I'm seven and a bit; Mum's gone into hospital. We had to go into Mayday Road Homes as Dad had to carry on working as a policeman. Mayday Road Homes would be our home again on future occasions for the same reason: Mum is in dock again.
Actually, I did not mind this move out of our cramped two-bedroom flat at 18 Hathaway Road, Broad Green, Croydon. Mayday would be warmer, bigger and food would not be a problem!
Miss Denyer was head of Mayday Homes for Children. She was a kind and gentle lady and she still holds a fond place in my memory of those days. Couldn't say the same for one or two of the younger "carers", but Miss Denyer was more mature and got on well with all her charges.
The bedrooms, or dormitories, were plainly furnished but more comfortable than our own home. We had a bed each! How great. Six or seven boys to a room and we all seemed happy enough. I made up a bedtime story each night. No idea how this came about but I had to do this otherwise I would be pestered until I did. Cannot remember any of them now; they were probably rubbish but the younger lads seemed to enjoy them.
Bath-time one evening was not always the delight it should have been. One evening I was shoved into this large bath by one of the younger carers and I screamed the place down! It was far too hot! I was scalded quite badly and the careless young woman quickly yanked me out of the hot water and wrapped me in a towel. She was almost as scared as I was, and so she should have been.
The food was good; much better than Mum could afford at home. We had plenty of room to play in one of the large downstairs rooms and the garden was a dream. It was large, mainly grass, with a wonderful summer-house at the end. This summer-house had a cedar smell that lingers in my memory so strongly that I can still smell it!
It was sometimes empty in the summer evening and I would sit in their, totally alone for ten minutes or so, and just enjoyed the smells of the garden and the wood and the quietude.
We always knew when we would be "going home". Our own clothes would be piled on the foot of our bed, ready for us to get dressed in next morning. It was exciting to know we'd soon be back with Mum and Dad but I always felt a little sad to be leaving Miss Denyer's care, the nice beds, the playroom and that lovely garden and summer-house.