During the time we lived at The Straits we were served by a number of tradespeople.
Bentley Store had a converted bus which came around twice a week and carried almost as much produce within as a small store would do. We had a butcher who delivered and was always dressed in a white overall with a traditional blue striped butcher’s apron. Where the butcher came from I don’t remember but it was probably Bordon. The delivery man was just as a butcher should be, he was of medium height, quite stocky, red faced and had large chunky hands. Shady’s, (I’m not sure of the spelling), were the bakers and they delivered from their bakery in Oakhanger on the edge of Shortheath Common.
My father had worked for Shady’s prior to the war and going into the navy. I remember a large range of cakes and pastries being available in the back of the bakers van together with the loaves. I have often read that the memory stores smell within its data base. Incredibly, whilst writing these notes I can recall the smells associated with the various tradesmen. Especially so the Bentley Stores bus which had a complex blend of wonderful aromas. In addition to the above there was, of course, the milkman who came daily and supplied milk to all whom did not work on a farm.
It was in those days a perk or part of the wages, depending how you looked at it, of working on the farm, a can of milk was provided daily. This was probably a two pint vessel. I found the milkman's van fascinating as he carried a large range of produce other than milk but most of all because the milk bottles all had different coloured foil tops. Red, blue, green, gold and silver. There was even a striped top. I remember the gold top indicated full cream Channel Island milk. This had been produced by be either Guernsey or Jersey cattle. What the other colours signified I no long recall. Whatever it was they were eagerly collected by small boys for various purposes.
By far my favourite tradesman was Mr Bunch, he came from Binsted and drove his produce around by pony and trap. The Bunch family had a shop and some ground at the top of the lane on the right opposite the church in the area where the South Hay lane arrives at the church. There they grew fruit and veg which was sold from the trap. Mr Bunch himself was a slightly built man, always well turned out wearing a collar and tie. Often he wore a waist coat and always a Trilby hat. The trap was covered by a sort of tarpaulin which was lifted up to display the goods when Mr. Bunch arrived. The pony was quiet and well behaved and I loved it. Once again, how Kingsley influenced me, is apparent in that I have a pony of my own now and it is my great wish to get him between the shafts of a trap. It has been something that has been with me over the years and I am sure had its foundations with Mr Bunch and his pony all those years ago.