The farm where they stayed was basic. The farmer was a mean man and they were only
allowed to bath once a week. This they did in front of the kitchen fire in a tin
bath. Other times they had to wash in the rain barrel in the garden, being careful
of the wireworms which wriggled about in the water. The farmer's meanness became
too much for Lily. He measured the jam each morning and accused the children of having
too much. Lily was very angry as she worked very hard for him, so she decided they
would go home as she was worried about Phillip.
There were also hair-raising moments. One night, when the air-raid siren went, Lily
was washing up at the sink. 'Come on Lily, leave that.' said Phillip anxiously. 'In
a minute Phil.' she replied. 'I'm busy.' However, because the noise was getting loud,
she relented and went to the shelter. When they came back, after the all clear, a
large piece of shrapnel had come through the roof and had landed just where she had
stood. Another time, Lily and Kathleen were out shopping when the siren sounded.
As they were making their way to the shelter, they heard a doodlebug. Suddenly it
stopped. They heard the explosion and thought it was their house. The bomb wiped
out most of Claude Road in Leyton, two turnings from where they lived.
Towards the end of the war, Peter was born. A lot of babies were conceived during
the air raids, so now, Kathleen and John had a little brother to care for. Of course,
life goes on. Eventually, in 1945 the war came to an end. There were great celebrations
on VE day, but it was a long time before things became normal again.
War affects everyone and is still affecting people today.
This was written in memory of my mother, Kathleen Ruth Macdonald, (1930-1994) and
was especially written for my goddaughter Emma Norwood, whom my mother loved.