‘OLD MAN VIOLET’

Buckden recollections from the 1950’s & 60’s

Violet is not a name one associates with the male gender but this was a moniker bequeathed by village youngsters. ‘Old Man Violet’ lived with Flo at Number 1, The Green and when not at work could be found sharing the couch with Flo’s rag-rug dog. 

Violet Livett was a farmhand for Jim Park and Jim was the tenant at Low Farm on Mill Road. The associated acres and farmhouse were the property of The Lintons of Stirtloe House. As a consequence, there were times when Violet was called upon to assist with the 7 acres of lawns, flower beds, greenhouses and kitchen gardens. She took to this work with enthusiasm but her energetic approach mucked up the quiet ebb and flow of the regular gardeners’ normal routines and they were not inclined to embrace this good-heartedly.

When Flo took her annual holiday, visiting her sister in Sharnbrook, Violet was left in charge of the shop. She had little tolerance for indecision and found youngsters particularly trying! They were inclined to turn up in a gang, following a raid on their Mums’ pantries.  The empty spring-top bottles (from Corona and Tizer and the like) were worth 1d each on return and could thus be converted to sweet treats! With Violet at the helm the sweets were perfunctorily grabbed and bagged.  Violet’s hands were no better than Flo’s. If anything, they were several shades worse!

On retiring she lived out her final years in the quiet sanctuary of The South’s, Almshouses.  It was not until her later years that the village witnessed Violet in a skirt! She would sit on the old wooden curtilage seat, with its overhead shelter, and watch the world go by. From this vantage point she could engage in a quick exchange of news and views with passers-by, while reserving a string of sparkling expletives, for those she felt less warm towards!

She died in 1972, and is buried in an unmarked grave in the cemetery, where nature kindly compensates for the lack of a memorial tablet. The overhead boughs scatter petals in spring, white in colour like Beauty and Blossom, and in the autumn spikey cases tumble down and burst open, revealing glossy chestnuts, the colour of Boxer.

All photos below are family sourced, from Angie's Dad.  The exception are the ones with Violet making hay and with the horses - both were supplied by Graham Andrews, now sadly deceased.

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