Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Summary of Diary Scribblings - 1993

During the last few days I have been looking at these old diaries, making notes and then throwing them out. These first diaries were written in pencil and with my failing eyesight they are difficult, now, to read.

In 1931 I lived with my family at 9 Ellis Avenue, Leicester. I worked at the British United (B.U.) as a very junior clerk, I was acting cubmaster at the 18th Leicester (St. Albans) Scout Group and was a night-school student. I was also a Toc H member (the youngest member) and my best friend was Jack Garratt - he too was a Scout and worked at the B.U.

My young brother, Dick, joined the Cub Pack when he became eight and in due course was given a service star. There is a scribble in the diary that on the night when he came home from the meeting with his precious star, a big boy hit him and ran off with the trophy. He was in tears until I gave him another Service Star, from my stock. As I write these words, now, - two days ago, off the north coast of Vancouver Island, the ashes of my brother, Dick, were commited to the sea.

What a span of years.

It was a busy life; apart from Toc H and scouting and night school, there was cycling, walking and swimming at the 'Cossy' - (Cossington Street Baths) and in the River Soar, which was not polluted then.

Dad was a refrigeration salesman and in the autumn of 1931 took a new job in Lincolnshire. Mains electricity had now reached that area and there was a growing market for electrical appliances.

During October, the family moved to a new home in Lincoln. The situation, which had been in decline ever since Wolfhampcote, began to improve. The Lincoln house was much better and was unfurnished, so they bought their own furniture - on the never-never, of course.

As I had a job, such as it was, I stayed behind and moved into digs with Mrs Evelyn Wood, a friend of Mum's at no. 4 Ellis Avenue - a larger house than no. 9. This was my new family; Billy Wood, former Infantry Captain, hard as iron; and the children, Frank (Bim), Douglas (Bunty) Brian and Pat. We still have Christmas cards from Pat and regularly correspond with Brian. Most years, Jill and I call at his house in Wisbech, on the way to our seaside holiday at Chapel St. Leonards.

I was not just a lodger at no. 4. They made me a member of the family. As no. 9 was a furnished house, moving out was a simple matter. Mum, Dick, and Robin spent the night of Friday, October 23rd with a disreputable friend of Mum's - Mrs Knowles - in Fosse Road. I don't think Dad would be there as he disapproved of Mrs Knowles and had once pronounced, "No member of this family will ever contact that woman again!" Not that Mum would accept such a dictum.
On that Friday evening, I walked across Leicester to say good-bye carrying the last of the luggage and accompanied by our dog, Pip. He came to us as a puppy at Wolfhampcote and now an elderly dog, was off to his last home, in Lincoln. On the way to Fosse Road, I crossed a River bridge, there was a boat moored somewhere below and I heard plaintive music from a gramaphone. 'Blue Heaven' from 'The Desert Song'. The night was so still... Strange, how a piece of music links forever with a memory.

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