Long ago….. Mr Holdcroft Sir


Long ago and far away, an ‘older than his years’ man left the parental home ..(much older parents and much pushing of wheelchairs with mama) ..and went to live with a group of others in East London.

The stipulation was that all worked or studied in the area and that we helped the local clergyman, with the local church, on the local estate. Stories of young lads hanging upside down off the roof during services, serious bonfires around the fire escape and the very elderly congregation itself met us. Some became quite adept at leading bible studies with a television programme blaring away and The Sun on the living room table, any potential preacher had to prove their worth on the church’s toilet cleaning rota, while our midde aged man (yet again) found himself pushing elderly women in wheelchairs. Few of us had spare money and yet for a short while we shared a fascinating few years together.

One Christmas, everyone had even less money than usual and yet our friend with the smart trousers and formal shoes was determined that everyone in our extended household would receive beautiful gifts. The book end above was one of a lovely set made for me; metal pieces from an ironmongers on The Roman Road and the wood was sourced from a local skip. For the next thirty years those bookends had a special place in my heart, wherever that heart happened to be living at the time.

Fast forward to this year. A few rooms required re arranging and i had cause to remember again a good friend….one who over the years i’d caught up with again, and again but after his own wife suddenly died a few years ago we lost touch. Oh yes, our forever wheelchair pushing friend finally married….a woman in a wheel chair. God is Good.

Sadly this winter i discovered that James Holdcroft, Jim, or “Bi” as my eldest son knew him has died. The man who could create beauty with a few pence (and also short the community’s electrical supply while putting up his bookshelves) is no more gifting joy into our world.


014 ah yes, there’s Abbeyfield House (Tower Hamlets). All gone now, there is a lovely cul de sac there these days and the whole area is much improved.

Word to the wise: cherish your friends, you never know when they’ll be gone.

Drinking: Chai
Eating: Maltesers
Watching: Poirot
Listening to: Snoring Dog











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