Thursday, 31 July 2008

Page 52

I went to the Doctors on Monday morning the Dr. examined me and said he was certain I was pregnant but I needed to take a urine sample to the hospital to be certain. The next morning Lesley and I went to West London Hospital and made our way to the path lab. I knocked on the door and a lady answered , I told her why I was here and she said “I am sorry but we haven’t got any toads” , I looked at her and said “pardon” she laughed and said to test the urine for pregnancy they had to inject toads with it and if they produced frog spawn or whatever, in either 12 or 24 hours I have forgotten which, then pregnancy would be confirmed. She said the weather had been so dry they couldn’t find any toads so could I come back tomorrow. I was stunned I had never heard anything like that ,I was still unsure as to whether she was having me on but she obviously wasn’t.

I told just about everyone I knew and they were just as puzzled as me. Lesley and I went back the next day and sure enough they had found some toads. I was to ring them the next afternoon and they would be able to either confirm or otherwise. I rang the hospital and I was pregnant I was so thrilled, rang my Mum at Harrods and she was really pleased ,I could hear her telling everyone in the office. Next I called in the woolshop and told Mikes Mum. She said she had better get knitting baby clothes again and gave me a big hug.

I hoped I wasn’t going to have such an awful pregnancy as I had with Lesley as I now had her to care for. So far so good I felt fine just a little queasy in the mornings.
Mike said he was pleased but I think he would have rather it hadn’t happened No change there then. I had to go back to the doctors to arrange ante natal etc…The doctor said the boundaries had now changed and I couldn’t go to Princess Beatrice Hospital where I had Lesley I now had to go to Parsons Green Maternity Hospital. Big disappointment.

Everything was going great Mike loved his job driving the fruit and veg lorry, he had not been out drinking,no violence I felt really well and Lesley was thrilled about having a brother or sister. Mikes Mum had already knitted matinee coats,cardies and bootees , loads of stuff. It wouldn’t be so expensive this time as we had the cot and pram loads of clothes if it was a girl none if it was a boy. We had the bath ,playpen and baby chair.

I was really piling on the pounds I started out at 7st.7lbs now at 5months I was 11st 3lbs I had to borrow a coat off my Mum. I couldn’t believe how well I felt, exact opposite of carrying Lesley, needless to say everyone said I must be having a boy.

It was time to go to the ante natal clinic for my six month check up, this would be a really thorough examination. I would have to take Lesley, it would be a long stint for her ,although she never complained probably because everyone made a fuss of her. Even though I say it myself she was a beautiful little girl big blue eyes and blonde hair almost to her bum.

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Lesley was 9 months old and already walking around the furniture and saying mum, she was amazing . She loved to go downstairs to her Nans (Mikes Mum) you could hear them laughing in our kitchen. Mikes Mum worked in a wool shop she was also an avid knitter she could knit anything, she knitted loads of things for Lesley, cardigans jumpers and trousers, hats allsorts, all in beautiful patterns and colours. Spoilt rotten she was by both Nans.

Dennis my brother was about 14 -15 yrs old and would often come to our house and we would take Lesley to the park and have great times .He idolised her . He could’nt understand why Mike had no time for her. He really didn’t like Mike, Mike often let his guard down when Dennis was there I don’t know why but Dennis asked me one day if he had ever hurt me I said no but he knew I was lying . We were very close , he said he wished he was older and bigger and he would give him what he deserved. He asked me if my Mum and Dad knew , I said no and I didn’t want them to know as they, particularly my Dad would want to challenge Mike. If my Dad gets upset and frustrated he has epileptic fits and I would do anything to avoid stresses and strains being put on my Dad ,who I loved so much and would protect as much as I possibly could. This was my cross to bear, I married him, after such a short time. Marry in haste repent at leisure for anyone reading this, bear this in mind .

Lesley was running around now into everything ,as they do at 2 yrs old ,which wasn’t difficult in such a small place. It was the kitchen,living room,bathroom and laundry room and playroom and dining room and measured approx. 14ft x 11ft this also included a large open fire which had a fixed fireguard , so space was at a premium.

I had been feeling quite sick for a couple of mornings and did wonder if I could be pregnant. I hadn’t had any periods since Lesley’s birth so absence of them, which is usually the first signs didn’t help at all. It was Sunday and June, Mikes sister was taking Lesley and I to Kew Gardens ,it was a lovely warm sunny day we had a great time . I told June I thought I could possibly be pregnant, my skirt wouldn’t fasten so I knew I had put on weight in the right places. She said I should go to the Doctors Monday morning.

I knew I shouldn’t have got pregnant with the state of my marriage, I knew for sure I didn’t love Mike he had slowly eroded any feelings I ever had for him,I am not sure even now whether I was ever in love with him. I was pretty sure he didn’t love me. I am convinced he only married me to spite his Mum because she shut him out of the house one night and wouldn’t let him in. He came back to our house at the Oval and my Dad wouldn’t let him stay, he said he should stand his ground and sent him on his way, the next day he proposed to me and we were married 3 weeks later. Draw your own conclusions.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Page 50

Time passed .Lesley was doing great Mike and I sort of got along, there had been no rows he had given up the job at the Dairy, that helped. Can you believe it the next job he got was at Watney’s Brewery at Stamford Bridge just by Chelsea football ground. The job he had was cleaning out the beer vats or whatever you call them, they were great big containers the beer was brewed in and guess what ,they were given a quota of beer per day to be drunk on the premises. At least he didn’t drink after work.

Lesley was 4months old I had just taken her to have her whooping cough and tetanus last jab. She was not happy she screamed her head off. I then went to see my friend the girl I had met in hospital when Lesley was born, she lived just round the corner from the clinic. Her little baby Paul was one of those babies that never slept and seemed to be permanantly miserable. She was worn out about 2 hours sleep a night thats all they were getting .The flat they lived in was pretty awful and she was really depressed with little choice of improving the living conditions.

A couple of weeks later Lesley woke me up during the night with a really bad cough she coughed so much she was almost choking, it scared me to death. The next morning she was really ill Mikes mum said she thought it sounded like whooping cough because after the cough she did seem to make a whooping noise but it was only a couple of weeks ago she had had the jab. I took her to the Doctors and she had a coughing fit whilst we were there the Doctor said it was most definitely whooping cough and that it was possible in a very few cases for the child to get it from the vaccination.

The doctor said she would get much worse and showed me how to stop the choking this was due to mucous gathering in her lungs, I had to almost thump her in the middle of her back, I really didn’t like doing this but if I couldn’t manage it to her satisfaction Lesley would have to be admitted to hospital. The next couple of weeks were horrendous I really thought she was going to die then as suddenly as it started it finished. The Doctor said I had to go to the hospital for Lesley to have a tb test as this was normal practice after Whooping Cough. Thank goodness it was all clear. It is a really terrible disease and very contagious. We didn’t go out side the door for 3 weeks I was going stir crazy. Mikes only comment was at least I might get some sleep now.


Guess what she cut her first tooth shortly afterwards…..what a milestone….I was thrilled. She was also trying to sit up ,she was lifting her head off the pillow so I started to prop her up she loved it .

Mike had been very good no more violence, I don’t know whether it was because I vetted just about everything I said or if maybe he had thought about his unacceptable behaviour. Time passed Mike left the Brewery he wanted a driving job now he had passed his test albeit on a Milk Float.
At the back f our house there was a fruit and veg yard called Martins they collected fruit and veg from Covent garden wholesale market and delivered it to the local markets and fruit and veg shops . They were really big rigid lorries. Mike had gone out to look for a job he had only been out about 20 minutes and came in and said he had a job at Martins, I asked what kind of job and he said driving the lorries. I couldn’t believe it, all he had driven so far was an electric milk float. He said he had to go back in 10mins to go out with the owner for a test drive, he was very worried as I was because where he would have to reverse the lorry into there yard was exactly opposite our house. I said I was going to take Lesley for a walk I didn’t want to witness the carnage…..he said me of little faith….too right
When I got back Mike was in ,he was beaming he had got the job and had driven perfectly although he said he was shaking like a leaf. It was good money too and he got fruit and veg to bring home at weekends and any leftovers during the week. He was due to start the next day, good job he knew his way around, he should do, he was born and bred in the house we lived in now, just off the North end Road, Fulham

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Page 49

Come Sunday morning Mike was up bright and early and got started on the decorating, I nearly fainted this was unheard of perhaps what he did yesterday had shocked him, me of little faith thought it was a flash in the pan. He would now finish the decorating but I would have bet my life that as soon as it was done he would return to his usual bone idle self.

I must admit he did make a very good job and didn’t stop until it was finished that was the scullery and living room….. Although we didn’t have any glass in the door, that would have to wait until Monday.

Lesley was doing really well she was 1month old she still had the red white and blue eyes, they were taking ages to clear. Mike didn’t take much notice of her, he would pick her up when any visitors came to show what a good Dad he was but he hadn’t bathed or changed a nappy and said he never would, his loss.

My Mum came most Saturdays the odd Saturday I went to her house. She was thrilled to bits with Lesley always buying her lovely clothes. She also worked at Harrods as a buyer and usually got first pick of sale goods. I know my Mum knew that things weren’t right with Mike and me she kept saying is everything ok and of course I said yes..

Another row Mike came home from work drunk and had spent most of his wages, I know it was dangerous but I couldn’t keep letting him get away with it. Next thing I knew I was being thrown around the room, I was sure he would end up killing me, his face was grotesque and full of hate. His Mum must have heard but she was more scared of him than me as he had hit her several times. Doesn’t that say what kind of person he was. I was terrified he had completely lost it, I thought there was only one thing I could do to break this reign of violence but it was chancy but I really didn’t think I had a choice. I somehow got to Lesley’s crib and grabbed her thank god it worked, he looked shocked but stopped and went out of the room. I was black and blue and hurt from head to toe. It was only then I realised what a terrible chance I had taken with my beautiful daughter but I still don’t think I had a choice.

I hobbled to the living room but there was no sign of Mike, I hadn’t heard the door open. I just wanted to run away with Lesley but I had no money and no where to go.Times were so different then there wasn’t the help you can get now. Besides I was so lacking in self confidence having to watch what I said and did. It was getting so he could do exactly as he wished because the consequences of having a go was what had just happened and I vowed I would never put Lesley at risk like that again. I would take what ever came my way.

What made a man like that, I have a theory that the only way that type of person can feel in charge is by intimidating someone, just bullies really, they are lacking confidence and get this feeling of power. Mike didn’t have a very good vocabulary and I had, I could tie him in knots with big words and I suppose the only way he could win was to use violence.

Page 48

When I got home I was pleasantly surprised the sitting room had been decorated, there was a roaring fire. The crib was all set up and it looked lovely Mike said his Mum had done it. The first thing we did was collect the pram from the pram shop ,it was all paid for ,they just held it until the baby was born. Then we went and got all the bits and pieces we needed.

In those days there were no disposable nappies, only terry nappies. Things were great for the first few days Mike was off work, ostensibly to help me . He may have made a cup of tea but that was about it but I didnt expect anything else.

Mike went back to work he was still a milkman but was fed up of it. Now that he had gone back to work I could get myself into some sort of routine. Lesley was doing really well the health visitor who came every day for the first week weighed her and she had put on weight. I think Mike was jealous of the attention I gave to the baby but you have to its all new and scary.

We still had the old problem decorating he still hadnt done the kitchen or bedroom and it looked a real doss. I had suggested my Dad would come and do it but Mike said no it was his problem. Fearing the worst I dared to ask him if he would make a start on Saturday when Lesley and I were going to my Mum and Dads for the day. Surprise he said yes it would be easier with us out of the way.

Saturday came I had cleared everything out of the kitchen, left the relevent paint and paper out. Made him breakfast. The taxi came Mike was sat in the living room having a cup of tea and off Lesley and I went. We had a lovely day Nan and Grandad spoiling their grandchild and Dennis trying to get a look in.

Time to go home, I couldnt wait to see how much Mike had done. The taxi dropped us off at our house, we went in and guess what Mike appeared to be in the same position as when we left 6 hours ago. Everything was as I had left it. Nothing done I could not believe it. I put Lesley in the crib by the door into the kitchen. I asked him why he hadnt done anything and he jumped out of the chair like a cannon I thought thats my lot but no, he put his fist straight through the glass of the kitchen door. Lesley was showered with glass and blood I was petrified and grabbed her I couldnt care less about Mike he dashed out of the front door with a nappy wrapped around his arm. There was blood everywhere, I cleaned Lesley up she wasnt hurt (no thanks to her father)at all in fact she was still asleep. I fed her then put her in her pram with a few clothes and nappies and set off to walk to my Mums this was about 15 miles away. I wasnt thinking straight. I just didnt want to be there when he got back from I assume the hospital. I realised what I was doing was crazy, my Mum hadnt got room for us and I didnt want to tell them what had happened so I turned round( I had walked about 3 miles) and went back home.

Mike was in when I got back he had evidently cut an artery, if someone hadnt stopped and given him a lift to the hospital he could have bled to death. Do you know I didnt care . He was full of apologies he said he thought I had left him. I said I was going to but had no where to go, that I had certainly not come back for his sake. As far as I was concerned I could never forgive him for endangering our daughters life. He said he couldnt believe what he had done a red mist....I stopped him and said no excuses it was his guilt at not doing any decorating. I realised as far as I was concerned our marriage was over.

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A nurse came into my room and said my Mum and Dad were on their way and sent their love. I knew they would be thrilled....their first grandchild. Mike still hadnt phoned the hospital, he had been a Dad for 5 hours and didnt know. I still felt pretty rough, I didnt like not being able to do anything for myself but couldnt move.

The door opened and in walked my Mum and Dad with grins from ear to ear, then suddenly their faces changed to concern, I must have looked pretty awful. My Mum had tears in her eyes she said she didnt know whether it was because she was now a Nan or how I looked. I went through what happened and they were shocked but pleased we were both ok. My Dad had given me a hug but hadnt said anything. He was overwhelmed he had been so ill over the years he didnt think he would live long enough to see this. The nurse brought in the baby and cot and that was too much for them both. Through the tears of joy they said how beautiful she was, they were so happy.

Mike eventually walked in at 1.30pm full of apologies but I still dont know what kept him. He was shocked to see the baby he didnt know I had given birth, he was probably wetting the babies head last night. He was thrilled, so he said but was more interested in how many stitches I had, when I told him he didnt believe me and went to get confirmation from the Doctor and thank him for saving the baby.

The next morning I still had no feeling from the waist down. I had to be washed and have my hair done by a nurse, I was really weak and they wouldnt let me do anything. I was bored it sounds nice having a private room but it is very lonely, no one to speak to. The nurse said she would ask about me being moved to the main ward.

That afternoon they bundled me and my flowers and bits and bobs on a trolley and took me to the ward, the bed I was having was right at the far end of the ward. I have never felt so embarassed but the other Mums quickly put me at ease by requesting a royal wave. I had no sooner been put in the bed than this person came over saying I had been moved out of the labour ward to let her give birth to her son, we became good friends and this friendship lasted 43 years even though they emigrated to Canada in 1966.

The baby we had decided to call Lesley Sharon, she was doing really well, her cuts and abrasions had healed but she looked very strange because her eyes were blue and part of the whites of her eyes were still bloodshot from the bruising, so she had red,white and blue eyes. She was a very happy baby, hardly ever cried.

Three weeks later we were allowed home at last, the delay had been for me not Lesley. I was very happy but scared as I knew I wouldnt get much help at home.

Monday, 28 July 2008

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Time went by it was getting closer to my delivery date March 24th 1962 I was getting more scared by the minute. I had pushed the events of a few weeks ago to the back of my mind but I now had to think before I spoke. I wanted to walk out then and there but I had no where to go. I suspected now that Mike had only married me to spite his mother, because if you loved someone that is not the way you would behave. I had made my bed as it were and would take the consequences.

March 22nd 1962 I woke up about 01.00am with severe contractions, I woke Mike up and he went to phone for an ambulance, I was taken to Princess Beatrice Hospital, Fulham. When I got there I was examined and they said that the baby wouldnt be very long. At that time fathers were not allowed to see the birth, they had to wait outside. It got to 09.00am the next day 23rd and still nothing but I still had the pains. I told Mike to go to work as he couldnt do anything, thinking he would say no I will wait but no off he went.

I had a rotten day, I was put in a private ward to make room for other Mums whose births were imminent. Mike came back to the hospital after work and stayed several hours, still nothing happened, I was in agony. The pains got worse. They told Mike to go home and grab a couple of hours sleep as it could be hours before the baby was born.

A couple of hours later they took be back into the labour ward and kept saying they could see the head, at about 6.00am on the 24th the midwife decided she had better call for a Doctor (better late than never I thought). A short while later a Doctor Sing came, he examined me and said I needed to go to theatre as the babys head was nose up and the cord was being squashed between myself and the babies nose.

Dr Sing came back and said there was no theatre free and also no anaethetist available he said the only thing he could do was give me loads of Pethidine and hope it would be enough to dull the pain. He said there was only 6 minutes before the baby would be starved of oxygen and suffer brain damage. I said I dont care what he had to do just to save my baby, whatever pain I would feel would be over in a few minutes and I would get over it, my baby was my prime concern. He said he would do his very best and that I was a very brave person.

To say it was agony would be a gross understatement I didnt think I could take much more but this baby meant so much to me. Dr Sing new I was struggling and asked did I want him to carry on, of course I said yes and hoped it would be over soon.

Suddenly the pain was excruciating and Dr Sing said " Sheila you have a baby girl, she is battered and bruised but we did it" and with that she started to cry. He assured me we did it in time and that she would be fine. I was so exhausted I just managed a thank you. He said it had been a joint effort. He said he would give me some morphine as when the Pethidine wore off I would probably be in a lot of pain......more pain.....By the way she was born at 07.15 am on saturday 24th March 1962 weighing 7lb 5ozs.

The next thing I knew it was 11.00am and I was back in the private room. As yet no sign of Mike...I had had my baby and was unable to tell anyone, I had to wait for them to ring the hospital. I tried to move but I couldnt I seemed to be paralysed from the waist down, I was terrified, a nurse came in I told her and she said it was ok Dr Sing had given me so much Pethidine that it would take days to get back to normal. She said the doctor would be in to see me now that I was awake and explain things to me.

Dr Sing said I had had to have approx 30 stitches internally and about 20 external and that I must not attempt to get out of bed due to the state I was in. He also said the baby would have to be what they called cot nursed for 24 hours due to the horrific birth she had gone through. Also that when I saw her I must not be worried about her cuts and bruises this was caused by the rush to free the cord and allow oxygen to get to her, hence all the stitches too. He said I wouldnt believe him but the abrasions caused by the forceps would disappear in a couple of days the bruising from her nose up would take quite a lot longer but to remember there was no other choice and he kept saying he had never met such a brave selfless woman and he knew the baby would have a terrific mother.

They brought the baby to me still in her cot but I was able to hold her hand. She was so beautiful in spite of the awful cuts and bruises, she had long dark hair and I was totally besotted with her, I couldnt wait to hold her in my arms. In the face of adversity she had fought for her life. To this day 45 years later I can still feel that emotion and she still means everything to me. Unconditional love.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Page 45

My Uncle Doug and his wife Pat(although my Uncle, he was only 4 yrs older than me) came to stay at my mums for a holiday, Mike and I took them everywhere all the sights of London, Chessington Zoo, we were all worn out. At night we went to Jazz Cellars in Central London till all hours.

The last couple of days I had been feeling unwell, the walk to work was a nightmare. I went to the Doctors, she examined me and said she thought I was pregnant but she needed a urine sample to confirm or deny. I was over the moon I had wanted this for ages. I couldnt wait to go home and tell Mike and everyone even though it hadnt yet been confirmed but the doctor said she was pretty sure. Mike was really pleased and my Mum and Dad were ecstatic, their first grandchild.

I was really not well, I dont know about morning sickness I had all day and night sickness and felt absolutely drained. It was getting very difficult to drag myself to work.In the end I had to go and see the doctor again she confirmed my pregnancy and said I was 3 months pregnant and felt that I should give it another week to see if the sickness stopped and if it hadnt, to go and see her again.

A week passed and no change it was worse if anything, so off I went back to the Doctors. She said she thought I should give up work as apart from the day and night sickness my blood pressure was high. this was somewhat of a blow, as we now needed my wages more than ever.

I went home and spoke to my Mum and Mike and they both agreed that I should give up work. My Mum said she would buy us things for the baby as they were both earning good money and because they wanted too.

I have never felt so ill in all my life , it didnt seem to be getting any better. The Doctor prescribed some anti sckness pills but I didnt take them in case they caused me to miscarry which is what my Mum said could happen. Thank god I took notice of her even though I thought it was an old wives tale, the tablets turned out to be thalidomide- there but for the grace of god go I.

Time passed, things got a little better. The girls I had worked with at the P.O. Bank did a collection and bought me some lovely cot blankets and sheets, I hadnt been there that long, it was a really nice surprise. I had really loved that job and didnt want to leave but my baby came first. Mike was good about it but at certain times I did feel a resentment as money was very short and me feeling so ill all the time didnt help.

We had lived in the flat for about 15 months and Mike hadnt and wouldnt decorate and it was awful. He said if I got all the materials he would do it, so off I went at the first opportunity and bought wallpaper and paint etc... what happened, absolutely nothing. Every weekend I would ask him to make a start so that it could be done before the baby came, his reply was what a nag I was turning out to be. I said if he made a start I wouldnt have to nag. this went on for weeks, I was now 7 months pregnant, I thought I would have one more try but for my efforts I was hit in the face and because of my shock horror and size I fell into the television. The look on Mikes face was so scary I was terrified, he eventually helped me up then seemed to realise what he had done, he turned to me and said "look what you made me do with your nagging, are you ok" I said no I wasnt ok I needed to lay down, so he did help me to the bedroom. I was so scared for my baby. I was terrified, was this the start of a gradual and I am sure planned way of reducing me to someone he could manipulate and be at his beck and call.

I was so vulnerable at that time, I didnt tell anyone but my Mum kept asking me if everything was alright, she sensed something wasnt right, she said I had changed, it must be the pregnancy. I so wanted to tell her what had happened but I thought it was my problem and I was too embarassed to admit that my husband had hit his pregnant wife. By the way he still hadnt started the decorating and I was too scared to ask again.l

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Page 44

The day finally came when Mollie and family moved out of 1 Coomer Road, Mikes Mum gave it a good clean and got it ready for us to move into, she just loved cleaning it was like a hobby for her. a couple of days later we hired a van and moved our stuff in, we seemed to have so much space. I hoped we were doing the right thing, I hoped that I would get on with his Mum , I would do my utmost to make it work.

The front room was the width of the house approx. 30ft x 15ft the bedroom 15ft x 12ft and a long narrowish kitchen/ diner with an open fire. One drawback that we hadnt thought of was no bathroom and the toilet was outside. There was no hot water just a cold tap but a lovely huge Belfast type sink. It was light and airy and badly in need of a lick of paint. It was an end house, had a small front garden and a back yard that housed the toilet and a postage size garden which had a small pond.

It was 2minutes walk away from where we both worked in North End Road which had an amazing market. We had no need for the bike now, we couldnt afford to keep it just for friday nights going to Southend so Mike sold it, sad really we had had so much fun but the accident put it into perspective. Incidently we had heard from the police re the accident and they had decided not to prosecute us , no reason given but we didnt query it.

One of the girls I worked with Betty, had heard about some jobs going at the Post Office Savings Bank Head Office in Blythe Road, West Kensington, she said the wages were almost twice what we were getting at Sainsburys and only a five day week, in an office. We both rang up and each got interviews. It was about a twenty minute walk from where I lived.

The job was for Accounting Machine operators entering debits and credits in the publics post office books. We were told that accuracy was essential. I got the job but Betty decided to stay at Sainsburys. It was only a stones throw from where I previously lived with my Mum and Dad at Gratton Road.

I absolutely loved the job and was very good at it and soon got a rise and promotion. I was now earning more than Mike which he wasnt very happy about. I couldnt believe how he had changed, he was very short tempered and abusive, my Mum thought maybe it was because he was on his own territory, he had been born there and I was now the outsider, reverse of of how it had been living with my Mum and Dad. Gone were the days of him helping with the washing up etc..... that was now my job, anything to do with the home was now down to me.

He had been trying for ages to pass his driving test(car) but had failed three times and now given up.

Things were ticking along, money was tight as Mike was still a warehouseman at M & S and very poorly paid. I was looking through the local paper and saw a job as a milkman at Express dairy. It said training given and the test on the milkfloat enabled you to drive a car etc... Mike was very interested and the wages were a lot more than he was getting now. He got the job and even surprised himself by enjoying it. He passed the driving test on the milkfloat 1st time. He had to deliver milk in some rough areas and milk was often stolen from his float which came out of his wages. One thing he was hopeless at was keeping his books straight, it usually fell to me to try and sort them out.

My Mum was still at Harrods doing really well, my Dad was now a porter at Harvey Nichols. Dennis was now 13 yrs old and had loads of mates. I didnt see that much of him. He now had a dog called Kim, I have no idea how he persuaded my Mum to let him have it. We got him from Battersea Dogs Home, he was a lovely dog but he was a street dog, he would somehow get out of an enclosed garden which had 5ft brick walls. My Mum would keep getting visits from the police asking Dennis to pick him up from the police staion, no checks were needed they new him instantly.

The funniest thing was we lived just off the Stockwell road, a very busy main road. Kim would cross this road towards Belgrave Childrens hospital but he would sit at the crossing and wait for the cars to stop, then stroll across. So many people in the street had witnessed this. Also my Uncle Ken was living at my Mums and working in Sainsburys, Covent Garden. One day he got on the bus to go to work and was just going upstairs when there was such a commotion the conductor shouting at someone, when suddenly Kim jumped up on the seat next to Ken. He had to get off the bus and take him home.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Page 43

My Mum rang Sainsburys to let them know what happened and I would not be at work for a while. Then she informed Marks and Spencers. The manager at Sainsburys told June, Mikes sister and she came to see us that evening with guess who! her Mum. That was a real shock for both Mike and I, neither of us could get up without extreme difficulty and pain, so my Mum made tea and we told them what had happened. They no idea how seriously hurt we were, so it was a huge relief when they saw us. For Mike the worst thing was his knee it was much worse than mine, he had taken most of the impact but my ribs were really giving me a lot of pain.

It was very strained at first with Mike and his Mum, neither knew what to say, I thought Mike was going to tell her to get out but thank goodness he thought better of it. What she said next surprised me, firstly she apologised to my Mum and Dad and then me, she said she couldnt give us an explanation as she didnt know why herself. My Dad said it would be best to forget it as recriminations would possibly make things worse. Start from now with a clean slate. They stayed for about 3 hours , it turned out to be a nice evening.

We were off work for three weeks and even then we had to twist the Doctors arm to sign us back to work. It was horrible getting back on the bike. I had fear now, I had never felt that before. When we got to Fulham Mike said he could feel my fear I hadnt been part of the bike as I was before the accident, we thought given time it would sort itself out. Neither of us wanted to go to Southend again that was finished, Mike I think felt nervous now and that was asking for trouble.

Mikes sister Mollie was married to a man from Northern Ireland and they had decided to move to Belfast where his family lived, they had saved up and bought a house there for next to nothing. This meant they were moving out of the flat they had in Mikes Mums house. It had a good size kitchen/living room, sitting room and one very large bedroom. Mollies asked us if we would be interested in it, it was just opposite where Mike and I both worked, it would mean no travelling !! we talked about it with my Mum and Dad and they agreed it would be better for us, more space and so convenient for our workplaces.

The next night after work we went to see his mum, it was strange , we both felt ill at ease and this was the house Mike had been born in. Mike told her we would like the flat if she was ok with it. She said we would have a proper rent book, it would be registered with the council that we were living there so she wouldnt be able to just throw us out. Mike said so thats a yes then, she gave him a hug and apologised again for her behaviour and not going to our wedding.

Mollie was moving out in January 1961 they were not as yet sure about the exact date. They were going to leave us quite a bit of furniture, well worn but would do us for a while. My Mum said she would miss us but she understood it was the right thing to do.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Page 42

It was the middle of November, absolutely pelting down with rain but off we went to Southend, the weather stopped us doing such crazy things we usually did but we still had a good time. We both agreed that perhaps we might have to think about giving up our friday nights as the things we were doing were getting more and more dangerous and we could end up killing ourselves. We had been in the cafe for a couple of hours chatting and we decided we were going home as the weather was just getting worse.

We were going along the Southend Arterial road , the traffic wasnt too bad but suddenly we could see an accident quite a way in front of us, Mike began to slow down when suddenly a black car directly in front of us must have not seen the incident he suddenly jammed his brakes on and went broadside across the road and we had no where to go we were heading straight for the middle of the car, there was no time for talk Mike just elbowed me off the bike and made for a gap of about 2 ft between the car and the kerbside. Next thing I knew I was flying down the road on my back and watched Mike pass me on his back with the motorbike alongside him in a shower of sparks. The next thing I was aware of was lying in the gutter with someone leaning over me saying something but it seemed so far away. It was probably only a few seconds but it felt like hours before I got myself together, I had no idea what I was doing in the gutter, then Mike walked over to me panic stricken. I tried to get to my feet with a couple of peoples help but I had done something to my right leg I couldnt put any weight on it, Mike said his right leg was the same.

The ambulance arrived, the lady in the car that caused the accident had been more badly hurt so she went in the first ambulance. then it was our turn, Mike and I limped into it, then realised Mike had got a real bad cut on his right arm, blood was dripping everywhere. I had a really bad headache and felt dizzy and ached all over but we were alive thanks to Mikes quick thinking and pushing me off.

We arrived at the hospital, we had x`rays and they didnt find anything broken. They assumed we had hit the car with our right knees and were badly bruised. I had a couple of broken ribs which they thought Mike had probably done when he elbowed me off the bike. He probably saved my life, so whats a couple of broken ribs between friends.

The lady passenger in the car had badly fractured both her legs, the driver who was obviously not reading the road or he would have braked much sooner than he did and more gently, not pit boots job. He was unhurt. The police had a word with him first then came to us and took statements from Mike, I at that time couldnt remember anything after being in the cafe.

Mike said we would be in trouble now because we had no `L` plates, Mike hadnt even taken a test he said they would throw the book at us. The hospital released us even though neither of us could walk very well, we had massive bandages on our legs. I was strapped up around my ribs. The police took us back to where the bike was, which incidently wasnt too badly damaged. It was hilarious there was one policeman holding the bike up another lifting Mike on it as he couldnt bend his leg, then the same for me. We must have been in shock and the police out of their minds allowing us to drive about 20 miles through London in that state.

We managed it going about 20 mph. When we got to our house we had real trouble getting off the bike it took us ages. It was about 4.00am we had to get my Mum and Dad up to let us in as we couldnt find the door key, they took one look at us and started to panic, they helped us in to the living room and Mike immediately passed out in a heap on the floor, according to my Mum I was talking gibberish my Dad said he thought I was concussed.

Somehow they got us into their bedroom, which was downstairs and called the Doctor because by this time we were both out cold. It was Mike that came round first and was able to tell them what had happened, that the hospital had discharged us and the way the police sent us on our way. If either of us had passed out on the bike, the outcome doesnt bear thinking about. The Doctor came, was told the story he couldnt believe what he was hearing and said he would come and see us tomorrow, get the full story and make a formal complaint. He said I had concussion as by this time I was vomiting and for Mike he thought he had fainted because he had been under such stress getting us home, when we got there it was relief. I dont remember anything about that night but said he thought I was dying he had to keep shaking me to make me breathe.

The next morning Mike was shattered as he hadnt had any sleep due to his concern about me. I on the other hand felt much better headwise but both of us were in agony with the bruising all over our bodies but the worst by far was was our knees. At last the doctor came, he gave us injections of painkillers, got all the details from Mike and was going to speak to the administrator at the Southend Hospital that afternoon and he would be back on monday to check on us but to ring him if we were worried ,mainly about me and my head. My crash helmet told the story well as the left side had a great gouge out of it and all the paint scraped off.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Page 41

Life went on much the same, by the time we got home from work, cooked dinner we were not that bothered about going out. It was nice staying in. We still went to Southend on friday nights met up with the lads and did those stupid things.

We were going to work one morning, we got to Vauxhall Bridge Road, Mike overtook a bus on the offside (it was one way) and shock horror a lorry was backing into the railway arches but was jutting out and we had no where to go, our number wasnt up because we ended up bolt upright wedged between the front tyre and the wheel arch, it was quite amazing that we were unhurt, not smashed to bits, absolutely no damage to the bike or the lorry, the only odd thing was Mike was sitting on the petrol tank and I was on Mikes seat. The driver got out of the lorry he said he had been terrified of what he might find, he helped us pull the bike out from between the wheel arch and tyre, it was well and truly stuck and took all their strength to pull it out, all this time the driver was shaking his head in disbelief, we apologised to him got on the bike and continued our journey to work, shaken but not stirred !!

This was the second incident at Vauxhall, the first time we fell off when going to collect snails for the pond at just about the same spot. Mike said he would go round this area with extreme caution in future.

My Dad had got a little private job at the flats where he worked, he happened to be talking to one of the posh residents about being a top painter and decorator before ill health stopped him. This lady said she wanted her lounge and bedroom wallpapering and the ceilings doing, would he be interested in doing it. My Dad jumped at it , then later wondered how he would do the ceilings as they were very high and he could no longer use ladders due to the partial paralysis in his leg.

He was talking to my Mum about it and she suggested asking Mike if he would do the ladder work. My Dad came straight up to our flat and asked Mike and he said he would love to do it.
It was arranged for the following Saturday and possibly Sunday Mike said they could go on the motorbike, my Dad was a bit nervous but agreed. Off they went . They got home about 6.00pm they were both falling about laughing, evidently Mike had been speeding across Battersea Bridge and my Dads hat had blown off, he tapped Mike on the shoulder, he pulled over and said they would go and look for it, my Dad said it wasnt worth looking for it as with Mikes driving it would only stay on his head 10 seconds and anyway he never liked the damned thing anyway. Mike was still laughing when they got home, he said it was the way my Dad said it as though he had expected it to happen.

The lady was really pleased with the work they had done, it wasnt long before loads of work was pouring in and they made quite a bit of money. It got a bit too much for my Dad so they had to stop doing it.

Mike and I were getting on great, it was a real partnership with the cooking, cleaning and everything. He was still not speaking to his Mum. It wasnt so nice going to work on the bike as it was winter now, dark nights and rain, not conducive to looking good for work. We were still going to Southend irrespective of the weather.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Page 40

We were exhausted by the time we got back to the Oval, we unpacked had a bath and a chat with my Mum and Dad and then went to bed.

It was really strange getting up the next morning and having to think of someone other than yourself for breakfast, then fight for the bathroom. good job we left before everyone else.

Wow! I hadnt realised we would be going to work on the motor bike, no more tube. The downside was having to take a change of clothes to change into at work but we had panniers. Off we went , speeding through the streets , in and out of traffic it only took us 20 minutes to go from one side of the river to the other, by car it could take anything up to and over the hour.

We arrived in Fulham in one piece, I said goodbye to Mike and crossed the road to Sainsburys, my first morning as Mrs Prior. I really did feel odd. Got several wolfwhistles as I entered the shop clad in leather bike gear. several good natured comments were made as I expected there to be. June said they had had a brilliant time going around London with my relatives. She said her Mum wasnt talking to her or Mollie now. I was dreading her coming into the shop, I wasnt sure whether to attempt to speak to her or wait for her to make the first move. I decided to play it by ear.

I met Mike at lunchtime and went for lunch, it was nice, the hour soon passed and he said he would wait for me outside the shop as he finished before me. The afternoon passed quickly. I met Mike and got on the bike and he took off like a bat out of hell, showing off in front of my workmates. Bikes sounded really throaty in those days, boys will be boys. We arrived home to our little flat and guess what I had to cook dinner, I wasnt used to this, I usually came home sat down to one of my Mums delicious dinners. My Uncle Ken had bought us a pressure cooker for a wedding present, Mike suggested we tried it out. We found a recipe for pork chops with apple, we both fancied that. Mike peeled the spuds and I got the rest of the stuff together, followed the instructions and the damn thing scared us both to death, steam was hissing out everywhere but about 20 minutes later I dished up a meal fit for a King. We had the pork chops with apple mashed potatoes, carrots and gravy. all in one pot. Our first dinner in our own flat as husband and wife, I dont think I had been happier.

My Mum called us downstairs to have a cup of tea with them, they wanted to hear about our honeymoon and tell us what the others had all got up too. We chatted for ages, everyone had a really good time and said they would all come back for our 1st wedding anniversary so Mike and I could share it, a nice thought.

Mike went upstairs first, I stayed a while longer when I eventually went upstairs he had washed up, made our bed up and we sat and watched TV , very cosy.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Page 39

It was time for us to get changed into our motorbike gear and go to Fordingbridge, we were to go to Enochs house, (I believe his name was actually Aubrey) and he would take us to the pub.

There were no motorways then so it would take us a couple of hours at least. What a terrific send off we had ,they were all stood shouting and waving to us, we were on our way. They were all going round London sightseeing, there was now about 30 of them, they had gathered some of mine and Mikes friends as well. We would hear all about it when we got back, Mikes Mum didnt know what she had missed, still her loss can you imagine not going to your only sons wedding.

It seemed a long journey, as conversation on a motor bike is virtually impossible, our journey was mainly done in silence. We eventually pulled up outside Enochs house, which, incidently was right next to the New Forest almost backing on to his garden. All his family came out to see us, which was really nice. Enoch was admiring Mikes bike, it was very impressive, all dark blue and chrome. Enoch said he had just bought `some wheels` as he put it and out he wheeled a Lambretta scooter, Mike couldnt believe it, they had both had B.M.W.s in Germany. He said to me jump on I`ll take you round the Forest I thought he was joking but no off we went flying round the paths that ran through the Forest, I was just praying that no horse crossed our path, I enjoyed it, we seemed to have been gone ages we made our way back and there was Mike with a face like thunder, I thought he had been concerned for my welfare but no, he just said to Enoch ask my permission next time, I hoped he was joking but as the future would tell ,maybe not.

We went in and had some tea, then Enoch led the way to the pub- The George, it was really beautiful, very olde worlde the room was beamed and had a four poster bed, what a lovely wedding present this was turning out to be. Enoch said to get changed as a meal was booked for Mike myself, Enoch and his girlfriend who we hadnt met yet. After that we were going on a pub crawl around Fordingbridge. This was totally unexpected but very welcome.

We met up a couple of hours later and had an excellent meal at a local restaurant then off on our pub crawl. Enochs girlfriend, whose name I have forgotten was a really nice girl we all got on really well. The night was passing really quickly and we were very very merry to put it mildly.

I remember at one point the lads were unscrewing a Dentists brass plaque off the wall outside a dentist shop then walking off with it. Further up the road we came to a vets surgery , guess what, they took down the vets brass plaque and in its place put the dentist plaque then we walked back to the dentists and put up the vets plaque, we were falling about laughing, we thought it was hilarious. The Dentist and Vet may not have been too happy on monday morning.

The pubs finally shut, good job as we had all had too much to drink. Mike and I headed for our pub and Enoch and his girlfriend went to their respective homes. We arranged to meet the next morning at 11.00am.

We got up for breakfast the next morning, it was a beautiful day 9.00am and the sun was shining. We were told our breakfast would be served outside on the terrace. We couldnt believe it, the terrace overlooked the river Avon, it was an idylic place, absolutely perfect for a honeymoon breakfast. We only had one night booked but it had been unexpected and we had had the best time, such a laugh. We had no idea what was planned for the rest of the day. We would probably leave for home at about 6.00pm at the latest. We both had to be back at work on Monday morning.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Page 38

READY TO SET OFF ON HONEYMOON




The landlord, Mr Press said that he would get people in to do the kitchen, as my Dad probably wouldnt have time, this was great as we would now have a bedsitting room. We had bought a really nice three piece suite, it was charcoal grey with purple trim and the sofa converted into a double bed. Mike had built a lovely fire surround with a highly polished shelf. He also decorated the room ,with my Dads help, it was looking good.

My Mum was busy with the cake and loads of other cooking. I had bought a really nice dress, it was white brocade just below the knee with a bolero type top. It was a bit big but the smaller size was way too small. Mrs Wheeler, the lady who worked on the grocery counter was a dressmaker in her spare time, so she altered the dress for me and made an excellent job.

Mike had invited his best mate from his airforce days, he was called Enoch a nick name I believe. His wedding present to us was a honeymoon weekend at a pub called The George in Fordingbridge, this was so unexpected as we were only going to have one night in a hotel and then back to work as we didnt have any spare cash.

The wedding was booked for 11.00am on saturday 20th August 1960, we were both very nervous. Mike had told his Mum, she was livid and adamant that she would not go, poor Mike he was very upset but she wouldnt change her mind. My Mum and Dad offered to go and try and talk to her but she said she didnt want anthing to do with us. She said she no longer had a son, a dreadful thing to say.

It was a good job Junes family and Molly and her husband were going, there would be 5 of them and about 25 of us, pretty one sided.
We didnt have any wedding cars as my relatives were coming from Rotherham in their cars so we would use them.

My Mum had got it all sorted, after the buffet Mike and I would be off on our honeymoon by motorbike. My Mum and Dad were going to take everybody else into the West End and tour around Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and other places they knew they would all enjoy it. Even June and Molly went and they had lived all their lives in London but had never visited these places.
A couple more days to go, our little flat was perfect, we had got the rings the food was virtually all done, our house looked really great. My Mum was amazing, she had made a feast with very little money. The kitchen was finished at last it was quite basic but adequate we could titivate it up when we came back from honeymoon.

Our wedding day arrived, I know Mike was upset over his Mum not coming but everyone tried to persuade her but she was very stubborn. Mike said he would never have anything to do with her over this.

Everyone eventually arrived from Yorkshire all safe and sound, it was a great atmosphere in our house. I went and had my hair done, then came back and got dressed, I was very nervous but I felt good and looked good, Mrs Wheeler had done a great job with my dress, it fitted like a glove. I went downstairs and everybody in unison went `wow` and said I looked like I should be a model, that was because I was so skinny.

Well this was it , my uncle George had just bought a new car so he took me and my dad to the registrars office, Mike was already there, so in we went, it was very cramped there were so many of us but it was great.

It was all over in about 10 mins. and it was back to our house for the reception, Mike and I were so happy. It was very odd, I felt a different person, like older a very odd feeling. The buffet my Mum and I had set out looked great, there was loads of food, we had such a good time.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Page 37

Mike dropped me off outside my house and went home, I went in to face the music and they had gone to bed. We had been worried over nothing.

Vic and I were just mates now, I had been honest with him and told him I was now going out with Mike, we still got on really well had a laugh and joke and sometimes had lunch together. June, Mikes sister wasnt very happy about this and said I should have nothing to do with Vic. I told her what I did was my business, who I spoke to and my friends had nothing to do with her. Her reply was we will see what Mike has to say about it, it turned into a full scale row she didnt speak to me for days. I told Mike before she got to him and he agreed with me, that my friends were my concern, male or female. June was not happy with Mikes reaction and said there was more than one way to skin a cat.

I had no idea how she was going to get back at me but I soon found out. Mikes Mum came into the shop the next day, I went to speak to her and she gave me a filthy look, as if I was something she should scrape off her shoe. I couldnt understand this as we had got on ok. When Mike came round that night I told him what had happened he said his Mum had had words with him, telling him I wasnt good enough for him that June had told her what had happened with Jackie and she had added a few things, what June or his Mum didnt know was that when I realised Mike and I were serious about each other ,I had told him all about it. So he put his Mum right on a few things ,she said it didnt alter anything, that I was not welcome at her house anymore.

Mike was so angry, at first June tried to deny saying anything but eventually owned up and tried to talk to her Mum but she wouldnt change her mind. Things were very strained with him and his mum even June couldnt understand why she had behaved like she had.

Mike and I saw each other most nights of the week, he would pick me up on the bike and we would go to the pictures or just for a ride. Sometimes we went to Richmond Park to watch the deers or to Heathrow to lay on the grass verges and watch the air planes takeoff and land, it was like Blackpool Illuminations.

We went to Margate for the weekend as the weather was getting warmer, we stayed at a guest house , it was ok nothing to write home about but we enjoyed ourselves. It was quite late when we got home and Mike went straight home.

My Mum and Dad and myself were having a cup of tea before going to bed when we heard Mike pull up outside. He came in and said his Mum had locked him out and wouldnt answer the door, he thought it might be because he hadnt told her we were going away for the weekend and this was her way of getting her own back on him. My Dad said he thought Mike should go back home and pound on the door until until either she opened it or the neighbours complained he said otherwise she would think she could do this whenever they had a row. I think Mike thought he would be able to stay at our house but he saw the sense of going home.

He came the next night and said his Mum did eventually open the door but said if he continued to go out with me he had better find somewhere else to live. Junes theory on her mums behaviour was that she was jealous, she thought when Mike came out of the army she would have him to herself but he had met me on the same day he came home.

It was June 1960, Mike was dropping big hints about something I hadnt a clue what he was on about, like frogs are jumping about, it was a very rare year, I had no idea what he was on about. my Mum couldnt stand it any more, me being so dense, she said I think Mike is telling you its a leap year, then the penny dropped, so I said "well shall we" he wasnt going to make it easy he said "shall we what ", this could go on all night.

We decided we would get married, Mum and Dad were really pleased, I think they thought I never would. Then of course it was when, we didnt have any money. My Mum said she would prepare all the food, we could open up the middle doors between the two sitting rooms and put up trestle tables for a buffet.

Mike and I decided we didnt want a church wedding, for one reason we couldnt afford it and neither of us fancied the idea. My Mum said we could have two rooms upstairs, one as a bed sitting room and she would speak to the landlord to see if there was any way he would let my Dad convert the smaller room into a kitchen, Mike had bought a really expensive camera when he was in Germany, he said he would sell it to pay for the rings and other bits and pieces, a friend of his had been after the camera for ages.

The next morning Mike unbeknown to me went to the Registrars Office to arrange a date for us. When I got home from work my Mum said Mike had a surprise for me, I had to wait until he came over. We were getting married on August 20th 1960, this was only 10 weeks away, we had loads to do, inform people, buy something to wear, sort out living accommodation.

One thing Mike was dreading was telling his Mum, he said he would tell her that night. June was really pleased and his other sister Molly, she lived in the flat above his Mum. Loads of relatives from Yorkshire were coming, in total about twenty of them including the children.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Page 36

Our relationship continued improving, we found we liked the same things all in all I could see a future, at least I knew he wasnt married.
One friday evening Mike came round and suggested we went for a run to Southend, just for something different, it was a nice dry, clear night, although it was early March. Just as we got on the Southend Arterial Road we came across about 20 other bikes all racing along, Mike couldnt resist it so we tagged along with them. My god it was hairy, we were doing (I found out later) about 100 miles an hour, in and out of traffic , eventually the other guys turned right into a cafe, we pulled in with them, it was called The Blinking Owl . We got off the bike and some of the other bikers came across to us to chat about the bikes, as you do, to cut a long story short they asked if we wanted to join up with them every Friday. They all came from various parts of London and met up at different places each week, they said not to bother if we were afraid of giving the cops a run for their money, hence the different meeting places. After we had several cups of delicious Expresso coffee we said we were going on to Southend but would definitely meet them next friday they told us the time and place. Mike and I were really pleased we were really having an excellent time although dangerous. A walk on the beach would just finish it off.

Mike said I was a brilliant pillion passenger he said he couldnt tell that I was on the back, I loved it, I felt I was part of the bike. I didnt care how fast we went or how many risks we took the faster the better. When I got home I took of my boots and found my right boot on the outside was scuffed to bits, that just showed how low down we had got going round the roundabouts. I had seen sparks where the footrests had scraped the road but hadnt realised I had scraped my new boots.

My Dad wasnt impressed but he knew whatever he said I wouldnt listen, so he told us to just to be careful. Mike had got himself a job at Marks and Spencer, in the warehouse in the North End Road store, the money was pretty bad but better than nothing.

Friday came round, we went to meet the bikers, fully expecting them not to be there but they were, we had to wait for a couple more then off we went to the cafe. This time it was even more daring, instead of going round the roundabouts on the left side we all went on the right side into oncoming traffic, because there was so many of us they had to get out of the way, it was suicidal but we loved it. This was doing speeds of up to a ton, we were called the ton up boys, sad isnt it.

We sat outside the Blinking Owl as it was a really nice night, they discussed the nights activities so far and trying to decide what the plan was for the return journey. I sat with some of the other pillion riders, mostly female.

The friday night dice with death became a regular thing, we had all been lucky so far, not that we ever thought about the danger.

One day Mike came round and asked me if I wanted to go to Windsor, he said there were a couple of rivers and he wanted to go and get some snails for his pond, he had recently built this in his Mums garden. I thought it a bit strange . He gave me a couple of jars to put in my pocket, we got on the bike and off we went . we were just approaching Vauxhall Bridge Road when Mike started saying something, I couldnt hear him for all the traffic noise, he was obviously concentrating more on me hearing him than what he was doing because the next minute we were both sat on the road with the motor bike at the side of us, talk about embarrassing, hundreds of people waiting for buses ,in one of the busiest places in London, we looked at each other and burst out laughing, we saw the funny side of it. I said the jars were still intact, we got up and bowed to the audience and continued to Windsor, neither of us even had a scratch.

We did some really daft things, like I had been off work sick and I had to post a sick certificate to work. Mike said hop on the bike save walking, the post box was near the Oval Tube Station.
It was such a lovely night we decided to go for a ride, we ended up in Brighton, I posted the letter then we walked to the beach(pebbles) it must have been midnight although we had no real idea of the time. We suddenly realised that my Mum and Dad would be worried sick as it should have only taken us 5 mins. to post the letter. Here we were walking on Brighton Beach at midnight. We thought we had better make our way home, god knows what speed we did but but put it this way, it didnt take us very long.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Page 35



June and I couldnt believe it, I couldnt have looked worse if I tried. She finished my hair and this time combed it out so I didnt have to go home with rollers in. Another knock at the door, it was Mike again, he said he came back to ask if he could take me home, I was so taken aback I said yes, then thought to myself what a strange thing to do. I had known him about 10 minutes, perhaps he felt sorry for me the state I was in when he first came round, a slight improvement now but I didnt have any makeup on.

We sat down and had a cup of tea, June and Mike were making up for lost time, catching up on the last 2 years. Mike and I left about an hour later, we walked to Fulham Broadway Tube Station and got the tube to the Oval. We chatted all the time about what he had got up to in Germany, it sounded as though all they did in their spare time was drink excessively. I liked him he was very polite and had good manners, which meant a lot to me, I couldnt stand ignorance. We eventually got to the Oval, I thought he would go straight back to Fulham but no he said he would take me to our house. When we got there I asked him in for a cup of tea but he said no. He asked if I would like to go out with him the following night, he was meeting up with some mates. I said I would like that and arranged to meet him at Fulham Tube station.

It seemed a long day, June was pleased we were going out. I had told her about the Jackie thing, she had this knack of getting you to talk almost with out you realising it until it was too late. Little was said about it other than her saying he deserved the prison sentence.
I met Mike as arranged he said we were meeting his mates in a pub just off Coomer Road where he lived, it was called the Plough it had been their hangout before his National Service. All his mates were dustmen, I had never met a dustman before, I always thought they were the lowest of the low, no brains be a dustman or a road sweeper. What a snob I was!!

We eventually met up with his mates, they were really nice lads, very smartly dressed and we had a really good night. The following Saturday was the annual, wait for it ` Dustmans Ball ` this was a big affair evidently, it was held at the Town Hall. They asked if Mike and I would like to go, I thought Mike might say no, as we only met the previous evening, he asked me if I would like to go I said yes, so we had another date.

I didnt see him again until Saturday ,the night of the dance, I had bought myself a lovely dress, a lilac shirtwaister, my Mum said it looked really good, dont laugh but I also wore white stilletto shoes and bag and I wasnt an Essex Girl!!!! My hair at that time was blonde, shoulder length, I must admit it looked good with the lilac dress.

I met Mike at the tube station, this was actually opposite the Town Hall. I could see he was impressed, he looked me up and down and said I looked great. We met up with his mates and girlfriends inside, we had a really good time, I enjoyed the whole evening they were a great bunch of guys. It finished around midnight . I said to Mike I would go home by myself this was nothing unusual for me, in those days the tubes were relatively safe places. He wouldnt hear of it, he said we could go to his house first, which was only up the North end Road as he had told his Mum he would take me to meet her.

We got to his house to find his Mum had gone to bed. He had just bought a motorbike a couple of days before a 650cc A.J.S he said he would take me home on it rather than walk back to the station neither of us had a coat and it was freezing cold so I borrowed a jumper of his, what a sight. I was a bit nervous about getting on the bike as we had both had quite a bit to drink and the biggest bike I had been on before was Vic`s Triumph Tiger Cub, still nothing ventured nothing gained. Thank goodness drink driving hadnt yet become an offence.

It was a very powerful bike, it was quite amazing, speeding through the streets of London, hair blowing in the wind, freezing cold. I could get used to this and at that time I hoped that would happen. We got to my house in one piece, said goodnight, he asked if he could see me on Monday, he said he would pick me up on the bike at about 7.00pm. This time I would be suitably dressed.

Mike came to our house monday he came in and met my Mum and Dad and Dennis, had a cup of tea then went to show my Dad the motorbike my Dad really liked the bike but said that I must get a crash helmet (they were not compulsory then). We also found out that Mike hadnt taken a test, let alone passed it. That weekend we went to the big motor bike shop called Pride and Clarkes, I believe it was in Brixton. We bought crash helmets and leathers, matching of course. Mike said we were bikers now.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Page 34

It got so warm we even went for a paddle, we had such an amazing time, I dont think I have ever had such a laugh at almost no cost. we had a slap up dinner, bacon, sausage and eggs also fried bread, it was a meal fit for a king, well almost. That night ,our last, we all sat in the larger tent and played cards for ages. Then we went for a walk along the beach, we played leap frog, I have never laughed so much and we all got on so well ,they new each other I was the newcomer.

Another freezing night, I couldnt wait to get home and have a bath I thought that would be the only way to get warm again. In spite of the cold nights I was so glad I had been with them, it certainly was an experience. The food the tents and the company. We all said we would do it again, maybe in warmer times. It was soon time to pack up and make our way home, at least it wasnt raining.

It took us half the time to get home , I asked Vic if he wanted to come in and have a cup of tea but he declined, said he would see me at work in the morning, he said thankyou for being a good sport and helping to make the weekend a good laugh.

Back to work, although we had such a laugh you could hardly call it work. June , myself and a couple of butchers were in the preparation area below the shop floor, where we took the butter out of the packaging and cut it into manageable pieces. Many a time we dropped the butter on the floor which had sawdust on it, we would pick up the butter and scrape off the sawdust and whatever else was stuck to it. I think the worse thing I saw was whole sides of bacon taken out of the coldstore covered in maggots, they would wash them off under the taps and continue to bone and slice it for the shop, same thing with the fresh meat, if the customers had known half of what happened down there no-one would buy anything but what the eye doesnt see the heart doesnt grieve about.

It was christmas time we had a few relatives from Rotherham coming to our house for christmas, it would be really nice seeing them. We had a lovely christmas, plenty of food, my Mum was an amazing cook, loads of booze.

My Dad had done loads of work to the house he had decorated it from top to bottom, built a really nice fireplace in the living room, every room was now carpeted, it really did look good. Everything paid for by Mr Press the landlord. It was improving his property, my Dad also did all the minor repairs even major ones if he could, I dont think Mr Press could believe his luck.It was soon time to go back to work. I was still going out with Vic now and again but it was nothing serious, it suited us both the way it was.

June was all excited her brother was due to be demobbed from the Royal Airforce on January 19th 1960 he had been in Germany for the last two years, she said she would introduce us sometime, he was a year older than me. Every tuesday night I used to go to Junes flat, have tea and she would do my hair, it was blonde then, she would do my roots put it in rollers and I would travel acroos London on the tube looking really glamourous.

It was such a tuesday night, June was in the middle of doing my hair when there was a knock at the door, it was her brother Mike, here was me with bleach on my hair, well just my luck. He was a really goodlooking guy,tall, muscular, blonde with blue eyes. If it hadnt been for the state of me I might have stood a chance, thats life. He stayed about 15 mins. and then went to see his Mum who lived next door to June. June and I cracked up , our timing was really off, evidently he wasnt due until 10pm and it was only 7pm.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Page 33



I was doing ok at Sainsbury`s, I was now able to work all the counters except the butchery dept. My favourite was the cheese, apart from loving to eat the cheese the guy called Vic had a certain pull. We soon started going out to the pictures on his motor bike a Triumph Tiger Cub 250cc. He hadnt passed his test so we took off the `L`plates, we had great fun. He said he and several of his mates and girlfriends were going to a place called Seaford in Sussex, camping. he asked if I would like to go with him. I had never been camping before, I didnt know the other people but I said yes anyway. It was September and the weather hadnt been that great. we were leaving on the friday night after work and returning sometime sunday.

Vic was due to take his motor bike test on the wednesday before and we were hoping he would pass, then I could legally be a pillion passenger but no, he failed, he was so disappointed but we were still going on friday, legal or not.

Friday came the weather was terrible, it didnt stop chucking it down all day, we didnt have proper clothing, so we were going to be saturated by the time we got there.
We eventually met up with his mates and set off, visibility was terrible this was my first time going any distance on a motor bike but I loved it spite of the rain. It seemed as though we had been travelling for hours, I think we left Fulham at about 6pm we arrived at Seaford around 9pm. It was pitch black and we had to pitch our tents, it took us ages, while the guys were doing this myself and the other girls tried to make something to eat, it was hopeless we couldnt see our hands in front of us, we were soaking wet and had no clue as to how to light a fire but we had such a good laugh.

The lads were not to happy as after putting up the tents they now had to light a fire, we did say we would cook the beans, they werent very impressed, still it turned out ok the beans were edible, we had a nice hot cup of tea. Then because it was so wet and dark we decided to retire to our tents, they were so small and we had to sleep in our wet clothes, it was the worst night I have ever spent, I must have dropped off to sleep and woke up shivering along with everyone else. At that point we were all in favour of going home ,even though it was only 6am but at least it had stopped raining and it was warmer. We had a vote and it was decided we would at least have breakfast and decide after that.

At least I could see now where we were, it was just along the coast from Beachy Head it was very similar, huge cliffs not as steep as Beachy Head, it was quite a nice place, the only facilities were toilets no where to wash, I found out it was either go dirty or wash under a cold stand pipe that was supposed to be for drinking water but it was good fun, the sun had come out, it was warming up lovely.

Breakfast and ablutions(washing) over we had all decided to stay, the lads dared each other to go up the cliff on their bikes, it was a really dangerous thing to do but they had a go and only Vic and another guy managed it both up and down ,it was almost vertical. It looked real scary. Then Vic said " come on Sheila get on the back ,see if we can do it with 2 up" I knew this was suicidal, they only just managed it solo, two didnt even manage that but on I got, I thought if my numbers up I will find out shortly.

The others were all egging us on so off we went, we made it to the top, looking down it did look vertical, I must admit I was scared and I believe Vic was despite the bravado, off we went , it was great, so great we did it a couple of times but none of the others would, they thought we were crazy, no, just show offs.

Page 32


One thing I had difficulty in was the butter, it was in great big cubes. it would be cut into smaller pieces in the warehouse then you had two wooden paddles in a container of water and knock it into 4oz or 8oz packs according to how much the customer asked for. The teacher said that practice would help. The cheese counter was the same, a massive piece of cheese about 2ft square had to be cheese wired into, again whatever quantity the customer asked for, I was good at this, I seemed to have the ability to judge the correct quantity.

When I started at the shop I was put on the dairy counter working with two other girls, one was called June she was married with an 8 yr old son the other girl also called Sheila came from Yorkshire, she was a very odd girl, really old fashioned in ideas and dress. She was a really nice , I believe from what June the gossip said that she had a tough life.

The counter next to ours was the cheese counter that was run by a young guy, my age called Vic, very nice too. It had been a long time since I worked in a shop, it was hard work on your feet from 08.30am until 5.30pm including saturday.

Karen was looking really peaky, she was sick a lot, my Mum began to think she was pregnant, so she asked the question and surprise she was. When she had told her boyfriend he told her she was on her own as he was married and already had a child. Karen was shocked that he wasnt going to support her. My Mum said she would have to contact her Mum and return home, she was loath to do this but really had no choice.

My Mum had a word with Vernon to see if he would offer Karen financial help as he had plenty of money, he was a pilot with B.O.A.C. which I believe is now B.A.. He declined and said it was Karens problem. What a nice man !!!!

Karen wrote to her Mum who promptly came to see her and take her home. This was the first time we had met her. The first thing she did was smack Karen across the face and she called her Beryl, of course my Mum jumped to Karens defence and said that was uncalled for. Her Mum asked why we were calling her Karen we said thats what we thought her name was. Then the woman went crazy said it was my Mums fault her daughter had got pregnant, she said there must have been a lack of supervision, my Mum pointed out that Karen was 22 yrs old and if any one was to take respnsibility then it should be her for allowing her daughter to live in London on her own. Poor Karen was bundled out of our house with all her bits and pieces and we never saw or heard from her again.

Dennis had really settled in here, he had loads of mates, whether they were the right ones remains to be seen, they seemed very streetwise not very family orientated. We hoped our closeness would keep him on the straight and narrow, we hardly saw him he was 11yrs old now.

My Dad was doing ok he had changed jobs but was still caretaking at posh flats called Palmerston House. The pop singer Leapy Lee lived there, I believe he had a top ten record called Little Arrows, my Dad got on with him really well and Leapy gave him some cuff links that were dartboards on one side and darts(little arrows) on the other.

My Mum had just started work at Harrods as an assistant buyer in ladies fashions, how she got the job even she didnt know apart from being very smart and having a love of expensive clothes, she had little other experience. She loved the job and before too long she was promoted to buyer.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Page 31

I got a job in Central London, Goodge Street, as a telephonist at a clothing manufacturers, the only problem was the whole company were or appeared to be related and Italian and I could not understand a word they said ,needless to say I stuck it for 2 days by that time my head was buzzing, they didnt talk they yelled at each other even on the telephone. On the second day I went for lunch and never went back.

I was walking down North End Road, Fulham one day with my Mum and Auntie Eva, when as we passed Sainsbury`s I saw a sign in the window for a shop assistant so in I went had an interview there and then with the manager, it went really well and he said he would write and let me know if I had been successful. In those days it was just an ordinary shop with seperate counters for different goods ie...Butchery, Grocery, Cooked meats etc....

I got the job at sainsbury`s and had to attend their training place at Blackfriars Bridge, in those days this was compulsory. I was really looking forward to it. I was due to start the following monday, this was June 1959.

My Mum was looking through the Evening Standard newspaper one night when she saw an advert offering a three bedroomed house, furnished, to rent at a place called the Oval. It had a small garden, two reception rooms,and a kitchen, it sounded just what we were looking for. The problem would probably be the amount of rent they would ask for. My Mum rang the people and asked about the rent they said it was £5.10s a week not including bills, the guy gave her the address and we arranged to go and see it the next evening.

My Dad stayed to look after Dennis and Mum and I went to view the house, it was just around the corner fron the Oval Cricket Ground in a road called Claylands Road. The road looked nice and quiet, they were terraced houses ,the one we were looking at was next but one to a lovely green, it looked perfect. We knocked at the door it was opened by this seedy little man, scary, my Mum and I both looked at one another but he seemed nice enough. The house was just what we wanted, the furniture was a bit dowdy and old but reasonable, in the living room was a huge built in dresser. We really liked it. The guy said he would like to meet my Dad to make sure he was happy with it. We said he would come the next night. We all went the next night my Dad felt the same as us when he saw it.

The owner Mr Press was really impressed when my Dad told him he was a painter and decorator, he said my Dad could do what he wanted to improve and update the property and that he would provide all the paint etc... My Dad was happy with that and named a couple of things he thought would improve it.

So we were on the move yet again, no furniture to move, Dennis was not too happy another change of school just when things were settling down for him. We were moving to the other side of the Thames much too far to travel to school for a 10 yr old.

We went back to Shepherds Bush and told Karen , she was really upset as we had all become good friends, she got so upset my Mum told here there was enough room if she wanted to come with us, my Mum is really crafty the rent was higher than this place so Karen paying her rent would help out. You have got to hand it to my Mum, she was quick of the mark. Karen decided she would come with us, I was pleased, at least I would know someone and we did go out together occasionally.

We all settled in , my Mum was seriously looking for a job, she eventually started work at a wool shop in Brixton, she really enjoyed it. Dennis started his new school ,this time with no problems, he had almost lost his Yorkshire accent. He made loads of friends they would knock for him in the mornings to walk to school, everything seemed to be going our way.

Karen and I decided to go to Battersea Park Fun Fair one day,on the way she was really sick, she said she had an upset stomach, we still went at her insistance, we did have a great time we went on just about every ride.

I started training at sainsbury`s , it was great,it was all done out like shops, we had to serve each other .I really enjoyed it.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Page 30

My Mum said we were moving into a nice big flat over a tobacconist shop opposite Shepherds Bush Green. It was on the 3rd floor with an amazing bathroom which we had to share with with the person on the 2nd floor. We were moving in two weeks, no hanging about. I handed in my notice at work, we were evidently selling all our furniture as the flat was furnished, they usually were in those days.

Luckily the person who was moving into our house bought most of it as it was only 2yrs old. We were taking all the linens and crockery and other bits and pieces.

At last the day came for us to go, tearful goodbyes were said. Dennis was heartbroken, he really didnt want to go, maybe my Mum and Dad were being selfish he was a country lad, he wouldnt have the same freedom in London as he did here.

We eventually got to Shepherds Bush, went up to the flat, I could not believe it, they had lied, the accommodation consisted of a kitchen , massive living area, with huge three piece suite and a double bed and various other bits. It was really good furniture. Of course the bathroom, which was amazing, they had it all planned they would obviously have the bed, Dennis would sleep on the sofa and I would be sleeping in the kitchen on a single bed. We had moved out of a three bedroomed semi with garage for this dump. I shouldn`t have been surprised it was deja vu, we all ended up laughing, my Mum didn`t want anyone in Rotherham to know how stupid we were.

It wasnt too bad the living arrangements, we soon adapted. Dennis also settled in quicker than we thought he would. We soon met the person who lived underneath it was a girl called Karen she was about my age and came from Devon. we all got on really well, she had a boyfriend a guy called Vernon. Dennis was really pleased as Karen had a television and she said she would leave a key with my Mum so that Dennis could watch it during the day until he started school.

My Dad started his new job, it was caretaker of a block of flats in theWest End, he said it was early days but so far so good. The other caretaker who worked with him seemed a really decent bloke.

Now it was my turn to look for work , my Mum said eventually when she got Dennis sorted out with school she would look for a job in a shop. She hadn`t worked since being a cloakroom attendant at the Olympia 10 yrs ago.

We found out that the nearest school for dennis was Addison Gardens the same school I went to the first time we came to London. Dennis was very scared on his first day, when he came home that night he said the children had done exactly the same thing they did to me, thats take the mickey(tease) because of the Yorkshire accent. I said ignore them and they would soon get fed up , he also wore National Health Glasses , the ones with the wire frames, he was called four eyes and other things. He really didnt want to go to school, he got really upset. When it happened to me I was able to ignore them and go back to them with some comment but Dennis was differant, very shy and took everything to heart. After a while things got a little better, he appeared to be coping with it.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Page29

We eventually got to Whitehill and Bob said, would I stay and talk a while so he could have a breather before the walk home, so we stood and chatted about everything under the sun, how he felt about Barbara and his hopes and dreams. Then said goodnight and off he went home, a perfect end to a perfect night out after all my doubts. I think I would now be on the road to recovery.

When I got home my Mum and Dad were waiting up for me, it was gone midnight, they were beginning to worry. When they saw and heard what a brillliant time I had had they were thrilled, they also said we all had to look forward never back and off we went to bed, it had been a very eventful day and night.

I really started to get myself together now, I was even going back to work. I hoped i was ready because I knew I would have to face all my colleagues and the Irish Mob but I thought that I could cope, only time would tell.

Two nights later, I believe it was Monday there was a knock at the door and there stood Bob he said would I like to go out with him for a drink, I was puzzled but said yes. I didnt tell my Mum and Dad that he was Barbara`s boyfriend I know I should have but for whatever reason I didnt. I just said it was someone I had met when I was out with Barbara. I quickly got ready and off we went. Bob said he knew he shouldnt have done this but he couldnt get me out of his mind he just wanted to go out and spend some time with me. We went to the local pub had a few drinks and a good laugh.

We found that we had similar interests, we seemed to be on the same wavelength. He said it was difficult having a conversation with Barbara as she had no idea or interest in anything other than clothes and makeup. She was a bit like that and she would be the first one to admit it. A while back we both went to join the Army, we had to take intelligence tests to assess our capabilities so they could see what job we were suited for. I was offered a job as Air Defence Operator but unfortunately Barbara was only offered domestic or kitchen work, so we decided the forces wasnt for us but that sort of typifies Barbara but a better friend you couldnt wish for. Going out with her boyfriend was definitely the wrong thing to be doing.

There was no romance, it was just a couple of friends going out for a drink, if it had been two females it would be acceptable. After everything I had just been through the last thing on my mind was a relationship of any kind. As we parted company I said to Bob I didnt think we should go out again unless he cleared it with Barbara, he said she wouldnt understand that a woman and a man could be just friends. At the back of my mind I had a nagging doubt , I thought perhaps he had had a different motive for taking me out, so that was the last time I went out with him without Barbara. It worried me because I didnt want to see her hurt and I didnt really trust him. I must admit it made me feel good that someone actually found me of interest, I remembered my Mum saying no decent person would look at me once, let alone twice. Well she was wrong thank goodness.

I was back at work, everything was much better than I thought it would be, even the Irish Lot said hello . I am sure they thought that I was aware of Jackie being married, hence the behaviour.

It was June time and my Mum and Dad had decided to go to see my Auntie Eva and family in London for a week, they asked if I would look after Dennis and when I was at work my gran would have him. They said they needed to have a break. I suspected an ulterior motive , which they strongly denied but I would wait. I was sure they were thinking of moving back to London , time would tell.

We got a couple of letters from them saying what a good time they were having. They got back on the saturday, guess what, they had found us somewhere to live in Shepherds Bush, London. my Dad had got a job and it was time to start packing once more. My Mum said it would be a fresh start for all of us. I knew that was why they went to London, as usual no discussion, just take it or leave it, actually I was pleased I loved London. Dennis was really upset, he really didnt want to leave his friends, he didnt remember London as he was only about 3 yrs old when we left. He was nearly 10 yrs old now.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Page 28

We got to the table and Barbara introduced us , I noticed another girl from work called Dot was there too and I disliked her intensely. Barb said she had invited her to make me feel more comfortable as a foursome. Bob got the drinks in, I asked for a Babycham but he came back with a Cherry Brandy that was my favourite, Barbara had obviously briefed him.

Then they were all talking but I couldnt seem to join in, I felt I didnt want to be there, my only thoughts were to think of an excuse to leave but couldnt. Barbara was aware I was having trouble and really tried to get me talking. I realised it was too soon to be socialising. I dont know who it was buying the drinks but they were coming fast and furious. I was drinking them like there were no tomorrows. I was drinking them as though my life depended on it, in retrospect I think it did. Before too long I realised I was chatting away and really having a good laugh.

I really liked Bob, he seemed a really nice bloke and I was very pleased for Barbara. The night went on and we all got very drunk, me first because this was my first drink for well over a year. We eventually left the pub, Dot lived in Maltby so she just went home, Barbara, Bob and I all lived on the same bus route, Barbara about 3 miles away at Wickersley Bob about 6 miles away in Canklow and myself a further 2 miles at Whitehill. We then found out we had missed the last number 87 bus which would have taken Bob and I directly to our homes, so would have to get a bus into Rotherham and then another one to our villages.

When Bob and I got into Rotherham Bob asked me if I would like a coffee before we caught our next bus, I said I would love one. A new coffee bar had just opened it was really nice , filled with lovely green plants and a really nice feeling, a juke box in the corner but not in use as we were the only ones in there.

I think the person serving was pleased to see us . Bob ordered two Expresso`s and we sat and talked . Its amazing how alcohol can make you forget all your troubles, at this moment in time I hadnt a care in the world , I was sat drinking coffee with a good looking fella and couldnt have been happier.

We finished our coffee and went to catch the last bus which left at 10.45pm , we thought we had loads of time but we just saw the rear of the bus leaving the bus station, now where was the alcohol, because I just panicked, I was almost running in circles . Bob said it wasnt the end of the world but it was for me, it meant walking home, which was ok being with Bob but he lived in Canklow and I would have to walk about 3 miles along the woods and then railway sidings, which was really scary with not a house in sight. The thought terrified me. If I had explained this to him he would have perhaps understood why I was behaving like a headless chicken.

I did tell him of my fears and he was really annoyed that I thought he would let me walk on my own. I said he owed me nothing , I certainly did not expect him to go past his house take me to mine then have to walk back to his. He insisted ,so off we went . We had a good old natter, he told me about the kid things he got up to , I told him about my time in London, he had never been out of Rotherham he didnt have to do National Service as he was a coal miner and this was what they called essential work.

It was a freezing night so we walked arm in arm to try and keep warm as neither of us were dressed for walking. It was nice , it was comfortable. He obviously knew about the trial and everything but no comment was made, Barbara had probably said it might not be a good idea.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Page 27

I got to the end of the Avenue there was about a half mile walk down the Lane to the bus stop but I could relax as there were no more houses only pit ponies. My next hurdle was to get on the bus, again I was convinced everyone would be looking at me. The bus came and the first person to get off the bus was my cousin Tony, I hadn `t seen him since before all this happened, thank goodness there wasnt time to chat, just a quick hello.

I got on the bus and went upstairs as arranged with Barbara, there were two or three people up there. I knew I looked good but I was still scared stiff. We were approaching Wickersley Crossroads and I could see Barbara standing at the bus stop, thank goodness we had at least got this close to Maltby.

Barbara came upstairs and the look of shock on her face, she said she couldnt believe the change in me from two nights ago, she said I looked like a model. I said I had given myself a good talking to and it looked as though my hard work paid off.

We eventually got to Maltby got off the bus, the pub was across the road, I was petrified, I said that I didnt think I could actually go in the pub she said if I didnt then I had wasted my time and effort, with a bit of persuation I went in. The noise did my head in, music and voices they all seemed to be shouting, then I realised for the last 3 months I had only been to the court and at home.

It was a sea of faces, I was still certain I was being stared at. I followed Barbara as I had no idea what Bob her boyfriend looked like, her boyfriends for some reason all looked like back ends of buses, then I saw a guy waving and she waved back he was really good looking, blonde hair and wearing a powder blue suit and midnight blue shirt, very striking with the blonde hair. I turned to Barb and asked if that was him she nodded and asked if I approved, I nodded, she said " keep your eyes off he is mine".