Portrait of Jack Barker
Wednesday 5th August 2009
Response to Portrait of Jack Barker - See "Old Lerryn"
The following email has been received, as a result of the appearance of Derek Knott's portrait of Jack Barker (Courtesy of The Ship Inn), on the Old Lerryn section of this website. We hope that "Rozel" will not object to the report of his fascinating recollections on this news page:
From Rozel on 3rd August 2009
My younger days
By chance I seized on the Lerryn website this afternoon and found the painting of Jack Barker.
As a boy, I recall Jack being employed by Hubert Olver at Collon Farm, and his regular usage of the Ship from the days that the Phillips family ran the pub. Alas the last occasion that I saw Jack he was rather dishevelled; later I heard that he had moved to a nursing home in Lostwithiel where he died. One lasting memory associated with Jack is the brass plate in the Ship that announced that the seat was reserved for Jack, a veteran of two world wars, and that anyone sitting in the seat after a time, I think eight in the evening, could start another war. Hopefully the plate remains.
The reader will certainly start to think, who is this person who remembers Jack. So I will endeavour to explain my connection with Lerryn. A great grandmother on my maternal side was a Miss Mitchell before she married into the Harris family; a brother, Dick, became the chauffeur for the Boconnoc Estate and granny was a village midwife until such ladies had to be registered! Great gran had two children, only my grandfather, Richard, survived to adulthood, marrying Freda Yeo, one of the large Yeo family from Lerryn. I recall great uncle Evelyn Yeo was the head gardener at Ethy House whilst his sister Rosie was the head cook.
Whilst times have changed and the halcyon days of my youth are long past I still have vivid memories of Lerryn, including visiting Blamey and Morcom's mill when it was powered by the remaining one of two water wheels, riding on the Lerryn bus driven by Mr Dawe, with conductress Edna - first gear up Lerryn Hill for the green Bristol half cab with a Gardner 5LW engine, visiting "Uncle Tom Salt" a veteran of the Matabele Uprising in Lerryn and visiting a relation, Dick Bowden, in the carpenter's workshop that stood on the site of the "Village Institute" opposite the remains of one of the old lime kilns.
Such is the change in the UK with more and more restrictions on individual freedom - one cannot freely walk country lanes with a shotgun under your arm with no more intent than securing a rabbit for the pot as I did as a young man, increased and often unfathomable bureaucracy together with increased violence that have caused my wife and I to leave the UK for what we hope is a more peaceful and caring environment.
If I can assist with more information about my memories of Lerryn, feel free to make contact.