I am round Wadies house, the garden is small, and it is full of kids. Not only kids, but chickens, rabbits and even two pigs. Whenever there were too many of us milling around, we would jump over Dummies stream at the bottom of the garden, and into the open ground between Wadies and Frithwald Road. This is where we have a nice camp. It is just a hole in the ground with a bit of corrugated iron as a roof, but we think it’s great. We are away from prying eyes. We had pinched some potatoes from Wadies mum and were cooking them in a tin with some water from the stream. The water in the tin looks a bit muddy, but Wadie says a bit of dirt is good for you.
Suddenly there was a terrific rumpus from one of the houses in Frithwald Road with lots of shouting and swearing, it was a family row. Family rows were a common sight in our part of Chertsey and would often spill out into the road. Kids would gather and watch the fun as the whole family would be shouting at one and other, but this one was extra special.
Out of the bedroom window, first came a chair and then a mattress, followed by all sorts of things. We quickly jumped back over the stream and climbed up into the hollow tree stump in Wadies for a better view, the stump is more than six feet high. There must have been six or seven of us up there, it’s a wonder someone didn’t fall out. But it was worth the risk as the row went on all afternoon.
I heard my brother Don asking for me, he had come around to the Wade’s to tell me we had some important visitors. With all the noise going on I couldn’t really hear what he was shouting, but it sounded like the King’s sister had come to tea! Before I could ask what was going on, he just got on his bike and left me to walk home in some sort of shock.
Did he say The King’s sister?
My mum was standing at the scullery door looking a bit mad, she whispered something which I couldn’t understand then gave me a clip round the ear and started washing my face with a cold wet flannel before pushing me into the kitchen.
All the family were sitting at the table, there were lots of sandwiches and cakes, it looked like Christmas had come early. They were all looking very clean and smart, and at the top of the table were two people in uniform. The Lady had a hat with gold trimmings, like a crown almost, was this the Kings sister, I wondered?
They were all looking at me, I didn’t know what to do, so I just gave her a nice bow, like I have seen people do for the King. This made Iris start to giggle. Then Mum said.
“Sit down Alan and say hello to your Auntie Tina and Uncle Alfred, they have come all the way up from Hastings to see us”.
The penny dropped, it wasn’t the Kings sister, it was my mum’s sister from Hastings—an easy mistake to make as it sounded like that to me when I was up the tree. She and her husband were officers in the Salvation Army, and they had been visiting a Chapel in Addlestone.
I sat down and said hello, but then everyone was still looking at me, as if they were waiting for me to say something. I’m only nine, so I said in my most posh voice.
“May we start”
And everyone started laughing, even my aunt and uncle.It seems what-ever I do is wrong, I wish I was back in our camp eating the rest of those lovely potatoes, even if they do taste a b