1938-40 ELSPETH PIKE NÉE GRAHAM

Memories of sleeping on lilos on the floor of the boiler room, breathing in all those surely all but lethal anthracite fumes. Was there an air-raid alert, or was it merely “air-raid practise”?

“Mish” work. Always knickers, but so enjoyable to be read aloud to.

Eva, superb and regal sweeping into the dining room in a royal blue or purple long dress.

Sweets – in that cupboard to the left of the front door – and toasting marshmallows spiked on knitting needles at the gas (I think) fire in the sitting room (or was it common room?).

Manners – how well we were trained – never to ask for anything at meals (though, when desperate, one could always get by with “would you mind asking me if I would like some butter (or Jam or bread).” Second helpings of only one course – and what if one had already burned one’s boats by accepting another slice of roast lamb!

And then walking to school along the Snicket. Always “come with”, never “Sorry, I’m going with so and so.”

Filled hot (well, warm) water bottles in the basket on the landing for us to collect on the way to bed, and Rose taking me to the dentist in Salisbury – and the day the school took over the entire cinema in the town so that we all, in a huge crocodile and wearing our `Boards’, could see “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. My sons, now in their forties, think this hysterically funny and find it difficult to understand what a very special treat it was.

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