Una's Memoirs - 1940s - 5
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Bob returned to work at Beecher Stow Studios where he had worked before the war. He was quite well paid but he had to work long hours in London from Monday to Friday. He said he was happy, but I was missing my friends. Bob had the old fashioned idea that he should support me, and so I did not look for a job. In winter time it was worse because I could not get out of the house very often.

In the spring of 1947 Bob and I went, with Bob's Mum and brother Den to the Ideal Home Exhibition at Olympia in London. While we were there I fainted and when I had recovered we made our way home. It was a very cold day. The next day I went to see Dr Wood at his surgery in North Watford. I thought I might be expecting a baby. He did some tests and confirmed that I was pregnant, and he suggested I should book a bed at the Stanborough Private Nursing Home in Garston. He said the baby would probably arrive in September. Bob and I were happy, but I was rather worried because we had not yet got a home of our own.

The weather in the first months of 1947 was cold. There was a heavy fall of snow in March. A shortage of coal and coke made heating houses difficult. It was reported that people were cutting down and burning trees from their gardens. There was still snow on the ground in April.

One morning when I woke up I felt unwell. After Bob had gone to work I decided I must get medical advice. It meant a walk of half a mile along snow covered streets to get to Dr Wood's surgery, and when I saw him he was quite cross that I had been allowed to come alone. He told me to go home and get to bed as quick as I could. He came to examine me after his surgery hours. The next morning at about 3.o'clock I had a miscarriage. An ambulance was called and I was wrapped up and strapped to a stretcher. I was carried down stairs and into the ambulance in the early light of dawn and was taken to Shrodells Hospital (on the site of the present Watford General Hospital). I was there for about ten days, and then I returned home to 74 Bushey Mill Crescent. Bob and I were both sad at what had happened to us. There was one sad task I now had to do - I phoned the Nursing Home and cancelled my booking. They were very sympathetic and to my surprise said they would return my deposit.

Me on the Isle of Wight ferry, 1947. Me at Shanklin, 1947. Bob and I in the surf, Isle of Wight, 1947. Dennis and I on beach, Isle of Wight, 1947.
Me on the Isle of Wight ferry. 1947
Me on the beach at Shanklin. 1947
Bob and I in the surf. Isle of Wight 1947.
Dennis and I on an Isle of Wight beach, 1947.

I was quite fit again by August 1947 and we took a holiday on the Isle of Wight. Dennis came with us, and we took our bicycles. Bob says that we took the train to Euston and cycled to Waterloo Station. I can't remember this but I know that at Portsmouth an old paddle steamer for Ryde was lifting up and down on the swell, so that we had to time the moment to jump onto the moving ramp while holding up our cycles

Having our bicycles enabled us to see remote parts of the island. We frequently had beaches to ourselves, and I remember that some of the beaches still had concrete and metal wartime defences. There were few cars on the roads. When we visited small villages we could find a teashop where there were few other holidaymakers. We were staying at 109 Hunney Hill in Newport as guests of Bob's Aunt Mabel and Uncle Joe Cooper. Their son Harold had a small boat on the River Medina, and we were able to use it to go shrimping. There was an old mill across the river and we took the boat right inside, but once, while we were there, part of the roof fell in with a violent splash and so we kept away after that.

Bob and I went to my cousin Eileen's wedding, she married Arthur Dransfield on October 3rd 1947, in Nottingham. Arthur had been a roundsman at the bakery and had been going out with Gladys when I worked there. When he saw me he said "You didn't expect I would be Eileen's Groom, did you?". Aunty Ella and Aunty Doris came up to Bob and me while the wedding photographs were being taken and said how sorry they were that we had lost the baby.

Nottingham Goose Fair is held on the first weekend in October. It was originally a livestock market held in the Market Square, but in 1928 it moved to Forest Recreation Ground and became a huge funfair. After we left Eileen's wedding reception it was a good time for us to visit the Fair. I had happy memories of the times I had been there in the past. I can still recall all the noise and the reek of the engines that drove the rides and generated the power for all the bright lights. The smell from the food stalls I remember very well, and there was always an excited crowd milling around. I had been to the Goose Fair before but Bob had not. Our visit started well and Bob tried his hand on the rifle range but could not knock down enough target ducks to win a prize. We did not spend long at the fair because Bob began to feel unwell.

The next day, Sunday, we took the train to Watford and Bob looked very ill on the journey. He should not have gone to work the next day, but he did. That evening, when he returned home, he was in pain and very white. I wanted to get him into bed immediately but he insisted he needed food and so he had a bowl of soup before he would go to bed. He became delirious that night and he was soaked in sweat. Dr Wood said it was most likely that he had pneumonia. He left tablets and instructed me to record Bob's temperature twice a day. I made Bob a 'pneumonia jacket' to keep him warm in bed. This was a padded jacket common in the Midlands and in the North of England. It may seem strange now but you must remember that at this time hardly any houses had central heating and bedrooms were very cold.

October went by and Bob showed only slight improvement. His temperature was normal in the morning but high in the evening. Dr Wood said he was not happy and he arranged for Bob to go into Shrodells Hospital in Watford. I went in the ambulance with Bob. The driver and male nurse knew Bob's Aunt Em and they said they would play a trick on her, so they stopped the ambulance at the clinic where she worked as a Red Cross Nurse. They went inside and told her that they needed help with a difficult patient. When she saw him she said "Oh Bob!". It was November the 5th 1947 - a date to remember!

Penicillin was not yet available in tablet form but it could be injected. Bob had injections every four hours for a number of days. He said that he was getting tired of nurses arriving day and night to stick a needle in his bottom! Bob was kept in hospital because the doctors thought he might have Tuberculosis (TB) which was rife just after the war, but all the tests they did were negative. He was visited by a specialist from Ware Park Sanatorium who said he wanted Bob to go there. Bob decided he did not want to go there and he left Shrodells Hospital but agreed on 'bed rest' for three months at home. We arranged for him to have a single bed in the front room downstairs and this helped, but even so I was kept very busy as 'his nurse'.

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