Mum and dad

My mum and was born in Biggleswade (sometimes referred to as Giggleswade in our family) in 1948.  Biggleswade is the home of Jordans cereals and at one time it was recorded that it had 52 pubs. (Mum has told me on several occasions that her Uncle Arthur once saw a ghost skating on Biggleswade pond … there may be a connection between the ghost and the number of pubs).

Mums parents were Ellen Brooker and Frederick Charles William Payne. Mum had two sisters who were twins – Pamela Ann and Freda, seven years older than herself but Freda died when she was only three days.

Mum spells her name Diane but on her birth and baptism certificates, her name is spelt Dianne.  The house she grew up in was known as a pre-fab and was one of more than 150,000 prefabricated buildings built all over the UK between 1946 and 1948 to rehouse ex-servicemen and their families or bombed-out people.  They were only supposed to last 10 to 15 years but many are still standing.

Mums first job was working for a company called Kayser Bonder in Biggleswade as a sewing machinist, she also worked for Skirtex as a sewing machinist and Electrolux as an amateur winder, both in Luton. As a sewing machinist she did piece work, a type of work which pays a fixed rate for each unit produced or action performed regardless of time. After having my sister and me, she worked as a childminder and later worked for Tesco and Mothercare. On retiring, she took up quilt making, something she had always wanted to do and it turns out she is amazing at it.

Dad was born in August 1944, the only child of my grandparents Louis Bowers Abram and Delia Eileen Clarke. When he was young dad spent a lot of time at airfields watching aircraft and was a member of The London Gliding Club in Dunstable. In his late teens he became an airport fire security officer, which was the starting point for 35 years as a fire/security officer protecting people, fine arts (including works by Leonardo da Vinci), power stations and research facilities. The roles were very active and often involved climbing vertical ladders of 90 – 100 feet.

Dad told me his earliest memory is aged three – four years old sitting on the tailboard of a removal lorry with a wire haired fox terrier, moving from a city side street house in Northampton to a bungalow in the Northamptonshire countryside, two miles from the nearest small town with open country side front and back. When he was younger he also enjoyed CB radio and later progressed to ham radio, studying with City and Guilds to obtain the required licence and becoming involved with local scout group who had a radio jamboree once a year.

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