I think when I was younger most of the reasons for going out of town was the fishing! Ickworth Park Lake was a great place for fishing and we would cycle out with fishing rods tied to the crossbar and have a grand day fishing in the lake.
I was interested in all types of coarse fishing in those days and on one occasion I took a pike fishing rod and set this with live bait (frowned upon these days as cruel) and then went off to catch more small roach or perch to use as live bait later. Whilst fishing for live bait I noticed that my keep net was being buffeted by something and went to investigate. A large Pike was trying to get at the fish inside the net. I managed to scare it off and the next thing I knew, was that my pike rod, reel etc. disappeared into the lake. The bait obviously taken by the same fish…That was that! No way to retrieve the rod …one which my grandfather had made for me …gone! I confessed to him what had occurred and he told me not to worry as these things happened!
About six months later during the winter when the lake froze over my school friend Geoffrey Sadler , I think, who lived in Ickworth Park came into class one day holding the bottom end of my pike rod with the reel still attached. He had found it frozen in the ice. No fish was attached however! Also in Ickworth Park one had to keep a sharp eye on one’s bicycle as the ponies there tended to destroy your saddle bag especially if you had your sandwiches in it.
We also went out to Drinkstone Lake and to Rushbrook Hall Lake. In the latter of which I once caught a small jack pike and put this in my saddle bag and rode home. Which upon reaching, I discovered that the pike was still alive! So I filled the bath and put the fish in there. Next morning my father went into the bathroom to shave and I head a shout! The pike had leapt from the water almost causing him to cut his throat. Later that day the fish was taken from the bath and released into the river Lark or the Coal Rivers as they were known!
Whilst fishing at Ickworth one day, we also met the future Marquis of Bristol who invited us back to his house! Little did we realise at the time who he was and that he lived in the wing of the Rotunda. We were shown into the kitchen and given ice cream.
Later I had a friend who lived in Flempton and we would play village cricket in a field outside the village, from which we first had to shoo the cattle into the next field. There was also a Blacksmith in Flempton who’s forge was literally under a spreading Chestnut tree (well I think it was a Chestnut!) and it was fascinating to watch him shoe horses.
We also canoed down the Lark to West Stow and beyond carrying the canoes around the locks which were still in existence then. That was what was so nice about living in Bury. The countryside was only a short walk or cycle ride away.
Originally published 6th May 2016 in the Facebook Group.