John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Early Days

Early 1950’s
 1. The centre of Preston was always known to me as “Town”, and to get to “Town” one caught the P1 bus.[a] In fact the P1 bus was the only bus I knew, and “Town” was the only possible destination that I was aware of.
[a] The P1 bus was predominantly brown in colour.
 2. In “Town” was the blackened stone building wherein one’s Mum queued at the tall wooden counter[b] to receive one’s ration of a medicine bottle of orange juice and one of cod liver oil.[c] Steven’s entitlement to these had expired, but to avoid his jealousy my Mum would let him share my orange juice. (Would then that I had been the older brother!)
[b] The tall wooden counter: That is, tall to me then.
[c] Cod liver oil: Contrary to the experience of others I have spoken to, I don’t seem to remember finding cod liver oil objectionable. In fact, later on, when we were given a regular dose of halibut liver oil capsules, I would like to bite the little gelatine sphere and relish the squirting of the tasty oil into my mouth. On the other hand, another item in the home medicine collection, was the dreaded syrup of figs. Ah! the torture of that noxious substance, which was administered by spoon at the merest hint of irregular bowel movements, or even given on occasion to clear out one’s system, presumably for a clean start.
 3. In “Town”, also, was the place of exquisite panic, the “prick shop”;[d] but more of this anon.
[d] The prick shop: See Medical matters.
 4. In “Town” I would sometimes want a wee, but at that age it was not considered unseemly for one’s Mum to let one hitch up one’s pants at the nearest kerbside grid for instant relief.

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