After a spell of domestic upheaval left me in a state of melancholy my boss suggested I took some leave and went away somewhere. Going away on my own at that time wasn’t something I fancied doing so instead he arranged for me to take a period of convalescence.
That was when I worked for the police force. Most of the guys in the office thought it was a good idea; even their playful plaguing couldn’t cheer me up. They were marvellous, they never gave up trying to lure me back to my old happy-go-lucky state. During the two weeks I was away they sent funny postcards to humour me. Some referred to me as the recalcitrant typist and most said how much they missed me. It was a real tonic but, hey, I’m getting away from the subject of this post.
It was night time when I arrived at Marl Hall, tired and weary from a long coach drive. During the journey my travelling companions had been talking about the film Psycho and when we reached our destination, in the dark, not a street light in sight, the one who had boasted about not being scared by the movie started to scream because, she said, the house looked like it had stepped right out of the film. Personally I didn’t think it looked anything like the house but had to admit that it looked a bit creepy in the dark.
The people I was with were of mixed ages from middle-age down to teens. We slept four in a room, just like the dormitories at a boarding school. I didn’t like that … to this day I prefer having a room to myself when I’m away form home.
Although I had been married I was still naïve about life so some of the things that went on were quite surprising and shocking. Imagine how startled I was on the first night to find half a mouldy black pudding under my pillow. This same black pudding had been passed from dorm to dorm for several weeks, greeting each newcomer who, it was stated by those in the know, might ‘find a use for it’. It was enough to put us off sex for life!
The hall itself was quite grand and very spacious yet we couldn’t wait to get out into the surrounding countryside. I remember walks in the woods, getting to know the birds and red squirrels and flirting with local lads. I was definitely beginning to come alive again.
Walking the area was the norm for daytime but in the evening we headed for the local pub, usually arriving before opening time. A gang of us would stand outside singing On Mother Kelly’s Doorstep at the top of our voices. It was even worse after a few drinks. Goodness only knows what the locals thought of us. My favourite tipple at the time was Babycham … it seemed too mild to be intoxicating. Don't you believe it. Two or three of those and I was ready to frolic.
At closing time we would wend our drunken way back to
After two weeks I went home a more comfortable person than when I arrived. I had broken rules, got drunk, and sung myself hoarse; in short I had let my hair down. I had made friends and I felt good. The depression had gone and at last I could look forward to a good life.
The guys at work, including the Chief Inspector who sent me to Marl Hall, welcomed me back with a huge bouquet of flowers. The whole episode was the making of me and I never looked back.