Mater did another bunk, and dad got us a new tin bath (well second hand as our old one was just beyond any more repair) which I thought was marvellous, but guess who had to keep boiling pans of water on the stove, topping the bath up, and then using the cold dirty water to bath in, and keeping topping up Dads bath? And I had to clean the bath afterwards, and risk life and limb getting past the Hartley's (neighbours) new dog, all teeth and temper, and climbing up on Dad's cobbling bench to hang it up on the viaduct wall again? And it weighed more than me!
Good job dad lost interest and we went back to the bathhouse routine every fortnight.
Incidentally the Hartley's called their animal 'Petunia!
Georges horse stables, were underneath the railway viaduct that supported Arkwright St Station, was at the end of our terrace of houses.
This is no bull, records at the Evening Post will prove this, and they were also used for storing animals in advance of the Billy Smarts Circus coming to town.
Under the arches, was where the big cats were quartered, and the actual stables were used to my knowledge over the years to pen, elephants, rhinos, horses, snakes, and zebras.
One night, as I lay in bed that fateful night, I was aroused by an indescribable noise, as I struggled to find the matches to light the candle, Dad came rushing into the room, and dragged me out, nearly knocking me out as he bashed my head against doorframe, rushed downstairs, squashed me under the sink and shouted "Stay under there until I tell yer to move!"
He disappeared, and I knew something was amiss (I've always been sensitive to these things you know).
But curiosity got the better of me, and I sneaked back upstairs, and stuck my head out of the window in an effort to find out what all the commotion was… and found my head about 3ft away from an elephants head that was coming towards me!
Within about 15 seconds I was back under the sink! I can still remember the smell of that elephant!
Anyway, it transpires that the elephant was a young one that was missing his mater, so he bashed down the stable doors, walked up and down our terrace, then up Brookfield place, on the way head butting in Mrs. Wing's front door, then overturning a blokes Morgan sports car, then bending a lamppost, then walked up to the Willoughby Street bridge and lifted a man up and put him on the bridge (severely injuring him in the process), turned back onto Derwent Street, and charged into mothers illegal bookies house front window, wedging himself firmly in that position!
The police fetched Mr Widdowson a man who lived on Kirkewright Street to the scene. Mr Widdowson had worked with elephants during the war in India. Apparently he had been used before to help the police with escaped elephants, but I can only recall this one such event personally.
Mr Widdowson took a quick look at it, and he said "Shoot it, it's African" So he went with the marksmen, down the alley to the back of the house, and they broke in and he told them where to shoot it for optimum results.
Then the occupants of the house appeared from upstairs, totally oblivious of what had happened until the gun shots awoke them!
It seems that a neighbour saw me at the window earlier, so I got a further taste of the belt buckle and leather for disobeying daddy again by leaving the relative safety of the sink!