Sunday morning in September, 1942.
Mrs. Salmon had had just left, she had popped in for a cup of tea, and brought some seedy cake and a tangerine for the children.
Mum was doing the ironing, I love watching her as she picks up the iron from the gas hob, spits on it, to see if it sizzles then she holds it near her cheek to make sure it is OK.
She has two irons, a small one for shirts and such like, and a heavy one for sheets. She is very quick at it.
Ironing is just one of the jobs she does for Mrs. Snelgrove, in ‘The Golden Grove’, there’s a lot to do there as they have guests staying.
I have finished putting some white blanco on my plimsoles, It’s a bit pointless as they are completely worn out, I have no idea why I do this, every Sunday, white tennis plimsolls seem out of place with rest of my clothes.
I have just dug up some potato’s, and am now shelling the peas also from our garden.
Don, my brother looks after the garden and his favourite is the gooseberry bush, he says it has special powers. The gooseberries are not nice to eat raw but are nice in a pie.
Helping mum at the week-end is the only time I have her to myself, we talk about all sorts of things.
Today, Mum seemed a bit odd, she kept looking over her shoulder at me, then she puts the irons back on the hob, and says.
“Alan, do you have a girlfriend?”
“Of course I do, lots of them
“No, I mean a special one that you really like?
“No, not really, I have a two special boy-friends though, Dave and Tony.”
She kept looking at me, for quite a long time, then very quietly said.
“Umm, Alan, have they told you about the birds and bees at school yet?”
Oh, I thought, not that old rubbish, Dave and I reckoned it can’t be true, you have only to look at the size of a bee, compared to that of a bird, even a little Wren.
“Miss Weller did start to explain it to us, but Laury Zubiana kept interrupting her and asking lots of questions. Then she started to cry, and Mrs. Ayres had to take over the class.”
“Anyway, Don has told me all about it.”
“Did he now, and what did your brother tell you?”
“He said they were delivered by a stork, although I’m not too sure about that. There’s a lot of babies about, but I have never, ever seen a stork.”
“Wait till I see him, he’s always telling you stories, babies are not delivered by a stork, Alan.”
She gives a long sigh.
“Put the kettle on and let’s have nice cup pf tea.”
She says this, as if it was no good going on.
Now, I know I am a bit backward, but I just knew Don’s story about the stork was total rubbish.
On the other hand, the gooseberry bush, that he told me about. Was something that I can believe.