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A Shout From The Attic: The Gerry Years - 5

"There have been many times in my life when a signal has been unfurled before me but I have not read its significance until long after it was able to do me any good..'' writes Ronnie Bray,continuing his autobiography.

When I got the settlement of three thousand pounds for my accident, I rented a shop with living quarters and kept Matthew with me.

Matthew was born in Southampton in April of 1965 where we lived at 2 Dorval House, Silverdale Road, just across from the Dell football ground in Archers Road. His sister, Gaynor, was just two years old at the time, so when Gerry and I wanted to go out for the first time after his birth, probably to see a moving picture, we needed the services of a baby sitter.

In the window of a paper shop up Shirley Road, I spotted an advertisement for a person willing to do babysitting. I called
at the address and met a charming young woman who agreed to be our baby sitter for the night. She arrived at the appointed time, just as Jerry and I were putting on our coats to head for the bright lights of a Southampton cinema.

There have been many times in my life when a signal has been unfurled before me but I have not read its significance until
long after it was able to do me any good. As I opened the door for the Sitter and she saw me with one arm down the sleeve of my topcoat, she said, “Oh. You really do want a baby sitter.” Imagining that she might have misunderstood my booking with her, I affirmed that she was at the right place to settle her mind that I had been earnest in the appointment.

Jerry and I enjoyed the cinema, and returned home, eating our fish and chips, in good time. I asked the baby sitter how much she wanted, paid her the reasonable sum, and opened the door, bidding her a goodnight as she slipped her car into gear and drove off into the darkness.

It was when we checked Matthew's nappy before settling ourselves down for the night that I noticed something wrong. The baby sitter had changed his nappy, but from the tangle of terry towelling and safety pins that were wrapped somehow around his legs, it was evident that she had not performed that particular office before.

It was only when I returned to the newsagent’s shop window to read her baby sitting advertisement a second time that I

noticed the nuances that had escaped my attention the first time. Then it was that I understood her obvious surprise when
she realised that we really did need a baby sitter to sit with our baby, not a baby who was willing, for a price, to sit with
and entertain lonely men.

Since that time, I have read more thoroughly, cautiously taking note of every word so that no further errors of this kind are made. So far, so good.

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