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He saved all the soot from the chimneys, which was weathered before it was used around the carrots and onions, but he didn't buy any fertilisers. He was an organic gardener before anyone had even thought of the word!

My earliest job was picking cabbage white caterpillars off the cabbages, and putting them in a bucket of water. My father paid me an old penny for every hundred, and I was such an honest little girl I counted every single one.

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Next door to the allotment we had a piggery, and my father used to get all the pig poo which he put in a huge great drum that was full of water. It was called Impsty shit and used to have huge white maggots in it - when you took the lid off, the smell was absolutely terrible. Infact before they took the lid off they'd shout out `beware impstys shit', before diluting it with water and watering all the plants.

One day I was playing chase with my cousin and fell in the impstys shit head first! Whereas now I suppose you'd be taken off to hospital for injections, my mother dunked me off in the water tank, dried me as best as she could and I had to run around naked while my clothes were drying."

"Under the doorstep to our hut we had a wild bees' nest which we left alone. And we had mice in the hut. My father used to put a few seeds and potatoes out for them rather than poison. He said they wouldn't get into his sacks of saved vegetables if he put a bit of food out for them. But in those days you didn't feel like you needed to protect wildlife because there was so much of it. You could go out to Falmer pond and get a bucketful of newts - now if you find a newt it's a wonderful thing. Even down in the town we had wildlife. There was a street light opposite our house and on warm summer evenings as soon as the light came on the bats arrived, swooping round the light after the moths and night flying insects. We had a bombsite in our road which become overgrown and full of food for caterpillars and insects. Some of the bombsites even had little ponds with everything from tadpoles and frogs to dragonflies. The privet hedges in the front gardens in Upper Lewes Road always had privet hawk moth caterpillars which quickly grew until they were fat and several inches long with a long black spike on their tail.

Me and my cousins used to take a bottle of water, a few potatoes and a box of matches and go off to the Wild Park for the whole day. In those days everybody trusted everybody else, so we were quite safe to go and play by ourselves. We'd cut a turf and make a fire and put mud around the potatoes to bake them. Being the only girl I always got the burnt one.

Bates Estate had an orchard where me and my cousins used to go scrumping. There was iron railings on the front of it, but Mr.Bates used to come after us with a shotgun tho' I never heard him fire it. We didn't get very far in the orchard because we were so frightened of him. When I was scrumping Mr.Bate's apples little did I know that many, many years later I would be living where his orchard had once been. The old fellow still lives on - Bates Estate is named after him!

Next to the orchard were two playing fields - one we used to play on, and the

   

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