October 1943. Although, it is now about three years since we were bombed out, the shock of it all, has affected me in some unexpected ways.
The most obvious one was, when ever I am under the slightest stress I winked.
As you can imagine, this leads to quite a few misunderstandings, for example, when the very voluptuous sports teacher, Miss James, was telling me off for being late, my rogue winky eye went into over-drive.
She was not amused, and gave me 100 lines of ‘Familiarity breeds Contempt’.
I have realised, since bringing these long forgotten stories to mind, that the bomb that fell that night, left me with an odd condition. Something similar to epilepsy.
When I was under higher stress, I would know, within minutes, what would follow.
First I would be aware of a rather odd smell, not unlike Walnuts, after that, I knew it would be followed by a fuzzy image of what looked like an Indian Chief in full headdress.
I also had an unstoppable urge to seek a lavatory—not always successfully.
My life became—where ever I was—one, of always looking for a lavatory or some bushes. I managed to survive for the next three or four years that I had this problem.
Then this happened.
On my way home from school on a very hot day in August, so hot that the tar on the road was melting.
I was passing Miss Stott’s ladies outfitters, at Bell Corner, when she suddenly appeared in front of me—Miss Stott had only recently had cause to dislike me, but that’s another story.
Instantly, I had the smell of Walnuts, quickly followed by Geronimo—we are now on first name terms— the Indian Chief.
I knew I had to find a lav’ quickly, but I was still 200 yards from home.
First I tried walking in slow motion, sliding my shoes along the pavement, as if I was doing a very slow Waltz. But I soon realised I would run out of time.
I then started to run, but woe is me, I got as far as Mr Garretts little shop, before disaster struck, and I quickly hid behind a telegraph pole—on of the few advantages of being extremely skinny, is that I could do this without being seen—or so I thought.
Along came my brother Don, riding his delivery bike, in the large front basket sat his friend, Syky Balchin, shouting for all of Chertsey to hear.
“Ha Ha Ha, Look Don, your brothers done it in trousers again.”
Old Mr Garrett, looked over to see what it was all about, and seeing my dilemma, he brought over some paper, so that I could sort myself out.
‘Trevor” he said—he’s been talking to my mum—. “if you stand in front of the telegraph pole, the sun will dry the rest of it off, and then you can can just peel it off.”
After a couple hours, it really had dried, but it wouldn’t peel off.
I am only eleven but I am quickly losing the will to live.
I decided to run for it, but only one leg was operational, so I galloped the 200 yards home, with one leg trailing.
Mum was in the kitchen, and gave me one of her looks, then she spotted something on my shoe, before she could say anything, I said.
“A dog dunnit.”
Judging by the clip round the ear that she gave me, I don’t really think she believed me.