Gr'Auntie May

Published by: Bill W on 25th Jun 2017 | View all blogs by Bill W

In the decade after WW2, when the nation was still licking it's wounds and austerity had become the norm, kids were expected to do their share of chores and getting part time jobs was manditory.....well it was for the kids where I lived.

"Go round to your Great Auntie May's, see if she wants to swap any of her ration book coupons at the Maypole (a small shop in the vicinity), and take some of this fire wood for her," Mum said....impatiently.

"Why do I have to call her Great Auntie May, Mum, can't I just call her Auntie May, I asked?

"No you certainly cannot my lad, because she is my Auntie May, that makes her your Great Auntie May, so show some respect", growled Mum.





"Mum says I've got to call you Great Auntie May", I told my Mums Aunt.

"Well, our Bill, why don't you just call me Gr'Auntie May", she laughed.

Mum cottoned onto the name too, well she would living in Preston, would'nt she.  ha ha ha

After school in the dark nights I'd go round to Gr'Auntie May's and fill her coal buckets, then sit down with her by the fire while she told me wierd stories. She would light the gas-light on the wall which gave the room an eerie atmosphere, and I'd chomp on a big thick slice of toast....done on the fire .....and a big mug of tea.


To be continued........



  • Sandy H
    by Sandy H 10 months ago
    I enjoyed reading your Blog Bill. I was transported back in time for a few magical minutes ... Toast cooked on the fire was just the best....

    So nice to have extended family close by wasn't it..

    I am looking forward to your next blog....)
  • LJ E
    by LJ E 10 months ago
    Gr'Auntie May, Gr'Auntie May
    What d'ya want me to do today?
    "Out with the shovel coal bucket to fill
    and when that's done dear little Bill
    I'll tell you a story about a ghost
    as we sit by gaslight eating toast
    drink up your tea an' don't be slurping
    'eaven help ya lad if you start burping"

    to be continued.....
  • Mary B
    by Mary B 10 months ago
    Such a lovely blog Bill. Isn't it good to remember our early years and these amazing people like Gr'Auntie May. I'm looking forward to the next instalment - and LJ's poem - brilliant! and I suspect you have caught the relationship perfectly..... :)
  • Bill W
    by Bill W 10 months ago
    The gas light purred and so did Gr'Auntie May's cat Horace, while knitting needles clicked with a regular rythym. "These'll make a grand pair of socks fer you lad".
    "Would yer like a baked spud our Bill," whispered 'Granty' as she had now become.
    "Norrarf, can I 'ave two Granty", I asked hopefully.
    "Go on then, you're a growin' lad, they're under the sink in the back kitchen", was her reply.
    "That coke yer Mam sent me has made a luvly red fire, go on, chuck the spuds right there in the middle, they won't take long", she pointed.

    After turning the spuds a few times Granty beckoned towards the sideboard drawer...... "There's an old newspaper in there, go on, gerrit out, now take one sheet and fold it over again and again to make a thick paper ribbon to wrap around this bloody 'ot spud, 'ere y'are, grab 'old, and 'ere's a small knife to scrape away the charcoaly skin, you can put a birrov 'marg' on it if yer like, it might taste nicer", she was smiling now.
    "It's knockin' off time at Horrockses in ten minutes, an' yer Mam will be 'ere to pick yerrup, so finish those spuds, an' don't tell yer Mam I've fed yer, she'll only give me grief, Granty smiled again.

    More soon.......
  • Sandy H
    by Sandy H 10 months ago
    You and Granty had a special relationship I feel... What did your Mum do at Horrocks?

    I love your Blog Bill, and I am looking forward to your next instalment...)
  • Mary B
    by Mary B 10 months ago
    What a lovely blog Bill. You were right back there, as a boy, when you wrote that.......your happy memories shine through - loved reading it........ :)
  • Jackie H
    by Jackie H 10 months ago
    Ah yes those good old toasting forks...we had one with a long handle extension, still didn't stop the odd slice of bread falling off into the fire but...boy didn't the toasts taste just like toast, and dont get me started on dripping...
  • Jackie H
    by Jackie H 10 months ago
    Ah so you were fed too Bill...I so remember my gran saying the same words..." dont tell your dad otherwise I will only get grief..."
  • Maureen J
    by Maureen J 10 months ago
    Golden memories are so worthwhile remembering. These come alive with your telling Bill.
  • Phyl G
    by Phyl G 10 months ago
    It's good Bill, the way you describe it. I can see the picture in my mind.
    Haven't heard that expression 'I will get grief' before.
  • Bill W
    by Bill W 10 months ago
    There is a lot more to this story, but you will all have to be patient.........
    Go missing again like that Phyl.....and I'll give you grief......ha ha ha
  • Phyl G
    by Phyl G 10 months ago
    Don't fancy any of that Bill, will have to try not to.
  • Bill W
    by Bill W 10 months ago
    In Granty's back yard, there was a wooden set of steps/stairs (homemade) which were pushed up against the dividing wall between Granty's and Mrs Mac's next door. Mrs Mac also had steps pushed up against the wall on her side, so when the two ladies wanted a natter when they were doing their washing, they would just climb their steps, put their cups of tea on the wall and jangle away for Britain.

    In the other direction, Mrs Benson sometimes called out to Granty, so the steps were dragged across the yard so Mrs B and Granty could chatter away merrily.

    What they gabbed about was beyond me, I was busy anyway whitewashing the walls.

    Sometimes Mrs B would say, "He's a really nice lad your Bill, isn't he May", and chuck me an apple from her tree that swamped her back yard.
    Mrs B had barbed wire on the bottom (alley) wall to stop the kids in the neighbourhood from pinching her apples, but on the nights I stayed at Granty's, I used lean out of the bedroom window with a big long pole with a little cotton bag on the end of it to hook off a few apples.....I think that is when I became interested in fishing.

    Mrs Mac had a Grand-daughter named Grace who used to sometimes stay with her Grannie, and when I was also staying with Granty, Grace would follow me around and I couldn't get rid of her.....but not many years was me following Grace around.....ha ha ha.

    And there is more .......
  • Jackie H
    by Jackie H 9 months ago
    Bill sounds like you had bigger fish to Grace-fully you put it...
  • Sandy H
    by Sandy H 9 months ago
    Wonderful Bill, your blog comes alive...)

    I shall look forward to your next one....)
  • Phyl G
    by Phyl G 9 months ago
    Only just caught up with this installment, really enjoying it Bill. Roll on the next one.
  • Bill W
    by Bill W 9 months ago
    Move the clock forward 3/4 years.....

    13th July 1955

    Grace was sitting on the wall with her legs dangling into her Grannies yard. me, I was sitting on the wall a few feet away from her with my legs dangling into Granty's yard.

    "Gizza kiss Grace, go on." I said expectantly?

    "No, Bill, I like to be wooed", she said, pushing me away.

    "That's alwight Gwace, I like to be weally, weally wude myself", I replied.....grinning.

    That's when I got my first slap off a girl, it was also the day when Ruth Ellis was hanged for murder.

    Granty comes out of the house like a tornado.....

    "Gerroff that wall our Bill, look you've put dirty feet marks all over my nice white wall.....and you should know better Gracie Mac, go on gerroff that wall the pair of yer, before I clip the pair of yer round the lug-'oles."

    "D'yer fancy goin' to the park Gracie", I called before she jumped off the wall?

    "I can't Bill, I've got to peel the spuds for Gran", she shouted back.

    Granty was pushing me into the house......

    "Don't you go pestering that girl me lad, d'you 'ear me now", she said with a stern face.

    "I wasn't Granty, but y've given me an idea, yeah, pestering", I said grinning.

    "We'll 'ave less of that me lad", Granty replied trying so hard to stifle a smirk.

    Should I draw this story to a close now, you readers must be getting bored with it?
  • Phyl G
    by Phyl G 9 months ago
    Well,I'm not. Still be very interesting reading as you grew older.ha ha
  • Phyl G
    by Phyl G 9 months ago
    Maybe more !!!
  • Bill W
    by Bill W 9 months ago
    Not long after this time something very significant happened........want to know more?
  • Phyl G
    by Phyl G 9 months ago
    Please don't leave us up in the air Bill wondering what this significant thing was
  • Sandy H
    by Sandy H 9 months ago
    You can't stop now Bill..... )
  • LJ E
    by LJ E 9 months ago
    Yes please Bill.....The next instalment would be welcome.....:)
  • Mary B
    by Mary B 9 months ago
    Of course we want to know more Bill - please don't be such a tease.....!! :)
  • Bill W
    by Bill W 8 months ago
    I suppose you were all expecting a vivid account of the lovely Grace and myself......a gentleman never tells....ha ha ha

    "Why do I 'ave t' go 'ome Granty", I asked?

    "Yer Mam will 'ave yer tea ready, an' I'm meetin' some ladies at the bingo", she replied.

    ""These socks y' knitted are luvly an' warm, Granty, but the wool is so thick, me shoes are too tight now", I told her.

    "It not the socks me lad, it's those plates o' meat of yours, you'll need size twelves before long", she said grinning.

    "Now don't be goin' along the main road with me, do the short cut down there", Granty leaned over and kissed the top of my head.
    "Tarrar Bill love, be'ave y'self f' yer Mam".

    I'd gone about two hundred yard when I realized I had Granty's front door key, so I pelted back and saw her disappear into a pub with Mr Griffith who owned the fruit and veg shop. I went into the outdoor lobby and beckoned the barman over.

    "You're a bit on the young side f' a pint lad", he said.

    "Will yer give me Gr'Auntie May this key, it's f' 'er front door, there she is over there", I waived to her.

    Granty came rushing over red faced, " Now 'ere's a tanner, don't tell y' Mam y' saw me in 'ere, OK", she said winking.

    Think I'll gerra bar o' toffee and some chewee, I thought........

    Do you want more???? ha ha ha
  • Bill W
    by Bill W 3 months ago
    The BSA Bantam........ and it's now 1957

    I never did find out what relation Trevor was to Granty (nephew I think), but he went to sea (America mostly) and when home on leave he stayed at Granty's.

    Trevor kept a BSA bantam in the shed, and when he went away, he asked me to start the bike up and let it run for 10 minutes each week, which I happily did.......only...... I didn't just let it chug away on it's stand in the backyard, I took it for a spin around the locality. Before long I was totally used to the bike and ventured further afield.

    One Sunday morning, bright and early, I called round to Granty's with some wool from me Mam, Granty was on her way out but she said, "There a full pot o' tea there Bill, I 'aven't go' time t' swig any so y' may as well 'ave it lad, make sure y' lock up when y' leave," then she give me a peck on me 'ead and left.

    "Think I'll give Trevor's bike a little run", I thought, and just then, Gracie poked her head above the wall.

    "Are y' going anywhere nice Bill", she asked?

    "Thought I'd go f' a ride up t' The Trough of Bowland", was my reply.

    "Never been there Bill, what's i' like", she whispered.

    "If y' doin' nowt, jump on th' back an' I'll take y' there, I grinned.

    Off we went, the breeze pushing our hair straight back......and Gracie with her arms round my waist.

    We got as far as Beacon Fell, where we found a quiet grassy spot to sit and eat our sandwiches....
    We spent a few hours just laying there absorbing the sun and laughing..........and it was there....... on that very spot.......... that I discovered....... that not all ladybirds had the same number of spots......ha ha ha
  • Ann R
    by Ann R 3 months ago
    Good memories of the BSA Bantam by the sound of it ;-)
  • Jackie H
    by Jackie H 3 months ago
    Ahhh, memories of " what once was "...I am this was when this little boy became a young
  • Bill W
    by Bill W 3 months ago
    You can assume as much as you like, Jackie, a gentleman never tells......ha ha ha
  • Jackie H
    by Jackie H 3 months ago
    Ahh but maybe the lady has...Your secret is with me, I shan't tell, if you shan't...
  • Bill W
    by Bill W 3 months ago me wunderin' now.....ha ha ha
  • Sandy H
    by Sandy H 3 months ago
    It sounds as though you and young Gracie had a very memorable moment at Beacon Fell ..:)
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