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Two Drunken Tea leaves.

There was a very large bombsite situated off Parkdale Road that extended from Parkdale Road through to Lakedale Road. I often used to play there on my way home from school, often cutting through to the Common via these two combined bomb sites (must of been caused by a stick of bombs, or, most probably, by a landmine bomb. These used to drift down silently on a parachute and explode above the ground to cause maximum damage and death; they were huge bombs that took out heaps of houses and buildings).

What ever happened to the large red brick building next to this bombsite on Parkdale, situated nearly opposite a little sweet shop on the other side of the road? It had its own driveway, with 'in' and 'out' gates. It could well have been the old offices that were the dreaded 'Relief Offices'.

I had a real good mate who used to live in this big house named Brian Lynch. It had then been made into flats sometime after the war, I think; used to house folk who'd been bombed out. He lived in one of them. His family were very poor folk. My mum took a shine to my wee mate. He was under developed and quite small for his age, which was fairly common in those days. She gave his mum my old clothes and I thought it odd, in my childish mind, that, on our way to school together, he was wearing my old jacket or raincoat etc.

I do remember though, how, one day on our way home from school, he invited me into his home. His parents were out; inside his home was very sparse but very clean and tidy and smelt strongly of pine disinfectant. He showed me where his dad's bottles of beer were kept. Well, that was a big mistake; the next thing he had opened a bottle! Out of sheer devilment, we began drinking the pint of stout.
Surprisingly it tasted very nice, too nice, and so we finished it all up! We then ran giggling up the hill to my house, laughing our silly young (tipsy) heads off.

My mum said, quite innocently, "What's got into you silly buggers? Anyone would think you'd both been drinking!" With that we took off, beery breaths an' all, down to the safety of the 'ollow, where we lay hidden in the bracken, laughing and giggling till the sun went down.
Two young drunken tea leaves! *

*Tea leaf is cockney rhyming slang for Thief. (Tea leaves = Thieves)

Colin Weightman

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