Includes Dad’s designs on saving dental costs!
Dad insisted that I came home from school, cleaned out the fire grate, chopped some wood, and laid the fire in readiness for his arrival home from work.
He considered it a waste of money if I lit the fire before he got in. Also I was to ready a meal for him – getting the money out of him was harder than climbing Mount Everest with two broken legs, being blind, and using a camel as a guide-dog!
Yes, I spent many an hour at the doorstep awaiting his arrival home, looking down the row of terraced houses past the open sewers that time had forgotten about.
It could be anything from 1800hrs to 2230hrs when he would round the corner, ambling in his unrushed manner, sometimes after stopping off at the pub on the way home.
So if he’d eaten in the bar or chippie, and did not want his dinner – no, I couldn’t eat it, it had to be saved until the next night – and believe me, even in summer, and bear in mind we had no luxuries like a fridge (actually we had no luxuries at all that I can recall), he did always eat it on the next night!
A Penny for the Pain
Dad, being Dad, he spent nothing if it could be avoided, he even used to pull my teeth with his cobbling pliers. Lifting me above the sink to catch the blood, gritting his teeth, taking a mega-firm grip, and yanking out the offending tooth (and often the wrong one), he’d rinse out my mouth, and… and for anyone who knew him might find this hard to believe, he’d give me a ‘penny for the pain’.
When dear mater returned to the fold this time, the gloom returned, and I was most despondent and sorrowful. So much so, that on the first night she returned, I decided to run away!
Not exactly the best planned escape you’ve will have ever heard of.
I took a bag of crisps and a bottle of Redgate’s ‘pop’ in a Marsden’s carrier bag, and legged it out of the back door while Mother and Father were in the front room arguing as usual.
The time being around 2030hrs, I had no idea where I was going, but seem to remember having set out with great determination that I was never going to return to the violence and anger at home again.
I ended up walking down Wilford Road to Castle Boulevard from Trent Bridge, and turned onto Abbey Bridge, which was where the fear and realisation of my situation suddenly gripped me, that I was not sure why or where I was!
I changed my mind about absconding, and started to walk back to No. 4 Brookfield Place (my home), as I turned into Wilford Street, and it began to get dark, I started to panic, and began running.
That was when a black Triumph Standard car pulled up beside me, and a man shouted something I couldn’t hear properly, and I got the energy through fright, to run even faster… I turned down Traffic Street, and could hear the car following as it revved and suddenly the brakes squealed!
I shot up an entry, only to find it was a dead end, as I realised this, I felt myself being lifted into the air by a chap, and carried back out of the entry, then being slapped up against the wall by the very tall man… who said in a dominating, intimidating gruff voice, “Furse’s had been robbed earlier tonight, what have you got in that carrier bag!”
It gleaned as another man joined him from the car, that they were CID Police Officers.
I came clean, and told them I’d run away from home, but had got scared and was on my way back home, told him my address, and (as was the case in them days) he said he knew Harry (my Dad), and would take me home to prove if I was lying or not.
By now it must have been getting on for midnight.
They threw me in the back of the car, and we drove home, to find the neighbours curtains twitched, and lights coming on in the Terrace.
One police officer rattled on the door, it took a while to wake mummy and daddy up, but it seemed the rest of the occupants of the Terrace had turned out to find out what was happening!
The door opened, before anyone appeared I knew it was mother, as I saw the cigarette smoke curling around the doorframe… it appears that no one had missed me anyway!
Mummy in her own caring way belted me around the head with her slipper for getting the police involved, and then it was upstairs where I found Daddy peeling his belt from around his trousers on the chair… a couple of good clouts around the legs, preceded a good four more on the bottom.
That night I went to bed in pain and even more confused than before!
Mother Does another Bunk
The next day Mummy dear disappeared again. It seemed the policemen calling had unnerved her usual steely resolve.