Monday 22 February 2010 10.04am
O-oh, Jan, are we related I wonder? Are you suspecting that we are by putting that exclamation mark at the end of your aunt's name? Because my mother's maiden name was Ward.
Regarding my great grandfather, he certainly was a character by all accounts. He would turn his hand to anything to earn a few bob. Every September from the age of 18 he went hop picking. For the first few years he walked to Kent, (Paddock Wood in fact,) from his home in Walworth. He became addicted to it and didn't miss a single season from that first time, such was his love of Kent. Some of the family surmised that it was probably where he had originated from and had probably made his way to London as a kid, (where we all know the streets are paved with gold,) and eventually settled in Walworth. His last 'hopping' was in September 1952. He died the following spring age 85. He started the family hop picking tradition, right down the line to myself. I was first taken when I was six months old and went every year until 1960, when the hop harvesting machine took over and hand pickers were no longer required. I guess I'm one of the last generation who will remember hop picking by hand.