Anyhoo, over to you Raven and tell us all about Bombers Moon.
How does this grab you?
This is my blurb for Bombers Moon, my WW2 story…
Who gets caught by the man of her dreams bare-assed and halfway up a wall? Lady Chrissie Stride, of course.
It’s just her luck that she encounters Baronet Archie Duggan. On top of that, the house her London employers requisitioned to keep its staff safe from The Blitz is locked. Climbing the wall seemed like a good idea, until Archie turns up. At least he doesn’t seem to know it's her.
Archie recognizes Chrissie almost immediately. He never expected to meet her again in deepest Northamptonshire. This time around he is determined to claim the woman he loved and lost. With the war on, priorities change, and love is too important to conform to niceties.
Will the star-crossed lovers finally find their happily ever after?
You know? Every time I read that I go all gooey inside.
Because this story is loosely based on my mum and her mate and their escapades when the company they worked for relocated to as she, an out and out cockney called it, ‘deep, dark, and downright dismal’ Northamptonshire. Especially when the bus that took them from the railway station wheezed like a fifty fag a day geriatric (mum’s words although she named the ‘gasper’ cigarette), and they were worried they’d have to get out and push it.
Then there was a shortage of blankets, until the company sorted that out, never enough light bulbs to go around, and black out blinds that had a mind of their own, and were a devil to fix in place.
Even so, after such an inauspicious start, my mum, Kath and her best friend Kay soon got the hang of living in a cold draughty manor house. Pretending they had nylons on by drawing a gravy browning or charcoal line up their legs and walking several miles into the village in the blackout to go to the village hop. Where they jitterbugged with each other, and took turns in being ‘him’ and drank weak tea or SDI orangeade or ginger beer. (Soft drinks industry, it was all brought together due to limited ingredients and lots of firms closed for the duration)
Mum, and my grandma (known as nanny, or nan) were great for telling me fantastic bedtime stories about as I used to beg, ‘life in the war’. I reckon I got the same stories over and over because even now, well over half a century later (yes I do have my bus pass) I still remember them.
So when I got an idea a few years ago to write a story set in the second world war, it seemed natural to me, not to go for the blitz and life in the shelters, which she had also talked about, and where I thought many stories were set. Instead I was drawn to the time, when as a young woman she was evacuated with her place of employment to an old draughty country manor house in Northamptonshire.
Bombers Moon is based on some of those stories, with anecdotes from my aunts and nan as well. I reckon a lot more shenanigans than we could ever believe went on in those days. After all if you couldn’t see someone in the blackout…they couldn’t see you.
On a maudlin note, I do wish mum was still here to see this, and that she would have been proud of me and ‘her’ story.
But you can bet your last quid she’d have made me add, that she night have been locked out and climbed a wall, and got stuck—but she kept her drawers on.
(And sadly wasn’t helped by an ex beau or the local gentry, but the foreman who in her words, didn’t half give her what for!)
And on that note, here’s a wee tease
~After initial opposition, Chrissie’s parents had agreed she should go with her employers when they decided to move all their office staff to the wilds of Northamptonshire. They had been delighted at the thought of their youngest being safe, not realizing how many Royal Air Force and now American Army Air Force bases there were in the area. It wasn’t just bombs they needed to worry about.
And to top it all, Chrissie thought, here she was having hidden from Archie at the local hop. If it were in a book you’d say it was too far fetched. Chrissie mentally shook her head at her thoughts, sipped her tea, and smiled as Kaye flopped in the next seat and took a mug from her.
“Ta, love. Gawd I tell you, that bloke was like an octopus. I had to threaten to dismember him before he took his hand off my bum.” She giggled, seemingly not one whit perturbed. “So, tell me, what did I miss out on over you and Archie?”
“I was just embarrassed, Kaye. Honestly, I should be over him, and I reckon I’m not. Thank god he didn’t see me. Now he’s gone I can breathe easier and enjoy the rest of the night. Right.” She put her mug down and grabbed Kaye’s from her. “You’ve had enough.” The band struck up again and Chrissie pulled Kaye onto the dance floor. “Now let’s dance.”
Three laughing, breathless hours later, they set off back to the big old draughty manor house, which was their home and workplace for the duration.
Half an hour into their walk it was ‘I need a pee’ time. Chrissie was desperate. Why was it that the moment you were out of reach of the facilities you needed to use them? There was no way she’d be able to last out until they got back to their accommodation. There was at least another half an hour to walk up the bending lane in the darkness, their route lit only by the light of a shaded torch.
“Chrissie, you can’t.” Kaye, her best friend and partner in crime—or the jitterbug—tried to argue with her. “We’re on the road for goodness’ sake. You can’t just go. Lawks, anyone might see.”
Chrissie turned around in exasperation. “And your point is?” Kaye might be her best friend, but sometimes her habit of stating the obvious made Chrissie want to scream. “Kaye, it’s a country road,” she said in as patient a manner she could manage. “We’re in the middle of darkest Northamptonshire, not on the Old Kent Road—though I don’t suppose it’d be any lighter there with the blackout. We’re walking home from the local hop, not the Palais or the Gaumont. We haven’t seen a soul, not even heard a cow moo. And I have got to go. That last drink did it for me. There is no way I’m going to piddle my pants. I’m wearing those silky ones I saved my coupons for.” Chrissie felt under her skirt and fumbled for her underwear. With a bit of luck, a pitch-black night might save them from prying eyes. Not that they’d seen any eyes that might pry on their walk from the village. To say this road was quiet was the understatement of the war. In these dark days of rationing, people tended to go to bed early and rise early, thus, saving fuel. And if some of the grunts and moans they’d heard and giggled at—with more than a little jealousy—as they’d passed the cottages at the edge of the village were anything to go by, the new rationing habits were creating heat in a different manner.
But now, in 1942 with so many men fighting away in far off countries, it didn’t pay to ask questions about just who was creating the heat, or with whom. Everybody knew what was going on, yet no one admitted to anything. It was the best way. As Kaye remarked one day, “they say careless talk costs lives, but as my brother said, careless cocks cause lives.”
That still made them both giggle but it was true. It was probably the best birth control ever. Never mind the ‘nice girls don’t’, it was ‘nice girls do, but carefully’.
And nice girls also needed to go and spend a penny.
“Here.” Chrissie thrust her scarf into Kaye’s hand. “Hold this.”
“What is it?” Kaye asked, horror in her tone. “I’m not holding your drawers!”
Chrissie laughed. “No, you’re okay. It’s my silk scarf I’m not risking it getting caught on anything. Do you know, I don’t half miss hand cream. My hands are like pot scourers. Thank goodness I didn’t wear my nylons. I’m down to one pair and I’m saving them for something special.” It had taken a lot of begging and pleading to her sister before she was given the longed-for pair, and she didn’t want them ripped.
“How did you get nylons?” Kaye asked. Chrissie could hear the envy in her voice. “I’ve tried every which way to get a pair. Well, almost. I do draw the line somewhere. And don’t worry; my hands are as bad as yours. Your scarf is safe in my pocket. I even resisted stroking it. But nylons, you lucky bugger. Who were you nice to?”
“Boyfriend of Merle’s, and I wasn’t too nice, I can tell you. Although, he is a bit of all right. You keep the torch and let me know if anyone comes along.”
Chrissie removed her drawers, tucked them into her coat pocket and crunched over crisp fallen leaves as she made her way toward the side of the road. She took a match from the box she always carried with her and lit it carefully to see if there was a gap in the hedge. As every serviceman she knew showed her, she cupped the light with her hands, checked there were no nettles, no big bushes, but enough foliage to hide behind. She found what she was looking for and heaved a sigh of relief. Too much blackcurrant cordial tended to have a got-to-go-now effect on her.
“Your sister has a Yank for a boyfriend?” Kaye asked, curiosity evident in her tone. “What does your dad say about that?”
“Had. And he didn’t know. Now she’s married one, he tries not to think about it. You know, over paid, oversexed, over here, and all that. Phew. That’s better.” Chrissie pulled her skirt back into place, and wriggled between the bushes. She winced as a thorn pricked her arm. “Bloody dark tonight. What made them choose tonight for the dance, anyway?”
They both knew the answer to that. No moon—no bombers! And out here, no Brock’s Benefit either. The slang for the night bombardment was familiar in London, a tribute to the famous fireworks of that name.~
In case you fancy reading more… you can get it from these places
Evernight ARe Amazon UK Amazon US Bookstrand
To find out more about Raven, here’s her web www.ravenmcallan.com