Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Flo's Story - Nutters

Resuming the stories from my late mother's life. As with many people her life settled down into a more regular routine as she got older and there are less anecdotes from more recent times. If you're thinking she became less energetic and gregarious then think again!



Nutters Close wasn't full of lunatics, but was named after the Nutter family who once owned Grantchester Mill. But the village was a very different place from Caldecote; the houses and cottages in Grantchester were being bought up by people working at the University in Cambridge, and one was more likely to see a croquet set on the lawn than a goat grazing. The new council houses, one of which was now our home, were only built because of the campaigning efforts of the village vicar and others who saw that there were no homes which could be afforded by young people. 

Flo settled into the house which would be her home for the next fifty years; no more moving from one place to another. But it was not the end of Flo and Ted's travels. The catalyst for this was a visit from Ted's sister, June, whom he hadn't seen since she departed these shores with her American husband, Bill, just after the end of World War II. None of us had realised how close Ted was to his little sister. When it was time for them to go June was in tears and wondering when they'd meet up again. Ted was quiet, as usual, but Flo knew he was hiding his pain. "We'll come to see you next year", blurted out Flo. 

Later in the day Ted said "What did you say that for? We haven't got the kind of money to afford that". Nothing else was said about it but with each of June's letters she was counting down the days till she'd see them again. Eventually it got to the point when something had to be done about it. Travel agents were visited, passports were obtained, travel insurance was arranged, currency was exchanged and tickets were purchased; all without too much difficulty, apart from Flo getting so excited in the travel agents that she forgot her own phone number and had to go for a walk around the Market Square till she remembered!

The plan was to stay overnight with Flo's mother in London before catching the plane. "Is there room in your case for me?" asked Flo's mum. "You can have my ticket and go in place of me if you want", said Ted. All this changed once they were airborne and Ted became a great enthusiast for flying as a form of travel.


 with nieces and nephews in Virginia USA

When arranging the travel insurance a price had been quoted, "How much more would it cost to double the cover?" asked Ted. It turned out to be not much more than the original figure. My father, cautious as ever, said he'd pay for extra cover. Just as well too; on the first morning in the US Flo contrived to fall downstairs and break her leg. When all the medical bills were totted up they had insured for just enough to cover the costs. They didn't let the accident stop them from enjoying themselves and it didn't deter them from returning to the USA, as well as visiting Ted's sister Dorothy in Canada, in the following years.

Bitten by the travel bug they also began having holidays in Europe - Malta, Yugoslavia, Portugal and Austria were all visited. Although they did go on some organised trips when they were at these places, their real love was just going off exploring on their own. Although neither of them ever owned proper walking boots or invested in such sensible things as maps or phrase books they got quite adventurous at times. One day in Austria they went up on a chair lift to a mountain cafe. On the way up Ted saw that there was a path leading up too, so next day they thought they'd walk up. It turned out to be further and steeper than expected and Flo ended up going on all-fours. But energy and determination won the day and they reached the cafe. When they went in there was a loud cheer and much-needed drinks were brought for them - people had been watching their progress up the mountainside and laying bets on whether they'd make it!


Take care.





16 comments:

  1. Another wonderful story, John. I smiled reading how she forgot her own telephone number out of enthusiasm, I can understand that perfectly! :)

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  2. I love this story! The photo captures such a familiar era for me. It is wonderful knowing that your parents loved to travel and see the world. Such enthusiasm and strength they had.

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  3. ça fait plaisir de lire ces aventures familiales ! merci

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  4. I'm enjoying your mom's stories.

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  5. Lol. I can imagine the crowd watching Flo and Ted! They were an adventurous couple for sure. Great story again, John.

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  6. A wonderful little story John. I was laughing at the ending when everyone cheered them, such determination Flo and Ted had.

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  7. Sounds like a wonderful adventurous couple! Good for them!

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  8. I am so sorry for your loss of loved mother. I scrolled down to mid-September to know her passing. So sad, but at the same time peaceful because death seems to have come in its time and in its place. Your mother in red dress reminded me of my late mother. She would be smiling and nodding her head to what you’ve been writing about her.

    Yoko

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  9. Wonderful stories and memories. Hiking up the mountain to the cafe and being cheered upon entering sounds like great fun!

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  10. Hi John - gosh Flo was an intrepid lady ... and what fun to read about - while the warmth of your writing rings out to us readers ... delightful. Brilliant about the cheer in the cafe ... lovely and thanks for telling us about these travels - cheers Hilary

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  11. I had no doubts at all that Ted and Flo would make it to the top ☺ They were a pair of characters alright John 😊

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  12. I'm glad they got to enjoy travel and see a bit of the world. It seems they were quit adventurous once started!

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  13. Another interesting story. Having relatives on another continent was a completely different thing in those days, when travel was relatively more expensive and wages were relatively lower. Congrats to Flo and Ted for their adventurous spirits and commitment.

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  14. Sorry this is late John but I just had to say how much I enjoyed this and what strong characters Flo and Ted were. Visiting relatives abroad was a rare thing in those days, most people had to make do with the occasional telephone call with the family gathered around the kitchen table. Their adventure on the mountain made me smile and reminded me when, many years ago I belonged to a trekking group, one time somewhere in Wales four of us were left behind, the weather was bad with icy patches underfoot, we could see the pub in the distance but the footpath took us a long way round and time wasn’t on our side. We decided to scramble down the side of the mountain, I was terrified and ended up almost sliding down on my bottom!

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  15. Love these stories, John. You capture a time when the bulk of our population were discovering the world beyond their village or town, without the military paying to take them there...

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  16. What a great way to live their life! I wish I had been more adventurous!

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