Zonk the Roadsweeper

All was quiet in the village. It was very early on a Sunday morning long ago when people were asleep in their beds, but not for long. A strange sound, unheard of before, came from the western part of the village. The sound grew louder and louder. Men could be heard shouting, dogs were barking. At last the mystery was solved. A large flock of sheep was being driven up Brightwell Street. Men were running ahead closing garden gates, others were blocking off the wellsprings path and the road to Sotwell. All these sheep were on the way to a farm at the bottom of Mackney.As quickly as they had come, they all vanished down the lane, and soon the village was silent again.

Of all the people in the village, there was one who didn’t share any interest in all this. He was Mr George Barlow, whose nickname was “Zonk” – why Zonk, I have no idea. He was our very conscientious road sweeper, clearing fallen leaves, snow and loose stones from our roads. Further to that, he sat high in the cricket pavilion during matches, taking down the scores., Also on Saturday evenings, just before the last war, he could be seen in the doorway of the then village hall, a wooden building (still there) half way down The Street. He was collecting entrance money from the younger generation for their dance night. Music was from a gramophone.

Finally it must be said that George Barlow was well liked and his work much appreciated by the people of this village, and deservedly so.

Ron Wood