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The Day Before Yesterday: 76 - A Wartime Holiday

Gladys Schofield tells of a rare wartime holiday in the countryside.

I thought of the young man I had married, so often more boy than man and the carefree times we had shared together. Where had they all gone? I knew things would never be the same again when this war came to an end.

They were better off in some respects than us, as shows toured the camps up and down the country, overseas too, to keep up the morale of the men. One show did come close to our town and Cliff was home at the time. The children stayed at Mum's for the evening while we had this night out.

We knew it would be funny as Norman Evans was in it. 'Over the Garden Wall' it was called. He dressed up as a woman and pretended to be talking to a neighbour about all the scandal of the village. The expressions on his face made Cliff roar with laughter. At the finish more people were laughing at him, than the show.

We got home about eleven pm. Young Rod had not been asleep. He was always a night bird and didn't need much sleep. I wondered where he got all his energy from.

My Aunty Becky wrote asking if I would like to have a holiday with them, as the war was raging in France. My sister Alma had her week's holiday at the time and said she would accompany me and help with the children. Rod was only sixteen months so they would be a handful on my own. I was glad of her help. The long bus ride to Doncaster, South Yorkshire didn't seem to worry the children at all and another bus took us to within a mile of the countryside where she lived.

We had two children and two cases to carry and wondered how we could reach our destination. The long country road seemed to stretch forever as we set off. We had one child by the hand and one case each. The little one did quite well until he stumbled and had to be carried. Then as if by magic, we heard the clop clop of a horse and cart coming in our direction. This cart was full of pots and pans and other kitchenware. He was about to call on the very people we were trying to reach. He lifted the children up onto the cart, our cases also found a place and we all walked the rest of the way together. Even the traders showed this generosity and we were deposited to my aunty's in style.

Aunty got her water from a well in the yard. It was forced to the funnel shaped tap, by working a large wooden handle up and down. This forced the water up from deep below ground.

Most of my cousins were now married, only two of the boys remaining at home, both were farmers and again exempt.

The trains still came past the house as regular as ever. This fascinated the boys after they had got over their first fright.

Keeping the farm producing, was classed as very important and the lads were up early in the mornings, before we even awoke. We had always got on well, when we
came to visit and one boy about my age seemed to look on me as more than a cousin. He would take the boys around the farm, to see the animals and went out of his way to make our holiday enjoyable and said "Why had I taken this step in life, so soon?"

I had looked on him as a brother and didn't realise his feelings were more than that and I said it was time he found a nice girl and had a life of his own. He was a kind, gentle man and couldn't be more than my cousin. You would never have guessed in this tranquil atmosphere of South Yorkshire, there was a war at all and too soon the holiday was over and we headed back to catch our bus. This time we all got a lift.

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