Chertsey Tales Part Thirteen.
My birthday came and went without much ado, that’s the trouble with a January birthday, but I don’t worry about this, so many people didn’t even have a nice Christmas like we did. Anyway, I hear mum crying about things, poor Fred is back in hospital, he has TB. He comes home when the hospital is crowded and has to sleep away from everybody on the sofa.
I heard mum talking to Rosy about money, if it wasn’t for Mrs Wade and Rosy giving us something to eat during the Christmas holiday, I think we would have been very hungry. We younger ones have school dinners now that we are back at school.
Young David, who is only three years old is not very well, something else for mum to worry about. Iris will soon help us though, she works for a family in Weybridge, but she will have to leave it and work in a factory in Chertsey. The factory is in London Street opposite Drill Hall Road. She will be making fuel tanks for Spitfires.
At school today we had a scare, it was in the morning playtime. There was a lot of aeroplanes flying over, they made a lot of noise, but we couldn’t see them because of the clouds. Miss Hutt told us to go to the shelters across the road in the playing fields. She said just walk quickly, no running, but as soon as one started, we all ran as fast as we could. It was very scary.
Miss Hutt made us start singing, to hide the noise I suppose. It was so loud in the shelter it made my ears ring for ages. The aeroplanes turned out to be ours, they were all flying to airfields for the Air force after being built at Vickers in Weybridge.
Me and Donald help Arthur and Teddy Wade to collect pig swill for Mr Wades pigs, he cooks it up in a big oil drum on top of a fire. It smells terrible, I’m so glad I’m not a pig! They seem to love it, and we love warming ourselves next to the drum, it’s worth holding your nose for a while.
We had a little dog sitting on our step, he wouldn’t go away just kept whining. Mum made the mistake of giving him a bone, and he came indoors. He was little so didn’t need much to eat so we kept him. A lot of dogs were just let go because people couldn’t feed them.
He had a tag on his collar with his name on, ‘Dick’ in big letters. There was no chance of mum having an animal roaming about our house with that sort of name, so we took the tag off and started calling him ‘Eric’. He seemed to understand it straight away, animals are clever like that, especially if food is on offer.
At the bottom of Mr Wades Garden is Dummies stream, which goes all the way down to the Bourne. On the other side of the stream is a patch of waste ground, where we have a camp, it’s a hole in the ground with a bit of corrugated iron on top. We go over and have little fire to keep warm, sometimes we even cook something, if we can pinch it. Mostly it’s chestnuts or potatoes.
Today there was a big row in one of the houses in Frithwald road on the other side of this ground. First there was a lot of shouting then things were coming out of the top windows. We had the best view; it was so funny even Mrs Wade came down to watch. We all forgot about the war for a while.