Cor blimey she had hands like pieces of beef my mum. It was red like roses when that hits you on the bum. Dad was the same... he didn’t hold his punches. It’s a good job my Dad didn’t know Paul hit me… he’d have killed him. I used to feel so embarrassed seeing him standing there. He used to hang about standing on corners waiting to see if I’d come along. He liked a smoke y’see. I didn’t smoke and if he had no money he’d wait for me. I’d never get to see any wages… we weren’t married long… not to him… he’s dead now… he couldn’t even buy a packet of fags. I caught him one day going through my bag… “That’s it for you mate!”... I punched him right in the face. He never done it no more. He even had other girlfriends round the corner... they used to look at me daggers... yeah. I didn’t burst out... er, burst out what’sname. I don’t know why I married him.
I can stand up for myself… I punched him a few times… he slapped me back a few times as well... black and blue we were. He knocked me down the stairs. I went to the police station... the Solicitors down there… won the divorce on cruelty... did it all myself. What was I saying? I was just about to say it and it’s slipped right off the top shelf.
Oh, but my Mum, she was strict… too strict… you’d know you’d been hit if she hit you. It’s a little bit... yellow (?) to me now that memory. I know I was Dad’s favourite, and that used to upset my old mum, and then they’d start to have a row and the fists would fly.
Dad worked on the fruit and veg for donkey’s years, at Covent Garden… (Hannah seems to visualise the scene) they’ve got lorries and some men… they go away and pick up tomatoes… I remember seeing all the horses and carts lined up... so a lorry driver he must have been… God love him
All the places my dad had to go, we’d go with him, so my mum could rest, see? Bless her… she used to do early morning cleaning… marvellous she was… she’s still at home now. I’ve got to hand it to my mum she keeps this house clean... spotless. Emma they called her… Emily or Emma or something… but, oh my God did she have a temper… if she hits you, you know about it for hours. You’ll have bum like a bag of ripe tomatoes. She had a good heart my mum but she was hard as a bag of nails and she liked the neighbours to know it. When she paid you, when we were naughty... oh dear, dear… bums like bright red beetroots we had. But we used to have some laughs… it all goes...
... And comes back again now! I can make that old piano ring out. Dancing and playing the piano... lovely times. We can go down the club, round the corner. Lovely times but terrible when they’re gone. Oh but I’ll have to be getting back now… My mum’ll be stood at the door calling me, standing on the doorstep calling me to come home.