The Village That Sings Together

This is from the Wheelwright’s account in Ronald Blythe’s book, Akenfield:

“What I notice most about the village now is the way people no longer want to get together. All though my boyhood it was a regular thing for 20 or more folk to sit on that bank outside the shop and talk of an evening. They sat on the verge if it was fine and on the benches inside the shop if it was wet. The boys would be there too, rollicking and laughing but listening all the same. It was the good time of the day and we all looked forward to it. We told each other about the things that happened to us, only a long time ago. People didn’t usual tell each other things that were happening to them at that moment! … We sang songs. We sang the army songs from the war. ‘Nellie Dean’ and’Pack up your Troubles’. Also ‘The Fakenham Ghost’ and ‘The farmers’ boy’. And sometimes we step-danced, although mostly the step-dancing was done at the Crettingham ‘Bell’. People are locked in their houses with the television and haven’t any time for talk and the like.

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