“When Catherine returned from work she could smell the glue; she picked up her dinner plate and put in on a home made tray then went to her room and shut the door.
She didn’t come out again until the next morning.
There was a knock at the door at number forty nine and John William Bine a large black man answered. Hello, said the Indian gentleman as he stood on the step of the house; “Would you like to buy trouser, I have jumper, and skirt for wife in my car.’
Mr Singh I haven’t two pennies to scratch my arse with never mind buying clothes. I’m out of work man.’
“You can pay me two shillings a week it will only take you twenty week to pay for them?
“If I had two bob Mr Singh I wound be down the boozer getting’ mysel a pint wi it. He slammed the door in the Indian mans face then went back up stairs.
“Steve Singh was making a good living from selling clothes around the doors; eventually he hoped to open his own shop selling a wide range of clothing for men, women, and children. Many women took out a Provident order which they paid back at so much a week so they could buy things for the children at Christmas.’
It would only be a fortnight to Christmas now and many children had high expectations of what they would get. Alan Henderson aged ten, John Bine junior who was the same age Roberta Bine who was nine and her sister Eliza played in the street with John Taws, Tito Aritaki, and Georgiou Prague. They sat on the pavement with odd bits of wood and straightening old nails with a hammer after knocking them out of old flooring that they had picked up from the “Backers”- (Co-operation Yard) The yard was surrounded by an ten feet high wall with bits of broken bottles cemented on the top to keep people out but by throwing an old clippy mat over it after climbing on a wooden storage box you could climb over. Inside it was an adventure playground with an old derelict building that was some four stories high. All the windows had been knocked out and when you went inside and looked up you could see the beams of the roof because that much of the flooring had been stolen to keep fires burning in the houses in the area. Even desperate fathers had climbed in during the night and sawed the beams going across then chopped them into logs to keep some warmth in their houses. During the winter children were sent out at tea time to scavenge for coal and raid turnip, and cabbage fields. Every penny made from either going “Penny for the Guy” or carol singing was brought home to help feed the family.’
The children all sat as Alan Henderson who was the eldest was making a bogey out of some old pram wheels and oddments of old pallets that they had picked up. The seat was made from an old fish box that Alan had brought back from the fish quay the last time his mother had sent him down to “Fishers Pawn Shop” to sell one of his mothers rings because there was no food in the house. His father Ray had tried to get work down at Smiths Dock labouring, but had only managed to work two days that week; barely enough to pay the rent and buy food with. Tomorrow he would go to Thor Tools or one of the many factories on the newly built coast road and see if he could get a start. The hammering and banging went on until dark when the bogey was made they tied an old bit of rope around the front wheels to use as a steering mechanism.
The children all cheered as Alan sat in the seat whilst John Bine sat behind and Tito Aritaki stood on the back as the girls who were left had to push them down the street.
The girls got their turn until they were called in at ten o’clock for bed.
The bogey was then placed upright in the coal house and the door locked.
Sometimes at supper Alan and his brothers William and Michael would get a hot cup of Ovaltine and some broken biscuits from Frank Woolworth’s in the town centre.