Do you remember?
How many older residents in Mickleton can recall little Percy? The word midget always seems impolite, Achondroplasia being the medical term. Percy’s huge personality more than compensated for his small stature. He came from Condicote but would spend the Summer months at Mickleton, living with relatives in Millbank Cottage, I believe.
In the 1950’s the High Street was nowhere near as busy as it is today, far fewer vehicles. Percy’s favourite spot was on the corner of Mill Lane, opposite the Kings Arms, from where he would “direct the traffic”. Couldn’t we do with little Percy today, every day? His tiny arms would be waving, as he stepped out, very authoratively, and competently, like an energetic Mr.Plod. He would direct the cars from Mill Lane into High Street, then give the driver his customary salute, returning to his spot, awaiting the next car.
His clothes were immaculate, a Harris tweed sports jacket, tailor made, cavalry twills, checked country cap and the most highly polished brown shoes. Everyone knew Percy and would stop for a chat, he was always cheerful and had a big, wide smile.
I only ever saw him there, I’d be with my mother on our way to visit a friend, after buying an ice-cream for Percy from Mr and Mrs Sherwin’s at the Cafe (the Post Office and Shop today).
Maybe he enjoyed a ½ pint of beer in the evening at the Kings Arms, and one of Mrs Bell’s famous hot dogs, which I loved (not the beer I must add, I was only 6 or 7) The floury rolls were made by Mrs Bell, filled with moist fried onions and tasty sausage. Delicious! When Autumn came, Percy returned to Condicote. I always hoped he would come back, which he did for some years. His appearance, around June time, signified the return of Summer. Truly a little “big” man.
This article was first published in the Parish magazine, August 2011
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