Friday, 24 October 2008


Another bit of fiction for you

Can I make you a cup of tea? No? Well I’ll just ‘ave one while I wait. Waitin’, that’s all I seem to do now. Waitin’ for this, waitin’ for that.

Yesterday I waited all day for the man to read the meter. Bring back the good old days, that’s what I always say. Things used to be so easy then. The gas went out when your shilling ran out, and you just put another bob in the meter. Then they gave us electricity. Goodness knows why! I used to do a lovely roast on the range. You can’t beat a good old-fashioned fire range you know. It’d boil your kettle and ‘eat the iron. Saved on the gas too. Anyway, when we got the electric, I ‘ad to keep an oxo tin in the scullery for the meter money. Always ‘ad a few bob and a foreign coin in it. What was the foreign coin for? Well dear, at the end of the week when money was a bit short, a coin in the meter meant another bob in your purse. The meter man would always give it back when he emptied the meter, all ready for next time!

Did you know that I’ve lived through two wars? In the first one we fought the Kaiser, and then the next time round we wiped the floor with Adolph. I ‘ope I don’t live to see another war. Silly innit? All that fighting… I lost me Dad in the first war. A lovely man ‘e was. Blonde curly hair and the bluest eyes. Just like mine they were. If I close my eyes and concentrate, I can still feel his rough army trousers scratching my legs when I sat on his knee. The second war took my Alf away from me. Left me with little Frank to bring up all alone. Now ‘e’s moved away and I’m alone again. The grandchildren don’t come by either. They promised they would but they don’t. My Grandad used to tell me that promises were like piecrusts – made to be broken. I used to laugh at ‘im, but it’s true…Oh yes, it’s true you know.

All the friends I ‘ad when I first moved in - do you know it must be fifty years ago now? They’ve all gone one way or another. It’s a funny old life. One day there’s all your neighbours and family popping in and out, in and out – didn’t wait to be asked in those days you know, we always left the door on the latch, every one was welcome. Popping in and out… in and out. What was I saying? Oh yes, now they’re all gone.
Alf and I rented this ‘ouse when we was first married, soon after that Frankie came along. A beautiful baby, but ‘e gave me gypp being born. Then our Maureen was born. She was so special. Alf called her ‘is princess. We didn’t ‘ave ‘er very long. First God took her back, and then he took Alf as well. I never wanted another man.

You didn’t in those days. You married your man and ‘ad as many babies as God saw fit to send you, and that was that. Now they don’t even bother to get married and they take pills to stop babies. I ask you! Pills to stop babies. Pills are for stopping ‘eadaches!

The ‘ealth visitor came to see me this morning. She wanted to know ‘ow I was managing. I’m fine, I told ‘er. So long as I’ve got my wireless. Never did take to that television. Frank got me one in the fifties but I couldn’t be doing with it. I used to stand with the aerial in my ‘and, trying to keep the picture still. I said to Frank, I said. Take it back and give it to the girls, I prefer my wireless. I loved listening to Billy Cotton and ITMA. Of course they’ve gone too. What was I saying? My memory isn’t what it used to be either! Oh yes, the ‘ealth visitor. Well, I told ‘er, a bit of a fire, me wireless and me knitting and I’m well away

Do you like this cardigan? I knitted it last winter. See, it matches me ‘at. Knitted that too. The ‘ealth visitor said she could get me a phone wired in for emergencies. What do I want a phone for? Frank and Joan ‘ad one. Frightened me out of me wits when it rang, and then people whisper so quiet that you can’t ‘ear what they’re saying!

I think Frank and Joan would like me to ‘ave the phone so that they can talk to me. Just like them. They don’t ‘ave any trouble lifting up the phone, but travellin’ a few miles by car, oh dear no. That’s too much trouble. Anyway, I’m used to it by now. Still, I would like to see my little princesses now and again. Mind you, they’re not so little nowadays. Look at this photo… I can’t be doing with all this fashion business. ‘ardly any clothes up top, and skirts up to their waist. I told them last time they came. I said, “You’ve never gone out like that. You’ll catch pneumonia, mark my words”… but of course they didn’t. I often wonder what Alf would say if ‘e was still ‘ere. In my day you didn’t even show your knees. Now they think nothing of showing their drawers. I remember the first time Alf saw my smalls. It was the night we got married. I turned the gaslight out, but I couldn’t turn the moonlight off, could I? I was so shy in those days. Still, two babies and a war soon sorted that out.

Now I’m sitting ‘ere just waitin’. What am I waitin’ for? I suppose most of all; I’m waitin’ to join my Alf. I’ve got so much to tell ‘im, ‘e’ll never believe it all. I’ve not ‘ad a bad life. Some ‘as ‘ad it a lot worse than me.

There’s just one more thing I’d like though. I’d like to go out in style. You know… one of them glass carriages with ‘orses pulling it along. Long black feathery plumes on their ‘ead, and their knees ‘igh in the air, and me lying there like a queen with all the neighbours taking off their ‘ats as I go by.
Oh! There’s the doorbell. You’ll ‘ave to excuse me now. You never know, it might be my little princesses.


GoldAnne said...

gosh you are so talented leeta!!!
that sounded very true to life in the old days,
have to say I like my comfort though lol
thankyou xxx

weechuff said...

I have copies of several of your stories, but have never heard this one! I enjoyed it very much and look forward to the next one:0)

granny grimble said...


Thank you for those kind words Anne.
I like my comfort too, but it wasn't around then.


I was a bit hesitant to put stories on as I know some of you have read them before, but I don't know who has read what! I have a couple of scary tales that I might do next week, but I bet you've read then before! Glad you are enjoying them.

Croom said...

I do n ot mind if I have read them before, I would love to read them again and goldanne hasn't read them :O) Thank you I enjoyed

Jeanette Spain said...

Enjoyed that story so much Leeta,
Yes we take comforts of today for granted that were not there in those days.
More please Leeta.
Jeanette Spain

Babs (Beetle) said...

That was so sweet :O) A bit close to reality though, which makes it a bit sad.