3. Dec, 2016


“There are bananas in Bush’s shop!” The news went from house to house on Trafalgar Road like toppled dominoes.
The war was over and we kids had never seen a banana before. In fact, giving up eating them had been our contribution to the war effort!
Adults and children alike, gathered outside the small shop to stare at the couple of bunches on display in the window. Beside them was a notice telling everyone that they would not be for sale until the next day and then only one per family.
We had no idea of their taste. Conjecture was rife. The small crowd eventually thinned leaving just us small kids and two bigger boys…Harry Skinner and Fatty Wragg.
At 14, already confirmed smokers, truants and shoplifters, they took every opportunity to bully us younger kids about. On this occasion, however, they were quiet, staring at the bananas until Fatty nudged Harry and off they went.
As soon as they reached the Skinner’s shed, Fatty announced his master plan. They would wait until Mrs. Bush was busy serving that afternoon. During their break they would climb over the Church Road school yard wall that neighboured her shop. There had to be more bananas out back. They would nick them, make their getaway, cart them off to the Skinner shed, go back to school and threaten others to say they had been there all the while. A perfect alibi.
They could then sell the bananas to us little kids at so much each and make a good profit. After all, James Cagney had got away with something similar in that film they had watched during the previous Saturday morning rush at the pictures.
The plan worked. Sure enough behind the shop was a box of bananas. Now for the getaway.
Unfortunately, a neighbour, Jean Croft was finishing cleaning her bedroom window and she saw the whole thing. Her urgent call got her husband to his feet and on his way over to the Skinner‘s back garden.
As Fatty and Harry opened the shed door to leave, they were confronted with the huge man that was Police Constable Albert Croft!
Determined to teach the two tear-a-ways a lesson, he had them by the scruffs of their necks with the bananas and marched them off to the police station.
Once there he had a quick word with the desk sergeant and together they put both boys and the bananas (evidence!) into a cell and left them.
Harry looked at Fatty,
“We are going to get done! My old man will go crazy!”
Fatty said nothing, he had a thought…
“They can only do us if they have evidence!”
“But they have the bananas!” Harry reminded him.
“Right” said Fatty, “So let’s get rid of them!”
“But there’s no where to hide them in the cell!” said his less imaginative friend.
“Oh yes there is!”
Quarter of an hour later, heavy boots were heard approaching the cell- Albert Croft and the desk sergeant.
The two policemen entered ready to read the Riot Act but halted frozen. There were no bananas! Where was the evidence? Neither boy had left the cell
The penny dropped.
The sergeant looked at Albert, Albert looked at the sergeant. They both looked at the boys.
“Hell‘s teeth,” the sergeant gasped. “the bloody skins as well!”


Bush’s shop certainly existed as shown in the heading photograph after it was converted to a florists. (Right, Sally?) But the rest? As with all good stories, it is not entirely fiction and not entirely fact. Does it really matter which?]