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The Keene Family come to 7 Norwood Avenue

Janet Keene

In 1967 we lived in a 2-bedroom bungalow in Wheatley and we were expecting our 3rd child. We therefore needed a bigger house. My husband then was working in Littlemore so we decided to move somewhere within 10 miles of his work. After a while we were on our way to Devon for Easter and, before the days of the bypass, we drove through Kingston Bagpuize itself and passed a road near the Post Office with attractive new houses being built. On our return, we investigated and found a site in Norwood Avenue which backed onto a lovely field and with some woodland beside it which was in the grounds of Kingston House.

We looked at the plans and decided to buy the house, which when built would be nearest the wood. There was delay after delay but eventually in September we were told we could move in. Our son was almost due but we decided that we might lose the house if we delayed so we moved in and 5 days later he was born. After a few days in hospital I returned to rooms with floors covered in sand and dust and on top of this were boxes of our belongings. Our daughter, aged 5, had just started at the old village school and needed escorting there and back accompanied by her two younger brothers.

We settled in quickly and, although paradoxically in 1971 Peter got a job in Wheatley, we have never regretted making the move. We soon made friends in the road and had street parties in the summer on the green opposite our house. There were many Americans from Brize Norton living here and they bought wonderful steaks, the size of dinner plates, from their base, for the BBQs. Another advantage is that many of us had young children and we organised a baby-sitting circle which was invaluable. Also there was a new pre-school group set up in the Methodist Church Hall which our older son enjoyed.

We love the view over the field and have a picnic area in the corner of the garden from which you can watch the cattle in summer and the sheep in winter. Once, somehow one of Tim Weaving’s cows found its way into our back garden. Tim was called and, with one flourish of his walking stick, the cow ran down the garden and jumped clear over the barbed wire fence – not as impressive as jumping over the moon, but no mean feat! We also, before it was banned, had the local hunt meeting in the field. On one occasion the fox, chased by some of the hounds, fled through our garden much to the consternation of Stephen’s pet white rabbit who lived in an enclosure by the house. The rabbit seemed to be crouched in one corner of the cage with its paws over its eyes or it might have been lifting its paws as a signal of surrender!

Now, nearly 50 years later, we still have near neighbours who moved in at the same time as us but they too are now grandparents and some with grown up grandchildren.