This is an old photo of my Dad taken back in the late 1960's. I am not sure of the actual date. It was when I was still living in Wednesbury in Staffordshire, England. Dad was a Detective Inspector and wore plain clothes but occasionally had to appear in his dress uniform for ceremonies, inspections and occasionally for visiting dignitaries. My Mum was probably the photographer.
When I was a lot younger I wished that they had chosen a more dignified background as you can see the drainpipes and a short strip of washing line. As I have matured I realize that they are just part of the photograph and add to its character.
I remember the washing Mum put on her line and the short entry way before you reached the kitchen door on the left. There was an outside bathroom, a coal shed and a place where Dad kept all his gardening equipment and carpentry tools.
Occasionally if Dad came across a man down on his luck he would bring him home, give him blankets and an old pillow and let him stay the night in the old shed. Mum was quite used to this. They were given a pillow and a couple of blankets and she would fix them a sandwich for the evening and a good breakfast to send them on their way in the morning. Dad had uncanny instincts about people and they never steered him wrong. We never had any trouble with our occasional overnight guests. That's not to say that he didn't use caution and was always very protective of his family.
Dad's carpentry and tool shed was always a big draw to me and I used to sneak into it at every opportunity. I loved looking through Dad's carpentry tools, and cut myself pretty badly when the little boy next door said we should play Cowboys and Indians, and I would be the Indian but I needed a bow and arrow. I actually tried to carve an arrow out of an old piece of wood, but I didn't get any further as I slit my thumb with Dad's carpentry knife and Mum almost fainted seeing all the blood. Another trip to the doctor. I was a bit of a tomboy and I might add that the little boy wasn't allowed around for a long, long time. As I look down at my thumb now, I still have the scar running down one side.
This was also a police house and Mum lived in fear of 'the inspections'. Officials used to turn up unannounced and she couldn't have a thing out of place. The dusting had to be continuously taken care of because she knew the 'white glove' treatment would be included. The house always had to be neat and orderly in fear of a black mark put on Dad's career. I'm not sure if this was exactly true but Mum was convinced. She had a hard time keeping up with my untidy ways. My sister was a lot better at keeping things in order and I am a lot better myself these days, but back then not so much.
The day we moved down to Devon and Mum and Dad bought their own home was the happiest day in my Mum's life. No more inspections, no more white glove treatments, and no more "Denise, would you please pick up after yourself." Well, not quite. I always tried but my idea of 'picked up' was definitely different from my mum's.