This part is David and Jamie's 10th birthday party day from start to finish.
And so came the morning of the 1st of August 1967. It was to be a momentous day for two boys in Brighton. Both boys had suddenly acquired a completely new family. Jamie Wills had a new dad and David Hennessy had a new dad, mum and a dog.
Jamie woke up first at 6-30 am. Bella was waiting by the door showing signs she needed to go out. Jamie opened the door quietly and with Bella made his way down stairs and into the kitchen. He unbolted the backdoor and let the dog into the garden. Now he was stuck what to do, he thought a minute and put the kettle on to make some tea, then decided it was too early so he waited for Bella to come back in and went into the lounge to read his present book, 'Gulliver's Travels'. His mum had bought it for him for Christmas but he hadn't long started to read it, now he had his head into it as often as he could. David had read a little of the book and had asked to read it next. He had read for about half an hour when David appeared and said. "Morning Jamie, it looks a nice day."
"Yes it is. I have let Bella out and she did a poo and that's your bit."
"Oh, thanks Jamie, where did she go?"
"Half way down the garden on the right by the holly bush. There are some carrier bags by the back door. Want a cup of tea?"
"Yes please, Jamie, I feel quite thirsty."
David went out into the garden doggy poo hunting while Jamie put the kettle on the gas stove. David was still hunting for Bella's dropping when the kettle boiled. He finally found it and put it in the carrier bag and then into the dustbin. By the time he got back in Jamie had made the tea and was about to pour it out. David asked him to wait while it brewed in the pot or it would look like Bella's pee. They both giggled at that. At 7-30am David made a fresh pot of tea and took two cups up to mum and dad. He knocked on their bedroom door and his dad's voice said, "Come in." He opened the door and went in.
"Morning, David," his dad said. "Now that is a welcome sight, thank you son and happy birthday. Just leave the tea on the side there and I will wake mum up."
A sleepy voice spoke beside him and said, "I am wide awake love, do I smell delicious tea?"
"Yes you do love. David just brought it in for us."
"Mm, I could grow to like this service, happy birthday, David."
Thanks mum and dad, see you later," and with that, left the room.
"The boys will go far. Tony, I had a thought on waking, that although they have a school that when we move they need one closer."
"That's true love. I was thinking on that private school just behind the house on the hill. I am sure that school the qualities to that will help them flourish. With the new job I can well afford to send them there, might mean you would have to play taxi as it is a bit far to walk."
"I wouldn't mind that love. What say we take them along to the open day, it's on Saturday this week at 10 o'clock.
"Consider it in the diary love. We'll make the announcement part of their birthday."
"Great idea love, how about right now?"
"OK", Tony said and shouted, "Jamie, David. Come up stairs a minute."
"Coming dad," Both boys answered and soon they clomped up the stairs and entered the bedroom.
"Sit on the bed boys, mum and I was just talking about school. Now I know there are a few weeks left of the holiday, but there is a school near the new house that is holding an open day on Saturday and we thought you might like to go and have a look."
The boys looked at each other. Neither had been particularly happy at their present school so they agreed.
"That's good boys," Angela said. "It will be a nice day out and we can take a picnic to the new house after. Off you go then and get washed and dressed ready to go out to breakfast. It looks a nice day so we will go to one of the cafes along the front with outside tables."
The boys left and went back to their bedroom and Jamie spoke asking David if he thought the school might be the one on the top of the Downs, 'Saint Andrews'. David thought that it might be and both boys hoped so as it was probably the best school in Brighton area.
"Shall we shower Jamie?" David asked.
"Good idea we can wash each other's backs, come on then David."
The usual fun and frolics followed with the shower looking like a bomb had hit it afterwards.
"Oops, we had better clean up, Jamie," David said, and both boys cleaned and dried the shower out. They finished just as their dad appeared ready to use it.
"Well done boys, that looks a treat, and as pretty a sight as you are in your birthday suits. Go and get dressed. Mum and I will be 20 minutes.
The boys blushed forgetting they were still in the nude and hot footed it to their bedroom to dress.
Tony chuckled to himself as he ran the shower. Boys that age aren't bound by protocols he thought, shame they had to grow up sometimes.
He told Angela later that day and she found it hilarious.
At 8-30 they were all downstairs and dressed when the letterbox sounded the arrival of post. David won the race. There were 5 posts for each of the boys and one for Angela and one for Tony. The boys opened their post first. Each had 4 cards and one gift voucher. The gift vouchers from their grandparents for ten shillings each. The cards were from mum, dad and from John and Stan, the two boys invited to the party.
Angela was going to leave her letter until later, but decided to open it now. She opened it and read it and went white. Tony saw its effect and asked what was wrong. She handed the letter over. As he read it Tony found it more than strange. It was from the hospital, the gist of the letter was that the hospital had looked at its staffing levels of nurses and three were to be made redundant. Angela was one of the three.
"Bad news for you love but I have an answer. I'll tell you later when the boys have had their day, OK love?"
"Of course love it's not the end of the world but the boys' day is important."
Tony decided to open his letter and found the application forms for the vacant children's department vacancies. He thought 'The world works in mysterious ways sometimes.' He put the letter on the lounge table and went and put his arms around Angela and gave her a kiss on the nose and said, "Kiss it better love. Now then, boys, off we jolly well go. Hi ho, hi ho it's off to eat we go, we keep on eating all day long hi ho hi ho hi ho."
Bella looked miserable as she was left behind but it would not be for too long.
The boys picked up the slightly changed Disney song and they all joined in together. As they left the house their neighbours must have thought them barmy.
Part way down the road the song faded away to silence as the novelty wore off.
"Dad?" David asked.
"Yes, son," came the reply.
"That school you was talking about, is it St Andrews."
"Yes it is love, why do you ask?"
"Well dad, Jamie and I know a few boys from there. They said it is a good school with good teachers, lots of sports and a great art teacher.
"So would you like to go there?"
"I think so and so will Jamie because he loves sports."
"Good, roll on Saturday then."
It took only 20 minutes to reach the cafe and the boys were given a free hand on what to pick from the menu. It was hardly surprising that full English breakfast was the choice for all. The only difference was that this cafe included black pudding. (It's made from pig's fat and blood) The boys tried it but it was Angela and Tony that finished it for them. A distinct YUK was heard from both boys. After breakfast it was another bus ride to Shoreham. The boys had no idea what was to happen. They thought it was just a bus ride. Just over Shoreham bridge was a dog's home, when the boys saw the sign they guessed what they were going there for.
At the reception a kennel maid was waiting for them. "Hello mister Andrews, Mrs Andrews." Angela didn't want to embarrass the young lady so she let the error go. "Hello boys, which one is Jamie?"
Jamie stepped forward and said, "Me, miss."
I think we will be able to find a dog just for you, Jamie. Come along and we can all go and have a look. Inside the kennel area there were lots of dogs all shapes and sizes. Most of them came up to the wire almost saying, 'please take me.' Jamie looked at them all in the first kennel without making a choice, but in the next kennel there was one dog that caught his eye. It was some mixture of something with something else but what drew Jamie to it was its look, all soft and cuddly looking with a twinkle in its eyes. It jumped up at the surrounding wire like it was dancing. "I like that one," he said pointing to it.
"She is lovely, Jamie," the kennel maid said. "She came in yesterday and her name is Beauty, 2 years old and from a good home. Her owner, a nice old lady had to go into a nursing home so could not keep her. Shall I get her out for you?"
"Yes, please miss." The maid went into the kennel and put Beauty on the lead and brought her outside, handed Jamie the lead and led the way outside to a grassy area out the back.
Beauty walked alongside Jamie wagging her tail with obvious joy and when Jamie sat down with her she almost licked him to death.
"Can I have her please, Mum, dad?"
Tony and Angela thought that the pair were made for each other and agreed to take her.
"All come into the office then." The maid said and they followed her back through the kennels.
Tony filled out all the forms and handed over £40-00 as a donation to the home. Beauty was now Jamie's dog. It was easy to see that David approved of her as well by the way he kept stroking her, hoping that she would get on well with Bella. Beauty, like Bella was a good traveller on the bus home but kept stopping for a pee on the walk up from the seafront bus stop. She was very good really and happily walked with Jamie. When they got home David opened the door and Bella came bounding up. Seeing Beauty she stopped in her tracks and the two of them sniffed each other. Tony told the boys to take them both out into the garden and to take a coke each.
That did it. The two dogs behaved like long lost friends, frolicking around and playing pee marking all round the garden. The boys left them to it and sat on the step drinking their cokes. By the time they had finished both dogs were back and snuggling up to their owners. The boys looked at each other, David spoke first. "Beauty and Bella are good together, just like us, Jamie."
"They are aren't they? I am so glad that we have new parents, well, parents for you and a parent for me. When do you thing mum and dad will get married?"
"I don't know Jamie, shall we ask them?"
"No, they will tell us I expect. They sure look like they love each other though."
"Jamie, mum and dad are the best thing that has happened to me in a long time. I am so happy I could burst and I can't wait to move to the house on the hill."
"I am as well, David. I hardly ever saw mum and as much as I love grandma and granddad I missed seeing my mum and I never knew my dad. He was in the army and got killed. Mum never told me how though."
"Tony, err, dad was in the army as well. He was in the SAS so the policeman Ben told me. That is something special in the army I think."
Their discussion was cut short by mum calling them.
"There is someone at the front door for you both."
They went indoors followed by the dogs to the front door. Standing there were the next door neighbours. Each was holding a brand new bicycle. One was red and one blue.
"Hello Jamie, David, happy birthday from your mum and dad. We were told that the blue one was for David and the red one for you Jamie. Happy birthday from us as well boys," and each handed the boys an envelope with their name on it. To say the boys eyes popped out of their heads would be an understatement. They thanked the neighbours and took the bikes indoors. Both bikes had saddlebags on them. The boys looked inside and each had a puncture outfit, a wet weather cape and front and back lights for later in the year. The neighbours were invited inside and offered a drink which they accepted. The man accepted a beer and the woman a cup of tea.
A request came from the boys to go outside and ride their bikes. Tony told them they could ride in the garden but not outside. He told them he wanted them to wait until they moved before using them outside the confines of the house as this part of Brighton was too dangerous until they got some experience.
They were happy just to ride them and were soon racing around the garden as happy as could be.
Jean from next door said, "Those are two fine boys, you must be proud of them."
"We certainly are. There are times they behave just like twins as if they are joined at the hip, although they are not twins, they just have the same birthday. Which reminds me love," Tony said, addressing Angela. "We don't know each others' birthday, mine is February 24th."
Angela chuckled and said. "Guess my birthday then."
Tony had a funny feeling and said questionably, "Err February."
He got a nod.
"Don't tell me it is on the 24th?"
Angela grinned and nodded her head.
Tony shook his head and said. "This family is getting far too coincidental for my liking."
Jean's Husband just looked and stared while his wife said. "That's almost unheard of in my knowledge, how strange that is. Four unrelated people have double birthdays, wow. Thanks for the drinks, see you soon, have a good party."
"Thank you, Alan, for your help, we could never have kept the bikes secret without you."
"You're most welcome, bye for now." With that they left and went home.
No sooner had they left than the doorbell rang. It was the caterers so Angela called the boys in as the party was to be held in the garden. They brought their bikes in from the garden as the caterers took their equipment and food out.
The caterers rapidly got set up and then waited for the fun to begin. Meanwhile the boys had forgotten about the cards from the people next doors and decided to open them. Both contained cards with a 10 shilling note in. David looked at Jamie and said. Blimey, that's a pound each we have already Jamie, we're rich."
"Mum makes me save some of all the money I get. I have a building society account with my own book. I have 40 pounds in it already."
"Really, can I get one and start saving as well."
"'Course you can, just ask dad or mum."
There was a knock at the door and this time both boys went and found John and Stan waiting. Each held a parcel and a card in their hands. Stan spoke first and said, "Happy birthday Jamie, happy birthday David." John repeated the greeting and the boys asked them in. Angela had just come in from the garden and saw the boys together and handed her the packages they held and gave the cards to the boys which they opened. Both were humorous cards and David and Jamie showed each other their card. All the boys laughed together at the jokes on the cards.
Tony came in and the boys showed him the cards which made him laugh as well.
"No granddad and grandma yet, Angela?"
"No, not yet, they should be here soon. I expect the buses are late because of the holiday period. I offered to pick them up."
"They just thought you would want to be here rather than go out to Moulscombe."
As if to answer the question a knock at the door announced their arrival. Jamie went and let them in and take their bags for them, followed quickly by David who helped them both inside. Once in the boys gave them a hug in turn and thanked them for their present. The boys then introduced their friends and they all went out into the garden and sunshine.
The caterer had laid all the food out into a buffet and the gentlemen they were they asked the grandparents to go first, then mum and dad , then their two friends and finally themselves. They all seated around a large trestle table and got stuck into the delicious food. As with all growing boys the plates were soon emptied and with the blessing of Tony and Angela they went back for seconds. With that gone the ice creams came out of the freezer box and were demolished with equal speed. They had no more room left in their tummies after that and sat back in the chairs with stomachs bloated. John and Stan no less bloated started to chat with David and he told them he was now being fostered by Tony. It was Stan who offered that he was enjoying being fostered. David reminded him that he had already told them both at school. Talk turned to school and David and Jamie got round to telling John and Stan they might be going to St Andrews instead at the end of the holidays. Stan told them that he was going to the open day on Saturday because his foster parents wanted him to go there. They then made arrangements to meet.
Tony had brought a great big dustbin out into the garden and told Jamie and David to come over and take out their presents. Nothing would top the bikes, or so they thought. David took a present out and handed it to Jamie as it had his name on it, and then hunted for one with his name on. The rest looked on as Jamie revealed a brand new watch and David a huge painting and drawing kit. Both were very happy but there were lots more yet. There were presents galore and all were useful. Jamie got lots of junior engineer tools and more Meccano. And David ended up with drawing paper, paints, an easel and books on art but importantly both boys got new clothes. Much needed by growing boys.
It was David that found it, a last package right at the bottom of the dustbin. It was a small wrapped package no more that 4" x 2" x 3". He pulled it out and it had Angela's name on it.
"Mum, this is for you." "
"For me, but it is your birthday not mine?"
"It has your name on it mum," And he took it over to where she sat and gave it to her.
Excitedly she opened the package to find inside 2 keys.
"What are these keys for?" She asked.
Tony spoke up and said, "If you look out the front you might just find out."
Angela went indoors and to the front door and opened it; she saw what was parked in the kerb with a ribbon round it. She screamed. The boys alarmed ran to see what was wrong. They saw their mum in the street looking at a brand new Ford car.
"Wow mum that is some car."
With tears streaming down her face Angela hugged the boys and just said, "Yes it is."
Tony and grandparents along with the two young visitors finally got to the door. Angela grabbed Tony and almost did a jig with him round the car.
Tony its lovely, thank you, thank you, my last car saw better days 2 years ago and I couldn't afford another one.
Tony picked Angela up and spun her round ending with a long kiss. "When we move love you will need a car and I have to change my existing one for an estate car with our growing family. We are already six."
Angela took the ribbon off and Tony suggested they could go for a spin a bit later in the evening. Just then a car pulled up and a man got out with a case. Tony recognised him and said. "Ah Mister Magic thanks for coming."
"My pleasure Tony and this must be Angela. You are one lucky man. Can you show me where I am to please the boys and maybe you?"
Tony took him into the garden where he set up while the boys were still fascinated by the new car.
Mister Magic turned out to be a brilliant children's entertainer producing so many tricks in an hour that the boys were to say the least enthralled.
His final trick was that he produced from his top hat four half crowns which he presented to the boys, not by hand but by magic, he said, into their pockets.
Sadly he couldn't stay as he had another party to go to. The boys said their goodbyes and both John and Stan had to go home, so had the family's grandparents. The caterers had cleared up during Mister Magic's show and were ready to go.
All the family thanked them and Tony handed them a tip for good service. John and Stan left together with thanks to their hosts with Stan saying he would see them on Saturday while grandma and granddad also headed off home.
The time was almost five in the evening and everyone was getting tired. Angela made tea while the boys went out into the garden with the dogs. When they came back indoors Angela was on Tony's lap and they were kissing rather heavily. The boys looked at each other and returned to the garden to retrieve their presents and take them upstairs.
They came back down and got two cokes from the fridge, opened them and began drinking them. The house sounded quiet so they looked for their parents who were missing by their absence. The boys could not find them but the front door was open. They smiled when they saw their two lovebird parents sitting in the new car listening to the radio and holding hands. The boys could see they were talking but couldn't hear what they were saying. The boys left them to it and went back indoors and reflected on the day so far.
David spoke first saying that the bikes were a great surprise and they would be able to explore all the land around the house on the hill, and Jamie told David he was looking forward to finding nature to take pictures of. Their voices and plans went back and forth until interrupted by their parents returning.
"Hi mum, do you like your car?" Jamie asked.
"Yes love I do. We are going to take a drive up to the house on the hill and take some stuff up there from here and have a small supper up there to finish off your birthdays."
The boys looked at each other and gave a boisterous, "YES."
Tony asked them to put the bikes in the shed so they were safe and dry in case it rained. They were back in minutes and saw that Angela had packed 2 bags with the necessary to make a picnic.
"Take these out to the car please boys." She asked, and the boys dutifully did the small chore and placed the bags in the boot. When they got back indoors Tony reminded them that the dogs needed feeding. The boys felt angry that in their own excitement they had almost ignored their dogs and promised each other not to do that again. They fed Bella and Beauty who both inhaled the bowls of food with wagging tails.
After that they put the dog's leads on and went and got into the car ready for the trip. The dogs hopped into the car, quite happy to be going out with their owners. Tony and Angela followed, Angela into the driving seat, Tony alongside her. Angela was an excellent driver and despite the car being strange to her she drove with confidence. It took 20 minutes to get up to the house. It looked beautiful in the evening sun While Angela and Tony set up the picnic the boys set off exploring. It was amazing what they saw on the walk. There was a fallow deer, a brown for, a sparrow hawk, and cows and sheep over the hill. Only one thing spoiled their short outing, a seagull decided that a bombing raid on David's head was a good idea. Without any warning the droppings fell from the sky with a direct hit. As happens with boys Jamie thought it hilarious but the look on David's face stopped him. The mess was all over David's clothes as well as his head. Jamie pulled some grass and wiped as much as he could from David's head and clothes. The trip was spoilt by that accident and the boys headed back. Their parents saw the state of David who was near to tears. Tony lightened the mood and said. When I first came to Brighton the same thing happened to me. I was running along the seafront when PLOP a big dollop landed on my shoulder. The thing is David love is that at some time we all get picked on by birds and we just have to grin and bear it. For now we can pop in the house and wash it off with cold water, alright son?"
David cheered up a bit having heard Tony's story and went with him indoors. Within five minutes they were back laughing and joking.
They all sat down and enjoyed the picnic which was mostly left over's from the party in the garden.
Angela spoke up commenting on the beauty of the nature sounds and asked Tony when they might move. The boys chipped in with the same question. Tony explained that he had to start work next week and wouldn't have time but, if Angela wanted to she and the boys could start moving some personal stuff up through the week seeing as she was virtually jobless and on the Saturday of that week they could make the final move. Angela did say that she should work for the next two weeks as notice but she had holiday owed anyway and that could serve as notice. She said she would phone in the morning and clear it with Bill the administrator. The boys were very happy at the news and while Tony and Angela tidied up they took the dogs for a walk.
Tony and Angela chatted as they were clearing up and the talk got back to the move.
"This place is going to do the world of good to the boys love. I have a feeling it will be an inspiration to them." Angela said.
"I couldn't agree more love, they will get fit and healthy with plenty to do to keep themselves occupied and if they like St Andrews you will have plenty of time to be deputy head of the children's department.
"Excuse me love, did I hear you say deputy head of the children's department?"
"Yes love, you are far better qualified than those burkes who ran it before and, what a wonderful job could be done by two women at the helm.
I suggested to June Archer to apply for the director and I think you two could and would make one heck of a difference to the under cared for children in Brighton."
Angela took a deep breath and blew it out in a long puff. Do you know Tony I think I would like to try for that post.
"Great love," and with a smile said, "That's good love because the application form arrived this morning."
"You sneaky devil Tony Andrews. Oh dear, I've just realised, when we get married my initials will be AA. Ha, ha, call out the AA She'll sort it out."
Tony got the gist and said. "Have you got a drink problem?"
Angela gave in and said. "I give in love but I will have a try for the job."
"Wonderful Mrs Andrews to be, form filling tomorrow. Now, where are the boys, it is starting to get dark now."
"I would like us all to go for a walk together Tony. It will crown a lovely day."
"Sold Mrs Andrews to be, let's find the boys."
They heard the dogs first just up the track and it didn't take long to catch up with them. Both of the boys were throwing sticks for their respective dog. The dogs bringing them back to be thrown again.
Tony said to Angela. "I see what you mean about the boys getting a lot out of this place. What a difference a couple of days have made to David."
"And I have to admit that Jamie is much perkier than of late. Mum said so this afternoon, having both David and Beauty around will make such a difference."
The boys stopped throwing sticks much to the disgust of the dogs until they realised that the game was over then they trotted happily with the family. Parent's arms went round the boys shoulders as they all strolled along the bridleway for about a mile, each of them pointing out different things of interest as they went.
Time came much too soon to turn around and head back to the car and head home. Talk turned to the day and all that had happened in less than 24 hours.
Back at the car they all loaded themselves in and Angela drove them home.
The boys couldn't stop yawning and almost fell asleep in the short journey but soon enough they reached home and all disembarked into the house. First job was kettle on while the boys sent the dogs into the garden for late night tiddles.
It wasn't long before everyone was on their way to bed. Tony and Angela had just got into bed when the boys came in their pyjamas and sat on the bed.
They said what they wanted to Angela and Tony speaking in turn.
Jamie started, "Mum, dad, thank you for today, it has been the best birthday I have ever had."
Then it was David's turn, "Thanks mum and dad for giving me a family and loving me and especially for giving me a brother as well. With that they both hugged each parent in turn and kissed them goodnight and were gone.
Tony and Angela let the tears flow with happiness, what followed was equally very loving and both were asleep soon after.
End of part 10
Much, much more to come.