. She remembers coming home from school one day and having a television, her father saying “yes I bought this for your mother to watch Wimbledon”, when really he bought it for him to watch the test match on, which was just about to start.

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