23rd Apr, 2021

The Remarkable Mrs Cox blog - Lockdown Day 5 - The Chugger and Captain Tom

Bromsgrove Editorial 24th Apr, 2020 Updated: 25th Apr, 2020

Mrs Cox continues her isolation by chatting with her husband Lenny who died 75 years earlier; just at the end of the Second World War.

You’d loike this little place I live in Lenny – cottages they call ‘em but more of a block of nointeen forties maisonettes. They’m were some sort of tied ouses for Salt workers kin, from what I’ve gleamed from Elvis the postie.

Four little blocks of four all set in one garden with a few benches and a rose gardin. I’m upstairs at number four and from me back winda Oy can see roight across to where the canal gus through the field – can even see the tops o the barges. From the front oy cops the main road to where there’s a bench on the pavement on the other soide.

Up the road one way is a gardin centre with a posh tea room, which of course is all closed up at the moment. Down t’other way is a post office a garage and a pub.

Normally I can sit in the window at the back for a bit of tranquillity and sit at the front and watch folk a gooin up and down – now it’s got the traffic of a cemetery.

We’m all in the twilight of our lives, us as lives ‘ere and I suppose I’m the most anti-social one of the bunch. Happy with me family chats on the blower and with me memories. You know me Lenny, never one to mince me words. Number of times I had to put that naire do well brother of yourn Ernie in his place – ‘Uncle Ernie’ as everyone referred to ‘im. Ran the book in the Bullring back in the day and made a nice black market profit outta the war whilst yow lorst ya life – never could forgive im for that. Med me bitter.

Anyway what I’m getting round to ‘is Florence Nightingale as I calls ‘er that lives downs stairs at number two is up at ‘er window like a rat up a drainpipe wherenever I as a visitor till I’m sick on it.

I’m talkin afore the lockup of course. “Yo’llright Mrs Cox” she’s shout out of the window she’s open which is just a foot from my front door. “Yes thank you Mrs Wilson,” I’d respond delighting in not introducing ‘er. “How many times have I said, call me Flo?” er would comment. “Dunno” I’d say as pow faced as I could muster “Yow tell me?”

Er still din’t tek the ‘int! Now of course on the rare occasions that I ‘as a visitor, ‘er cor open the winda on account of keepin’ her social distance as they call it. Stupid title if yow ask me – nuthink social about it – anti-social more loike!

Flo’s a chugger y’see Lenny and a course she cor do any chugging at the mo as there’s no chuggers allowed outside the supermarkets no more. Flo ‘ud med a vocation out of chuggin’ – Mondays and Thursdays ‘er chugged for the Lifeboats, Tuesdays and Fridays t’wer the Dogs ‘om and if yow wus wonderin’ about Wednesdays why ‘er volunteered at the Sali Army shop on the ‘igh street.

Inerferin’, dogoodin’, busybody chugger in my opinion – ‘cept un yow allus sed to me to not judge a book by lookin at it’s colour – or did yow say cover? – cor remember – slipped me mind. Not important really, ‘cept yesterday I wus doing me little walk we’m allowed once a day – just up the rohd loike. Well on the way back I clocked the chugger lookin’ all forlorn at ‘er winda. Looked like ‘erd been blartin’ so I stops a respectful distance away and gesticulates for ‘er to open the winda – which she does.

“Y’all roite Mrs Wilson?” I asks as we do knowin’ their not.

“Not really” ‘er says. ‘Just had a phone call to say that my niece who’s a nurse at the Royal Worcester has been put on a ventilator. Touch and go whether she will make it”

Well Lenny I thought to meself that I’d ben a bit ‘arsh in ‘er direction. We chatted for quite a while and I did me best to get her pecker up. Seems er’s never been married and er only family is ‘er brother and ‘is two daughters. They’m both nurses one of which is bad with the pop.

Med a point of callin’ ‘er Flo when I left and told ‘er t’call us Emily. I’ll say a little prayer for her niece tonight – but don’t tell no-one moind as I’m not really that way inclined.

Now we ‘ave us a new ‘ero that’s captured the nation in the most unlikely way Lenny. He’s a sprightly ninety-noine and is pushin’ ‘is zimmer round his gardin’ in his blazer and war medals to raise money for the NHS. Set out to raise a grand and would yow believe it – only passed the twenty million smackeronny mark now. Captain Tom he is and he’s quoit roightly the nations pin up boy.

Must get Spanners to tell me ow I can make a donation meself. Or there again I could ask the chugger – she’ll know for sure.

Coco and kip now so I’ll sign off mate.

Click here for more on Wallop Mrs Cox, created by Bromsgrove’s Euan Rose.

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