My husband and my boy and me lived on Barnet Grove which is a road that
goes from Bethnal Green to Haggerston. There are 2 kinds of places on
Barnet Grove. The first kind are very pricey old terraced houses. The
estate agents call them Georgian Gems With Extensive Potential For
Conversion To Fully Appointed Executive Flats With Easy Access To The
City Of London And Within A Stone's Throw Of The Prestigious Columbia
Road Flower Market. The second kind of places are places like ours. They
are flats in dirty brick tower blocks they smell of chip fat inside. All
the flats in each block are the same except that the front doors don't
match on account of they get kicked in as often as they get opened
nicely. They built our tower blocks in the fifties. They built them in
the gaps where the Georgian Gems had incendiaries dropped on them by
Adolf Hitler was the last chap who hated London as much as you do Osama.
The Sun calls him the MOST EVIL MAN IN HISTORY and he made the gaping
hole in Barnet Grove that they built our tower block in. I suppose it
was thanks to him we could afford to live Within A Stone's Throw Of The
Prestigious Columbia Road Flower Market so maybe Adolf Hitler was not
all bad in the long run..
Like I say our flat was in one of those tower blocks. It was a small
flat and you could hear the upstairs neighbours on the job. They used to
start uh uh uh very soft at first and then louder and louder uh uh oh my
god UH and after a bit you could listen as hard as you liked and still
not know if you were hearing love or murder. It used to drive my husband
crazy but at least our flat was warm and clean and it was ours. It was
an ex-council flat which is to say we owned it. Which is to say we
didn't have to struggle to pay the rent. We struggled to pay the
mortgage each month instead there is a difference and that difference is
I didn't work I looked after our boy. My husband's wages paid the
mortgage and not much else so by the end of the month things were always
a bit wobbly. My husband was a copper and he wasn't just any old copper
he was in bomb disposal. You might reckon bomb disposal wages would of
stretched a bit further Osama but you'd reckon wrong if you didn't
reckon with the horses the dogs the cockfights in the back room of the
Nelson's Head and whether it was going to be a white Christmas. My
husband was the sort of bloke who'd take a punt on anything so thank god
he had a better track record with bombs than the 11:31 at Doncaster.
When we were behind on the bills I used to get teeth-chattering scared
of the bailiffs Osama. Whenever I could squeeze a fiver out of the
shopping money I used to stash it under the carpet just in case my
husband blew everything one day and they chucked us out on our ear.
There was never more than a month of mortgage under the rug so we were
always less than 31 days away from the street or only 28 days if my
husband blew the lot in February which sod's law he would. But I
couldn't hold his flutters against him on account of he needed a thing
to take his mind off the nerves and his thing was no worse than mine
Osama I'll tell you about my thing in a minute.
In bomb disposal the call can come at any time of the day or night and
for my husband it often did. If the call came in the evening we would be
sitting in front of the telly. Not saying much. Just sitting there with
plates on our knees eating chicken kievs. They were Findus they were
more or less okay they were always his favourite.
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...