We lodged briefly upstairs near London’s Highgate Hill during those fraught wartime days. From the bedroom window I could see a pub on the corner where the road turned. Downstairs lived the landlady who complained of our footsteps going up to our quarters.
Brrrrrr brrrrr. Granny’s industrious work at her hand-operated sewing machine added to the landlady’s distress. Patching threadbare linen bed-sheets became a necessity with England cut off and surrounded by submarines. So Granny would turn the most badly worn sheets sides-to-middle, sewn with a flat run-and-fell seam.The sound of her brrr brrrr went on well after tea-time. These were big sheets after all.
The landlady complained ferociously about the noise, so Granny tried to slow her work. Brrr became mmzzz mmzzz which helped only marginally and went on longer.
One afternoon there came a tremendous clanking clatter in the street outside. I hoped it was the steam roller which had mended street outside the country cottage. I dashed to the upstairs window. Now I could hear the revving of engines. The ground shook, the building trembled. Pushing aside the blackout material, I hung on to the window frame and looked down.
Over by the pub squatted a ferocious row of camouflaged tanks with their engines running.
I raced back to Granny. “There’s tanks outside,” I panted.
Granny looked up from her sewing and smiled mildly. “Mrs. Moore won’t like that,” she said before resuming her up-tempo rhythm. Brrrr brrr.
That was the day the warning went out “Invasion Imminent.”