These articles are published in the Slough Town FC programme. The Rebels play in the Southern Premier - just seven leagues below the Premier League. I’ve been supporting Slough since the beginning of time despite now living in Brighton. After nearly 14 nomadic years we finally have a brand spanking new home in Slough.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

MY NAN

Published in the Southern League Premier Division game v Biggleswade Town on Saturday 7th October 2017 Non League Da. We won 2-1 in front of 760

When I first asked my nan that I was thinking of writing about her life, she asked who would be interested. But everyone has a story to tell, especially someone who survived the Blitz. So at the age of 88 with an incredible memory for detail I started to spend a couple of hours before home games recording our conversations.

Listening to her stories made me realise that despite its size, London was like a village “When we came home from school we just played in the street, you knew all the neighbours. You had the London way of talking. I can’t remember a lot of it now ‘cos I haven’t spoken it for years. Plates of meat are your feet; apples and pears - stairs, it was all cockney. If your gran moved out another relative would move in, but we all get separated during the War.”

I think it was her stories of the Second World War that really brought home to me how lucky I was to be alive. She had three near misses, but if one of those bombs had struck not only would my nan have died but my mum, me and my children would never have been born. She said that seeing the whole of the East End on fire during the Blitz felt like the end of the world.

One time Nan was at her Dad’s allotment with her future husband Ernest. They heard a Doodlebug overhead and quickly ran to a shelter. They just managed to shut the door and were blown down the stairs but unhurt. The nearby shelter was hit and the occupants not so lucky. Another time one of Nan’s friend, popped round and asked if she wanted to go to the library. Daisy said she couldn’t as she was cutting lamb’s tongues for dinner. The next minute the windows in the house were shattered as the library was hit by a rocket. The only part of her friend ever found was her jaw. The third time she was working in a factory when another doddle-bug hit. She managed to get into the shelter with workmates, but her clothes were ripped and her legs cut and they had to be dug out of the rubble. She walked dazed down the street where her grateful mum took her home, but she should have reported to the medical staff or to the ARP. The Air Raid Patrol wardens were the ones that went round the streets during black-outs telling people to turn out their lights so the bombers couldn’t target them. They also reported bomb damage and re-united families. In the morning after the attack there was a knock at their door from the ARP saying they had searched all night for my Nan but she couldn’t be found. That was because she was asleep in bed upstairs!

At the age of 18 she had to sign on for war work “They put me at an aircraft factory in Feltham and I lodged with young girls. We had the weekend off and we came home to our families. We did night work from 8 o’clock till 6 in the morning. I was on the rear part of the Spitfire planes riveting the tail end of it. Wasn’t hard work it was fun really. I was pushing the rivet in once and one of the girls said, ‘that’s gone through, it’s gone through my hand as well’. She married Ernest Hunt at 20 and they spent their honeymoon in an Anderson Shelter!

Being a pub person I loved the stories of The Scottish Stores in Kings Cross, a pub my Aunt Bet ran from 1941 to 1950. Nan told me that Aunt Bet always said the pub was a finishing school and that it finished her off! With a clientèle of prostitutes, gangs and soldiers; well it wasn't the sort of place where you could sit and relax with soldiers coming in to meet the prostitutes and gangs coming in to beat up the soldiers. One time my grandad ran to a passing copper to ask him to help stop a fight; when the copper found out it was the Scottish Stores he told him rather impolitely to f-off! My nan nearly adopted one of the prostitutes daughters after her mother had been sent to prison, but she fell pregnant with my mum and it never happened.

A couple of years back The Scottish Stores got its original name back and a make-over. There's a quote from nan on the front of the relaunched pubs website and I went in after a Slough game half expecting a picture of my Aunt Bet hanging on the wall warning everyone to behave themselves or else. A London magazine ran a two page spread on the pub mainly with her quotes and a picture of her on the front.

I loved the stories of moving to Langley estate because their home in London was overcrowded. “There were only four families on this road when we moved here. Not all the estate was built, no street lights, no paving. A lot of them moved back to London because they didn’t like it, it was too quiet. The first 100 people down here got an invitation to go to the Lord Mayor’s town hall to have tea there with him but I didn’t go ‘cos I had the kids. In the summer evenings you sat on your front wall. Someone would make a pot of tea, another one would bring out a bottle of beer, and someone would make sandwiches. There were only two cars on this street.”

My nan had a remarkable life that has shaped mine and all those around her. With three children, four grandchildren, seven great grandchildren and one great great grandchild her memories will live on. 

Her book 'It's just the way things were' can be read here  


                     DAISY LOUISA HUNT 1924-2017 

 

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