The story part four.
Deirdre, Charlie’s darling, tall, slim, with black wavy hair, always his favourite. A sensitive child, this day will scar her for the rest of her life.
Iris, so different from her sister, tough and always ready for anything, now a little girl crying for her dad.
The moment is broken, St peter’s bell strikes a single note, one o’clock, less than six hours since that ‘cheerio’ and the ring of Charlie’s bicycle bell.
Then, another bell, again, the muffled sound from the Cemetery, saying goodbye to some poor soul.
Ethel looks at the old alarm clock on the dresser, already five minutes slow, soon, it too will try to ring its bell for the hour. Next to it a neat packet of sandwiches, never to be eaten.
Doctor Ward, his duty done drives away, followed by Sgt Reynolds on his tall bike.
The circle of friends around Ethel’s garden gate, now moving back in ones and twos to their own homes, still wondering at the wickedness of nature.
Mrs. Rees, recently fleeing from the valleys of Wales, and her husband Dai, a Welsh miner, now in a valley in Surrey, safe from the pit tragedy that claimed so many lives. They remember scenes such as these, groups of wives huddled around the pit head, hoping to see someone, anyone, emerge from that smoke filled pit.
There’s Mrs. Salmon at her gate, with the same ladies that always seem to gather together when some one is in need. The last few years of the depression and the lack of jobs, have taught them how best to cope.
Money, as always, is the key. Ethel’s savings, small as they were, are soon gone.
No work no money, the reason for Charlie to ride those few miles, before he was fit.
Mrs. Parker, has a quick ‘whip-round’, a penny here, a penny there, soon a few shillings. Then some food and a jug of tea, everyone eager to help.
Poor people know what it’s like to be poor.