Thursday, 2 October 2008


Shortly after Arthur proposed to me, Dad had a decorating job to do at a big restaurant in Wood Green. He needed another pair of hands and asked Arthur if he would like to work with him. The money would be more, he said, than he was earning in the office at The Solicitor’s Law Stationery Society. Arthur wasn’t very happy in his present job and welcomed the change of employment and a possible new career. Also, since we were secretly saving up for an engagement ring, we thought this a good idea.
Arthur said he would have to give notice, but Dad wouldn’t have this. He had to start work the following Monday, and Arthur would have to join him then. It was now or never. Arthur left his job at the end of the week, though they didn’t take very kindly to having to waive his notice.
There was a dead line on the job and, as Arthur had never done any building and decorating work before, Dad had to teach him as he went along. Daddy was used to long hours of hard work, but Arthur had always had a nine-to-five job that entailed having clean fingernails, and wearing a suit and white shirt. Now he came home tired and dirty, his hands cut and bleeding.
We decided that it would please Dad if Arthur officially asked him, as they say, for my hand in marriage. This he did while they were both working late one night. Daddy was delighted, and so was Mummy. We gave Arthur’s parents the news, and I made a concentrated effort to call them Mum and Dad. Arthur had always called my parents Sid and Nan, which he continued to do. Incidentally, although my mother was christened Jeanette, she was known to everyone as Nanette or Nan.
Meanwhile, Dad and Arthur were working harder and harder. In the end, Arthur worked day and night. Dad said that, if they could do a couple of thirty-six hour shifts, they could finish the job in time, and Dad would give Arthur a share of the profits. Arthur said OK, and worked right round the clock for a full thirty-six hour shift. He went home, had a normal night’s sleep, and then worked another thirty-six hours, non-stop. Suddenly he developed a bad leg and became very ill. The doctor diagnosed cellulitis and lymphangitis. Poor Arthur was bedridden and his leg swelled up to an enormous size. Mum Chapman wasn’t very pleased at what had happened to her son, and I was very worried. The bitter pill to swallow was that Dad didn’t get paid for the job and so neither did Arthur! Neither of us can remember, almost sixty years later, why this was, but it wasn’t that unusual in Dad’s working life just after the war. All that hard work and a bad leg, to say nothing of losing his job at the Law Society. When Arthur eventually recovered, he decided that a builder’s life was not for him, and went job-hunting.
By the end of October we had enough money saved for my engagement ring and went shopping. Bravington’s of King’s Cross was the place to buy wedding and engagement rings, so that’s where we went. I chose a five stone, diamond ring. It cost £15! It was nestling on a bed of black velvet and sitting in a brown leather box. We decided to become officially engaged on St. Valentine’s Day, since that was the anniversary of our first date. However, Arthur kept saying ‘Why don’t you wear your ring now?’ and when my birthday came round I couldn’t resist the temptation any longer. We did have an official Valentine’s Day engagement party with lots of guests, presents, and booze, where a good time was had by all. Then we settled down to the serious business of saving and planning for our forthcoming marriage.

to be contd...


weechuff said...

Nice to have you back feeling better, I hope!
Although I do remember lots of house parties, I don't remember the engagement party. Perhaps us younger girls were not old enough to be invited? Thank you for a nice blog, I am enjoying reading it:0)

Croom said...

I am so pleased you are feeling well enough to blog again, I have missed you.

Do you remember Leeta that both Sandie and I worked at Bravingtons Kings cross many years later?

Who would have thought all those years ago when you stood with your sweetheart in that shop looking at Engagement rings that your very little sisters would one day be standing in that very shop doing the same thing with theirs!

Oh what lovely memories you always manage to awaken in me. Thank you for another trip down memory lane.

Babs (Beetle) said...

Glad you're feeling better. There's been a lot of it about apparently.

Did you all get your rings in Bravingtons? Trust me to be different ha ha!

granny grimble said...

Yes you were all far to small to be at the party. You were probably alseep downstairs in Auntie Minne's, away from all the noise!

Yes I was aware that you both worked at Bravington's also that you met David there. Life is sometimes onr big coincidence!


That's the thing about being big sister, all the little ones want to be just like you, except for the one rebellious one who needs to be different! :0)

GoldAnne said...

Oh I was worried about you Leta.
The engagement ring sounded lovely,
how sad he got so ill though, that is very dangerous, Anne-Marie
had that in her eye amd it was going to her brain when she was in America.
Loved your blog thankyou,
love anne xxx

Anne said...

Hope you are keeping warm in this cold spell. I had forgotten about Bravingtons - a household name! I am learning so much reading your lovely blogs. I now know where Tina met Dave!
Keep well
Anne x

weechuff said...

Yes, and poor dad was working with the most terrible ulcerated legs which plagued him for most of his adult life. He had no option but to work through the constant pain with seven children to feed!

granny grimble said...

If people are interested, I could break off from my story for a while, and write up about Dad's awful and amazing accident that left him with those ulcerated legs for the next forty years of his life. Let me know if you would like that or not.

Babs (Beetle) said...

Yes, that would be a good idea :O)

Anne said...

I would love to learn more - obviously know bits and pieces but would love the whole story......I will watch this space!!

weechuff said...

I would love to know the full story of dads accident, as I don't think I was even born when it happened - was I?