William George "George" Rebbeck 1901 - 1994
Eldest son of Sydney Francis Rebbeck and Emily Coombes Rebbeck
Recollections of Bygone Days part 3
"Did he play?" asked one of the locals.
"Yes," replied Ern, "I'm pretty good."
"Oh," says one of the locals, "you'd better give Harry a game, he's quite useful."
Harry agreed and then, thinking they had a soft touch suggested they had five bob on It. Ern suggested that ten bob would be more realistic and then proceeded to go out while his opponent was hardly started.
"Blimey!" said the local, "you're pretty useful."
Ern said, "Well, I did warn you, didn't I?"
And that was the bloke who was going to spend a holiday with us when we lived in the wooden bungalow. I did not look forward to it but it turned out all right. I had one room for a workshop and I was working on a wooden armchair, which was originally made in pine but was having much of it replaced by oak. I was doing the arm rests which had half holes in each for the cross rail and to get half holes you cramp the two arm-rests together and bore holes in the combined piece and then separate them. Ern was intrigued; he said that he handled tools as a shipwright but hadn't touched them for years. Well he spent part of every day in my workroom and when it was time to depart he was exceedingly grateful, he said he'd enjoyed himself.
One thing he was not good at, the raising of little boys.. His youngest son was left-handed and he used to whack him to change It. It nearly drove little Jimmy silly and it was only when he got away from home and his father that he developed normally. He finished up in the New Zealand army. Unfortunately years of service often produces a lack of financial ability and Ern was "conned' out of a lot of his gratuity by a bankrupt, but not before he had bought a house, fortunately.
They had a school fund mainly for sports gear and one day the deputy heed Alf Neck told him that they needed a new football and there was nothing In the fund. Usually they would hold what the old bay called a penny concert (parents 2d) in which each of five classes did something different, but this time Frankie decided to have some
boxing. I didn't see these capers because I visited Reepham on Thursday and Friday and Frankie's penny concerts were always an
Fridays, but every Monday when I went to Fakenham I would be regaled with his latest exploit. The boxing was apparently his piece-de-resistance. He chose the opponents, Noel Allison a rather quiet inoffensive lad and a tough little all - rounder Jack Tooley. We wondered why Allison had been chosen, but it might be that it was all well planned, for he won on points! For three rounds young Jack chased Noel round the ring, aiming blows with both gloves. At the end of the third round Frankie climbed into the ring and raised Allison's hand on high. Alf Neck went across at once and in a loud whisper told him that you raise the victor's hand. That was right he was told
and when All pointed out that Tooley had chased Allison round the ring for three rounds the old mans answer was 'he never caught him". A British boxer once said that in Italy it was necessary to kill your opponent to get a draw. In Fakenham it seems that you have to kill the referee as well
I've written about the first man to welcome us when we moved into the crude shack that was our first "own home" and sheltered us from 1929.There was another with whom we became very friendly, Frank Steward, who was a few years older than us. During the first World War he must have been in Intelligence. He didn't talk much about it except to say that he used to make frequent trips across the channel. Before the war he was with the Imperial Tobacco Co. in London but when the war ended he felt that after those years spent out of doors he didn't want to go back to an indoor job. He was quite artistic and thought he could make a living illustrating for local publishers. Maybe he might have but he was feckless and procrastinating. He married a schoolteacher at Bodham School but she left him and they divorced before we knew him. He occasionally got a cheque for illustrating work for Jarrolds, good class publishers of Norwich. When he got any payment he threw a party and spent it all at once. Then one year there was a great scout jamboree held at Liverpool with hundreds, maybe even thousands of boy scouts assembled from all over the world. Frank had a brainwave, he would make a little model of a boy scout and sell them as souvenirs. It was a project that needed speed between stages - finding a model, finding the best pose, finding a firm to cast it, finding two guarantors to be responsible for £25 each. He had time but he dithered about and by the time the scouts dispersed to the four corners of the earth the prototype was still awaiting official approval. Alan Steward, his brother who was a teacher at Ipswich Grammar school, lost his £25 as did Mr Packard, another High Kellingite of whom more anon.
Frank was a good tennis player and there was a tennis court in the field near the road to Selbrigg pond belonging to what was in those days the women's sanatorium. Local people were given permission to use the court provided the nurses, who weren't very expert, got a fair share. We, who realised the position, used to play with the nurses and hit the ball to them so that they could get it, but one local lass had to be foolish and make the nurses feel silly. The nurses (only two or three usually came) stopped coming, so the matron didn't open the court when the next season started.
It was about that time that we started tennis In Holt on the playing field. They had laid down a tarmac court but it wore out the balls very quickly so four High Kellingites got some green cementone and painted the surface. The ground was cleared at the eastern end of the playing field raked and rolled and sown with grass seed by a local nurseryman but before the job could be finished the war broke out and the ground was neglected. When we looked at it in 1945 it looked hopeless, but I have already told you this story.
Page last amended January 2004