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  • Fate directed me to meet Edward.I lived in a small rural village in Berkshire(Royal Berkshire to the posh nobs).There were two ways to drive out of the village,before motorways,the first led out on to a busy main road whilst the other was a country lane leading to Reading and beyond to the big city.My work was usually towards,sometimes in the big city so I always took the country lane exit.

    One day however,I had a job as described in a previous story at the Watermill Theatre,to get there necessitated my going out of the village the other way.I usually got my petrol in one of the small villages on the way to work.Being not very well off,living a bit hand to mouth,usually holes in the wallet,I only got small amounts of fuel,about five shillings.This was well before decimalisation and greedy pig governments.

    On this particular day,I did not have a lot in the tank,enough I hoped to the nearest petrol garage. You can imagine my surprise that as I turned onto the main road I spotted a small garage with pumps.I pulled in to this garage,seeing a guy sitting in a window overlooking a very small forecourt with only two pumps.I got out took the petrol cap off and waited for service.After a few minutes the window opened and the guy shouted "Fill up then come in to pay".This was the first time I looked at the pumps,it was a box structure with a hose coming out one side and a large pumping handle.Great ,I thought,stuck the nozzle into my tank opening and gave the pump handle several vigorous pulls,there was no gauge to show how much I had put in.

    So I wandered over through a little door into the office,seeing a right country bumpkin type,hair all over the place,several days growth on the chin and a huge smile on his face."AAh sur"he greeted me "that will be one pound two shillings and two and a half pennies.I did say before decimalisation.I was staggered,I only bought five shillings worth normally and only had about ten bob on me.How the hell could a couple of pulls on the pump poroduce that much petrol,Seeing my screwed up face he told me "One pull on the pump is about four shillings"Me I had pulled quite a bit.Oh S*** I thought,so I told him I only had ten bob on me."Thats Ok sur"he grinned as he told me "just drop the rest in when you are passing next"Crikey ,I thought I have enough here for a couple of weeks,when the heck will I need more.

    Anyway we had a little chat and he told me his name was Edward but everyone,except his wife called him 'Eddie'They lived in the little bungalow at the back.The bungalow looked as though it could house at least one dwarf bent over,it was so small.He told me that he and his wife would be moving soon into a bigger house as the wanted to have children.Had a really good chat,as country people do and I promised to drop the money owing as soon as I could.Not even sure I had that much,never mind I was going to be paid each night for the job which would give me two pounds and ten shillings that night. Those were the days of long hours and little money,but things were cheaper then anyway.So off I drove to work and riches..

    I was driving an A40 Countryman in those days,held together with string,tape and the occassional elastic band,so finding out Eddie was a mechanic as well was icing on my cake.I got to know him well over the next few weeks,with a daily chat every time I had my five bobs worth of petrol.Slowly the bits of string holding my car gave way to proper bits and its usual stutter turned into a bit of a purr.Pulled in one day and got chatting as usual ,when Eddie said "Drop in and meet the ovver arf,one evening"(got to get the country drawl in there).I said "Yes,will do"and went off top chef my way through another day.

    I popped into Eddies on my way out a couple of days later and met Joyce,very slim and about four foot ten high,a midget compared to Eddies bulk and very pretty into the bargain.We had a lovely meal and whilst chatting away found out that they had now bought the old farmhouse in the village.It was going to need a lot of work,somehow (clever people) they managed to get my agreement to help work on it.Anyway they moved in a few weeks later and work got underway.

    It was a typical old farmhouse with room for the family and servants,there were two entrances so it appeared as two seperate houses except on the ground floor which was all one.Very complicated,but meant if you were sleeping in a bedroom on one end you had to go downstairs along through rooms and up the other stairs to use the toilet.Makes you understand more why they had potties under the beds.They moved in complete with mynah bird and two adopted children,having found that Joyce could never have babies.

    The children had their bedrooms on the end where the toilet/bathroom was (installed by my good self) whilst Eddie and Joyce had a bedroom the other end.Visiting became great fun,even better hearing the mynah bird imitating Joyce saying " Edward ,Stop peeing in the sink"
    Obviously not enough timer to get to the toilet at the other end of the house.

    I have told in a previous story of the ghost in this house and how it was verified by Parish records.Eddie sold this house and bought a larger property with a swimming pool for the children and dogs (very large dogs)an everything in their lives was great.The horrified looks on their new neighbours faces at seeing this lot move in was a wonderful sight.Of course,you could never live next door to Eddie and family without becoming friends which they became very quickly.

    The pumps at the garage were replaced and a work shop added,even became quite modern,getting the odd five bobs worth of petrol was never the same though.He later sol this and started a business as a gardener for the big houses around.Eddie did all the ground work whilst the petite little lady,Joyce,did all the mechanical repairs.Quite a sight around the villages with Eddie working on the lawns and flower beds and Joyce covered with oil stripping a machine down.

    They were days full of happy memories..My last memory is of Eddie and two children,still dressed and two large dogs throwing themselves into the pool with the voices of Joyce and the mynah bird saying "Edward,dont pee in the pool"......Ooh Aah.
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