I don't remember going to school,and I don't suppose for one moment Aunty thought it necessary. My best friend was the daughter of the mechanic that looked after Auntie's car, (yes, we even had a big, black, shiny motor-car).
Because Aunty and Uncle had a large house, they were allocated a certain amount of RAF airmen who had been sent to Blackpool for training. I don't recall exactly how many of them were billeted with us, but the house seemed to be full of young men in air force blue uniforms. Aunty and Uncle called them their 'boys' and treated then as if they really were! All the lads adored them. They must have been the most loved, well-fed-and-watered airmen in the whole of Blackpool.
Uncle did all the cooking and housework (he made a mean Lancashire hot-pot) while Aunty seemed to spend all day sitting at the kitchen table with a Pekinese on her lap, smoking cigarettes and reading the newspapers. Sometimes she knitted.
Each tea-time Uncle would set a plate of sliced cheese by the hot cooking range. When it had melted and was all runny and stringy, Aunty would spread it on her toast and eat it for her tea. This was a daily routine that never changed.
As the young airmen came into the house they would salute Dougie pretending he was an officer and Dougie would salute back. Auntie and Uncle became really enthusiastic with this 'game' and decided that, for Dougie to do justice to this new role, he must indeed become a 'proper' officer. Whereupon a tailor was found and commissioned to supply a made-to-measure RAF Officer's uniform to fit Douglas. He looked very smart and at the same time quite cute. The sleeves of his jacket were trimmed with gold braid and there was a forage cap to complete the picture. It was correct in every detail. Dougie would stand to attention, a little four year old RAF Officer, and salute all the boys as they came in and out of the house!
Aunty and Uncle's house in Blackpool was situated behind a shop-front. They didn't use the shop, so this was always locked and empty, and our front door was down a side street. However, all the other shops in the street were occupied, including 'Miss Dorothy's' which was next door to us.
Miss Dorothy ran a little haberdashery shop, and I recall Aunty sending me in there to buy myself a pair of shoes that we'd seen in the window. They were shiny, black patent, with fancy little holes punched in them through which glinted bright red patent trimming, like minute, red berries. Oh, how beautiful they were, so bright and shiny! I was completely besotted with them.
To be continued...