The In-Crowd

When I was fifteen I got a Saturday job in Wainwrights, the Milk Bar, on the corner of London Road and Tindal Street.  All the girls wore a white overall with a red and black check pinafore apron and when Steve started, he wore a white jacket, like Mr Wainwright.  We served milk and milkshakes, tea and coffee and Horlicks, and egg sandwiches.  There was no juke box, and it wasn’t hip, but it was popular.

There was a group of people, of whom my sister, tragically for me, was one, who came in every Saturday.  Val, the other Saturday girl, and I called them the In-Crowd.  The boys were at the Grammar School and the girls were at the High School.   They always had the same thing, Foxy had espresso – you had to go to the other end of the counter for espresso, and Steve had tea.  Johnny had lemon squash and my sister and Marilyn and the others had the ordinary coffee.  They would get their drinks and take them upstairs and sit for hours, taking up two tables, talking about horse-racing and records.  They weren’t mods, and despite my sister’s best attempts, they weren’t really beatniks.  The boys always wore nice jumpers, plain, no pattern, round neck, navy blue usually, sometimes maroon, and good jeans.  The girls wore mohair coats, or in the summer shift dresses in blue or pink.

They weren’t mods, but they really were a sort of In-Crowd.  And because they were two and three years older than me, it was a crowd I couldn’t join, even if I’d wanted to.  Later, when Foxy worked in London and so did I we became really good friends.  What a difference fifteen years makes.

A Sense of Occasion – the Chelmsford Stories

A Sense of Occasion

A Sense of Occasion – the Chelmsford Stories

 a sense of occasion

It was not the most straight forward of requests.  The brief was to design a book cover that said, ‘Sixties, mods, Chelmsford, style,’ not necessarily in that order. Christine Wilkinson has done just that and I love it.

These are my stories about minis, racing gloves, espressos, coffee bars, salad cream and Coronation Street when it was only on twice a week.  Follow best friends Marie and Deirdre as they fall into the Orpheus and out of the Corn Exchange, falling in love and losing their chances, and Sandra and Linda practice their mod jive and go on an unlikely walking holiday.  Chelmsford in the Sixties.

Going to a Go-Go is what I listened to then and again, when I wrote the stories, and it’s what Christine listened to while she was creating the cover.  I know I’ve posted this before, but it says it all.

The book comes out in two weeks – A Sense of Occasion – the Chelmsford Stories

Catch up with the latest on my website  http://www.elizabethwoodcraft.com