Looking eastwards towards the Leam valley is the countryside that was Peter’s home, the place of his birth, where he spent most of his life and the land that has been home for generations of Noons. Here beats the very heart of England.
My Dad never strayed far from his home County, it was if he was hefted to these gentle rolling hills. Apart from his years of National Service with the Royal Air Force, his home was always in Northamptonshire. Dad loved his National Service years, even if he enjoyed contriving ways to bunk off to go rowing on the Severn.
He joined up wanting to train to be a pilot. But such is military thinking that once he completed basic training he was stuck in an office and the closest time he ever got off ground was when he borrowed a cousin’s bike and went freewheeling down the hills of the Lake District. Having Failed to be enticed by some of the exotic locations he had been sent to by the Forces, places like Wem, Swansea and Wilmslow, Dad returned to Staverton and the family home, working for a while for a bank in Rugby, where he cycled to every day. We moved to Kettering for a while, the furthest north he ever lived.
Dad loved working in the garden, and even when he only had the smallest of plots, he would reserve some area for vegetables. I have been told that I tried to emulate my father by pulling up all the potatoes he had planted the day before in our garden at Kettering. Of course, in Staverton, he had a much bigger garden to tend. Never particularly fond of flowers, his favourite flowers were snowdrops – these small yet fiesty flowers heralding the end of winter which meant time to put the seed catalogues away and get back out there in the mulch, the muck and the manure.