Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
My Mum was evacuated from London in '39 at the age of 12. First off to Oxford, but she didn't stay long as the woman who took her in objected to her not being catholic. Her two friends, sisters, stayed and were killed in an air-raid later in the war.

She saw the first air raids on london and was impressed by the large block formations of the enemy lanes. But with this change in the war after a few close shaves from close impacts, she was then sent to distant relatives in S Wales, up the valley from Swansea. A mining town in Welsh speaking wales. She had to learn welsh pretty quickly cos nobody had any patience with some english speaking kid.

She wa the youngest in the household and thus the skivvy. She had to carry through the ton of coal to the back when it was delivered and then sweep the coal dust up. And she had to be wary when the coalman was coming to lock the door cos the coalman used to dump it right outside the door and through the door if you weren't careful.

For reason I won't discuss here, my Mum returned to London in 44. In that time she was once overflown by a V1 at a height of 100 feet. And survived the V2 hit, losing only the apple pie she was making which was coated with glass blown in from the window.

The V1 was much more hated than the V2. The sound would stop everything, for minutes on end as everybody waited for the motor to cut out. Until then, they were frozen. But the V2, if you heard the bang, you were still alive. So, why worry about it?

My Mum was in Forest Gate roller skating rink when a V1 destroyed the Princess Alice pub a quarter mile away. She says that there were a load of green leather benches against the wall nearest the pub which moved halfway across the rink, knocking people over.

When my parents married in 47, despite rationing there was a 3 tier wedding cake. It was only later that we discovered how my gran had managed to afford to get all the sugar and fruit from the black market she as a money lender.

It was a hidden part of the world of women at that time. Women ran short of household money, either cos their husbands drank it or there was an emergency. But she apparently had taken over the business from another woman when she died, she inherited "the tally book". My mum had always wondered how it was that she'd always had money. It was a steady income if not particularly substantial.

But it faded away during the re-developments after the war, it only survived because of close knit communities of women and those community bonds were severed and scattered during the 50s.

She lent my Dad the money for his first car, £80. And when my Mum's wedding veil was torn, she paid for it to be invisibly mended, 30 shillings (£1:50) but a weeks wages.

But there were no houses in the early 50s. With a young child and another on the way and living with her mother in law, my Mum would walk (!) miles from town hall to town hall through the east end begging for a chance to get a council flat. But was told that there was nothing unless the children had a serious lung disease.

So, she resolved to buy a house, soemthing that was then almost unimaginable. It took my parents nearly two years to save £100 for a deposit, my Dad left a job he loved (print engineer at Reynolds News, which eventually became the Sun) to join another paper, the Sunday Citizen for a vital 30 shillings more a week.

And then they bought a house.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Aug 3rd, 2017 at 08:56:18 PM EST
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