Archive for May, 2015

untitlestampdThe day of our move dawned. I had said goodbye to my friends and the teachers at the school, promising to keep in touch, but unfortunately this did not happen. Although wanting to keep in contact with them, I did not have any means to. Unlike today, the working class did not possess telephones, and apart from Mum not being able to afford postage stamps, I rarely saw writing paper or envelopes in our home.

The moving lorry came trundling up our lane, and I was surprised that it looked so small. It stopped at the top of the lane, and two men made their way to our house. Lil – who had left her job to move back with us – opened the door to them, and so our move back to London began.

As the morning went on, our Mum looked more and more flustered. Now I realise how much work is involved in a house move, and even more so with all those children and a young baby. I cannot imagine how Mum would have managed without Lil. We had all been working for a while, and Lil persuaded Mum to go and have a cup of tea with our next door neighbour. Mum soon came back after leaving the youngest children with Mrs Williams, which was a great help for her.

imagesT01QW7VWMy sisters and I helped carry all the small things out to the van, and Lil made the men some tea. Mum owned some nice pieces of furniture, dating back to when Dad was in fulltime work. Amongst them was a lovely large brass bed, and a marble–topped wash-stand; I can remember how she used to lovingly polish them.

I was surprised to hear Mum say to the men they would be staying, along with some other pieces. The only reason I could think of was that Mum had sold them to help cover the cost of moving. However, there was no way Mum would leave her beloved piano behind, and she looked pleased to see it carefully packed into the van.3169855095_8afa4d068e_m

After the van had departed, all that remained to do was to clean the house and say goodbye to our neighbour. Mrs Williams said she was very sorry to see us leave, and that she would miss us all. Mum thanked her for all her help and kindness in the past, and as we walked down the field to catch the bus to the railway station, Mrs Williams waved until we were out of sight.

It would be many years before I visited the village, or my Father’s grave again.


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imatreedgesThe winter dragged on, and Mum looked quite frail and depressed. She started talking about going back to London to live. Christmas was a very dismal affair that year, and we were all glad when it was over.

The new year of 1945 began, and the winter months were as hard as ever. There were many arguments as to whose turn it was to fetch the water from the stream, and trying to collect wood for the fire was getting very hard. There had been rumours for some time that there were poachers in the woods, and Lady Blandy-Jenkins had employed one of her men to patrol the woods behind us, and so we had to be very careful not to be seen taking any wood. What made us wary of him was the large dog always by his side. We started going out at night in the hope that he had gone, but it was very creepy with all sorts of strange noises, and different animals foraging for food. At least we could still collect the coal from the nearby railway in the daylight, which was a big help for our Mum.trainuntitled

Winter was coming to an end. and the first spring flowers started to appear. All the news bulletins were hopeful that the war would be over soon. This made our Mum more determined to find somewhere to live in London. It was nearly the end of April when Mum decided to go to London and look for somewhere to live. When she returned, it was with the news that she had found a suitable place for us in Bethnal Green. Mum told us that we would be moving in May.

untitledpaperAlthough I was excited at the news, I was also feeling sad that we would be leaving our Dad and Keith behind in Wales. Mum was kept busy with the endless list of things to do concerning the move and, as usual, Lil was a great help to her.

It was just before our move to London when we heard the news that everybody had been waiting for: victory had been declared in Europe.

Mum could not have timed our move better.

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