Recollections – Dee Nickerson

I was born in the cottages directly opposite Providence Place, Spooner Row, where my grandparents, Thomas and Cecily Lord, lived and farmed, to their middle son, Colin, and Phyllis, nee Gent. My mothers parents farmed in Suton. One of my first recollections is of a little shop opposite our cottage that had an enormous wooden counter.

When I was about 2, we moved to Church Farm in Wattlefield.  It was rented by my grandfather from the Wattlefield estate. It was a magical place for my brother and I to explore and use our imagination with meadows, ponds, ditches and water courses, a kind of green lane that filled with wild flowers of every kind, overgrown woody areas, and knobbly oak trees with crevices to hide treasures of stones and shells and plundered fruits.

The swinging sixties were only glimpsed in magazines and on tv and didn’t seem to quite reach Wattlefield, much to my disappointment.  I remember the big freeze in 1962.  We were kept indoors mostly, which wasn’t much warmer unless huddled next to the temperamental Rayburn stove.  I also recall waking up at the end of the sixties to see a river pouring round the buildings in Station Road and Queen Street, and going to help people in Spooner Row where houses and the village shop had been flooded. 

I went to Spooner Row Primary School, at first in a taxi that collected children from outside the village and then, as I got older, I had to cycle in all weathers.  The horrors of trying to avoid huge numbers of frogs and toads that crossed the lane from pond to pond, and seeing those that didn’t make it!  We passed cherry and apple orchards, and often met Mrs Leyton who lived on Chapel Road, with her bicycle piled high with twigs and sticks for her fire. 

The school was practically Victorian when I first started but became progressive during my time there and we had a modern, all encompassing education. I won two national art prizes there, and discovered a love of books and nature, that have shaped my adult life.

My grandfather grew blackcurrants, gooseberries and loganberries so the summer holidays were looked forward to, starting with fruit picking, ending with stacking bales, and riding my cousin’s pony across endless stubble fields.

I moved from the area in the mid seventies and I began to develop my painting career, going to Great Yarmouth College of Art in the early eighties.  I moved to Suffolk in the nineties and started exhibiting in local galleries, had cards produced by Green Pebble (a publisher of fine art greeting cards), and was featured in Country Living magazine in January 2017, which has meant my paintings are now widely collected.  I now show in Norwich, Southwold, Sherborne and London on a regular basis.

A lot of my inspiration still comes from my early years spent in lovely but lonely Wattlefield, being in and watching nature and the changes of seasons.

Thank you to Dee for providing one of our main website images. Should you wish to see more of her work please visit Green Pebble, the publishers of her artwork.