Chertsey Tales Part Five.
It was only an hour ago that we were lying in the long grass watching the clouds float by and listening to Goldilocks talking about heaven. Now the brave Cowley Avenue Apaches are sitting on the long island at the bottom of Lasswade Road, wondering what is going to happen next.
Little Johnny Sewell’s mum came over and looked at our baskets full of blackberries.
‘Where did you find all those, do you think I could have some if there are enough to go round?’
Goldilocks told her about the big bush he found in the middle of the top field.
Then Mrs Salmon had a look, as soon as she heard his story, it was as if he had said a bad word.
‘No, you mustn’t eat those, they are poisonous! that big bush was once a well that the monks dug hundreds of years ago. They had a big garden on that side of the hill where they grew all their food and even had grapes growing there. A few years ago, the well collapsed, and a horse fell into it and the poor thing couldn’t be rescued. It had to be buried and was covered with a fence and barbed wire to stop it happening again. Now nobody ever touches the black berries that grow on it.’
Poor Goldilocks, he never had much of a tan, now he looked as white as ghost, I didn’t feel too good myself by the way, we had eaten half of what we had picked. What’s going to happen next, I wonder?
The men have started coming home from work. My brother Bernard was one of the first down the road on his new Raleigh bike. He says its the best bike you can buy. It had a Sturmey Archer three speed so that you can go up hills more easily and a Miller dynamo so that you don’t have to buy any batteries! I will have one of those when I start work, you just join a club with Berry and Dicker, paying so much a week.
When we went indoors and listened to the wireless, it was all about Germany and Herr Hitler. The man said we will have to have gas masks in case the Germans use gas like they did in the last war.
The news went on and on, we are going to have to put black-out curtains in all the windows and sticky tape on the glass to stop it breaking and flying about. We will have ration books and have to carry identity cards all the time.
Besides all the young men having to join the Army or something, the older men must belong to the Local Defence Volunteers. Air-raid shelters will have to be dug into the ground for people to hide in if there is an air-raid. It was all happening as if the council had been expecting it.
The next day there were soldiers everywhere, they had a desk up the town getting volunteers to join up. Most of our local young men were up there, but if you were working in a factory you had to stay there, especially if it was somewhere like Vickers in Weybridge. They were making aeroplanes.
I hope Mr Balchin is right, and it will be over very soon. Our Fred won’t be able to do much to help, he is in the hospital with his chest again.