Tuesday, 11 March 2008

#025 Birth of Carol

In January 1948 our daughter Carol was born, and I was so pleased that dad was able to see her. Carol was born in Derbyshire Women’s Hospital and after one-day mother and child where moved to Holbrook Hall Nursing home, this old hall is sited at the top a steep hill. For some reason dad had the car so I had to go to Holbrook by bike, Bas Butler who was home on demob leave from the paratroops joined me. (He had been sent to the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) to relieve the Dutch, the troops had been promised a bloody battle but the dropping of the two atom bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima caused a Japanese general surrender - the paratroopers still had a rough time, Bas being lucky to come away alive, he was also in the Arnhem debacle).

It poured with rain, we had hell of job through Mercaston and the hills, I then found my brother had pinched my cape from my saddle bag, The nurses cut us arm holes and head hole in two waterproof bags and we arrived home quite dry. Mother and daughter where lovely and we were so proud. We had decorated a nursery for Carol and we managed also to buy a high chair and a crib that I painted blue and put the Disney type transfers on. We also managed to obtain a nearly new pre-war "Marmet" pram, the one with large chrome wheels. Jeans brother who lived with us until his marathon bike ride to Australia spoilt Carol as we all did. My dad and mum being very proud of their first grandchild.

As 1948 rolled on the business prospered, especially with all the demob cyclists coming in for frames and (cycle) parts. Motorcycles were also doing well but were a job to obtain. Thinking back we seem to be one of the few shops that sold motorbikes and cycles in the same premises. Every Saturday from 8.30 till 6pm customers and friends overwhelmed us. We also ran our own hire purchase scheme (In hindsight we must have been mad)

Dad was by now very ill, in the January of that year he had driven down to Plymouth to meet up with his old army pals from the Devon & Somerset Royal Garrison Artillery. His sergeant, Philip Parsons had been Chief Fire Officer in Plymouth during the WW2, what a load of experience he had obtained. We as a family had spent most of our annual holidays with Parsons pre war, stopping on a farm near Wadebridge. Little did we know that late January that dad would be doing his last drive in his yet to be famous Morris Series E 8hp model built in 1939, this model continued to be manufactured until 1949 when the Morris split screen came on the scene. Dad and mum came home from Plymouth on the 28th Jan and this was the year of the big freeze how my dad drove from Plymouth in that heavy snow we can only imagine. We know that the wind screen wipers packed up at Exeter - the front windscreen opened up by a cranked handle, so he drove all the way from Exeter with an open front windscreen, he might as well have been on a motor bike, they arrived home like two Arctic travellers.

Dad was in and out of Derbyshire Royal Infirmary all that year and eventually dying at home on October 30th 1948 his body ravished with cancer. All that time when he was in such pain, he never turned us down when we had any problems. Didn’t we miss him? The funeral was held at Clumber Street Baptist Chapel. The hall could not hold the huge crowd which was a fitting tribute to his own outlook on life - that as well as making a fair living, one should also help people as much as possible. I have tried to live by his rules ever since.

No comments: