Saturday, 26 December 2009

Over The Bank

Kath with baby Susan

During the two-year period Geoff was away, our two babies had arrived and I kept myself fully occupied tending to their needs. There was only a twelve month age gap between them, so of course I had my hands full, but I’m glad to say that youth was on my side. At this time I was living in the accommodation rented to Geoff’s parents, Mom and Dad Millington. The rooms were located over and at the rear of the National Provincial Bank, on the corner of Summerhill and Monument Roads. It was a large residence with spacious rooms and was able to accommodate the whole of the extended Millington family; Geoff’s mom and dad, Kath and Harry, Fred and Iris and of course my little brood. We each had a lounge/bedroom and separate cooking facilities, but only one shared bath and lavatory, it was a tight squeeze, but we managed to co-exist very well.

Our babies just adored their grandparents, but most of all their Aunty Kath and Uncle Harry. Kath loved our Denis and Susan and spent a great amount of money on clothes for the two of them.

I feel I have to mention the benevolence and kindness shown to me by the family at this time. I was receiving very little support from the forces and no handouts from the state. Geoff’s National Service pay was far less than he had been receiving in his civilian occupation. I recall that Geoff’s army pay was only forty-nine shillings per week and even after he was given a lance corporal’s stripe, only a few shillings more. The Millington family were sympathetic to this and allowed us to live rent free and we were not expected to pay for any of the services, i.e. gas, heating, or electricity. The rest of the family absorbed the costs and shared the outgoings themselves. Geoff’s mother, Granny Mill as she was called, was always coming into our room with some welcome tit-bits and treats. She always had a parcel of goodies for Geoff to take back with him to camp. For some reason she always wanted these treats to be kept a secret “ Don’t tell the others,” she would say, as she handed over the small parcel.

As I have explained, Denis and Sue loved Kath and Hal, I’m sure the babies often made themselves nuisances, but Kath was ever tolerant. The first thing in the morning, when Kath was trying to get herself ready for work, she was always patient and took it all in her stride. Each evening, the babies would stand at the gate at top of the stairs, waiting for Uncle Hal to arrive back from work. Then they would sit at the table with him and help him to finish his evening meal. He was always very kind and loved them very much.

During this time, I would try to get the children out as much as possible and conveniently, the house in Sherborne Street was within moderate walking distance. Grandad Lawlor had bought us a very nice pram and I was able to fit an additional small seat onto this, so that both children could be transported. We would go for walks both long and short distances and of course Sherborne Street was in easy reach. My mother and father were very proud Grandparents and were always delighted to see their grandchildren, so we spent many happy days at the house. A kind side to Grandad Lawlor, which I still remember, occurred at Easter time. When our daughter Sue was still an infant, her Grandad would treat her to an Easter bonnet and he took great pleasure in handing over the money; she would be taken to C&A Modes to make her choice. Our Grandad did have many redeeming qualities.

Geoff with baby Denis


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