“He was killed by German aeroplane when he was fired upon. My brother was a gunner in the Lancaster bombers and took part in the Dam Buster raids in 1943. He was in the 617 squadron under wing commander Guy Gibson.’
They gave him a medal for bravery which I still have.’
“A proper hero then Agnes.’
“Yes, I miss him and think about him every day.’
“Lest we forget eh.’
Colin thanked Agnes for his dinner and then set about painting the doors in the back and the windows.
It was two o’clock when Colin had finished and he’d done Mrs Reynolds house upstairs as well. Colin said that he’d call on his way back but it may be late.
“Don’t worry Colin I won’t be gannin oot tonight I don’t think.’
He pushed the bike along to the next house and made a start.’
It had been a busy day in Timpson’s shoe shop Shirley was serving another awkward customer who swore she tried on a size five shoe rather than a eight because the size fives were children’s shoes and cheaper than adults.
“I’m sorry madam but you’ve tried every size five we have in those shoes and it does’nt appear that your feet will get into any of them.’
“My feet must be swollen in the heat.’
“Well that’s possible but we have measured your feet and even if they were stone cold you would be a size eight.’
Well the ones I have on are size five I assure you.’
Shirley picked up one of the shoes and looked on the inside and it was clearly marked with size eight.’
“So madam would you like to try a pair of size eights on?’
“Certainly not at those prices.’
Thank you and good day then.’
Shirley was about to serve a mother who was buying her son his first pair of shoes when the large woman asked her where she was going?’
“Look madam I have spent nearly an hour bringing down shoes for you to try on without success. So I think you should try an optician.’
But they sell glasses not shoes.’
The woman stormed out of the shop and slammed the door.’
“Right what can I help you with little one said Shirley looking at the boy sitting in the chair with his mother.’
She looked at her watch and it was only three o’clock the day couldn’t end quick enough for her because she looked forward to going out to Uncle Tom’s Cabin later that evening with Alison. She liked Tom and wanted to see him more. He made her feel special.
Shirley was bright but had been held back by her mother who would not allow her to attend grammar school. Instead she was made to leave school at fifteen and work in a shoe shop which she hated.
Shirley was interested in ancient history and the study of lost civilisations like the Aztecs and Incas. She brought books home from the local library in North Shields and spent hours reading them in her room. She read how Thor Heyerdahl had sailed a raft from Peru to Polynesia to prove that the Inca’s were the first to discover it as a way of passage. That is something that Shirley had dreamed of doing. She wanted to see the