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A Shout From The Attic: Work - 8

...The warehouse smelled of wonderful things. Sides of smoked bacon, sacks of Demerara sugar, sacks of currants, raisins, and sultanas, and a hundred other spicy odours from goods exposed to the air.,,

Ronnie Bray recalls his time as a driver's mate.

At the Co-operative Society’s Transport Department, I was a driver’s mate to Willy Wood, who lived in one of the Co-op houses on St Thomas’ Street. He was a cheerful, bright sort of chap, but subservient to a fault. We travelled to various branches of the Co-op scattered around Huddersfield and district, delivering groceries to customers’ homes. Some days we would pick up branch orders from the warehouse at Deadwaters. Deadwaters was so named because the canal that ran behind the garages had been blocked off.

The warehouse smelled of wonderful things. Sides of smoked bacon, sacks of Demerara sugar, sacks of currants, raisins, and sultanas, and a hundred other spicy odours from goods exposed to the air. Biscuits were packed in big biscuit tins, not wrapped as they are today. Sugar was sold in conical twists of blue sugar paper. Everything was sold loose and weighed out.

Willie and I made a good team, except on one occasion. We were delivering from the Almondbury branch behind the Parish Church. Some discussion took place between me and the manager, during which I said something to him - I don’t recall what - that Willie took exception to. He kicked me savagely in the groin, exclaiming, “Don’t you speak to my boss like that!” He had hurt me quite badly. The manager was visibly mortified, although he said nothing to Willie, but when we were leaving he kindly gave me a bag of sweets as compensation for unjust suffering. There were gentlemen in the world, and although I did not often meet them, this was one.

I worked at the Co-op for six months. Then I learned that I could earn twice as much working in the brickyard at Birchencliffe.

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