Written by Inchcock
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Sunday, 18 September 2011

image for A True Diary of Woe - Part Four Cobbles like Dad used to walk on

A story of one man's utter failure, depression, frustration, and poverty, starting in August 1947

Chapter Nine: Mother does another bunk again


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!

Chapter Ten: Bathing


Dad worked with dray horses, and we only had a tin bath hanging on the viaduct wall outside, and that was used very rarely, and I mean very rarely! Once a fortnight we'd (Dad and me) go down to Portland Street baths, and pay our 3p for a bath - glorious hot water, carbolic soap, luxury!… but all was not as good as it sounded.

The ladies in the bath-house were sticklers for you only taking 15 minutes for your bath, and they would bang on the door telling you in no uncertain fashion when your time was up!
Me being a little whelp, they admitted me for free to bath with the adult, (that pleased Dad no end).

But Dad had other ideas, he would have his bath, then fetch me in to have my bath in his dirty and cold water bath, by which time, every time, the witches were hammering on the door. And I had to use the towel he'd just used, dirty and wet! But still, it was still a heaven of a sort.

More to follow

The story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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