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The Day Before Yesterday: 37 – Being Watched

Gladys Schofield and Cliff buy a tandem bike then go exploring the countryside around where they live.

To read earlier chapters of Gladys’s story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_day_before_yesterday/

We needed to explore our world a bit more, as up to now we were more or less chained to our own villages. Cliff had his bike, but I had forgotten all I even knew about the art of riding. So Cliff said, "Why don't we get a tandem? All you have to do is sit there and pedal. I will do all the work."

So it was decided. They were quite common in those days, and we soon picked a good one up and spent a while trying to synchronise our pedal pushing and balance.

The next Saturday we were ready to try it out and planned that after work, which lasted until twelve noon, we would take sandwiches and travel to Cannon Hall Park where we had heard tame deer roamed free. We hadn't seen these gentle animals before. It was a long run on the main roads, but my Romeo was quite an expert on a bicycle.

It didn't take us long before we reached the park. It was a fine summer day. I wore my shorts and, having for the last 12 months been practising to use the sewing machine, I had made a button-through skirt to slip on over these when I wasn't riding. Bare legged women still attracted a lot of attention with the male population.

We thought we would eat our sandwiches first as there wasn't a deer in sight and sat on the grass in an open space just before the trees.

We couldn't see them, but it became obvious they were watching us. As soon as we started eating, they slowly emerged and stood a short distance from us watching every movement we made.

I always had roast beef sandwiches, not my own choice but Cliff loved them. Along with a sliced tomato they made a tempting snack. He usually had salmon, something we didn't buy much of, as it didn't go far enough to feed the big family. We would end up eating each other’s, tempting our friends with any tiny morsel left over. They would only come so far and were always alert, ready to make their escape.

Just like all young men, Cliff could spend as much as he earned. He had a sweet tooth, though not expensive. He always had a bar of chocolate, and winegums were a great favourite. I ate the black ones, he favoured the red ones. They tasted more fruity than today's.

He needed more clothes, and knew I was good at budgeting, so I said if he gave me a small amount weekly, I would look after it for him. He gave me five shillings a week, and in no time at all he had a new grey suit (price - thirty shillings) and a trilby hat. These were very popular in the thirties. This became a regular payment week after week, so that he had always something to fall back on if needed.

One of the weavers ran a Christmas Club at work. I remember buying a Terry's Selection Box. It would be two feet square and contained such a variety of chocolate bars and half pound box of chocolates, a small glass jar of sweets and another box containing liqueur chocolates. This cost five shillings. Another thing I got this way was a cut glass trinket set. The tray and powder bowls (two) were again filled with chocolates. I have that set on my dressing table today. That was 1937.

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