Chapter Twenty-three, Refugees.

Grannie’s house was very old, she and grand dad had lived there for years, it stood next to a little stream, and we had to cross a rickety old bridge into her back garden. It was so nice to see My Gran—I have never seen her before.

She didn’t look very pleased to see us though, and for a moment I thought she wasn’t going to let us in, she just stood in the doorway looking surprised, of course she didn’t know that we had been bombed out, but then, how could she? It had only happened a few hours ago, and no one had a telephone.

Once indoors it was very different, everyone was crying—and hugging! Something our family never did—Chertsey people are not known for that sort of thing! granddad got a big surprise when he came back from the shop’s. This was also the first time I had ever seen him. I had never been to Addlestone, a close family we were not!

The next-door neighbour came around to hear our story—he had a wooden leg, a real one, like a Pirate would have, I couldn’t help looking at it, so shiny he must have polished it every day. Mum was still very tearful, and Gran was trying to find a way to cheer her up, and what she said was just the job, she knew that mum liked to have a bet on the horses.

“If you want to put a bet on, Ethel, Mr Seward is our bookies runner”.

For the first time since the bomb, mum started laughing, granny looked at her as if she was having a breakdown and gave her another hug. Mr Seward started laughing too, and patted his wooden leg, saying.

“They all think it’s funny down the Bookies as well, me a runner with a peg-leg”.

I liked Mr Seward, he would come round every day, and tell us about his time in the last war and how he lost his leg in France. Although I can’t remember very much else about living there, one thing that stands out was that the front of the house was next to a fish and chip shop—no more having to go all the way up to Mrs Hughes every Saturday morning! but the chips were nowhere near as nice as Mrs Hughes—she never peeled the potatoes, so they always had some nice crispy bits on them.

I was the only one who was shaken up, I was still a little deaf, but when my hearing came back a few days later I could hear a pin drop, everything was so much louder than before. The house was old, and everything creaked, the floorboard’s, the doors, and even the window frames. My sense of smell was also much keener, there was a funny smell, a bit like fresh bread, but that turned out be from the Co-op bakery a few yards away in Victory Road, after a while I didn’t even notice it.

Another thing I do remember, was that there were lots of mice in the house, probably the bakery again. They lived under a large shed at the bottom of the garden, the shed was full of sports gear including a punch bag hanging from the ceiling.

My Grandfather was a school sports trainer for ‘The Gordon boys Home’ in Chobham. He made us do exercises every day, I think he was disappointed that we weren’t very fit or sporty. Two of my uncles were footballers, and played for Walton and Hersham, a big football club locally. My uncle Ron was an athlete but was away in the Army somewhere. We Stayed with our gran for a few weeks until our house was mended, I was sad to leave my grannie but wanted to see my mates again.

Author: madeinchertsey

Born in 1932, this is a collection of stories of my childhood growing up in Chertsey, and some stories of my later life.

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