The oast houses of Kent, it seems
Pervade my very deepest dreams,
And that is odd because, you see,
They're once-removed, in reality.
My mother spoke of them quite often
And, when she did, her face would soften.
For, as a child, she often went
To holiday in rural Kent,
Away from her home beside the sea
Into country tranquility.
Except that tranquility was lost
When hop-pickers from London dossed
Down on the farms to pick the hops,
One of the area's leading crops.
Her father, a policeman, would keep the order,
Quelling drunkard and marauder.
And the whole family went along,
Relaxing while he righted wrong.
My mother, and her sister too,
Would do what any child would do,
Mixing with the London crowd,
For getting-to-know-you was allowed.
She often would relate to me
How she had loved being wild and free.
She dearly loved hop-picking season,
And, I think, with very good reason.
I sort of imbibed her memory
And now oast houses mean a lot to me.
Often into my mind nostalgia drops,
And I'm with my mother picking hops.
The oast houses were used to dry the hops and the hops were used to make beer.
Oast Houses are greatly prized as 'Barn Conversions' these days!
This is the Great Wall of China! Not 'My World' at all!
But it's here our Marching Koalas are standing proud and tall.
Not 'My world' but of 'My World' for I was in at the start,
And, in a very tiny way, my family's played a part.
When I was still a teacher a message was sent around;
'If you wish to form a school band the money can be found'
This came from the Government, it was offering instruments,
And having our school in the scheme really made a lot of sense.
But who could play an instrument and who could form the band?
'Raise your hand' was requested! And nobody raised a hand!
Then Geat, a member of the staff, spoke up, 'Well, I admit
I played the trumpet in my youth.' So everyone said 'You're it!'
And, from those slim beginnings, the local school band grew,
Though it sounded squeaky at the start, that's absolutely true!
Soon it grew beyond the confines of the school in which it started;
Both my children played instruments though Rebecca was half-hearted.
Greg was enthusiastic; he plays saxaphone today;
And he is really happy when he gets a chance to play.
As for the Marching Koalas, they've marched the world around.
And with many accolades their prowess has been crowned.
Here they are seen in China, but they've been to the U.S.A.
And many other folk world-wide have heard the Koalas play.
They say 'From little things big things grow' and without a doubt that's true.
Maybe one day they'll march your way.
Say 'Hi!' to them when they do!
I love the thread of connection to the ancestors!
ROG, ABC Wednesday team
Now I have learned another new word.
I can imagine how interesting and exciting that time was for your young Mother.
I'd heard of oast-houses but of course, without looking into it, connected them in my mind with oats, certainly not hops and beer.
I would love to see the Marching Koalas march into Alberta to play for us! I really would.
Almost got my husband to agree to Oz next year about this time, because I've found a cruise ship to take me, but he's going to be too busy.
I keep checking for cruises from Vancouver, Seattle, San Francisco or San Diego headed your way.
Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel
Have been in a converted oast house in Kent. Lovely. It was the center for the Kent Archeological Field School. A lot of fun if you want to participate in archeological digs.
That's the first I have ever heard of oast houses and I am intrigued. I have never seen hops growing and wonder if it looks like ornamental hops. I think I will Google it to find out. :)
I had forgotten all about oast houses. Thanks for the reminder.
I never knew we had a band called the Marching Koalas - how fantastic - went to their site and loved it
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