Saturday, 20/07/2019, 2:56 AM
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MEMOIRS 1939 to 1945 - Stacey Simkins

V E Day at Home

I was at home on VE Day, and in the evening those of us who were there went out to one or two hostelries to celebrate a bit, which was quite inexpensive because anybody in uniform was being given free drinks.

There were a lot of streets who'd organised street parties, and we'd been invited to one in Strone Road where several of our lot lived, including the famous Bert Impey.
Amongst us was a certain Tommy Dean, who imbibed more than the rest of us but was still able to stand up.
Whilst he had been on leave (which like me he'd extended) he'd ordered a brand new petty officer's doe skin uniform, which must've cost what in those days was quite a bomb. People had lit a bonfires down the street, and he was so merry he was being absolutely stupid, running along the road and diving through the bonfire, rolling on the road the other side, then running on to the next fire and so on. So you can imagine what sort of a state his uniform was in by the time he'd finished!

In the section of Strone Road where out bit of the party was, they'd even erected a small stage on which people were doing things, and I got lumbered to do a little turn. I thought I'd recite that famous one "Christmas Day in the Workhouse", but as there were a lot of ancient (well they seemed ancient at the time!) ladies in the audience, I decided I'd have to Bowdlerise it (clean it up!) a bit.

"It was Christmas Day in the workhouse, holly clad the walls, the preacher was preaching the sermon, when somebody hollered out 'Blimey!’.”  I was thinking so hard about how I was going to Bowdlerise the next bit, I said ‘I'll give you balls you devil!...’ - and of course all the old ladies went "ooooh!" and it was the end of the performance.

Another one of the hangers-on sidled up to us (he was the sidling sort, if you know what I mean!) and said "Ere!" (out of the side of his mouth, honestly!) "Let's have our own little party - come down to my house, don't tell anybody, but just come down and come in!".   Well, I don’t know about "don't tell anybody", I think he had told everybody because when we got there and got inside his house we couldn't move!

Most of the people were in the front room where his old granny - and she was old, even by my present day standards - was bedridden. A multitude of people were milling about all over the place, climbing over the bed to get past, and she was just sitting there saying "Where's my cuppa tea?! Where's my cuppa tea?!". Then while we were there (you know, if you put this in a film you wouldn't believe it!) the doctor came to see her, fighting his way through the crowd and just carrying on as if nobody else was present. It was hilarious!

Then they decided they'd get the piano out into the street so we could all have a bit of music, but it got stuck in the front door, half in and half out. There was some fellow playing this blooming piano, standing outside by the front door, but ever so often his left hand would disappear in the house, as he did the 'vamp' part - oh dear, talk about laugh!

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