Book 2 : ‘If the Sock Fits’ of The Salvaged Summer Trilogy
Churchill had been right about ‘The few’ being the ones to save them through the summer, but it was going to take ‘the many’: the Land Army and the locals, bringing in the harvests of autumn 1940, that were going to get them through the coming winter.
The Battle of Britain might be over in the skies, but in the cities, they were still struggling to cope through the Blitz of Hitler’s bombs. The airfields were being rebuilt, but the men were taking longer to recover, and in the meantime the farmers needed help.
Abe and his chickens were struggling with those Ministry leaflets; the Totters had two lasses helping them with their dairy herd, but were behind with the silage and Tuckly’s fields of sugar-beet were going to need ‘all hands’ for the tugging and topping. As for Mr Tor and his out-back barns? No one had yet had the courage to ask what he was doing over there!
Aggy, the church warden’s wife, did her best to keep everyone organised in the village, whilst Rusty and her truck tackled the regular runs between the farms and town. Mrs Tweeny was equally determined to do her bit, taking care of ‘her girls’, the three young nurses billeted in the village working up at the new RAF Hospital.
Then there was Gertie, the village errand-boy and unlikeliest of go-betweens. 14years old with awkward elbows, big ears and smelly feet. There were some urgent lessons to be learnt that autumn and Gertie somehow managed to connect socks and wayward chickens with bicycles and sick pigs! The lanky lad had a way of teaching that left even hardened sceptics like Brisket, the butcher, speechless!
The Lads up at the RAF hospital were getting concerned about what was giving the surgeon a twitch … and Gertie couldn’t be having that! It was only a matter of time before he managed to scoop up patients and nurses in the escapade.
Rusty soon smelt a rat, but with no sign of the village constable, Aggy was called for with Gertie running interference. The Scamps proved themselves equally adept at sabotage as salvage, even if the delivery driver hadn’t got a clue! Anyway, with stray bombs and wandering buckets, they were ALL Home Guard now.
There was the arrival of Mrs Parr’s parcel to deal with and the doctor would just have to wait his turn! And as for those rabbits? Jeepers had some explaining to do
Up at the RAF hospital Pockets, recovering from a spinal injury, needed convincing his legs were ‘still salvageable’. Blind Joe was up for the challenge and Art was ‘in’, his bandaged hands worked admirably to muffle the rattle of the door knobs … the rest was up to Gertie:
“You get them to believe they can fight back … and they stop feeling beaten.”
The solution would come down to listening to pig-guts and getting Bracket to part with some of his hoard. The deadline was the village Canning Day and they’d be needing Humfrey’s truck for ‘cover’. “Good grief Gertie, was this YOUR idea!?”
… but it would be down to Gertie’s tingling fingers and boot laces to scrape them through the winter of 1940.