|I started at West Mersea Council School as it was then called, after Easter 1937. The boy sitting next to me was a real pest and kept pulling my ears. After the first term and holiday some new children came in and I had a new partner at my desk, his name was Sidney Sherwood, a quiet
friendly boy. Sid and I had a lot in common, we both lived in the Barfield Road council houses and our dads both played in the Mersea band, Alf Sherwood an ex. military bandsman played cornet and my dad Les played trombone. Sid and I used to go along to the brotherhood meetings
at the British Legion hall on Sunday afternoons to hear our dads play.
I was pleased to hear from Sid that he still has his dad's cornet as I still have my dad's trombone. Maybe in a future season our museum could feature the Mersea band, or bands even, as there have been others since the 1930s. Sid and I both left school at 14 and started apprenticeships in the
building trade. I went to Clifford White & Co to do bricklaying, Sid went to A Tredgett & Co to learn carpentry and we are still doing a bit.
Another thing we have in common is that we both have a wonderful wife and family. Last February mine treated me to a fabulous 80th birthday party at the Dabchicks and several of my old school friends were there - including Sid of course.
On the last Sunday in May it was Sid's turn to celebrate his 80th birthday and what a party at was. Sid and Josie have a bungalow in Stanway with an adjoining field and a large marquee was set up. About a dozen large tables were covered with cloths decorated round the edges with beach huts and sea shells were laid in the centre. The marquee walls were draped with fishing nets, seaweed and model yachts creating a real Mersea atmosphere.
After a wonderful meal, sons Andy, David and fellow musicians entertained us with country and western style music. Sid told me this is quite a new band and although I have never played an instrument myself I consider I'm very musical and I really enjoyed this band. After another
interval some other musicians appeared forming the other band Saltdog. Although I've heard of this band I've never actually heard them play. The volume was really turned up and and my poor old ears took a hammering but I had to stop and listen while others went to a quieter area. One of my contemporaries thought his hearing aid was about to explode. This is a great band and as well as being a fine musician Andy is a great entertainer.
Sid's granddaugher Daisy and my grandson Charlie Fisher were performing together with Josh at the food festival last week-end. I'm sorry I missed them but glad to hear the music is still coming along.
I hope Alf and Les would approve but I can't think what they would make of the amplification. They probably never even used a microphone in their days.
Published in Mersea Life, July 2012, page 44.