Ronald K. Brind

C.S. Lewis in Oxford

A Guide for Visitors

Haynes Field

In the field adjacent to the Kilns known as Haynes’ field next to the allotments (garden plots) all sorts of things happened. On one occasion I remember Douglas Gresham (Dougie) being sat in the top of a tree over in the Kilns with a pair of binoculars surveying the area as he often did, when a courting couple got down to business in the tall dry grass unaware of course that Dougie was able to see what was going on.

Dougie (who was smoking cigarettes well before his sixteenth birthday) climbed down from the tree and wandered over to the couple. With a cigarette between his fingers and the couple still oblivious to his presence, you can imagine the likely question. Perhaps something like ‘excuse me have you got a light for my cigarette please’? Needless to say he didn’t get a light from that couple!

We had great fun in Haynes’ field, which was near the concrete covered water reservoir including riding a really heavy ex-War Department 350cc Matchless motorcycle that we stole from the brick drying barn. The motorcycle had belonged to Warnie and was probably a relic from the war, but we would thrash it around Haynes’ field anyhow at the age of about 12 years until it ran out of fuel and then allow it to coast downhill back to the barn, where we parked it in the darkest corner!

I remember it had a fixed or rigid rear axle, meaning no rear suspension and coil springs at the front. There was a mass of chrome levers across the handlebars and controls generally, and the seat was much like an old tractor seat very basic, but the bike would probably be worth a fortune today.

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