Woodbury nostalgia

PUBLISHED: 14:16 10 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:35 10 June 2010

HE was the captain of Woodbury Cricket Club for more than 40 years, a Guiness book of records award winner and a well-known, successful businessman. But, despite all these achievements, speaking to ninety-year-old Bob Miller, of Thorns Cottage, most poten

HE was the captain of Woodbury Cricket Club for more than 40 years, a Guiness book of records award winner and a well-known, successful businessman.

But, despite all these achievements, speaking to ninety-year-old Bob Miller, of Thorns Cottage, most potently he is testament to how the village has changed over the years.

The retired painter and decorator was born and has lived in Woodbury all his life.

Speaking about life in the area in the 1920s, Bob said: "I remember having to walk down to the bottom of Mirey Lane to fill buckets with water for my wife's mother to clean her vegetables with.

"There was no water which ran into your house. It was a slower pace of life compared with now but you had to work harder.

"Then, when I was a boy I remember playing football carefree just about everywhere in the village because there wasn't the traffic around like today.

"Unlike now, there was just one bus that came into Woodbury which used to go up over Globe Hill. It would come up from Exmouth and head to Exeter."

Bob, reflecting on the mischievous antics he would sometimes pull as a youngster, added: "There was like an iron ladder going up on the back of double decker buses.

"We used to wait until they turned around, dash after it and sneak on to get out of paying."

In last week's Journal, Bob recalled the time in 1983 he built Woodbury's version of the Berlin Wall, blocking off a short cut on a footpath near the Golden Heart estate and the village.

He said the building of the 7ft wall, which caused controversy in the area, notably at the parish council, was to ensure children's safety as they approached a busy road. It still stands today.

Keen gardener Bob, who grew a record-breaking shallot in 1989 which was entered in the Guiness Book of Records, was also involved in a political row over the old village fire station.

Bob rented the station from them to use as a store for his painter and decorator business.

As a condition of the lease, he was responsible for its upkeep and one day decided the building needed a change of colour.

But, his selection of magnolia and Trafalgar blue upset a neighbour whose garden overlooks the station.

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