I had a disappointment recently. I was due to meet my new date under the clock in the Derngate bus station and he didn’t turn up. His excuse was that he must have been hidden behind a “green ‘un”, the sports paper, and didn’t see me. I’ll just call him M for now in case he doesn’t last long. Anyway all is forgiven. He’s an apprentice at Express Lifts, at the moment working with Tom Lawrence, who gets him to choose his horses for the bookie’s runner at the factory. He’s been to Heyford for tea with Tom and his wife in Furnace Lane. I’ve now met his parents and his brother. His mum gave him a ticking off for bringing me in through the back door. I don’t know what she’s worried about, we all have a coal hole and an outside lavatory.
M took me on a train from Northampton Castle Station to Wolverton last Saturday to visit his auntie, uncle and cousins. It passed through several small stations like Roade and Castlethorpe. His auntie spent the afternoon serving her extended family while his uncle rolled his fags for the week, both so laid back. He’s got his eye on a Zundap scooter so it won’t be long before we’re spinning along country lanes.
Some of us girls went to see Breakfast at Tiffany’s at the pictures last weekend, with Audrey Hepburn – lovely. There was a ‘B’ movie, then advertisements, cartoons and Pathe News, with a break for ice-creams before the big movie so we were there for hours, by which time the air was a bit thick with smoke.
I’ve got a French pen-friend who I regularly write to and I’m learning to paint and draw which I love. I’ve started going to the YMCA dancing by candlelight on Thursday evenings. I meet my friends in the Wimpy Bar for a burger, then we go up Cheyne Walk for dancing. It’s only a short walk at the end of the evening to the Derngate Bus Station and, if he’s there, M catches the bus with me and gets off at Jimmies’ End where he lives. He’s teaching me to Jive.
This year we have had work trips to the seaside and NME (New Musical Express) concerts; after all there are several office girls and apprentice boys to fill the buses. I went on holiday with my friend Janet, to Poole in Dorset in July. We stayed in a boarding house for a week. M went to Blackpool in a caravan with 4 other mates and wrote to me twice.
Saturday evenings are mostly spent in town. Regular double-decker buses are full going in at teatime, returning at the end of the evening, packed to the gunnels. If one of our regulars is late for the bus, the driver hangs on at the request of the rest of us. One of our most popular drivers is Ron who lives in the village. He knows us all, teases us if we are late, but looks out for us on the journey. Of course there is always a conductor on the bus to ring the bell, keep order and take the fares. If the bus breaks down he can walk to the nearest phone box to ring for a replacement bus. The driver has a separate cab at the front, not accessible from the bus itself.
Aunt Beatrice came to tea last Sunday. Mum panicked, we cleaned thoroughly, we made salmon sandwiches & a cake and got out the best china. This auntie is well off, lives in London and wanted to bring mum & dad a present of a really heavy vase which now takes pride of place on the piano. Mum embarrassed me by telling auntie that I have an office job, a shorthand/typing course at the Technical college and I’m courting a lovely boy who is doing an engineering apprenticeship. I was glad to escape to church for the 6 o’clock service.
There are now new homes off Watery Lane and talks are being had about a new estate at the end of Close Road on the field behind Furnace Lane. The builders are Wilson.
There’s a Jumble Sale in the church rooms on Saturday. I shall go along because you can get some good bargains, a cup of tea and biscuit and I like reading so I’ll head for the book stall.
First published in The Prattler Edition No. 444 – October/November 2021