Brambles Farm

Concerned that as a 15-year-old I would have trouble getting myself going each morning, Mam arranged for me to sleep at home. Consequently, it was Coral’s turn to be farmed out. She slept for a while with Brenda, our cousin in Harrison Street, spent some time at Aunty Vangie’s in Tees Street, and also a short time with Irene Sergeant around the corner. I later discovered that we were not unique with our bedroom/home shuffling.

These were our strange sleeping arrangements until we were given a three-bedroom council house on the Brambles Farm Estate in around 1957. The semi-detached house was on Millbrook Avenue, Brambles Farm. At last we had a bathroom with hot water. Here Tommy and I shared a bedroom and Coral finally had her own room.

Luxury is relative to your circumstances, so we thought our new house was wonderful. The garden looked like it had lain fallow since the house was built. Dad wasn’t up to gardening, so I had a go at it. At sixteen I knew nothing about gardening so I was flying blind. The ground was hard as rock so I decided to plant potatoes to break up the soil. This worked well and we had a bumper crop of spuds. Trouble was, when I later planted a lawn, we had potatoes sprouting for the next two years.

There was a rubbish tip about half a mile over the Trunk Road where I found many discarded building bricks. I hauled them home in my haversack, four at a time, to build the garden edging.

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