…. but there I was at 10:00 this morning with the dentist poking a little stick up the root of a front tooth! Conscious of the fact that I am about to go on holiday, I decided that a trip to the dentist for some antibiotics might be a good thing. Instead a found myself having two moderately painful and one excruciating injections and then having the inside of my tooth cleaned and drained. And, as I sat in the chair I just kept thinking “No-one expects the Spanish Inquisition”!
Back to the story…
By October 1956 we had lost a dad, a husband, our shop, our car and our telephone (Bradford 42901 – what a memory!!). But we were living in a house with an upstairs and downstairs and an inside bathroom and toilet! My auntie Doris (or Dodo as she had been christened by one of her small nieces or nephews), was one of my dad’s half sisters. She had been married to a merchant seaman who had also served as a lifeboat man off the north east coast at Robin Hoods Bay and who had taken part in a number of life-saving rescues. When they were first married they had lived in the family houses which I spoke of earlier but they soon moved to Bingley where they spent the rest of their lives. This house was obviously a great source of pride to them. Auntie once told me about the day that they moved in. They had unloaded all their possessions and were proudly surveying their new home, when she noticed that there was no fire surround. So her husband was dispatched into town so that they could complete the finishing touches. They had no children although Dodo had once told me it in an unguarded moment that she had suffered a miscarriage in the early days of their marriage. So whenever Richard Grainger Bedlington, also known as Dick, was sailing to European ports, she often joined him on the voyage. After he retired uncle Dick became a baker in a Bingley bakery owned by the family of his sister-in-law’s husband (if that’s not too complicated). Sadly uncle Dick had died suddenly the year before we all arrived in Bingley.
I say “we all” because there was still the three of us – mum, me and grandma. Grandma, of course, now had both a daughter and a daughter-in-law to boss around. At nine years of age I was not so much aware of this until I was told about the park “embargo” a little later.
The house was in a typical terrace, with a kitchen and living room and stairs up the middle. There were two bedrooms and part of one of these had obviously been sacrificed to make a bathroom. Grandma and Auntie Dodo slept in the front bedroom and mum and I were in the back. I think grandma’s little bed was somehow squashed into the front bedroom and mum and I shared a bed. There was also an attic which stretched across the whole of the house and became a wonderful hidey hole to play in. The house had a tiny garden with rose bushes at the front and a yard at the back. There were two little outhouses in the yard. One had an opening to the street where coal could be deposited and the other had obviously been the outside toilet. Across the street at the back were the “posh” houses, with three bedrooms, an original bathroom and a real garden. And this was going to be my home for the next 12 years.