She was born in a terrace house in a somewhere place; not far from me. An ordinary,kind,sensative person who would always give time to anyone who cared to tap at her flat door where she now lived alone. Her memories kept her company; just as the love she shared with her husband Hob steered her through the autumn years when she could no longer gather scabios down at the pits nor sit on the carnival float that toured our somewhere town or make the crumbliest pastry for mince-pies never left uneaten.
Listening ears, that were mine, would listen as she told how her dad worked at the nearby iron-stone mines where his job was to maintain everyone's safety by propping up the pits and how he worked from seven in the morning until three in the afternoon.
I listened far more intently, also shuddering, as she told how he would take a pack-up every day and that there would be huge rats waiting for his crumbs.
She didn't flinch, no sign of emotion, as she told how her dad was sent home when the pits fell in on him and he smashed his shoulder. she told how he couldn't stop off of work for long and how there were huge rows at home due to the lack of money coming in.
I look at young boys passing by with their tee-shirts,trainers,short sharp hair and very bright dreams in our soggy wet diamond jubilee town and am glad our world has moved on. Boys left school at fourteen and went to work as waggon boys in our somewhere town then.
Her dad was born in 1895;enrolled in the army when he was eighteen and was on the Somme Ypres but was badly wounded;went to hospital and learnt to embroider as he recovered.
She said, as I drank my third cup of tea, with Coronation Street (that she could barely see) playing quietly in the background how she was thirteen when war broke out and how they heard it on the wireless.
Her mum, in our somewhere town, rushed off to buy yards of heavy black linen and these were fitted with the other curtains so no light could shine through. That when she went out on her bike she had a shade on her bike lamp so as to prevent light shining up for the enemy planes to see.
I tried to imagine English soldiers, Inns of Court, marching through our streets down past Plackets Yard, Shitten Alley and Banks Park with their Billy Cans,tin cups and plates, marching to the wooden hut (mess) where all their meals were eaten.
Most men and women in our somewhere town worked in the boot and shoe industry;she leaving school at fourteen,earning four shillings for a nine and a half hour day.
She married in her early twenties and told how the rent man, from the next town, would call to collect the rent of six shillings and two pence every Friday night.
My friend stood to stretch then returned to her seat and continued her story; her back door was in the entry. No gardens. Toilets right down the sloping yard; they also got their water from a tap in the yard.
Bath nights were weekly and taken in the back room; they had to bail the water out with buckets after the bath ritual had been completed.
She talked softly about the six months her husband spent in the nearby Sanitorium recovering from T.B.
Other memories included watching Laurel & Hardy & Jessie James at the pictures as well as The R.A.C. man directing traffic on the A6 as well as big Shire Horses dragging enormous trees fastened on a cart with thick rope and the meeting of the hounds christmas day 1935