Alice

Saturday 14th December

At twelve o’clock we sat in the tea shop in town looking out of the fogged-up window as we sipped our hot drinks and nibbled at the dry cake that tasted as though it had spent a day too long under the glass counter. Stephen, bored as usual, began to draw with his finger in the condensation on the shop window. After twenty minutes I put him out of his misery and we got to our feet and made for the door, moving aside to allow a pair of elderly ladies to enter.

‘Thank you, dears,’ the first of the pensioners smiled at the children. ‘I’m ready for a cuppa, I’m parched.’

‘I wouldn’t bother with the sponge cake,’ Stephen advised. ‘You’ll be even parchder.’ He looked at me quizzically as I tried to usher him out of the café before he got us into trouble. ‘Is parchder a word?’ he asked.

Outside, the Saturday morning streets were full of shoppers. Jam-packed buses trundled along the narrow town roads as the half day Saturday workers made their way home from the factories. The bustling market place echoed with the shouts of, ‘Plums, get your lovely plums, they’re big, they’re beautiful just like your… mums,’ and ‘sprouts and cabbage, fresher than your lodger, put it on a plate for him, girls, he’ll love you for it.’