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A Shout From The Attic: Gabriella’s Milk Bar

Ronnie Bray's photographic memory records the streets near where he lived as a boy.

To read more of Ronnie's life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/a_shout_from_the_attic/

South Street, was cobbled and worn with its many small terrace houses and yards into which the working men poured after the day’s work was ended, and from which the children poured themselves into their schools. On the top corner of South Street was a nice little sweet shop with a corner door and an Ex-Lax machine on the outside wall that once confused me, but only once.

Next port of call of any note was Gabriella’s Milk Bar where my spending money and sweet coupons most often found their way. Bright and cheerful with Mabel in seemingly constant attendance and others of the Gabriella family much in evidence, it was a favourite spot for a bit of escapism into the grown-up world of those who sat in cafes with a radio playing, as close to the electric fire on the far wall as possible, sipping away at a glass of Vimto with a scoop of ice cream making sudsy purple bubbles at the top of the glass.

Then it was a small house abutting the Milk Bar with a greenhouse in the iron-railed garden containing succulents, or cactuses as we called them in our ignorance. The War Department did not steal these railings. Perhaps that is why the War went on for so long. Then it was the entrance to Little Greenhead Park and across the road end to the Park Gates.

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